What do you mean you didn’t know I had been away! I have been touring Italy with our idiot son. I visited all the famous sites in antiquity and I have seen more museums and cathedrals than would have been thought humanly possible. The idiot son seemed to be enjoying himself as well until I found out that all the time he was playing Pokemon Go, he told me “Pickachu” was Italian for lovely and I believed him until I looked it up.
Anyway leaving aside the splendour that is Italy, let’s talk gardening. I’m afraid it is bad news all round. I foolishly left Cruella (my wife) in charge of the garden whilst I was away for about a month. I left her implicit written instructions for every day of the week and we had a practice tour of the garden before I left. To be honest I blame myself and I should have learnt from her previous efforts . Who could forget the great tomato tragedy of 2018, or the desiccated plant debacle of 2019. The outcome from my absence is that Cruella has managed to destroy swathes of the garden. I have decided to detail just a few of her malfeasance below.
☠️ A possibly dead Solanum. Regular readers of this blog will know that I have grown this solanum from a donated cutting. I have trained it to majestically entwine around our outside kitchen and over the last few years it has been a plant superstar. The first photo below shows what I returned to find.
I have checked the stems and I think there is still life locked in there so I have cut back the branching tendrils. If nothing happens by Spring then I will cut it back to the ground to see if we can coax it back. The photo below shows my first cutback .
🗿 The potting bench massacre. When I left I begged Cruella to carefully nurture the cuttings on the potting bench. In particular I was proud of a Hoya that was coming on well along with a special Rose and a Plumbago. When I came back half the plants had disappeared. Cruella said there was a strong wind one night and they must have blown away! The first photo shows the potting bench before I went away, whilst the second shows the remnants moved into the Sun to recuperate after their period of neglect. Click on each photo for a larger view.
🐛 White fly encrusted Ficus. Variegated Ficus as most of you will know is very slow growing so any set back means it takes a long time to recover. When I left this little Ficus which is about 10 years old was resplendent in its variegated foliage. When I returned I found the worst case of “Ficus neglect” I have ever seen. If it was a child you would have reported its parents to the NSPCC. The photo below shows the plants sorry state after being feasted on by a plague of white fly.
🧟♂️ Seriously unwell Canna. Normally at this time of year Canna are dying back and all the goodness from the leaves is being drawn back down into the rhizomes (ugly bulbs). This is a managed process whereby you need to give them just enough water to see this process through. Too much water and they will rot. Too little and the leaves will dry up before they can impart their goodness to the rhizomes. The photos below show how well Cruella managed this process. Click on each photo for a larger view.
🐕🦺 Nero has dug up the lawn. Regular readers will know that we have two marauding Labradors who if left to themselves will happily take the garden apart. Nero the black Labrador has a penchant for digging which he is only allowed to practice in his kennel. I watch both dogs carefully and at the slightest attempt to dig I shout and everything stops. Cruella told me she didn’t notice him digging but did wonder why half the lawn was in his bed every night. The pictures below show only a bit of the damage marked in red. The wire mesh on the lawn is my feeble attempt to stop him digging elsewhere on the lawn. This cannot now be repaired till the Spring.