Monday 23 July 2012

I have a pond and I have bees

So then now working in the dark , I refilled the barrel with rainwater from the greenhouse water butt  and returned the plants along with a new thing called Acorus callamus variegata   ....which looks a bit pathetic at the moment , but should become a real beauty given time .
 I put in an old gate post thingy I found lying about the garden ..oh its one of those things ..a base for a sphere or pineapple or an eagle my case it will be a climbing out place for a frog or faerie that might have fallen in.
This morning, and what a beautiful morning , I couldn,t wait to go and check on the bees and I am happy to say that they were happily going in and out of their original entrances and all is well !

Cleaning out my little pond

So yesterday summer arrived...fiercely hot , too hot for me  , but late afternoon it was cooler and I decided to get the rubber gloves on and sort that pond out .
I knelt down and scooped out all the gunky gooey stuff , weeds and pine needles, laying them to one side to allow any wildlife to crawl to safety...there was no wildlife that I could see , so I decided to totally refresh the water.
  I heaved up this very heavy little barrel from one side , still watching for any frogs or newts and let the water slowly trickle away amongst the herbs , it didn,t smell too bad and in fact there came that lovely earthy patchouli fragrance as it soaked into the parched soil around .
 The water now two thirds gone , but still holding that heavy barrel , I happened to glance down to see .... gulp open nest of furry bumble bees ..... not angry , but definitely surprised . Oh !  Lord ! What to do now ? ! !  The earth had slipped away on the side where I had tipped out the water ! I had to think and deal with this situation very quickly !
 " Firmness and presence of mind in all situations " -  a Ray Mears quote .
No ! I didn,t get a photo !
So with fuzzybees clinging to my blouse sleeves , I quickly finished tipping away the water , noticing as I did so that the barrel was concave underneath and the main part of this exquisite nest  , was in the middle and the bees had made several entrance hole through the earth underneath ; I had to make sure that they could still get in and out , so I placed a rock under one edge and gently made a new entrance through with a stick ....just in case the bees entrance s had collapsed .
  I dont think any of the bees were injured , thank God , I really tried my best here !

On Ponds and Bees

Two things more that I would love to have in my garden , but cant afford....... a lovely big pond and bees.
 Every year I look into it , reviewing the situation , but always coming to the same conclusion , I just cant afford it !
That special rubber pond lining and sumptuous underlay , pump , four or five boulders.....beehives , spacesuit , smoky sedation puffer thing , honey extraction centrifuge thing....expensive...sigh ...
 So last year I bought myself one of those wooden half barrels..actually  , it is not even a half barrel , being just the bottom 12" or so I,d say . Just big enough for one or two aquatic plants.
I couldn't afford the lovely Water-lilies , so settled for a funny looking Water hyacinth and a small bunch of that weed that people put into their fish tanks to aerate and clean the water.
Just these simple plants , the reflections of the sky and the occasional damsel fly , looked lovely , the barrel placed  between the lavender plants in my herb garden .
Then came winter and all the recent rotten weather ....and my little pond didn't look so good any more .

Ficus ginseng

A lucky find in Helston Lidls supermarket . A very nice and fat Ficus ginseng for £1.99
 Very happy me !

Friday 20 July 2012

My Topiary Snail

Today I made a topiary snail , actually I am still working on it . I notice folk in their cars slowing down to have a look at him , which is a good thing down our quiet little country lane ...where children play , chickens wander ,horses clippety clop, ramblers amble and dogs take themselves for walkies and cats curl up to sleep .

Sunday 8 July 2012

I found this little treasure at the market , it is a Eucomis vandermerwei . It is a nice dwarf form , I love its reptilian spots and crinkly edged leaves . I am going to try some leaf cuttings with one of its leaves. I have never done this before ...will let you know how I get on .
 Also my Aloe polyphylla seeds arrived yesterday from Chiltern Seeds . A very generous packet , so I can try several methods to get these to germinate. I have a few in a shallow dish of tap water ..I have never tried this method and have my doubts . I have sown some fresh on arrival  , gently scratching two sides of each seed with a nail-file , very fiddly ...and on the surface of very slightly moist multi-purpose compost to which I added lots of Perlite to aerate and give better drainage. Also sprinkled Perlite over the top....this I have placed in another tray with gravel on the bottom to help wick away any excess water and a clear plastic lid over the top of it all , this will be removed as soon as I see any sign of any little roots or shoots .
 I am giving the rest of the seeds a slightly longer  "winter " period  , although I pressume they have been in refrigeration with the seed company , I have no idea how fresh they are.I know that they should be viable for at least two years . Its just getting them to germinate ! Will let you know how I get on .
 Its been a nice week...New fridge , new toaster , new incinerator, Mary coming round with yummy cherry cake and Di Williams MBE surprise visit to walk my labyrinth ....but so much rain !

Thursday 5 July 2012

           much rain that my primroses are flowering again !
                                               Primula  " Green Lace "

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Schlumbergera cuttings arrived !

Today the postman delivered a little parcel for me .  Shlumbergera x buckleyi cv " Charles Lemaire " cuttings from a new BCSS  cactus society friend . Thankyou so much Juliette....and they already have roots ....thrilled to bits and as you can see I have potted them up already . I cant seem to work out how to send photos on the forum  , so this will have to do . I,m still waiting for my membership pack to arrive and will be going to the Redruth meetings eventually .
 Thats all for now , Wednesday is Belly Dance class day ....must go and pamper myself !

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Hey ! Hey ! We're The Monkees !

O.K Thought you,d like to see how my Monkey Puzzle trees coming along. Well as you can see , I  have 5 germinated  now ,although the two at the front are struggling . The larger one in the terracotta pot is a cutting which has now rooted  but looking a little yellow I think. If I can get it through next winter it will be ok .
 Araucaria araucana is native to central and southern Chile , and western Argentina . It is another of those living fossil trees that I love along with Tree ferns and Cycads . I love its perfect symmetry ..... the one in the middle has already begun to put out two tiny branches .  They will look wonderful planted together in a grove , and fortunately I do have the space for them .
 The nuts take two years to form and are edible , but there has to be both male and female trees . I hope I have a few of each ....but will have to wait up to forty years before they produce cones . They are fine in a maritime location and are just loving this wet and foggy summer .

Monday 2 July 2012

How to get rid of ants .

Actually , most of the time the ants dont cause any trouble , except if they are  " farming " aphids and in this case carrying and transporting them all over your precious plants . ...but if they are seriously disturbing the roots of my veg seedlings ,then I make an ant hotel with a nice terracotta flowerpot ..which they absolutely love and quickly move in soil and all the vast family . I have tipped this one gently over so that you may see inside .... when it is full , you just slide a tile or a spade under it and gently relocate them somewhere else ,  where they wont be a nuisance .
 I had billions of the little wotsits running over my hands ,crawling up my legs and everywhere whilst I planted out the young Courgette plants . They cling on and bite ! Ow ! Ow ! Ow !

Sinocrassula Yunnanensis monster !

..... just look at him now ! 

Sinocrassula yunnanensis

Back in early May I fell in love with this sweet little thing . I gave it a new bowl and fresh gravelly compost and a very ,very little fresh rain water ......