Sunday, 16 April 2017

Painting & Planting.

A couple more jobs done....

Painted the office. I try and do this a couple of times in the year


This is the weather side and it definitely needs those extra coats.


All the garden furniture has had one coat of teak oil now,



Such a boring job, but such an important one of you want to keep your furniture for a long time.

In the greenhouse the Rat's Tail Cactus (Aporocactus Flagelliforms) has decided to flower. The cactus always have such amazing coloured flowers, just such a shame that I cam often miss them as they are in the greenhouse.



I have planted the new Olive tree.


 making use of the marbles, left from T's wedding


The old Olive which I have had for a number of years has also been planted, should be happy for quite a while I think.



Off to find something else to do ................


Friday, 7 April 2017

Jet Washing Everything!

When your down and need to keep busy on a sunny day what do you do???

Get the jet wash out.

It always needs doing at this time of year. I forgot to take before photos but I can assure you this is now sparkling compared to how it started.


It takes a fair but of time to do all of this, not something you can whizz over as you would leave marks all over otherwise.


The main patio is the worst and all the gunk and mud always ends up in the gravel just at the end of the patio and looks a right mess. So once its all dried out (hopefully this weekend, as the weather looks good) I shall dig all this gravel and mud out, put it in a riddle and wash the mud away on the flower beds. Probably find I won't have enough gravel after lol!


All the way down the path


Even did the decking in front of hubbies office.  Once this has dried I'm going to try some 'non skid' decking paint, as this is lethal in the winter, better than any ice rink.


I still need to do the other side of the pond and


the furniture. But this took me over 3 hours to do. I think the neighbours where quite pleased when I stopped.


I still have most of the furniture to do, although we where told when we bought it, that it would not need jet washing or oiling!!


I intend to do both this year, as you can see from the table what a great improvement it is when its been cleaned!


Darcy likes it too especially if he is in the sun!!


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Seeds Sown today

Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens',
Ipomea, mixed,
Lobelia Queen Victoria,
Solanum Laciniatum,
Solanum Mauritianum,
Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan',
Cyphomandra abutiloides,
Ipomea Grandpa Ott,
Nicotiana sylvestris,
Sonchus Arboreus,
Sonchus Canariensis,
Cosmos Bippinatus 'Rubenza',
Zinnia Red Spider,
Calendula officinales,
Fuchsia Boliviana Carriere,
Lobelia Bridgesii,
Dark Cosmos mix,
Amaranthus Early Splendour,

Yesterday I planted ALL my Ricinus Seeds


My new growing light...


The greenhouse could be a bit full in the next few weeks. Not that its not full now!  Could be a tight squeeze!

Monday, 3 April 2017

RATS!

I hate rats! I don't even like mice, but I really, really hate rats.

I had a suspicion something was going round the garden, because Darcy went out with a 'purpose' morning and evening, not his normal dawdle, tiddle, sniff a bit here, a bit there, yawn, dawdle back in!
He charged out, following the fence line and he would disappear for ages, until I had to go and find him.

So I was chatting to my neighbour over the fence when I noticed a pile of soil at the end of the compost bin...

now I am very careful with soil against her fence as she is a bit 'precious' about it! So I knew I had never done this.


Then when I moved the slabs I found 'the' hole!!!

At which point I ran up the garden like a woman, knees pointing inwards, feet out, arms in the air! Phoned hubby for reassurance, which I didn't really get. Then sat down to decide what to do. This is not the first time this has happened in the compost bin, what I didn't know was 'how big was the nest'.
So I got my wellies on, gloves on and went down and made lots of noise, whilst I started to pull stuff out of the bin.

This compost bin has never been very successful so it was currently being used for storage of my larger pots.As you can see it didn't stop them burrowing and yes I think thats a dead one on top of that pot!


So whilst hyperventilating, I banged the sides, lifted pots out and saw a couple run away. Where is Darcy? Sunning himself on the step outside the kitchen!!!


They have had a field day, digging through the earth around the pots, rats paradise!


After I bravely emptied all the pots out of the side closest to the fence, I then dig out all the soil/compost and it has now been spread on the flower beds.

I then found the nest.....


using the fork I totally destroyed it and bagged it up. I do not want Darcy getting into it.


So I have put the boards at the front back up, so he can't get in. Destroyed the roof so it is no longer weather proof.


