2021 The Plot Thickens: The Gardening Thread



  • I just ordered a couple of Lilium longiflorum x pardalinum 'Fusion' plants
    It is a cross between—an Easter Lily and a Leopard Lily
    It is the first thing I have ordered for our new patio. There are two bare spots between three yellow rose bushes already there. I thought the color of the lily which is an orange-yellow would look good with the roses. My son has been bringing me bags of dirt from the field where the sheep were pastured last year. It should be rich.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    'American Pillar' - single pink flowers with a white centre. Very vigorous, it says here. I'm hoping, besides some floral interest in that corner, it'll help mask the neighbour's tall and ugly fencing.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    I tried to carry a geranium in a pot over the winter and thought I'd failed but when we dragged it out from the shed there were a couple of green shoots amid all the mushy brown leaves and stalks. I'm hoping it will flourish again on the patio, but I've been having to cover it these last few nights because of the danger of frost. I've also been given a tray of sweet pea seedlings which I haven't planted out yet because of the frosts.

    Still no sign of the dahlias in the front garden, but the wildflower seeds seem to be sprouting.
  • I neglected my geraniums and left them out over winter where they all died but one in my hanging basket has produced green shoots so has been trimmed and potted up.
    Email tells me my trailing fuchsias and geraniums will arrive shortly (as well as some Tumbling Toms) so I’ll be doing my hanging baskets this weekend. An EBay seller also indicated my fancy tomatoes are being sent.
    Let’s hope it gets warmer soon.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    Gardening this year is minimum due to impending house move. But yesterday I dug out some of my favourite plants and potted them for transferring to the new garden at the weekend. So that's a start.
  • The continuing frosts are doing my crust in - I've got so much that I need to pot on and get into the greenhouse, but I need to get stuff out of the greenhouse that's tender... I think I may have to just bite the bullet and get stuff out and cover it every night! I accidentally covered my max-min thermometer in the greenhouse last night when I put the bubble out, and it didn't go below 8, so maybe I can just cover stuff in there as well?

    In other news, I am down to the last few square feet of concrete, and most of it has now been replaced with topsoil. Now I just need it to rain so I can get stuff in... especially as I am down on water butts at the moment (the big 3 had to removed to position the new shed... and I've muttered enough about the shed issues already!)
  • I've been following your concrete saga with interest :smile: Could you break it with a wrecking bar / pick? I borrowed a kango from work to get through some, and it was still hard work! I'm surprised (and pleased) people have taken it - is hardcore so hard to get hold of?
  • I've been cracking it with a sledgehammer, and then levering up with a pick - the next bit is about 8" thick (the current lot is 2-4") and a much harder mix, so that will be a kango job. I'll enjoy that, Man Tool time.

    I don't think there's any great shortage of hardcore, now *free* hardcore is a different matter.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Little if any rain forecast here as far as the eye can see. So it's back to hauling buckets down a flight of stairs (gyms, who needs 'em?) As I've put in plants, plugs, seeds, dry root and bulbs, there's a lot that needs watering.

    But then I get to sit and just watch the sunlight glowing in the leaves, the tulips unfurling, the whole incredible circus of Spring.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    American Pillar, according to my mother, is definitely very vigorous, and to be regarded with profound suspicion. Along with vinca and muscaris, and mind-your-own-business. I did like this rose when we had it in our garden at Folkestone, but she did not take cuttings to our next garden. Though it is pretty.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    As it's in a container, and in a location where nothing else is competing, I'm happy for it to romp away.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    Finally truly ran out of space in either cold frames or greenhouse, so some lettuce are now out.
    It ll be cover on / cover off until it warms up a bit but my mini cloches usually work. Those plastic square sweet containers that corner shop owners always want to Get Rid of work well, with a hefty stone on top to stop the wind.

