The above heading gives only a flavour of the excitement we gardeners have to deal with on a daily basis. But before I get you involved in the adrenaline rush of this post. Let’s remember what we are up to. Todays post covers the next stage of the big annual cutback. Remember there are five stages:
- Initial cutback for structure and shape (covered in the last post)
- Cutting back large shrubs and climbers including tidying up (this post)
- Pruning Roses and cutting back grasses
- Pruning back flowering hedges
- Tackling trees
5th December. Things I have been doing lately:
🐀 It’s true the mice have eaten my water feature. Regular readers of this blog will remember that I created a stream like water feature a couple of years ago. Up until now it has been happily flowing along. However, I made the mistake of turning it off whilst I was away as I did not trust Cruella (my wife) to keep it topped up. Anyway the upshot is that when I came back I topped it up and turned it on. Imagine my consternation when the water did not flow down the stream, but just disappeared.
I spent two weeks dismantling various parts of the water feature including moving more rocks than the slaves building the great pyramid. However, only to discover that whilst I was away some mice had been happily chewing on my pond liner. I confronted Cruella with the damage and demanded to know if she knew anything about it. She looked hurt at this suggestion and vehemently denied any involvement saying she knew nothing about mice; commenting as she left “I’ve only got my rats”. This first photo below shows early dismantling efforts to find the leak. The second photo shows mice damage.
🌿 Trimming back Jasmine. If you have Jasmine you will know that it is a lovely plant for its flowers, perfume and climbing ability. However, if you are not careful, as your plant grows up, the top part will flop over and disguise the fact that it is killing the growth underneath. What looks like a healthy green plant can become completely brown underneath. In addition you need to make sure that Jasmine does not get into your gutters or under your roof tiles.
The first two photos below show the Jasmine folding over at the top and also threatening to get into my gutters and under the roof tiles.
The next two photos show the Jasmine trimmed back and ready to continue flowering without tearing the house down.
🍁 Clearing up leaves. We are not quite in the season of the big leaf clear up. However, it is important that you clear at least some leaves up as you go along. If you have a lawn then the fallen leaves will kill off your grass. Now I recognise that not many people have a lawn in Spain but you still need to clear leaves from gravelled areas as they will break down into a fine mulch and provides good growing medium for weeds. The two photos below show my early stage leaf cleanup.
Now as you probably know leaf mould provides a lovely composting material which I will deal with in my up and coming big compost special; “be still my beating heart”. In the meantime gather up the leaves and store them in plastic sacks. All you have to do at this stage is prick the sacks all over with a garden fork and store them in a shady area of the garden. The photo below shows my entry in the best pricked sack competition 2020.
🙏 Death of my Agave Attenuata. The Queen of Agaves, the Attenuata is a favourite Agave here in Spain. It has lovely large green leaves and no spikes or teeth. The plant grows for about 20 years and then flowers. The flowering process is astounding. Suddenly the plants leaves begin to distort into a swirl at its centre, and then it begins to grow a flowering raceme (flowering spike) from its centre. This grows over the weeks and eventually will be over 2 metres long. The plant then flowers. However, the sad bit is that it then dies. The only saving feature of this death bed tableau is that as the Attenuata dies it is surrounded by its babies that all grow from its base. It is a moving scene and makes me cry every time I pass it.
The photos below shows the various stages of the Attenuata as it grows its raceme. Note the babies clustered around the base looking up at their mother, it is a scene reminiscent of the famous painting death of St Clare. I will not of course record the death; it would be unseemly.