Friday 29 January 2016

Sorting out the Gravel Garden and Agave Pottatorum

Tuesday I made a start on this area of my garden , After a year and a half of me  being very poorly , the Pittasporums had grown too tall and spindly , they need to be forced to bush out at the bottom more . There are evil brambles clambering through its branches and it is awkward to get in to ..I have to climb in through the branches of my beautiful Acer " Bloodgood ". There is a pretty young  Corkscrew Hazel  and a lovely shrub that has bright yellow pea shaped flowers usually responds well to being hard pruned after flowering....I may have cut it back too hard ..since I accidently cut off the one lower branch that I had meant to keep .
 Next job .....Agave Pottatorum..that I grew 15 years ago on my bedroom windowsill , the seed that I got from the British Cactus Society .
  This year it put up a splendid flower spire , to the delight of local honeybees and butterflies ....and me : )
  I watched as the flowers developed seed pods and then one by one they fell off . Some of these I saved  to try and dry out and grow..the rest fell to the ground and mysteriously disappeared  .
 Now here's the thing ....people keep asking me " Will the mother plant die now that it has flowered ? " " Could it be saved ? " "What if you cut off the flower spire , maybe it would have enough energy to survive ? "
                                                    So , I thought , lets see !

                  I had to use the biggest loppers in my husbands tool shed !

                                            Scrunch .......and down it came !

 So with more horrible weather coming , I decided that I must get the Agaves covered
over...they are o.k with the cold ..but dont like too much wet .

I have slabs of stone all around and tucked under the Agaves leaves which direct the rain water away from the centre  to keep those roots dry as possible .

I bought this umbrella cloche many years ago, no idea which make it is . I never managed to put it together correctly but used it in its semi put together state anyway . It is forecast to be very windy,  so I have weighed it down with some of the Pittasporum branches .
 There is another Agave behind it , this one is Agave Americana which is the the most commonly seen one, it is the hardiest one of all the Agaves here in Cornwall England .
I know if you happen to be reading this in somewhere like Mexico , then I,m sure you'll be laughing at all this  !

 I found a baby Agave Pottatorum some distance away from the mother plant in the surrounding gravel rescued and taken away to be potted up .
I called it a day after all that . It was getting too dark for me to see what I had achieved even !

Wednesday I left it as I had other things to do and Belly Dance Class in the evening  .

Thursday , I got up at 5.30 am and did the washing and hung it all out and got straight back to lopping the Pittasporums , which smells like lemons and has wood like iron ...cutting spiteful  brambles and pulling out the Ivy which is taking over the gravel area .

With my two best friends  watching and following me , I weeded ,weeded , weeded !

I finished off with some more weeding and pruning the red stems of Cornus alba Siberica
those red stems are now sitting in a deep bowl of water , where they will put out roots ready to be planted out somewhere else in the garden or share  .
 Friday --went shopping in Falmouth with my friend  , exploring all the lovely little shops we'd never been in before ....had delicious fish and chips in The Harbour Lights Fish + Chips Restaurant .... we always used to take our children in there when they were was always so child friendly. So it brought back happy memories  , lovely views across the harbour too .
 So housework , gardening , dancing , shopping ,eating well and talking ....I should sleep well tonight !
                        More wind and rain coming  .......yawn  ! Goodnight !

Saturday 23 January 2016

Another way to propagate Celery

O.K. So before I tell you about the Celery...I dont drink alcohol at all ,...I just never acquired the taste for it . Nope that beer is being set aside for slug pubs in my veg garden !
 The Mistletoe is there to remind me that I begun the "Celery Experiment " just around Christmas and that mistletoe is actually now out on my apple trees for the blackbirds  to eat .
                                               The Celery Experiment .

 I think I have mentioned the  Allotments4All Forum before , but if you dont know already , it is a very good place to learn about growing vegetables and ornamental gardening too . You can ask questions and join in discussions , learn the regional timings  for sowing /planting , new and better ways of growing  things , tips etc.
 Somebody on the Forum was talking about how they save the left over bottom of a bunch of store bought Celery and grow it in a jar of water  , until it puts out roots , then plant it out in the garden . Brilliant idea !
 So I thought I,d give it a try !  I had missed the timing for growing Hyacinths in these Hyacinth vases , but they are the perfect thing for getting the bottom of the left over Celery bunch to root .

It is slow to start with and I had to keep topping up the water, celery is a very thirsty , water loving plant . Actually if you try this ,only fill the water up to the very base of the bunch .In the picture above I had topped it up a little too much  .
 The photo above shows how the roots have grown in just four weeks or so  !

                         Remove from the vase , sorry about very blurred photo .

                                                       Ready to plant out !

 Although the weather is very mild here in the far South West of  Cornwall  , I decided to pot mine up and keep it in a more sheltered place until all chance of frost has passed .
   So I have given it a good drink and in fact today has been rainy and really quite mild ,so I have left it out in the rain , rain water being so much better for plants than tap water .

Celery is quite a tough plant and I,m sure can acclimatise fairly quickly , I wont plant mine out into the garden until all chance of frost has passed..I know I just said that , but I thought it good to say one more time . ..wouldn't want to lose it after all !
 If it turns bitterly cold again , I will bring it back indoors and put it on my cool North facing windowsill  .
  After it has been planted outside , I will only take a few stalks at a time and keep the mother plant growing ...and one plant will be enough for my needs .

          I,m thinking that it could also be grown in a tub . Celery , graceful green vegetable , so good and healthy for us to eat  .....but I,ll leave it's wonderful health giving properties for you to go away and research for yourselves  .
                    Experiment over works !     Free food !   Give it a go folks !