    Picked up some plants the other day from a roadside stall + honesty box. Discovered today that the stall was under paid by 25p and I ve been riddled with guilt all day. We will need to go back of course. To pay, of course.
    I might end up buying the other yellow raspberries.....& a few great looking rockery plants. It would be rude not to.
  • Mr. Image does not move easily and so does not go out in the yard unless our son is here to help him. So today I moved the birdbath over near the window he sits by. There is a nice big bush there for them to scan the area before coming down to the water so I hope they decide to come there to bath. Other than the bush it is a rather bare area so I am going to get some bright annual potted plants to place around the bath. Oh good an excause to go to the nursery, my drug of choice. Am I the only one who always comes home with more then they planned on buying? I am going to guess not.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    (Covering my ears! On route as I type!)
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate

    You did hear that, didn't you? In case you didn't

    I've got the last of the current "project zone" out this afternoon; a little bit still to be broken up but I need some more bags, and am still waiting on a possible taker whose shed isn't coming on fast as he (and I!) intended. Three-quarters of a ton of topsoil has been put on top of what was underneath the stuff, and I can put *plants* in instead of concrete. I'm quite unduly excited - particularly as, part way through, I realised I could visualise what I wanted to do with it for the first time.

    It'snot all plain sailing, of course. The next area of concrete is thicker and harder (Oooh, matron!), and will need a kango and a skip to shift. But I've saved a small fortune doing this bit the old-fashioned way, using BFI. so I'm not too worried by that. That's for this winter - at which point I will have most of the garden area I want back to soil. The rest will have to be done in bits and pieces - I wnat to put in smarter paths and patio etc, but that requires wonga that I don't currently have, plus the removal of the old ones.

    Nonetheless, I feel massively buoyed by the this and celebrated by buying a psychedelic Eryngium: https://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/eryngium--zabelii-neptunes-gold-pbr/classid.2000022999/
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Hurrah! I always like to see the triumph of earth over concrete. (It would have won in the end of course, it just would have taken longer).

  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    I have actually done some gardening today. Tried to stop honeysuckle from taking over the world, and weeded around my roses, and fed them. Also planted some foxgloves in the space left by the honeysuckle. Many butttercup mounds also removed, and some wild flowers sown. A bit late, but hopefully not too late.
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    It's been so cold in London, and in fact, in UK, that I didn't try to put new stuff in. The perennials will be OK, so will wait a couple of weeks to guarantee no frosts. But there isn't much to put in, as things like courgettes need warm soil. Weird weather.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    I'm a bit concerned that things will sulk, but we'll be running out of long days soon, so something has to give (or at least 12 weeks will take uss to some rather short days soon). Terrible growing weather.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    I managed a bit more clearance yesterday, with some extra work due to the cat finding a small area I had not defended as I didn't think it attractive to it. Moving the deposits under the communal privet outside my gate, sterilising the area with Jeyes. Then I built up the surround of a raised bed with a plank I got from someone at the tip after digging out the vinca there - weedkiller had been partially effective, but the roots went deep. I don't know where the original wood had gone. Topped it with a bag of compost which I had to lug from the back door - very heavy with moisture in it, and stretched some plastic trellis over it before adding some "Silent roar" a nitrogenous substance in large pellets, treated with essence of lion dung. Then put back the solar powered repeller squawker and left it.
    I had intended to put in some bamboo for runner beans, with the seeds, and plant out the peas I got from Waitrose earlier, with a trellis instead of peasticks, but I was hot, and tired by this time - and it wasn't much work, really. I'm blaming the second jab.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Rough winds are duly shaking the darling buds of May. But it's the first serious rain I've seen in weeks.

    And really the only things it's stopping me doing is either trimming the hedge, or sorting the compost bin, neither of which are untrammelled fun.

    When do we think shrub fuchsia should be available?

    I notice two plants that seem to have ganged up - feverfew and lemon verbena. They form, singly and together, not unattractive dense mounds of foliage. But I know the verbena will get straggly and has wildly tenacious roots. Does clipping it work?
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    A new neighbouring cat has taken to blatantly walking across all my raised beds. Just because he can.

    They are now covered with a fetching array of heavy duty plastic fencing.
    Which he falls off.

  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    edited May 3
    Once upon a time I'd have thought you an unfeeling bastard, @Ethne Alba. Now I have a garden of my own, I'm right behind you cheering as moggy falls...

    ETA - @Firenze we take our lemon verbena in every year and cut it right back while it is dormant in the winter.
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    I have my tomatoes and squash planted out, but it's been so chilly of late that nothing's growing fast. Our biggest pest is rats, but fortunately the Mairie has installed some hawks on the top of a neighbouring tower block (to pick off the pigeons) and it looks like they've also helped themselves to a couple of juicy rodents.

