2021 The Plot Thickens: The Gardening Thread

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  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    I notice that the Victoria plum is now half way up the Ist floor windows again (2nd, over pond). It can't flower, can't bear fruit, but shrieks "I am not dwarfing stock". Heavy pruning is called for.
    It is in a tub, but there are holes in the base. It is on an earth border to the patio. I know from earlier work that about 9 inches below the flagstone level, there are more flagstones, and I'm wondering just what the roots are into. The main trunk is about as thick as my upper arm.
  • Have you tried reading John 15 to it?
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    Our gardener is annoying me. He does a decent job but I never know when he is going to turn up.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Ah, you have to understand Tradesman's Time e.g. 'first thing' either before you are up or lunchtime, '9 o'clock' = 11, 'Tuesday' = Thursday, 'this week' = next week, 'next week' = never.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    Since moving three weeks ago I have completely de-weeded one very chocked bed and discovered roses and a currant bush. I have begun on a couple of side borders in similar state. I have planted out the pots around the pond and on the deck and planted the rose that my church gave me when leaving. And, this week’s big job, I have with some help from the Giraffe, half emptied the pond of filthy water, installed a filtration system which is also a fountain and refilled! Very thing in the garden is not yet lovely, but some of it is a lot better than it was! And we have finally had rain, so that the soil is no longer like grey concrete.

    Brown bin was emptied today so I can get on with the weeding again! Big weeds take more room…..
  • RoseofsharonRoseofsharon Shipmate
    Cathscats wrote: »
    Big weeds take more room…..
    Cut 'em up!
    I can get far more in a bin than Mr RoS can. I have no idea why he has to bung metre long prunings in whole.

  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Pending getting on the brown bin collection, I have been bagging garden waste. A good wheeze is to let it lie for a day or so until it withers a bit. Then fold and scrunch.

    Holding off mowing the lawn as the bees are working the clover.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    I do cut em up. But I just meant that there is more of them to start with, more weed per pull from the ground as it were. The way our brown bin works is that I half fill it, then Mr Cats gets the steps and ascends, to jump into said bin and trample it down (first tentatively enquiring if I have been weeding nettles). I half till again and repeat. And so on till the poor bin men must hate the sight of ours.

    This afternoon I expended much energy digging impacted weeds from two large Belfast sinks which have been used as planters at some time in the past by the previous owners. I have now planted some ancient lettuce seed in them which I happened to have , so we will see if it is too ancient to germinate.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    A weed is merely a plant in the wrong place. The most beautiful flower in the middle of a cricket square would be a weed.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I'm struggling to think of a right place for bindweed, nettle, sow thistle and quite a few others.

    Talking of weeds, there's not been the usual effort by the Council to maintain the pavements this past year. There's practically a whole crop of barley in the gutters at the end of the street, whereas the opposite corner belongs to groundsel. I'm not sure 'greening our cities' is meant to quite operate this way.
  • Nettles and sow thistle are butterfly or caterpillar foods, so if we clean them up we lose more of our butterflies. And nettles are edible and their stems can provide a form of sisal. Although I was stung several times yesterday, I'd hate to see nettles eradicated.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I am fairly weed tolerant - or I wouldn't have so many in my garden. The least tolerated are bindweed, because it's a smotherer: bugloss, sedges, plantain, dock and buttercup because they are too prolific: nettles and thistles because.

    Otoh I'm giving a fairly free rein to rosebay willowherb, clover, feverfew, lemon balm, mint, wood avens, campion, dog daisies, poppies and assorted grasses.
  • Bindweed, both types, is a nightmare round here. The larger variety is less of an issue for us, though it attempts to come in the garden through the low picket fence, but the smaller type invades the veg patch and is hard to eradicate.
  • It has been so hot this week that all I have done in the garden is to water well each morning and evening. So far everything seems to be doing fine.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Why can't snails and slugs eat bindweed etc? Instead of my beans and courgette.
  • MamacitaMamacita Shipmate
    I'm impressed and a little jealous of all the veggie gardeners. Too much shade in the houses I've lived in. But speaking of shade plants ... my "quickfire" hydrangea got its white blossoms a few weeks ago and are now starting to blush. They turn pink in midsummer and then in early autumn turn a dusky rose color. It's so lovely. I was sitting in the garden with my coffee this morning and noticed the faint pink showing up on some of the petals. The bumblebees like it too.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    I just Love hydrangeas! In theory this garden should have thriving hydrangeas, but alas. Maybe the wind rocks them too much?
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    The clematis is flowering! I put in two, either side of a garden arch against the back fence and overhung by a neighbour's elder. One is miserable and appears to be trying to turn into ground cover. The other has been climbing nimbly up the arch, but I was thinking I would only get foliage, but no, it's putting out these rather crumpled blooms in a dusky purple.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    Having removed a good half of the hawthorn frontage , our honeysuckle is now flourishing And flowering!
  • HeavenlyannieHeavenlyannie Shipmate
    edited July 17
    My Nellie Moser clematis was flowering beautifully but then developed clematis wilt. I gave it a good trim and it is back in bud.

