I have always been an admirer of mad scientists, the likes of Dr Frankenstein, Dr Moreau, Dr Emmet Brown and of course Dr Sheldon Cooper are all long time heroes of mine. It’s the idea of experimenting that I like, not the mad bit. But anyway, the whole point of this is that I decided to conduct my own experiment with plants. I have started with Spiderwort because that sounds the sort of name mad science experiments would have. It’s right up there with “Quaitermass and the pit” or “the Andromeda Project”. ‘The Spiderwort Question” is my chosen title, pretty cool eh!
24th September: Things I have been doing lately.
🕷 The Spiderwort Question. I might have bigged this up too much, for as most of you know Spiderwort or Trascedentia is a lovely Naya or terrace plant that is quite common here in Spain and in other warm climes, see the first picture below. Spiderwort can be grown in pots or can act as ground cover. It needs partial shade otherwise it will not thrive and will also lose the distinctive stripe on its leaves. The main problem I have found with Spiderwort over the years is that it can sometimes die back in the winter to such an extent that you can lose it. Therefore my strategy to date has been to take cuttings so that I am ready with replacements.
Now for the experimental bit; this year I am going to try three different ways of growing these cuttings on. I have bought a white coat from Amazon and I did try to get a stethoscope but my wife found out and stopped me. The white coat looks very fetching by the way and it appears that gardening’s great gain was a sad loss to mad scientistry. Anyway, back to the experiment. To take cuttings from Spiderwort you need a very sharp knife (secateurs will crush the stem); cut just below a side shoot on a long trailing stem. Then peel off all the leaves apart from a couple at the top, you are then ready to plant your cutting, see picture two below.
I know the excitements building, but here is my new three step trial that will eventually answer “The Spiderwort Question” – I am thinking of commissioning special music to go with me saying that. The first lot of cuttings I have planted as normal with four around the side of a 4 inch pot, see picture three below. The second ones I have just popped into a glass of rainwater that I have placed on a windowsill on my Naya, see picture four below. The third ones I have layered into little slits in the soil about 1 inch deep with the stem lying along the slit and the leaves coming out of the soil, see picture five below.
I shall be reporting back on progress in a few weeks; I will probably announce the results here, but it depends I may be called to the UN to report direct, we shall see, either way I will be wearing my white coat.
🍋 Watching fruit ripen: this time of year you have to keep an eye on any fruit that is on your trees to make sure you pick it at its optimum. You also have to make sure that nets etc are in place to ensure that birds don’t enjoy your fruit before you do. At the moment I am watching Persimmon (kaka in Spain) and Pomegranates.
Persimmon will be ripe when it is fully bright yellow and slightly squashy to the feel. The colour of the fruit triggers the birds interest, so you have to net and go round every morning to squeeze the fruit for ripeness. See first picture below.
Pomagranates, of which I have a few (this lost verse to “My Way” never made it to the final Sinatra version). People some times think that as Pomegranates have such a tough skin there is no need to net them, but this is wrong, certain birds can soon strip a Pomegranate crop. As I only have a few, and they are well hidden in a hedge, I have not netted them. However, if I had a big tree with a good crop, I would definitely net. Anyway, to tell if Pomegranates are ripe they need to be going a lovely deep red russet colour and when you ping them with your finger they should give off a slightly metallic sound. See second photo below.