    The garden association has acquired some new plots, and I'm going to be cultivating one of them with three other people. It currently looks like subtropical jungle. Given that it's an organic garden and weedkillers aren't allowed, we're going to have to clear it by hand. It could take us a while :dizzy:
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    Are you allowed the use of plastic sheet? If so, that is the easiest option as stuff just dies under it. You'll have to dig eventually, but all the while you are getting to that point, the old stuff is dying under the plastic, and new stuff can't get going.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    Is anyone else doing No Mow May - letting the flowers in the lawn bloom for the benefit of the insects?
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    No, but this is the second year I've left a bit of lawn unmown until the last cut of the year to let wild stuff grow, and put things like crocus and cowslip in for wildlife. There's rather a lot of wild stuff in the garden too, that I'm trying to supplant with stuff that is both pretty and good for wildlife.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    Are you allowed the use of plastic sheet? If so, that is the easiest option as stuff just dies under it. You'll have to dig eventually, but all the while you are getting to that point, the old stuff is dying under the plastic, and new stuff can't get going.

    If you are allowed the use of multiple layers of newspaper, well wetted down, that will kill the weeds just as effectively,and you can plant through it (make a hole,and be religious about your watering) while the crap dies off. We did it on several large plots we just couldn't face ripping up by hand. And the newspaper turns to compost over a year or so. You can put mulch on top for looks, or grass clippings.
  • AmosAmos Shipmate
    @North East Quine I've been thinking about your situation with planting in place of what sounds like it may have been a leylandia hedge or something similar. When I arrived at my present rectory there were two 40 foot leylandia hedges across the back garden. That's right. Not one, but two. The diocese kindly removed them. The earth underneath was rock-hard and naturally full of roots. What you'll need to do if you want to plant in a situation like this is to break up the soil (the use of a mechanical tiller would speed this task), incorporate organic matter (compost, manure), and then think about what you'd like to plant. If you have clay, you're likely to find roses (or members of the rosaceae family) will be happy. Rhododendrons like it acid, as do magnolias. Good luck! Tell us how it goes! Nine years on, I now have one manageable beech hedge, and a big new border with roses and perennials where those hedges were.
  • -6°C this morning. Ice still clinging to river banks in the shade. High of 16 suggested.

    Controversy brewing over a peat moss operation in the north wanting to drain muskeg and ship this to gardeners. Never used it. Sounds environmentally suspect re habitat destruction, carbon storage, low or negligible contribution to soil as nutrition.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Not suspect - out and out wrong.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    I’ve tried @Lamb Chopped ‘s idea and with grass clippings dumped on top, other allotmenteers didn’t notice.
    Indeed, some took to Adding to the pile when my back was turned!
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    I had a go at lasagna gardening a while ago. You build up layers of compost materials including kitchen waste, with newspaper or cardboard, finishing with a layer of soil into which the plants are inserted. I did have success with beans and peas. (Grandad used to dig compost materials into the base of of the trench under his beans.) The bottom layer would suppress the weeds.
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    I have a date for the sparks in the shed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    (not over-excited in the slightest)

    May 22nd! This is exciting because if that is done I can empty the old shed, take it down, build a tool box for the allotment with what little is left that's good, then I can get my many butts plumbed back up, I will have more space, and it's just generally GO!GO!GO! from there.

    We can also sort the larder which has been annoying me for five and a half years now, as all the drilling etc to add bits will have been done. So a big day!

    *Bounces off walls a lot*
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    Perfectly understandable!

    I fear Mr Alba is coveting your electricity- in-shed
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckingfucketyfuckfuck. With fuckingfucks.

    The sparks have fallen through - family sparky has realised that his certification would not cover my house insurance were he to do the work, so I'm going to have to get someone in to do it. Just after we've spent rather a lot of money on windows. The real drag, apart from the fact that I was so excited that it was going to get done, is that there's so many other jobs hanging on for it to be done, so that I have space etc to do them in.

    (can you tell that I feel better for a good swear?)
  • MarthaMartha Shipmate
    Oh no @Sandemaniac - it's an awful feeling when something like that falls throughjust as it was finally about to happen. Hope you get someone else soon.

    I planted my courgettes and butternut squash out on Friday, so they got well and truly watered in yesterday. It still feels a bit early, but they were starting to struggle in their starter pots, so I thought I'd risk it. The peas are doing well, I need to get some mesh for them to climb on.

