I’m back! I know I didn’t tell you I was going away, but it is for the best. If I tell Cruella (my wife) that I am going away she does terrible things to the garden whilst pretending she is caring for it. That is why I told her that I was just popping out for a moment and walked back through the door on Tuesday three weeks later. She didn’t even notice I was gone.
Anyway, I had a nice time caring for our English garden and seeing our idiot son. I fear however there was a culture clash, I tried to drag him to museums, theatre and gardens, which he manfully resisted. Whilst simultaneously dragging me to bars, restaurants and football matches which my liver and waistline are now both regretting.
Anyway, enough of this folderol on with the gardening.
18th February 2022. Things I have been doing lately:
Dealing with Cruella’s damage. The next few weeks are literally the calm before the Spring descends upon us for real, and you will end up running around your garden trying to keep up with nature as it bursts forth. Before you get set to planting your seeds etc there are some last minute things you need to be doing.
My first job was to repair the damage Cruella had inflicted upon the garden. As I toured the garden on my return I saw various signs of Cruellas neglect. I asked where my tray of fountain grass seeds had gone – Regular readers of this blog will remember I sowed these seeds about 6 weeks ago, kept them inside, and only just placed them outside before going off. Cruella denied all knowledge, but eventually I found them as the photo below shows.
I will now have to split the parent Fountain grass in the next day or two or it will be too late this year. I will cover this process in my next post.
After getting over the disaster of the fountain grass seeds, I asked her where my orchid had gone. She produced a pot from behind her back and said “is this what you are looking for”. See photo below for the remnants of my orchid. Luckily after clearing all the dead away I found a glimmer of green. It is in intensive care.
Feeding Citrus Trees. People often ask me if, or when they should feed their citrus trees. Well the answer is simple, once you see the first sight of blossoms on your trees, then begin to feed weekly. It doesn’t matter if you still have oranges or lemons on your trees you need to start feeding. You need to use a specialist citrus feed which can either be liquid or granulated, but it needs to be citrus feed. Feeding your trees now will assist the blossom to bring on a good crop of fruit later this year.
The photos below show the tell tale signs that it is time to feed. The second photo shows one of the feeds I use; other feeds are available, but this works for me.
Repairing paths and lawns. By now you will have noticed that weeds are growing like crazy. It is sort of counter intuitive for us Brits as we expect weeds to grow in the summer. But in Spain weeds grow strongly in the winter as it is too hot in the summer and they would just be burnt off.
You will find weeds growing strongly in your paths and gravelled areas, but also on your lawn. Dealing with weeds on paths and gravelled areas is relatively easy, you just spray with your weedkiller of choice. Now I know that lots of you like to take an organic, non-chemical approach to weed killing. But I am old fashioned and prefer to nuke them with chemicals. But, whatever your preference lawns are different to paths and gravel. The photo below shows my drive midst weed spraying.
When dealing with lawns the big problem this time of year is broad leaved weeds and patches or holes in your lawn. Dealing with weeds first. Broad leaved weeds are a group of weeds that send out their leaves in a rosette around their stem thereby shading out all competition and of course your grass. I have found the best way to defeat this class of weed is to first mow your lawn. When you mow you cut off the top section of the weed, but this leaves the root intact. This in turn forces the weeds into a growth spurt and it quickly puts on a lot of leaf growth. You can then happily spray these nice new leaves in a weeks time with a selective weed killer for lawns.
There is no point seeding holes and patches on your lawn at the moment as the grass has not yet really started to grow and all you would be doing is providing a picnic for ants who will happily carry away your grass seed. Instead just mix some good compost with a bit of top soil and fill in your holes and cover your bald patches. Most Spanish grass when it starts to grow will soon grow into your treated areas. If like me you suffer from squirrels and blackbirds, then place a bit of wire mesh over your treated area.
The first photo below shows my trusty mower ready for its first action of the year. The second shows some of my patched areas, and lastly a photo of the selective weed killer I use.
Finally to teapots. What do teapots have to do with gardening I hear you ask?Well, gardening is hard but enjoyable work that gives us gardeners great pleasure. But sometimes we forget to stop, sit back and just look at our gardens in way that allows us to absorb the beauty of nature, appreciate our hard work and God’s hand in our labour. And this is where tea comes in, get yourself a teapot, make some real leaf tea and sit back and enjoy.
Cruella (my wife) insisted that nobody would be interested in the tea and gardening nexus and that everybody would think I was boring, well we will just have to see. I thought you might be interested in my recent visit to the teapot museum. The first photo below shows me luxuriating in the depth of the teapot museum. The seond shows some plant based teapots that will definitely pique your interest. The next photo shows the extent of the collection? followed by a photo of Sue who owns the collection showing me the teapots that got her started. Finally, and I know I am building up to a peak of excitement the next photos show the gardening theme teapot I bought from the museum followed by the gardening themed teacosy knitted by my friend Sara for which I will ever be grateful.
When I proudly showed Cruella (my wife) this post she just scoffed and said nobody would be interested in my stupid teapots. She then ran into her lair and emerged proclaiming this is what I call a teapot; I wouldn’t mind but she only drinks coffee!