I have just taken delivery of a new accessory for my video camera, an Andoer L4 Autodolly. Hopefully it will improve the video record I keep of our garden’s progress. The garden is small but I like to think it is perfectly formed. We have two tubs of begonias that are looking good. The rose bush ‘Lady of Shalott’ (David Austin Roses) is putting on a good show, the courgettes are cropping well and the grapes are starting to ripen.
Autumn leaves and sunshine provide a wonderful photo opportunity. Our grape vine has turned magnificent shades of red and gold. When I looked out of the back room window and saw the vine glinting in the sunshine I know that I must take some pictures.
The vine grows on a trellis around the entrance to my greenhouse. It has numerous bunches of grapes this year but most of the grapes are tiny. The ripe ones are lovely to eat but they each contain a pip so are hard work. I am going to leave most of them for the birds.
We were browsing around our local garden centre when I spotted some attractive clay pots at a bargain price. There were five left and they quickly found their way into my trolley.
I had an idea they would look good on the wall surrounding our garden pond. But the question was what to put in them? The answer came when we passed a display of summer bedding plants – geraniums. That was back in the spring. Now the geraniums are putting on a beautiful display for us.
When we were in the garden centre choosing some plants for our tubs the brightly coloured gazania plants caught our eye. They have settled in well and continue to produce new flowers. The daisy-type flowers open when the sun comes out and close up in the evening or on a dull day. The label that came with them tells me they will flower from spring to autumn so we are looking forward to some continuous colour.
A few weeks ago the new shoots on our runner beans were covered with blackfly. After consulting the wisdom of the Internet I sprayed the blackfly with a weak solution of washing up liquid. This seems to have slowed down the breading program of the little critters. Also, some ladybirds have appeared and seem to be making a meal of the blackfly. The runner beans have put on a lot of new growth and are cropping well. There are still a few blackfly around but I will leave the ladybirds to deal with them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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