I know, I know this is supposed to be a gardening blog. And overall I do try and stick to this, but these are dangerous times; coronavirus is stalking the land, the weather has been terrible and there have been strange and disturbing omens in my garden. To make matters worse Cruella (my wife) is nursing her wrath to keep it warm as she sits in exile in our English house looking after the idiot son. Anyway, more of this later, let’s get some gardening done as there is lots to do in self isolation, or, as I call it “gardening”.
27th April. Things I have been doing lately:
🥀 Dealing with Roses. By now your Roses should be well into their first flowering which should last till the end of May. The second flowering from circa September will depend on how well you treat your Roses now. There are two important things you need to be doing: feeding and deadheading. Those of you who are regular readers of this blog will know that I started off by feeding my Roses in March with a granulated long lasting feed. I am know feeding weekly with a liquid Rose food, but if you can’t get a Rose food, a general purpose food will do.
Whilst feeding is important, daily deadheading is essential if you want to keep your Roses flowering. Some Roses such as “Blythe Spirit” are so profuse that I have to deadhead twice a day. In addition to deadheading, when we have heavy rain go out and shake the Rose heads to empty them of water or they will just rot or drag the stem down; your neighbours may think you are mad, but your Roses will thank you. But remember Roses aren’t all work . There is joy in going out amongst your Roses at about 11 in the morning and smelling the heady scent as you deadhead, don’t forget to listen whilst the Blackbirds sing in the background. The photos below show my Rose beds and a trug with my deadhead bounty that is heading for the compost bin. Click on each photo for a larger view.
✂️ Deadheading bulbs. By now all of your early bulbs should have flowered and should be showing seed heads. You need to cut off the seedheads as soon as possible, whilst at the same time leaving all of the stems. This process will ensure that the plant does not spend energy on trying to reproduce by seed, and instead will put all its energy into the bulb. The means of getting the energy back into the bulb is through the stems, so it is important that you do not cut back the stems till they are fully brown and withered. Nor should you try to tidy the plant up by attempting to tie the stems into a knot. This abomination may look tidier, but the broken stems will not be be able to transfer sunshine back to the bulb. The photos below shows some of my Flag Iris awaiting the chop. Click on each photo for a larger view.
🚑 Saving your cuttings. In recent posts I have been encouraging you to get out there and take as many cuttings as possible in order that you can get free plants. I admit that I am having mixed fortune with cuttings survival rates, but the recent heavy rain has made things worse. You will remember in the last post that I am now placing pots with cuttings into plastic bags to enhance their hydration. However, I soon discovered that the heavy rain battered the bags down and squashed the cuttings. In my quest for inspiration in resolving this I remembered Cruella’s favourite hat style.
By cutting some canes to a set length I was able to place a cane in each pot propping the plastic bag up like a circus centre pole in the big top. The photos below show my cane cutting skills, coupled with my creation of each pots “big top”, the final photo shows the pots on my potting bench clearly showing the influence of Cruella and her normal hat style. Click on each photo for a larger view.
🧟♀️ Dealing with sorcery and witchcraft. Those of you who follow this blog will know that not only do I battle against the elements in my every day gardening, but I also have to deal with the malign influence of Cruella (my wife) and her constant attempts to destroy my work. Now, I will confess that whilst she has been away things have been a little easier. However, I can sense from her attitude when I speak to her on FaceTime (or as she calls it the magic mirror) that she is still seeking to exert power over both me and the garden. To lighten her mood I told her it was my birthday today, but her only reply was to reply in a menacing voice “I know I have left you a present and don’t worry I’m watching you”.
Normally I can manage to shrug off Cruella’s threats in the usual way; you know, wearing a cross made out of garlic and onions, searching for a four leaf clover and moving my bed inside a chalk circle at night. But something didn’t seem right as things kept going wrong in the garden. Remembering her threat of “a present” I searched everywhere and then I found it; she had placed a dead Blackbird into one of my water containers. The bird couldn’t have got in there itself as it had a lid on. To make matters worse I had a sense of foreboding and that I was being watched. Then I saw it a large Peacock sitting on the wall watching me. I don’t know where it has come from but it watches my every move in the garden. Pray for me things don’t look good!
🚜 Mulberry Harvest. To end on a light note the photo below shows Tango mid harvest of Mulberries.