    Most of my tomatoes did not survive the unstable weather but my runner beans have flowered well and have begun to produce pods, my courgettes are thriving and it looks like I will have a good crop of daikon to experiment with.
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    My beans (borlotti) are in flower and a few little pods are appearing. The slight embuggerance is that I think they're going to be ready when we're on holiday. On the upside, I'm glad I chose a variety that you can eat dried.
  • Hubby and I were trying to decide if we had 1 or 2 lizards in our patio area. We see a lizard most days but in different areas. Today I saw a very tiny baby lizard so apparently, we have at least a mom and dad lizard. As we have moved from the country where we had abundant wildlife to the city where we see no wild creatures other than a few birds this makes us very happy.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    Hurrah for creatures in our gardens!

    The achocha have been potted on and are making their tendril-y bid for world domination.

    All courgette and assorted squash plants are out and watered.

    Hesperis flowers looked fabulous and now Echium is taking over. Nasturtium are all dancing happily too.

    Blackbirds are flopping all over the place, beaks ajar and one wing up. Gangs of sparrows are absailing down the aquilegia into the pond. And the juvenile magpie is stomping all over the compost heap, where the pumpkin plants are attempting to grow- Mr Alba thinks it is after worms?
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    We have a bush in the garden which we bought many years ago. I've no idea what it is but it sports very pretty pink bell-like flowers for the whole summer and the bees love it.

    There are loads of magpies around at the moment and while they're handsome birds they do seem pretty thuggish. I witnessed a battle between one and a young-looking crow-type bird the other day. The young crow was definitely on the losing side but as I'd disturbed them it had the opportunity to fly off into a nearby hedge. I hope it survived. A few years back a magpie raided the nest of a blackbird in our garden, to the immense distress of the parent blackbird and me. :cry:
  • AmosAmos Shipmate
    This is the correct time of year for cutting down one's delphinium and geranium (not pelargonium) and columbines, and deadheading the old roses. Monty Don says so on Gardener's World, in his Things to Do For the Weekend. The dead roses are unattractive, and too much foliage in the borders is likely to cause mildew. Except---do go easy. Think whether you can leave those miserable looking dried and balled-up gallicas for another few weeks. I was doing my deadheading and cutting back and suddenly found I'd exposed a tiny nest with four minute newly-hatched chicks in it. It had been safely hidden before I went in stupidly with secateurs. Now I don't know whether the parents will abandon it, and feel absolutely awful. Tiny birds--wrens and goldcrests and the like--can build a nest in a shrub rose, and you'll never know until you've barged in on it.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    My delphinium has only started flowering so I won’t be cutting it back, no matter what Monty Don says. This is why where I live a better guide comes from the Beechgrove Garden.
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    Amos wrote: »
    I was doing my deadheading and cutting back and suddenly found I'd exposed a tiny nest with four minute newly-hatched chicks in it. It had been safely hidden before I went in stupidly with secateurs. Now I don't know whether the parents will abandon it, and feel absolutely awful. Tiny birds--wrens and goldcrests and the like--can build a nest in a shrub rose, and you'll never know until you've barged in on it.

    On Friday the Knotweed discovered one - empty, with no sign of eggs ever having been in it - in one of our gooseberry bushes on the allotment. Well below her knee height, never mind mine. Possibly a wren's nest as they like to nest low down.

    I hope your babies all turn out OK.