    Our grass isn't growing much anyway, but we've had leatherjackets in it (and a flock of starlings eating them) so we're hoping it won't all die. I certainly haven't mowed it for a few weeks.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    Radishes out. Lettuce out. Carrots out. Celeriac out. Welsh onions out. Brassicas have been out for a month.

    Peas had to be transplanted into their final pots. Sweet peas likewise. It is all wigwam sticks with eye protectors on them right now!

    Nasturtiums are taking over the greenhouse so they ‘re out being hardened off right now too.

    All are under temporary cover at night so the greenhouse has Loads of room now!
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Not having a greenhouse or room for cold frames, plants have to cope as best they can. I lost a few early bedders to frost, and things planted from seed are only now thinking of coming up.

    Email today to say 6 dozen plugs I ordered yonks ago now in the post. Which is good, as the daffodils and narcissi are beginning to fade, though the tulips still putting on a fine show. But after them not a lot of late Spring action apart from the bluebells and aquilegia.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    Well, much to my surprise, I have some peas and sugar snap peas in the ground. They have slug pellets around them, a support to grow up and a new over them so that the pigeons at least have to make a token effort. The immediate surroundings look like a chunk of Somme trench, but I am rather pleased with myself.....
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    One of my squash plants is making an impressively large flower. However a slug (I assume) has been munching on a leaf. A slug pub shall have to be made. According to my Dad, crushed up egg shells also deter the little blighters quite well.

    Forecast this week is for warmer and rainier, which would be good.
  • Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckingfucketyfuckfuck. With fuckingfucks.

    The sparks have fallen through - family sparky has realised that his certification would not cover my house insurance were he to do the work, so I'm going to have to get someone in to do it. Just after we've spent rather a lot of money on windows. The real drag, apart from the fact that I was so excited that it was going to get done, is that there's so many other jobs hanging on for it to be done, so that I have space etc to do them in.

    (can you tell that I feel better for a good swear?)

    It's a shame that electricity in outbuildings is now 'notifiable work' in Part P. Mine has, err, been there since before Part P, just like an extension lead - it plugs in with a fused plug. The main thing is not to put a spade (or a Kango) through it. Unless you need a lot of current for heat as well as light...planning a (ahem) 'grow'? :smile:

  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    Nothing like that! Just enough heat, light, and juice to be able to use it as a workshop!
  • edited May 9
    You can do it yourself, or get your mate to do it, and then get it signed off by someone with the 'right' certificate who can sometimes be found via building control...for a fee. On the blurb I read recently for some LA or other, the fee was more for someone with not much on paper doing the installation, and less for someone with 'some level but not quite enough' of a certificate. It's a racket, really, but I understand your concern about being insured. If you do some googling via your own local authority building control people, you can find out how they handle it. So long as it is fused (and these days protected by a big bank of trips, I guess) you can't start a fire. Without the trips there's still a shock hazard, but you can minimise that by plugging it into an rcd adaptor if you're nervous. Well, hope that's useful.
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    Well, I have contacted a sparky from down the road who has done a job for us before - if he is busy, I may suggest that as a possibility. He'll be up to date with the regs.
  • Graven ImageGraven Image Shipmate
    Last week I planted a lily bulb in a small brick-edged circle in our yard. Thus this would be the softest dirt. Yesterday I gave Molly the dog a chewie bone. Looks like a real bone but is grain-based. This morning I went out to water the bulb and discovered it dug up and laying on the patio. Digging around in the hole to replant the bulb I found 1/2 of a chewie bone. I believe I know who is responsible.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
  • Ice is fully out as of yesterday. We're to expect an overnight temp above freezing. It's wear a fleece, short pants, socks and sandals, and a toque weather. Stirred up soil today. Got tomato, pepper, cucumber sets ready to go for maybe next week.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Well, the hanging plant pot I ordered in the late Jurassic has finally turned up. Unfortunately 2 days have seen no updates on the plants to go in it: the turnaround time for these couriers tends to be about a week, which is a long time in a dark box for seedlings.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Martha wrote: »
    Huia wrote: »
    I noticed that Martha mentioned everlasting spinach upthread. Can anyone tell me if this tastes anything like ordinary spinach please?

    I believe it's a kind of chard, if you've ever eaten that. I've just nibbled a leaf, and it's a very mild flavour. I usually chop it and throw a handful into curry, stew etc, at which point it tastes like any green leafy thing.

    Martha, thanks for answering. I'm sorry I missed your reply until now. I think I'll give it go in spring.
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