I really wanted to concentrate in this Post on finishing off the lawn chores and in general tidying up around the garden, but events have overtaken me. I have to conclude today’s post with a tale of betrayal and cuckoldry (look it up).
13th September: Things I have been doing lately
🌿 Clearing leaves and debris off stones and lawns. As this summer has been exceptionally hot we have seen lots of trees dropping copious amounts of leaves. You already know that if the drop on lawns you must clean them up before they kill off the grass. But it is just as important to clean up if you have laid gravel. The danger with gravel is that if you do not clean up leaves and debris then it will eventually mulch down between your gravel and provide an excellent leaf humus for weeds and unwanted tree seedlings. If you look carefully at the first photo below you will see a gravelled area of our garden which has accumulated leaves. This needs to be cleared up whilst the leaves are still whole and before they break down into leaf humus.
The best thing to do with this is wait for a very dry day when there is no strong winds, then using a leaf blower or leaf rake if you are a technophobe. In my case I use my leaf blower to blow all the leaves onto the lawn. Once I have successfully chased the leaves around for an hour or so, I then use my mower set on a high setting to hoover them up. This has three benefits. Firstly, it means you don’t have to bag all the leaves up as the mower does this. Secondly, you can use the shredded leaves in your compost. Thirdly, and probably most importantly the lawn mower shredding action will deposit a very fine leaf mold directly to the roots of your grass. What’s not to like! The second picture below shows the leaves successfully blown onto the lawn. I know I won’t win a Pulitzer Prize for photography, but I just wanted you to see how hard I was working.
🥔 Clearing up after Butternut Squash and Melons. By now most of your Butternut Squash and Melons should be harvested. I just have two plants at the far end of our small orchard that have three fruits on them. But the rest have been harvested and I needed to clean up the area as we have a Church event in our garden this weekend. Just pull the Squash and Melon vegetation directly out of the ground by holding the main stem close to the soil and easing it out. All of this lovely vegetation should then be put on your compost heap.
Melons as I have mentioned before have been a disaster this year because of them pesky ants. However, I shall have my wife take my annual photograph with the Squash and you will see it soon – I know you can’t wait. The photo below shows a nicely cleared orchard; if you look closely you will see the two Squash plants awaiting harvest at the far end.
🐥 Paternity tests for plants! As the heading to this post so dramatically says, it has come to my attention that I am raising another man’s plant; actually it’s “woman” but that doesn’t sound so dramatic. Anyway, to get on with the story. You will remember I told you a few months back that whilst I was In England for three weeks. I left the garden to be looked after by my friend Karl in conjunction with my wife. I left explicit and detailed instructions for all aspects of garden care, but they still managed to destroy my tomato plants – which I may have mentioned in the past. However, just when I thought it was all behind me and there was no other ways they could hurt me (in a gardening sense of course) it has all come flooding back.
This is how the story unfolds. I had been given a cutting of a lovely Solanum with a nice blue flower and I had duly potted it on. As with all cuttings they do not look very distinctive in this early stage so I always place them in a certain order so I know who is who. These events took place early to mid summer when I usually have cuttings and seedlings all over the place. Included in my cuttings was a Dame de Noche which I was hoping to grow for my friend Daphne. Anyway, to cut a long story short Karl and my wife switched the plants around and then, I believe deliberately, but I could not prove it in a court of law, killed all the seedlings and cuttings through neglect. When they told me of this outcome, I was of course disappointed but when I enquired after the blue Solanum they both assured me that it was the sole survivor.
Since that fateful day I have cosseted the Solanum as the sole survivor of the Killing Fields of 2017, as I like to call this summers massacre. I have potted it on and eventually planted it out ready to start climbing up trellis. You may remember that a few Posts back I featured it as a survivor of Chlorosis; which I sat up all night nursing it through. Although things seemed fine I first started to harbour suspicions that all was not what it seemed. The first signs were the leaves seemed a bit large, but to be honest I didn’t want to admit to myself that something was wrong. I talked to my wife about it but she assured me that it was all in my imagination. Though I did notice she phoned Karl directly after this conversation.
Anyway, the flowers started to form and my excitement rose. However, again I became suspicious as they were the wrong shape, and the plant itself was trying to form a bush rather than climb. Although it has not flowered yet, I decided that it was time to confront my wife. Oh, she cried and denied it, but eventually she cracked and confessed. She promises me that it was only once, it didn’t mean anything, and it would never happen again. But once you lose trust in a gardening sense there is not much point in going on. We are now going to counselling and I have promised to raise the plant as my own. Daphne will have to wait till next year for her Dame de Noche and I have challenged Karl to a duel. The picture below shows the Dame de Noche, the good things is people think it looks like me!