  • Apparently the male wren builds a few nests, and the female chooses which one she likes best (sod that for a lark). I looked this up when a wren burrowed into the loose soil in the underside of a hanging basket outside our back door, this year - but nothing further happened, I think.
  • MrsBeakyMrsBeaky Shipmate
    Our dwarf Buddleia finally (at seven feet tall😬) has some flowers on it....once they are over it will be cut right back 🤣
  • Our neighbours regularly cut back their buddleia, just before flowering, it drives me crazy. On nests, we regularly hack at some bush, only to find a nest. I think usually all is OK. In very dry weather, house martins' nests fall off the gable end, awful.
  • AmosAmos Shipmate
    edited July 21
    Baby wrens (they are wrens) haven't been abandoned. They've grown; they now have feathers as well as fluff, and have survived a downpour. They gave me disapproving beady looks when I checked on them. Please, God, let them fledge successfully!

  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    Hurrah! Go Amos's wrenlets!
  • MamacitaMamacita Shipmate
    Thanks for the update @Amos ! Good news!
  • AmosAmos Shipmate
    The wrens have fledged and flown. I see now that their nest was entirely made of long grass, woven onto the canes of an English rose, about eighteen inches off the ground. I can hear them call from the safety of the beech hedge and the wilder, weedier parts of the borders.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Oh good. Fledging is so sudden, isn't it. I was once working in an office where a sparrow nested directly outside the window. Three or four little balls of fluff with gaping beaks. Then one day, one hopped up on to the edge of the nest then shot off to the tree opposite. Within half an hour they were all gone.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    So glad to hear news of the fledging wrenlets.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    Loving the wren fledgling good news!
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    Been tidying up the brachyglottis and my question is Do You Compost It?

    I kinda work on the basis that the answer is yes, unless I know otherwise. Only there is one heck of a load of chopped stuff there and more to come.

    Maybe we should have bought three hot composters at the time- rather than just the one!
  • I would not.
    Brachyglottis is evergreen, or semi-evergreen, so takes a very long time to break down. Shredding it would help, and then mixing it with a lot of grass clippings, or other soft greenstuff.
    My garden doesn't produce enough greenery, but if you have plenty of suitable nitrogenous material for the mix it might work.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Having waited months for the registration window for council collection of garden waste, I find they don't actually start uplifts until November.

    So back to hoicking sacks of hedges clippings and general woody stuff to the front path. When I have 8 bagfuls that's a car boot load and I book a trip to the dump.

    Have to say, flowerwise, the garden is giving it some wellie at the moment.
  • AmosAmos Shipmate
    Massive damson branch split off and fell into the vegetable patch this afternoon. On the bright side, that will ultimately mean more sun for the vegetables. On the gloomy side someone's going to have to go out there with a saw and remove it bit by bit.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited July 25
    @Roseofsharon thank you!
    Reading a gardening magazine the other day I came across a gardener who had 11 compost bins, think that ‘s the way to go!

    Or we take @Firenze ’s option…
  • If I had 11 compost bins there wouldn't be enough garden to provide compostable material for one.
    As it is, a year's waste from this garden, plus kitchen, only half fills the one bin I have.
  • Our allotment used to allow one bonfire a year, so that was eagerly awaited. But then this was banned, so we have to chop everything up, bag, and remove. Quite a fag.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    The hot composter is dispatching stuff v quickly
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    Yes, my Dalek is shifting stuff at a terrifying rate - at this time of year, you throw stuff in till it's full, and the next time you look it's halfway down again! Where the flip does it all go? It also steams ominously when you take the lid off and smells distinctly rural - though, for the neighbour's sake, I suspect still better than the previous residents ferrets in the same spot.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    Last year the Swiss chard resisted all attempts by marauding slugs n snails. We ate it by the bucketload. This year? Shredded. Utterly.

    The perpetual spinach was fine until last week, when it went yellow and died.

    And the Rhubarb chard is beautiful, but very much in miniature . Just why?



    Thank goodness for cabbages and cauliflower!



  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    I visited Fyvie castle today and the chard in their Scottish Fruit garden (the whole of which is an absolute delight) was simply stunning, in all its varieties.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    Ooooh
    Now that might need to be visited

    Partial as I am to chard!
  • Dear weather,

    Just fuck off and let me garden, OK?

    Love,

    Sandy
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