Thursday, 20 October 2016

Dig, Wrap, & Cover! (very pic heavy)

I knew a frost would be coming, but had hoped it would hang on till at least the weekend! No such luck! We live in a very rural location so basically if it says 5C in a town nearby we will have a frost!

I have been very busy the last few days so have been unable to bubble wrap the green house. I know I started it but if you remember I was unhappy with how 'milky' the old bubble wrap has gone. I can't complain as it has, we reckon, lasted about 8+ years!

So this has been sat in my kitchen for quite a few days. I ordered some new attachments too as the old ones had become so brittle. This time it came with instructions, on the best way to insulate a greenhouse. Which is different to the way I did it last time, they are the experts so may give it a go!

But first I decided to dig everything out, turn it upside down to drain, (I will show pics as to why) then move on to insulating the greenhouse before putting everything in!
So here are the before pics. You can now see how the cold has affected the top leaves.

But funnily enough down at root level everything is fine.

And to be honest, yes they probably could have held on till the weekend. but I have always been 'ultra careful'.

The one I am most protective of is the Hiniba, below. Very, very rare plant. I am never likely to get another one of these ever!

The ones in this bed have not done quite so well, but then they where babies!

This leaf from the Hiniba is bigger than me.

This is why we have to cut them back for the winter, They are sponges for water, and need to be drained so they can be stored over winter at 5C.

I had a little robin join me during my dig out, it was singing its little heart out. When ever I see a robin it always reminds me of when my dad, a seafarer, came home and he used to love digging in the garden and a robin used to come and sit on his spade,  all the time, he used to feed it worms and things. 

This banana is the only one I will leave in the garden, it is totally root hardy. You can wrap them up in straw, I used to do this, but don't bother anymore, as they pop back up with no trouble.

Here is what is left of the bananas once they are dug up. I usually wash the roots to make sure all the soil is removed but, I am not sure I will have time today!

I have finished insulating the greenhouse, what a difference the new bubble wrap has made, really light in there now. It came on a roll and to be honest it was dam fiddly to put up as they suggested, but there are definitely less gaps!

I also line the bottom with celotex, this was left over from when hubby got his office built, I then cover this with survival blankets, these help reflect the light.

I must be mad, when I look back at this post and see just how much I do to keep my jungle growing, I am obviously a very dedicated gardener. The thing is I plan to expand it next year, the jungle garden not the greenhouse!

Anyway here it is, I have kept everything away from the celotex as I'm waiting for more survival blankets from good old Ebay to arrive.

This poor old frame, I have no idea how its still standing, thats why I have wedged the steps at the end with a bag of gravel on to help support it! I can assure you those bananas are not light.

All the cactus stuffed at the back for now, I will have to move some of it around as I still have quite a bit to fit in. A lot of my Colocasia and Alocasia, and my 2 Cycas Revouluta which are not small, plus canna and dahlia tubers , Some I leave out as they are hardy, but I will bring some in as a precaution.

Here we are, the end of a long day, The palm I had forgotten about (back right corner) this does not like the cold, every year I plant it out and it looks half dead, probably because I don't water it enough. Every year it grows bigger and bigger. 

Next post will be about how the garden looks after the 'big dig up'. Till then xx

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Corking the Spikes and Covering the Arid Bed!

I couldn't hang on any longer, we have had torrential downpours and the temperature has been dropping.
I know my Arid bed is mainly gravel so the plants would not be sat in wet soil, which as you may or may not know, along with cold is a killer for them, and having seen just how much they have grown this year, I really want to look after them so they have another good year next year.
So this morning whilst we waited for the BT man to come and fix our internet, having been out and bought a small tray of corks, cut them in half

I went and put them on the spikey tips. Now these spikes are lethal, I reckon you could actually sew with them and it didn't take too much effort to put the corks on.

I have only put them on where there maybe a possibility of the spikes touching the over.

I have decided this is an Agaves version of having rollers in!!! Lol!

People have suggested using polystyrene but I was concerned that if the cover moved it may cause the polystyrene to break up and then the spikes would pierce the cover. Bearing in mind this cost well over £100 and I want it to last a good few years, so would rather be safe than sorry.

But before we cover up just take a look at this....

isn't it stunning Fascicularia Bicolor

the flowers in the centre are blue. I will have to keep an eye on this, even with the cover on.

There we are, all tucked away for the winter.

