Author Archives: David Jefferson

About David Jefferson

My name is David Jefferson and I live near the historic English market town of St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England. I love my garden and I like to see lots of beautiful plants but my philosophy is to spend as little time as possible in garden maintenance. I enjoy taking photographs of flowers, both in my garden and when I am out and about. Looking at beautiful flowers helps me as a designer of stitching card and string art patterns. I created the patterns available from the Stitching Cards, Form-A-Lines and String Art Fun websites.

Yucca recovering after frost damage

My five foot yucca has survived winters unscathed for many years. However, the winter of 2010/2011 took its toll and left the plant with a mass of brown dead leaves. I started by trimming back the leaves but it then looked a sad mess. I decided the best approach was to saw it back to some low buds. As the picture shows, it is now sprouting well and hopefully will make a well shaped plant as the summer progresses.

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A walk around Lake Bled, Slovenia

We took the local bus from Bohinj, Slovenia to Lake Bled. Then we took a gentle stroll around the lake, returning to the same point to catch the bus back. The lake surroundings are well groomed and an easy walk. There is also a small land train that circles the lake if you are feeling particularly lazy.

A small island in the middle of the lake is home to the Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church. The church has 99 steps leading up to it. A local tradition at weddings is for the husband to carry his new bride up these steps. It is said that if he makes it the marriage will last.

Perched on a rock overlooking the lake is the iconic Bled Castle that houses a museum. We stopped at a lake side café below the castle to enjoy a slice of the local speciality vanilla-and-cream pastry called kremna rezina (“cream slice”).

Lake Bled, Slovenia.

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A walk up the Mostnica gorge, Slovenia

A beautiful walk near Lake Bohinj, Slovenia takes you up the Mostnica gorge to a waterfall. We were there in early July 2011. The walk starts at the alpine village of Stara Fuzina. At times you are walking high above the river as it races through deep cuttings in the rock. At other stages the path runs alongside the river where it widens out and flows over boulders. Along the river banks can be found exquisite wild orchids and other delicate wild flowers.

Mostnica gorge, Slovenia.

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Beautiful Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

We visited Lake Bohinj, Slovenia in early July 2011. The area is in the Triglav national park so remains relatively unspoiled. Lake Bohinj lies between Bohinj’s mountains, which rise from 1,600 to 2,000 meters, and is Slovenia`s largest glacial lake. It is 4.2 kilometers long, one kilometer wide, and forty-five meters deep.

One side of the lake is bounded by a road and the other side is bounded by a footpath. The first picture with the goat statue was taken from the road side and the others were taken from the footpath side.

Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

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Camellias blooming well

In spite of the hard winter our camellia shrubs have held on to their flower buds and are putting on a magnificent display. I guess it is a matter of timing as in much milder winters gone by a late frost has caused many of the buds to drop off. I have two camellia bushes against the garage wall and they provide a colourful sight from the kitchen window.

Camellia

Camellias

Is my compost bin a breeding ground for slugs?

We try to be as green as possible by recycling as much as we can. My large plastic compost bin is the method we use to recycle the fruit and vegetable waste. When I started composting I thought that it would be a wonderful source of compost for the garden. After using it for a couple of years I regard it as a magic bin. We keep feeding it with kitchen waste but the level seems to stay more or less the same.

I suspect that we are really feeding the local creepy crawly population. Since I am an idle gardener there is not a lot of garden waste goes in compared with kitchen waste, especially during the winter months.

I do remove a small amount of compost once a year to put on the vegitable patch. My worry is that it might be full of slugs eggs and the slugs will hatch out and go on a feeding fest.

Photograph looking into the bin.

During the summer the compost bin is definitely home to flies and slugs. Fortunately the lid is a good fit and they stay contained.

So my question is, am I keeping the slugs off the garden by keeping them well fed in the compost bin or am I breading a population of slugs that will eventually run wild and eat my runner bean plants?

When I was taking these photographs I moved some waste matter from the surface and was surprised to find a large amount of wiggly worms. I understand that this is a sign of a healthy compost bin. I know that people pay good money to purchase worms for composting but luckily for me these have appeared naturally. However, I do wonder what other creatures are lurking amongst the rotting waste.

A photo of the wiggly worms. Apologies if you are about to eat a meal.

The Great White Cherry and other spring flowers

When I opened the curtains this morning I was greeted by the beautiful sight of the cheery tree at the bottom of the garden. It was covered with white flowers set off to their magnificent best by a bright blue sky. It was a photo opportunity that could not be missed. It is Prunus Taihaku or Great White Cherry.

Prunus Taihaku or Great White Cherry

Whilst I was in the garden with my camera I snapped a few of the other spring flowers. I have tubs of Viola F1 Coconut Duet that were planted in the autumn and have been providing winter colour since then. In the past few weeks the blooms have multiplied and they are putting on a marvellous display. However, they are in danger of being overshadowed by the tulip plants that are now pushing their way through.

Viola F1 Coconut Duet

The Bergenia cordifolia is just starting to come into flower. My Bergenia plants originally came from my parent’s garden. My mother referred to them as Elephants luck but the usual common name is Elephant’s ears because of the large round leaves.

Bergenia cordifolia

Near the bottom of the garden is a delicate sprig of Chionodoxa. The bulbs came as part of a mixed bag that I planted in a tub a couple of years ago. When the bulbs finished flowering I planted them in a patch at the end of the garden.

Chionodoxa

My Camellias are just starting to flower. I have two bushes against the garage wall. There are lots of buds so there is the promise of a colourful show in the next couple of weeks. In some past years a late frost has caused many of the buds to drop of but hopefully that will not happen this year.

Camellia

Finally a miniature daffodil caught my eye. It is gallantly holding its own in a tub of relatively large tulip leaves. Its tiny trumpet is less than half an inch across but it is a welcome sight on a sunny spring day.

Miniature daffodil

Who’s been eating my primulas?

My primulas are in flower but something is making a meal of the petals. If it was slugs I would expect them to go for the leaves rather than the flowers. Or are the flowers extra tasty to a slug? Maybe the bright yellow colour is attracting the birds to have a peck although I haven’t seen any birds attacking them. Maybe there is some other creature that likes primula flowers. It is heartbreaking to see the well munched petals. Do you have any idea who might be doing it?

Update

March 23, 2011

Soon after I took the above photograph I sprinkled some slug pellets around the plants. The latest flowers are much less nibbled so I suspect that the culprit is a member of the slug family. There are no dead slugs to be seen so the creatures must be tiny enough to disappear from sight. I don’t like resorting to chemical methods but the directions on the packet say the pellets are safe for pets and birds if used sparingly.

After using slug pellets the new flowers are much less nibbled

Frogspawn and crocuses Spring is early in my garden

The frogs in my garden seem to think that spring is here even though it is only the last week in February. The frogs have been mating and frogspawn has appeared in our garden pond.

Lots of plants are coming to life and putting out new shoots. The crocuses were putting on such a brilliant display that I felt compelled to take some photographs of them.