I know this is not the type of smut you are used to in my much respected and loved gardening blog, but I am afraid that an aspersion has been cast and it needed to be answered. I need to explain this to you from the beginning. My friend Jenny mentioned that she had a large cactus that had outgrown her garden and she enquired as to whether I knew any one who might like it. I suggested that our local Church garden would be a good recipient and it was agreed that I would call round and collect it.
However, little did I know that this was a mere ruse to frame my poor agave (I think lawyers call it a fishing expedition). Upon arrival at Jenny’s and the usual inconsequential chit chat we gardeners indulge in, Jenny showed me her Agave Victoria (no pun intended) which was obviously showing exceptional swelling and beginning to flower. I of course congratulated Jenny, when suddenly she became stern and serious. “How do you think that happened she enquired”. I of course said I had no idea. She responded saying “I think you do”. You are the only person in this village with flowering Agaves and they have obviously been setting seed!
To cut a long story short she went on to accuse my Agave Americana of impregnating her Agave Victoria. I was astonished and responded that my Agave had been grown properly in a Christian household and knew how to treat females with respect. Jenny responded sarcastically that my plant was obviously Agave Arnold Weinstein, I thundered back that her plant must be Agave Jezebel Floozy. Jenny then demanded maintenance payments for her plant including specialist plant food and a bigger pot. I responded that I would see her in court, but offered to go to mediation with Alan Tichmarsh.
Anyway the case is pending, but I still haven’t calmed down I feel stressed with this hanging over me. Let’s get on with the gardening. The first photo below shows my innocent Agave with the next showing the Jezebel.
13th May 2021. Things I have been doing lately:
🪡 Tieing in plants. It can get quite windy on the Costa Blanca so you have to make sure that tall or delicate plants are suitably tied in and secure from being broken or just whipped around. I use canes, twine and for some plants I use plastic ties. The plastic ties are very cheap and the most useful in many cases. It is important that you place the tie round the cane first before then looping it around the plant in a figure of 8. This means that you only have to untie the plant part to slide it up without damaging leaves. The photo below shows a growing sunflower with its plastic tie.
Another use for plastic ties is when you are tieing in whippy espalied stems. I have been growing an espalier fig tree for 5/6 years and it is important to tie the leading branches in before they get too woody. The first photo below shows a fig stem about to be tied. The second photo shows the espalied fig on its way to fulfilling its potential of covering the wall.
🔪 Keep trimming Yucca. Regular readers of this blog will recall that I severely cut back all of my Yuccas that were in pots because they kept blowing over in the wind. As expected all started to resprout from the shortened trunks and now have to be selectively pruned. The aim is to have the emerging leaf spears equidistant from each other in a pleasing pattern that stops overcrowding. Also don’t have any leaf spears pointing into the centre of the plant as it ruins the aesthetics.
The photos below show a range of my Yuccas being pruned to be lovely.
🌼 Pinch out Marigolds. If you have grown Marigolds from seed then you will already know easy they are to grow. By now all your seedlings should have been planted out and the first ones should be coming to flower. Now this is where you have to be cruel to be kind. If you want bushy multi-flowered plants then you need to do the following.
As soon as you see the first flower bud appear at the top of the stem, pinch it out between your thumb and forefinger (I know you will all have grown your thumbnails long as I told you). After a week or so the flower will then throw out two further flower buds, one left and one right. Again pinch these out between your thumb and forefinger. The plant will then panic and think it is under a sustained attack by a grazing animal and it will then throw flower buds out all over the place.
Once you have pinched out those first three flower buds do not do any more, instead let the plant flower and deadhead as normal. The photo below shows the first buds being nipped out. As I do this I tell them to close their eyes and I recite St Julian of Norwich “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
🤺 Continue to take cuttings. I have already discussed in previous posts about taking cuttings. Growing from seed and taking cuttings is all part of being a gardener. If you just buy plants from garden centres or markets then you are not really gardening you are shopping. This is not to say that getting the odd new plant is not important, but it should definitely not be the mainstay of your garden.
Try and get out in your garden each morning and take three cuttings per day. Also, carry your knife and a small plastic bag everywhere you go, so that if you see a nice plant you can quickly take a cutting. If you get stopped by the police for carrying a knife, tell them it is ok as I have given you permission. Not all of your cuttings will survive, but if you have too many to use then give them to friends and family as presents, they will love it.
The photos below show a variety of cuttings I have been taking lately. This includes a nice Geranium from my litigious friend Jenny. As I snipped it off she sarcastically commented that it was “not the only thing that needed snipping round here”.