I know it sounds like Game of Thrones, but it’s hell out there: hot, dusty and full of things that want to bite you, sting you, scratch you or remove some of your blood. Nobody said it was going to be easy when you signed up to a garden blog, so man up (oops person up) and let’s get on with this!
26-27 June: Things I have been doing today.
💀 “The horror, the horror” Great literature and gardening (look it up). Anway, let’s get the disease and pestilence bit out the way. When I left for my much needed rest in England I was the proud possessor of a healthy, soon to bear fruit grapevine. Left in my wife’s charge for a week I have been left with a wizened, mildewed raisin vine. The picture below shows the state of the vine upon my return. Now with mildew this bad there is nothing you can do; the leaves are already dead and spraying will only give you wet dead leaves. You need to chop everything back to the stem so just the main vine stem is left, everything will be all right next year and you will probably even get some growth this year. Make sure you dispose of the leaves separately, do not compost them and also sterilise your secateurs in bleach. See second photo for my poor butchered vine – I am sure she did it intentionally, every time I mention it she just gives one of those Cruella Deville smiles.
🦋 I have had it with geraniums. And this time I mean it. Every year hope springs eternal and I think why not give geraniums a go again. Avid followers of this blog (and I know who you both are), will remember that a couple of months ago I bought some geraniums with the intention of taking cuttings and starting a whole new geranium dynasty in my garden. But the bloody geranium moth got them again. Known as the geranium bronze, this small moth from Africa is gradually destroying the geraniums of Southern Spain. If you have geraniums you will see them fluttering around all the time; I even had a friend who in her ignorance thought they were lovely. The moth lays eggs on the stem of the plant, the caterpillars hatch and burrow into the stem and suck all the life out of the plant, they are a bit like mini Nosferatu (more horror and literary allusions). Anyway the upshot is that geraniums and I are finished; and I don’t care what anyone says I am not taking them back – it’s over. The first picture below show us at the start of our relationship when we were happy and had the whole world in front of us. The second picture is our final meeting by the compost bin. Before pushing her in I explained “it’s not me, it’s you, you’ve changed”.
🗡 To end on a happy note – Beheading. Not really, just deadheading, but I had to stick to the theme. You will remember, my seed trays of Marigold that I planted in January, grew on and then planted out. Well, eh whallah, look at the first picture below we are ending on a high today. They look lovely and I have bred them bigger, bushier and taller each year by careful seed collection; (but more about that later). But by now you need to be deadheading Marigolds on a daily basis. But don’t just chop their heads off willy nilly (I am not sure if that phrase is sexist). If you just chop them off under the flower you will end up with an ugly hollow stem that gradually turns brown and ruins the look of the flowers. Instead, as shown in the second picture below, go down the stem from the flower as close as you can to the leaves below and then cut there. The leaves will eventually close over the ends of the stem and leave it looking much prettier – unlike those bloody geraniums, they say time is a great healer, butI still hurt and it’s been a week now.