Sunday 21 February 2016

Bit of Weeding before Night Fall

 Oh ! This has been worrying me for a couple of weeks now , but the weather has been so bad and the grass too wet to walk on . These are my Red Blood Onion Sets I planted in the Autumn . It is mostly Speedwell and Grass , the odd Thistle and Dandelion  .

                                                            Out ! Out ! Out !

                Well , I got most of them out , just half an hour ago, its almost dark now .

                                      Voodoo Lily Update -------------- look !

How I Heat my Greenhouse over Winter

Hallo and welcome to my greenhouse in which I grow all kinds of exotic ,weird and wonderful things . In fact most of the plants that I grow would prefer it to be warm and sunny all year round .....but are quite happy to be put into a dormant state ,firstly by the lack of light anyway , by being cold and most importantly , by not being watered . It is the combination of being cold and wet that can kill .
 If a plant  can't make it through the Winter on my regime , then the rule for me is, that I can't have that plant !

Everyone says how mild the weather is in Cornwall , but we still need to be prepared for the occasional overnight frost or if the forecast is for a rare Arctic blast .
So this is not really about heating the greenhouse ..more to keep the edge off the cold .

Generally I will rush up to my greenhouse and throw sheets of newspaper over everything .... up , Heres the little beauty of a lamp that I found in a local charity shop , perfect !
I put a very long lasting 6-8hrs candle inside late evening and this just takes the edge off the cold ...I wouldn't want it to get too warm in there only for the temperature to plummet when the candle goes out and everything dies of the shock .
 I dont light a candle every night , only if we get a weather warning .
                              ......and then there is idea that I had .......

Followers of my journal will remember " the day of the sheep incident " ! Lol !

Well I went round my garden scooping up that precious stuff onto this old - stable - mucker -  outer - hopper - thing and because it was lashing down with rain I shoved it into the greenhouse to keep dry....thinking I'll sort it out later morning I realised the amount of warmth it was giving off ! So this is something that I shall think about doing on a more regular basis , over winter .

     This is how I have them arranged , and my seeds are all germinating  too .

I also use this foil insulation sheeting which comes on a roll from B+Q , which I roll out over the greenhouse rafters ( see top photo ) and I have a couple of those reflective
sheet things people put over their car windscreens..if you look on the above picture , you can see one tucked behind the white plastic trellis on the North facing greenhouse window....that is the side I keep all the Epiphyllums .
I have windbreak mesh hanging inside the door attached to cup hooks so no draughts from around the door .
Very tender and precious plants are standing on polystyrene sheets from old packaging .
   Make sure the keyhole is covered from the wind blowing in .
The good news is ....that we're almost through the worst of winter now : )

Saturday 20 February 2016

Meanwhile up in my Greenhouse

We have lift off ! Germination is a wonderful thing , all helped by the pull and push of the Moon . Anyway here we have one tray of Pot Leeks and the other is Zebrune ( Banana ) Shallots .

 I sowed them a couple of weeks ago , one seed to each cell...the Pot Leeks are very slow in germinating but I can see one or two . I will be sowing some more leeks this week ..good old reliable Musselburgh  . I also like to grow Jaune de Poitou and Bleu de Solaise if I can find the space for them ...these two varieties have done well for me here in Cornwall .

The Zebrune Banana Shallots are really getting away , I,m quite excited about these , as they are said to get to onion size , have a delicious flavour and keep really well through the winter . I,m going to sow another tray of these .
 These are not very good photos , as I am taking them through the dirty glass windows of my greenhouse ....because there is not much room left for me to stand inside , it is SO chock-a-block with plants ! : )
    Cacti , Epiphyllums , S.African succulents and bulbs   ,Agave babies , Soapnut trees , Pelargoniums , the Celery plant experiment , the new Champagne Rhubarb plant I got in Morrisons for  £1 , cuttings and unknown seedlings from plant hunting expeditions : )

Voodoo Lily Update .....
The Voodoo Lily has been outside last was quite mild and rainy . Better for it to have rain water than nasty tap water . The wind has been picking up and getting quite strong this afternoon here in Mullion , so I might bring it back into the cold porch for the night .

Thursday 18 February 2016

Sleeping Monsters !

                                                        Gunnera manicata

                                                          The Giant Echiums

                                                 Tetrapanax papirifa Rex

                               I am excited by those little green side shoots !
                                    Its going to be one hell of a big T.Rex !

I have a thing for Aroids !

Amongst my favourite spring flowers are these delightful Arisarum proboscideums......otherwise known as the Mouse Tail Plant .
 You have to look close , in amongst those lovely green arrow shaped leaves  .

O.K. So that is not a very good picture , its a bit wet to kneel down here in my damp shade garden , but that is where they like to be .

                                 I picked a leaf and a flower ,  here ,  for you to see .
                           It looks like a sweet little brown mouse with a long curly tail .

Now here is another one I have forgotten its name , but I think it might be Arum Italicum ....let me know !         It has gorgeous patterned leaves !

Arum Lily or Zentedeshia  is just waiting for a few more sunny days , this is probably the most well known one, with its elegant  pure white flowers .
 It will collapse if we get a very severe frost , but always comes back  .
 We dont get much frost here ....but I can even turn frost to my advantage ...knowing that we were going to have an exceptionally cold night the other day , I put outside this large rock of shale that I carried up the beach at Charmouth recently .
 This was all one piece ,  pavement of the ocean floor , you can see little ammonites imprints , where they fell and died .

 Anyway over night , the frost caused it to split revealing a small piece of dinosaur bone or maybe tooth . Probably Ichthyosaur ....only a small fragment , but a very nice surprise .

                                         I wonder what else is hidden inside ?

Voodoo Lily

On a mad spur of the moment on Ebay, I put in a bid for one corm/bulb of  a Dracunculus vulgaris  plant. ..and won !
 Karen of Potted Pixie Plants in Lincolnshire , sent me this huge  beautifully packed parcel containing not one , but three plants ! A glove to protect my skin , some folk can have an allergic reaction .
 I actually potted them up into a very large pot, with multi - purpose compost , perlite and horticultural grit ... without actually touching those  beautiful speckled shoots .

 I left it in the cold porch over night  to recover from the shock and in the morning , stood them outside to catch a shower of rain .
 Karen tells me that I can plant them out , hers are outside and come through the frost just fine .
  I think I,m going to bring them on a bit before planting them out into the ornamental garden .
 Today they are enjoying some sunshine and the very tips are already beginning to turn green .

Dracunculus  vulgaris is known by many other spooky names , such as Voodoo Lily (Voodoo Lily , that should be my Belly Dancer name !  lol ! ) Snake Lily , Black Dragon , Dragon wort , Dragon Arum ...... Stink Lily ....OMG !  and What's that smell ?  ! :)
 It is going to have the most beautiful flower with the most awesome fragrance this space !
 By the way , I noticed that Karen has another one listed on Ebay along with other unusual plants .