Now all I have to do is finish bubble wrapping the greenhouse before the big 'dig out' of Ensete, Musa, Maurelli, Canna, Hiniba, Elephants ears, well some of them. Then as I have a gardener for 2 weeks, I may get him to move the Humilis Chamaerops, we will see. x

Monday, 17 October 2016

To Cover or Not to Cover!

Its that time of year again when the weather is not quite cold enough, but with the rain, it could be the deciding factor! The Arid bed definately can survive the UK winter, provided you can protect it from the rain! They cope well with cold, but definately not wet and cold, hence the need for a cover.

It has been such a good growing season, back in May it looked like this, I cannot believe how big everything has got, I may have to look at extending next year!!!!

The Ensete are usually a help in deciding when to cover, but they are all still growing strong and the tips of there leaves are still fine.

The Hiniba is the best it has 'ever' been this year.  I planted it in a new place, so it has had the most, sun, rain and wind. In other words although it is one of the hottest spots in the garden, it is also a bit more exposed so gets all the elements.

The size of the trunk says it all,compared to the beginning of the season

I love looking back and seeing just how big plants have got. Even though I have grown these for years they still surprise and excite me. The last photo was back in June when it was planted out.

Its probably just as well we are coming to the end of the growing season, as soon as it is all packed away we can then concentrate on final preparations for our daughters wedding at the end of March!

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Cleaning the Fish Pond

So it is that time of year, we didn't clean the pond out last year because, if you remember, I was 'oop' north looking after mum after her fall and hip replacement.
So hubby had a day off, we bought a paddling pool to put the fish in and syphoning and catching of fish began!

This is the only time we find out how many fish are in the pond, currently 43 of which 17 are tiny babies and haven't been eaten by the Orfe!

We scrub down the liner and as you can see it is not bad at all........ but there was and accident!!!! You see the brick to the right of the pump, we use these to hold down the net or to stand pots on in the pond, well it got knocked off the side and had a perfect hit and pierced the liner!!!

So we had to go out and find a repair kit, clean all round the hole and patch. It is then supposed to then set for a couple of hours, but the shop siad we could fill straight away.
By now it was quite late and we where both pretty tired. Pond plants are very heavy when you lift them out. So we had a 1 hour tea break before we refilled.

So here it is the next day, as by the time we finished it was too dark to photograph.

The patch appears to be working, as the level hasn't dropped.

We are pleased that is all over for another couple of years, although we still need to repot a lot of the plants, which got put back in because we had run out of energy, time and light!

I have been considering entering my garden into the local towns 'Best Back Garden' category next year. So I have quite a lot to do before then.
One of the things is what on earth to do with the filter box. This is new and to clean it, you switch the flow of water and then turn the handle on top which moves all the foam inside, agitating them to clean them. It is the best pump we have had, but obviously we need easy access. Something to think about. Suggestions gratefully recieved.

Meanwhile in the Arid bed

A lovely bit of colour at this time of year. As we go into our 2nd winter season, I am thrilled at how well the Arid bed has done.

The frame is up ready to cover should it rain and should the temperature drop. They can cope with rain OR cold but not both together.

I think this will be the last year I can use this frame, as the large Agave is 'just' overhanging and I will have to put corks on the tips to protect the liner. Before you ask, I won't be drinking bottles of wine to do this, I shall pop down to the local 'Wilko's' and go to their homebrew section and buy a bag of them!
Till next time x

Saturday, 8 October 2016

A Beautiful October Day

Autumn is definately on its way, I love bright sunny, colder days. The only thing I don't like about it, is I have to start packing my garden away.
I have cleaned all the glass in the greenhouse, inside & out and also started putting up the bubble wrap. I can usually do the whole greenhouse in a morning, but stopped part way round as I thought the bubblewrap had gone quite a milky colour so would not let enough light through. Which is not surprising as it is quite old and has been used for a number of years!

So I have ordered some new UV resistant Bubblewrap!

Once wrapped the art is to fit all the plants in!! I place them differently every year, mainly becuase I have acquired new plants!

The tree ferns have been magnificent this year, they have enjoyed the rain.

My Ricinus wth the Maureli behind.

My Hiniba, such a beautiful ensete, the red strip is gorgeous.

The Arid bed still incovered and doing well. The variagated Americana Agave has grown massively this year (bottom right).

Already looking forward to next year. This bed has really surprised me, in just how fast everything is growing.