I recognise that this is not the normal heading one would expect to find in a gardening blog, but these are strange times. Cruella (my wife) is missing our idiot son who has returned to London to continue wrecking the banking system after his brief holiday here in Spain. This has left Cruella bereft and with time on her hands, both of which are things that are dangerous for me.
Without things to distract her Cruella notices me and my happy life of gardening all day comes under close scrutiny. Worse still she wants to know what I am doing, how I feel about things and even wants to talk about our relationship. Most of the time I can just mumble platitudes and gradually fade into the background before slipping away. But the other thing that happens is Cruella in her unhappiness can distort nature. Which brings me to the point of my breakfast coming back to life in the compost bin.
8th August 2021. Things I have been doing lately:
Growing Avocados. Every Sunday for breakfast I have poached eggs on a bed of mashed Avocados on toast.; yes I know it’s boring, but I like it. Anyway, since Cruella has distorted nature, I have noticed a sudden profusion of avocados growing in my resting compost bin. These have sprung up from the middle of the compost at a rapid pace. The photo below shows two of the avocados reaching for the light, I now have 6.
I have now potted these up. I left them standing in the shade for a few days, just so that they could get used to the light. They have now been moved to full Sun and I cut one back just to see if I could encourage new and more bushy growth down the stem. This has been a great success and I expect to get them all in the ground next year. The first photo below shows the stem bursting from the avocado stone. The second shows them resting in the shade. The final photo is a bit blurry but you can see the new growth coming from the cutback stem. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Keep up the deadheading. I know I keep on about it, but you must deadhead daily if you want a long flowering season from your plants over the summer. Most plants will turn fully to seed production if about 50% of the plant is not deadheaded. The plant thinks that it has enough seed for its future propagation and will no longer bother with flowers but instead concentrate all its energy on the seeds. By deadheading you are forcing the plant to produce more flowers to make future seed.
Different plants will require different types of deadheading, but the simplest rule is do not leave any dead stem that can look unsightly and potentially become infected. This means you don’t just cut off the flower head, but you slide your secateurs down the stem till you come to a leaf junction and you cut there. The photo below shows me deadheading Marigolds.
If you deadhead daily you will get a wonderful display all Summer. The photo below shows some of the Marigolds which line my drive. These have been in bloom since late April.
Solving the problem of a shady Naya. Here in Spain Nayas (shaded verandas) are an essential especially in our current exceptionally hot weather. Much as I love my naya, there is one spot just by my front door where plants continually fail to thrive. In the past I have put this down to Cruella going past and looking at them, but she assures me she never flys in by the front door, so it must just be lack of light.
Anyway, I have found the solution, and it was staring me right in the face all the time. The back of my house is North facing and I have brightened this up by growing shade loving plants in trays on the window ledges. Amongst these is “Golden Pothos” a variegated ivy type plant. This grows very well in this area and I suddenly had the thought why no try it on the Naya. Well, it just loves it, it is growing like Topsy, and it’s variegation lights up the shade on the Naya. I have now taken a series of stem cuttings from the mother plant to supplement my original cutting which I am now growing up a stick and hopefully, eventually around a mirror.
The first photo below shows the the Golden Pothos growing in trays on the window ledges at the back of the house. The second shows the newly tied up plant ready to grow up the stick. The third shows my cuttings paraphernalia, with the final photo showing the plant ready to give me a display that will be both vertical and trailing. Wish me luck I will let you know how it gets on. Click on each photo for a larger view.