Next week when my gardener from a couple of years ago comes back, this will be his first job, to take this to pieces. I am no longer having a compost bin.


The other side can wait till another day.

Sadly the sun was not over the yardarm, when I finished this, so I came in made a pot of tea and ate a 'whole' packet of biscuits!!!!!!!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Dirty Hands & Scratches

One of the reasons I was banned from the garden in the run up to the wedding. Today was my first 'full' day in the garden and you can tell.......



Lots done, well I thought lots had been done, till I looked back at the photos and actually it doesn't look much, but my back tells me it was!!

Today the overwintered bananas (Ensete, Maurelli and Hiniba) have all be potted up. This should have been done a few weeks ago, but I expect they will catch up.


It always amazes me, how dead they look. Although when you pick them up they have a lot of weight in them. The Hiniba above weighs a ton. I think if it grows anything like it did last year, I won't be able to dig it out. If that is the case I will cut it up for propagation. A post for later in the year!



I store them all identically, turning them upside down for 3 - 4 weeks to aid drainage. Then turning them the right way round, after that. I don't have a frost free garage, which is where most people store theirs for the rest of the winter. Mine get stored in a heated greenhouse, probably not ideal due to the damp conditions, but its what I have done for years.

I usually lose a couple each year, and I thought this next one was a 'goner' with the mould on it



Trim off all the dead stuff and its fine.


This next one is a 'Red Tiger' it has stripy coloured leaves and always has a slim trunk. This is one of the ones, I never expect to come through the winter. The trunk is solid and actually quite heavy.


This is one of my Maurelli's,


Having stripped back all the dead leaves, and chopped off the top, it still amazes me how moist they are. This one is not looking good, as you can see the brown bit just off centre usually means its rotten. The fact it is 'off' centre is why I have held on to it, the growth tip 'may' be fine. The again it may not, but only time will tell!


I then went on and potted up my Cannas, Dahlias, Xanthasoma and Elephants ears.



Still room for a few more.

I have all my seeds to sow yet! May start that tomorrow.

Then to finish off I did something I had tried to employ a gardener to do, dig out the TRex. This was growing at a far faster rate than expected and after some research I found this 'could' hit heights of 40ft!!!!


A little bit too big for the patio, so out it came and in went the Chamaerops Humilis, this is definately slow growing, probably a bit, too, slow growing, but at least I won't need to dig it out again (I hope)


I just need to find something to grow that will cover the water butt.
Just writing this I already don't like it. I am a very visual person, I have to see it in place, before I can say if I like it..... I don't like this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Any suggestions????

Friday, 24 March 2017

Two minutes for Me!

Wedding is tomorrow and it has been extremely busy this week although the wedding side is flowing smoothly, its everything else thats going wrong.
Tori's (the bride) car broke down.
Our Biomass boiler has also broken and we are awaitnig delvery of a part!!!
The cooker has died! Yep and my niece, her partner ad 4 children are coming and staying here!!

Anyway I gave myself 2 minutes to purchase some rather large cactus earlier this week. To fill in the large hole left by the agave that went 'squishy'.

Yesterday they arrived, it was a lovely surprise as I had totally forgotten I had ordered them



 Excited to get out in the garden agan!

Saturday, 11 March 2017

First Loss of The Season.

It has been a glorious day today, so decided to water all my cactus and succulents in the greenhouse and uncover the arid bed to see how it has survived.


On initial inspection everything looks good and healthy.


and has come through the winter very well


apart from the little plant above


and this


I have no idea what happened


The centre is totally rotten. I am gutted this was a beautiful Agave and has been treated exactly like all the others, but did not make it through?


Everything else looks amazing and healthy.


But we have an interloper, not one I welcome.  can cope with bindweed in this bed, that is easy to deal with, but this is creeping viola. I had it in the garden years ago and haven't seen it for a few years.


It wasn't here when I covered up the bed in the autumn, but it has obviously flourished over winter, winding its way through Dasylirion Serratifolium. Looks harmless enough, but this plant has the most evil spines up each side of the leaves and cuts you fingers, wrists and arms to pieces.
So, what to do?
My daughter gets married in 2 weeks so I have to keep my fingers, wrists and arms clear of cuts and spikes. So fortunately for the incomer and unfortunately for me this will have to wait. But I plan to dig out the whole bed including the Dasylirion and go through the gravel piece by piece to remove all offending interlopers!
We shall see..............