To be honest I’ve been back almost two weeks, but I have been too busy catching up with the garden that I have not had time to post anything. It has been a struggle to catch up especially as we have had to do lots of things for the Church; it is Christmas you know!
The excitement of Christmas and the birth of Jesus is a fantastic time of year; now I wouldn’t like to try and overshadow this, but the big January cut back is coming and I’m counting the sleeps till I can get started. Anyway on with what I euphemistically call the show.
11th December. Things I have been doing lately
☠️ Dealing with damaged Pomegranates. When I left to go back to England for a few weeks I left behind the best of my Pomegranates happily ripening on the tree. Upon my return I fully expected to be enjoying Pomegarante seeds liberally sprinkled on my Porridge. Unfortunately the birds had other ideas and plundered every last seed. Now pomegranates are usually quite immune to bird attack because of their unusually thick skin; Theresa May is a Pomegranate. However, once they become slightly overripe they can crack and this is the birds cue. Birds will visit Pomegranates every day and watch for the slightest crack. Once they see even the smallest crack they will use their beak to open up the whole fruit.
The lesson is to look at your Pomegarantes every day (no pun intended) and at the first signs of cracking harvest and if necesssary ripen off the tree. The photo below shows my poor Pomegarantes. I was about to place them in the compost bin, when Cruella (my wife), pointed out that they reminded her of a necklace of shrunken heads she once had as a child. She asked if she could have them and has since then been wandering around the house wearing them. To be honest they do look quite nice, she pairs them with her frog legs bracelet.
🐶 Repairing the lawn. Having two Labradors means that lawn repairs are a constant chore. To be honest they do not normally dig, they save this for their kennel area where they know it is ok. But when we are away Nero (the black one) suffers from separation anxiety and likes to dig holes and lie in them. The problem this time of year is you cannot plant grass seed. But in my case it is necessary to repair the hole or Nero will take it as permission to head for Australia.
I backfill the hole with a mixture of compost and normal soil and then cover over the restored area with wire mesh. This usually results in the surrounding grass creeping into to cover the bald area; but, if not I will just reseed in March. The first photo below shows the damaged area with the culprit sleeping in the background. The second photo shows the newly repaired and protected area. I have so much metal mesh in my lawns that they remind me of the moment in Terminator when Arnold Schwarzenegger has his skin scratched only to reveal he was a Cyborg.
✂️ Cutting back Cannas. You will remember a few posts ago that my Cannas were damaged by high winds, but I couldn’t cut them back as you have to wait for the leaves to die back. Failure to leave Cannas to die back as much as possible will result in poor growth and flowering next year as you have to let all the goodness from the leaves make their way back into the rhizomes (ugly bulbs).
Well now is is the time, you can cut them back. Cut each large stem back to between 4 and 6 inches from the ground. This length is important. Cut too low and there is a danger that the stump may become water logged and rot. Cut too high and the plant will try to start growing again and produce weak growth. The first photo below shows the Cannas supported by stakes after the wind damage. The second photo shows the neatly trimmed stems ready to grow again in a few weeks. I intend to lift these plants and separate them next year as they have produced lots of ugly baby rhizomes.
🍂 Cleaning up leaves on gravel. If you have gravelled areas in your garden, and many people do in Spain. Then now is the time to clean fallen leaves off your gravel. If you fail to do this then the leaves will mulch down into a fine tilth and provide a perfect bed for weed seedlings. Failure to clear up leaves over a number of years will result in your gravelled areas gradually becoming congested weed patches. The easiest way to clear up is to use a blower and blow them on to your lawn and then mow them up. Failing this get out there with your lawn rake and rake them up – it’s good for the waist line fatty.
The first photo below shows a part of my gravelled areas covered in leaves. The second photo shows the leaves blown on to a lawn ready for mowing. I believe this article is both interesting and informative; I showed it to Cruella and she laughed so much wine came down her nose – at least I think it’s wine.