This blog is now becoming officially X rated and my garden is gradually turning into something from the Island of Dr Moreau (look it up, this is both a blog and a literary tour de force).
22 May: Things I have been working on today.
🐛 Begin mulching under your plants but beware giant maggots. I have been emptying one of my compost bins ready to provide mulch for placing around plants. At this time of the year the sun starts to become very intense and plants need help to retain moisture. Start by weeding round the stems of the plants you are going to mulch. Once the area is weed free, water profusely and really soak around the plant. Then apply a heavy mulch around the stem and area close to each plant, you don’t have to do the whole flower bed just around each plant. You can mulch with compost as I do or you can buy shredded tree bark from a garden centre.
Now the scary bit. Every year when I begin to empty compost bins I find giant maggots lurking in the compost. Now when I say giant, I mean giant. Not only that if you touch them they ooze dark blood. I can get around a hundred or so from a compost bin. In the past I have tried leaving them out for the birds, but so far no bird will touch them, they are too scared. I don’t blame them see picture below.
👿 Still weeding under my roses. As you know I have been weeding under my roses for the past week or so; and this is a job I detest as it means massive loss of blood as the ungrateful plants punish me for helping them. Anyway, I forgot to mention that what ever you do, do not place the weeds on your compost heap. Especially if they are the ones that I dramatically name the Devil’s pearl seeds. These have a bulb at the end of the stem which contains a number of pearl like seeds and each seed can form a new weed bulb. If you place these on your compost heap they will happily wait until you spread mulch next year and off they go again. See the photo below you have been warned.
🌼 Pinch out the lead flowers of Marigolds. If you grow Marigolds then it is time to pinch out the lead flowers on each plant; and if you don’t grow Marigolds! What’s the matter with you they are so lovely. By pinching out the lead flower you will encourage a bushy multi flowered plant; if you don’t you will get one flower only. Look down into the top of the plant and you will see a small flower bud just appearing (see photo below). Using your thumb nail (which I told you to grow this time of year) and your forefinger just pinch the bud out. It will try and grow again within the next week or so and just do it again. After this leave it, twice is enough or the League Against Cruelty to Marigolds will come round your house.
🛏 Time to put your bulbs to bed. If you have followed instructions (and I hope you have) you should have chopped the seed head off your bulbs and then tied the stem up with string or elastic bands (see photo) This process allows all the goodness to go back down into the bulb ready for next year. Now it is time to cut the whole stem off. Taking your secateurs cut the stem off as close to the soil as you can. Once you have done this carefully weed around the area where the bulbs are planted and then water profusely. Finish this process by then putting a layer of well rotted compost about 4cm thick over the area. This serves three functions, it locks in the moisture, it suppresses weeds and it also provides a source of nutrients for the bulbs for next year. Don’t forget to say goodnight to the bulbs and tell them you will see them next year – God willing.
One last thing don’t forget to compost the stems, but also remember to remove the elastic bands as they won’t compost. Mind you I am thinking of telling my granddaughter Florence that I am growing her a bouncy castle.