I am at our English house with the forlorn hope of trying to inculcate some culture into our idiot son; he prefers beer and football. Anyway, Cruella (my wife) has decided to take advantage of my absence by threatening terrorist attacks on my seedlings. To put this into a gardening context. I left Cruella with precise instructions how to deal with the garden and particular the seedlings during my short absence. All gardeners know that failure to successfully prick out and pot on your seedlings can ruin the whole garden year.
Cruella has recognised my vulnerability and I have been receiving a stream of videos where balaclava clad supposed terrorists threaten my seedlings and potting bench with destruction unless I fulfil certain demands. But I know it is her because chickens look ridiculous in balaclavas and all the demands are chicken related. They have even taken to threatening Tango the lonely blind Labrador and have been sending hostage videos showing chickens looming over him whilst he looks distressed. I have informed the police.
The first photos below show my vulnerable seedlings and potting bench whilst the final one shows Tango in a hostage situation. Click on each photo for a larger view.
26th April 2023. Things I have been doing lately:
Deadhead Iris. By now all your Flag Iris should be ready for deadheading. It is such a pity that they have so short a flowering season as I love to see them in huge clumps waving in the wind. But once the flowers are fully spent then it is time to deadhead them so that the bulbs can plump up for next year. All bulbs should be deadheaded, but never cut off the stem; these should be left to fully die back so that they can enrich and feed the bulb.
With Iris you don’t cut just below the flower, but instead go a little further down the stem to below the flower head where there is a large swelling in the stem. You cut just below this swelling and then leave it alone till all the stems die back. For tidiness you can tie the dying stems together if you wish. The first photo shows one of my stands of Iris waiting for their cut back. The second photo shows where to cut. Click on each photo for a larger view.
Dealing with wild garlic. Every so often there is a weed that proliferates strongly and you need to take some remedial action. For the last few years this has been wild garlic. Objectively wild garlic can be quite pretty with its long stem and flush of little white flowers. But it can spread very quickly as it is a prolific self seeder. Left alone it will quickly overwhelm flower beds and lawns within two or three seasons.
I have found that attempting to fully remove wild garlic fully is far too laborious as you would have to dig up every little bulblet, and this can take a long time. Instead, my strategy has been twofold. Firstly, to out compete the garlic in flower beds you need to continually pluck off all flower stems as they appear including taking as many leaves as possible; go as low on the stem as you can. Secondly, where they appear on lawns, mow before the stems have flowers.
Although the plant will attempt to throw up subsequent flower heads, these will become shorter and shorter as you are continually depleting the strength of the plant. If you keep this up over a couple of years you will eradicate or at least severely deplete its ability to reseed. The photo below shows the culprit growing through my Roses.
Spider plants relieve the gloom. If you have a heavily shaded part of your garden where nothing seems to grow, then why not try the ubiquitous spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum). This denizen of the British bathroom is often written off as an untidy house plant that can be happily neglected. But placed in a shady (and slightly damp) area, it can really light up the gloom with its variegated leaves. It will happily proliferate with lots of little spiderlets and become a bit of a shady showstopper. The photo below shows the shady area beside my front gate where I can’t get anything to grow, now happily populated by a growing family of Spider plants.
Plant Loofah seeds. When I told Cruella (my wife) that it was time to plant Loofah seeds her eyes lit up (all of them). The main reason for this is that my Loofahs provide her with a profitable sideline in selling loofahs to her various friends as a means of removing nose warts; a perennial problem in what she terms her community.
Loofahs are a lovely annual climber with beautiful and prolific yellow flowers that turn into, well loofahs! Loofahs are those long abrasive tubes that hang in bathroom showers and are often mistaken for some sort of sponge. But, no, they are plants and more importantly they are excellent for skin defoliation and improving blood flow. Anyway, if you want to grow loofahs then now is the time to plant seeds.
You simply need to soak your loofah seeds in a bowl of warm water for at least 24 hours; just leave a bowl by the sink and keep topping it up with warm, but not boiling water. This process swells the seed and makes them easier to germinate. Once they have been soaked for 24 hours then prepare four inch pots filled with good compost and thoroughly watered. Place one seed at the centre in each pot and then poke it down into the soil by about a finger nail length. These will be ready in about 2 to 3 weeks for planting out. If you would like some Loofah seeds then I have plenty, just let me know.
The photos below are an action based photo montage of the loofah planting process. I have aspirations to become a Hollywood director of action films and these photos now form part of my portfolio that I am sending to studios. Click on each photo for a larger view.
The big rat. By the way, If you are interested, the big rat is no more. Needless to say it was a struggle, but I prevailed.
2 thoughts on “I am away and Cruella has taken my seedlings hostage”
Good tip on the False Garlic as I have loads, but wish I’d read the iris deadheading info a bit earlier as I’ve gone full cutback on stems.
I’ll bring the cats round to demand the seedlings release for the hostage seeds 😹
False garlic is a real pain, but all we can do is battle away as it is a long war. The Iris will survive, but they just won’t be as big and powerful as they could have been. I like the idea of the cats, I will threaten Cruella with this. See you soon.
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