It sounds like the Biblical end of days doesn’t it, especially when you take into account the huge plague of locusts currently flying around Africa. Anyway, it’s worse than that, I went to our English house and left Cruella (my wife) in charge of the garden, she didn’t even have to do anything. Not only did our English garden nearly get flooded, but when I returned she had allowed Nero (one of our Labradors) to dig a huge hole in our lawn. When I confronted her, relaying my near death flooding experience, and questioning why she had let Nero dig such a huge hole. Her only reply was “if I had stopped him he would only have done it elsewhere…and it serves you right for going away”.
14th February: Things I have been doing lately.
🌊 Getting flooded. Our English house is right beside the river Medway in Rochester, Kent. The garden itself is walled, paved and is mainly based around climbers covering the walls. The photo below shows how during the recent storms it was nearly turned into a water garden and the house into a house boat.
🌿 Cutting back Lavender and trailing Lantana. Now is the time to trim your Lavender and Lantana plants. With Lavender just trim the flower stalks back to the first leaves, do not cut into the foliage or you will damage the plant. The photos below show the Lavender before and after its trim.
With trailing Lantana take about a third off the plant and try to cut back to just above a fork on each stem. By doing this you will ensure that you get good twin growth on each stem. The photos below show the Lantana before and after its trim.
Replanting and splitting Canna. I love Cannas they are beautiful statuesque and real statement plants. The great benefit of Cannas is that as they grow from a Corm (ugly bulb) they produce babies every year so that your stock grows and you can divide and replant them; although you should only do this every 2/3 years. I grow my Canna inside a circle of irrigation but because of their habit of having babies they occasionally move outside my irrigation. This presents me with two opportunities. Firstly, I can dig up the mature Corms and move them back inside the irrigation circle. But secondly, before I do that I split them by gently pulling them apart to give me nice new plants. These can then be planted into new areas of the garden. The first photo below shows the Canna growing outside the irrigation circle (the culprits are circled in red). The second photo shows a split Canna ready for planting and the final photo shows how many new plants I got from this exercise. (Click on each photo for a larger view).
🏆 Planting seeds. If you want free plants then now is the time to plant seeds. I try not to buy plants, and where possible will grow either from seeds or cuttings. My main reasons for this approach is that I get great pleasure out of making seeds and cuttings grow; but also I think it’s more macho and allows me to look down on those who just buy plants – terrible, and I’m a Christian.
Anyway, most seeds can be sown now if you have some sort of shelter for them. I have a simple little plastic mini greenhouse with three shelves, but a window ledge would be just as good, just don’t let them get scorched. At the moment I am sowing Stephanotis as someone gave me some seeds and I want them to take the place of a climbing Rose that failed to flourish. I am also trying to grow a Norfolk Pine (bit like a Monkey Puzzle tree) to put in my wild wood. And lastly I am sowing Petunias to take the place of my normal Marigolds which have set a virus in the soil which now needs a few years rest without Marigolds.
The first photo below shows the Stephanotis seeds about to be sown. The second and third show the large Norfolk Pine seeds which are shield shaped. If you want to sow Norfolk Pine then you gently push the seeds into potting compost pointed end down but leaving the top of the seed just sticking out of the soil as in photo three.
The final photo below shows my little mini greenhouse. Should you get one of these then make sure you weigh it down with a paving slab on the bottom shelf to stop it blowing away in strong winds.
🐾 Repairing holes in the lawn. Those of you who are regular readers of this blog. Will be perfectly familiar with my Sisyphus like task of having to continuously repair our lawns only to have them dug up again by Nero (one of our Labradors). In each case I fill the hole in and complete the repair by placing a wire mesh over the hole to stop him digging there again. The only fault in my logic is that he just goes to another part of the lawn and starts again. Over the years my lawns have had so much wire mesh added to them that I am in danger of distorting Magnetic North and becoming a danger to shipping.
The photos below show the hole, the repair and the culprits. Cruella insists that Nero is more to be pitied than scorned and that his hole digging is “a cry for help”.