Sunday 25 September 2016

Meanwhile in the Greenhouse - Martlothistella uniondalensis

I promised my brother ( the one who loves cacti ) that I.d post a picture of my Marlothistella uniondalensis  , to see how it has grown , over what must be about six years since he gave me the little rooted cutting from his .
 It has become one of my most treasured succulents , I look forward to seeing it's pink daisy flowers which appear between November and February .

It is a Winter growing mesembryanthemum  from the Little Karoo  in South Africa.                 Although said to be cold hardy , I keep mine in the greenhouse .
 I,m going to take a closer look at it tomorrow , with a view to getting a rooted piece off it to give back to my brother who has lost his .
   I also read somewhere that the caudex / fat root of this plant can be raised up , to make it look even more cool I will take a look at that and see what I can do  .
 Anyway , I love having this one in my collection  ,  its a little charmer .
 Have a great week all ! :)

Collecting Seaweed for the New Pumpkin Patch

So I,ll start again . Here we are down at Gunwalloe . There's rain coming in , but who cares ? !

The tide is going out and has washed up some lovely fresh clumps of seaweed .

I usually bring a black bin sack for us to sit on , but today it is coming in really useful ,  to gather some seaweed for the veg garden .

I filled it to about half way , since it is quite heavy and we had quite a walk uphill to the carpark . I can always come and  get some more another day .

Back home I empty it into my wheelbarrow and wheel it up to the veg garden .

              Seaweed is great in the veg garden , it really makes things grow !

I,m busy getting the new Pumpkin patch ready for next year , layering up newspaper , grass clippings , cardboard , horse manure ,  hoover bag contents , Autumn leaves , spent compost , shredded branches and seaweed  . The more effort that is put into the garden now during the Autumn , the bigger the pay off next year ....but this is no effort really , since it is our friends the worms that will do the work , chomping through it all .
 No hard , back breaking digging for me ..except just to gently turn it all over and rake it in the Spring .

                                                 Beautiful Cornish seaweed .

So the next  layer will be more cardboard ,then green stuff grass clippings, newspaper , I try to alternate it;  green stuff followed by brown stuff is how it really works and the air trapped within it keeps it all  beautifully light and smell no walking all over it !
     The worms love it !

It hard to see from my pics , but it is a fairly large circular bed ,but not so large that I cant reach easily into the middle of it without treading on the earth .
Not treading on the earth is very important , because in doing  so the earth  becomes compacted and the worms get squashed : (
   So there you are , my new Pumpkin Patch for next year . Hope I haven't put you off your tea ! : )

The new Pumpkin patch

I,m busy getting the new Pumpkin patch ready for next year , layering up newspaper , grass clippings , cardboard , horse manure ,  hoover bag contents , Autumn leaves , spent compost , shredded branches and seaweed  . The more effort that is put into the garden now during the Autumn , the bigger the pay off next year ....but this is no effort really , since it is our friends the worms that will do the work , chomping through it all .
 No hard , back breaking digging for me ...except just to gently turn it all over and rake it in the Spring .

Saturday 24 September 2016

Little trip up to Kent

I had a lovely three days away visiting my parents in Kent . I just had to share a few pics with you .
 There are the sweet foxes who always come to the back door, for a few scraps of food just before dark .
 I always love to see my brother's greenhouses orchids and cacti .....especially when given a very generous cutting of an unusual Aloe . I potted it up in some fresh , gritty compost with a beach pebble topping as soon as we arrived home , see bottom right photo .
 ( Thankyou to Stasha for the beautiful head scarf that you sent me just before I went into hospital . It is so pretty ! :) )
    My brother has a fine collection of Lithops .    I have a few of these too , but can never remember when they should  have their dormant period  and when they should be watered.  Also one of mine has been nibbled by something's still alive . None of mine have ever flowered yet , but they are only a couple of years old .
 The weather has turned noticeably colder and today I put on one of my thicker jumpers. My hands hurt when they get cold ,so I,ve got out my trusty finger-less gloves and put them into my handbag ,ready for when I need them .
 I need to get some long burning candles for my greenhouse ...and rig up my way  of heating the greenhouse as cheaply as I can ....but I will talk about that another day .
  I,m sleeping better with these cooler nights , the hops and the pomander which my friend Jessica gave me and tonight I will fall asleep to the sound of the rain on my window .

Thursday 15 September 2016

Hops for a Sleep Pillow

 I am so happy ! I have quite a plentiful mini harvest of hops from my golden hop .

                    Well enough to make a couple of Sleep Pillows anyway .

 It is just an Ornamental Golden Hop  , Humulus lupulus aureus . I love its loopy latin  name too , Humulus lupulus which translates to Earth Wolf .

It is that yellow resin or lupulin , at the base of each  green bract which gives the hop its aroma and flavour .  Different varieties of hops ,have varying degrees of flavours and aroma and are used in the production of beer . A cup of Hop tea  with a little maple syrup is very calming . The scent of hops is well known , for when used in a simple sleep pillow can help induce sleepiness .  I,m going to add some lavender to mine  .

                          First I am going to dry them off on a sunny windowsill .

 I think these are ready now ,they have a hoppy fragrance , not too grassy and are papery to the touch and springy ...and I can see the yellow lupulin resin between the bracts .

                                  So here they are hanging up in the sunshine  .
We had a dreadful storm yesterday and I was worried that  my hops would be ruined , but I think they  are going to be just fine . While they are drying , I will have time to make up some muslin sachets for the sleep pillows .
           Whoever sleeps in this room will sleep very well indeed !

Saturday 10 September 2016

Happiness is .......

Happiness is finding a book that I read as a teenager and also then finding the other great one he wrote , which, I had been told , was a really hard to come by  book .
  They arrived in the post today  and  I cant describe to you how good these two old paperback books feel in my hands !  Goosebumps !
 That beautiful old familiar picture on the cover and so much wholesome wisdom and goodness inside !
   It is going to be interesting reading again after all these years .

The Vision of Glory   John Stewart Collis

The Worm Forgives the Plough   John Stewart Collis

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Baby Agaves

 So yesterday the man came round to let us know that he was coming today to fix the fence . The fence that runs along behind my gravel bed with the Agaves in that is  ...

 Well , I had planned to let the little Agave pups grow a bit bigger before pulling them out  but I cant take the risk of the man trampling on them ..... sigh ..... : (

                                     So I had no choice but to take them out now .

They all have a little bit of rootage  on them , but these here are all connected ,so I am laying them down together in this tray . I added some gravel to this compost , by the way, for good drainage . There were also a couple of teeny weeny shoots which I nestled in there , they are hard to see .

                                             Some more gravel around on top .

  All done and into the greenhouse . I think there may be a few more pups around the other side of the mother Agave . Oh the weeds ! ..and now the leaves are beginning to tumble off the trees all around too ! Can I ever catch up with it all ? !!!

Sunday 4 September 2016

Agave Potatorum update

 For those who don't know I grew this Agave from seed  from the British Cactus Society , on my bedroom windowsill 15 years ago .
  Well it began to put up its inflorescence or flower spire  about a year and a half ago .

 Agaves often throw out runners with babies (or pups ) to some distance away from the mother plant , but the strange thing here was that , this one began to flower too !

The bees just loved the flowers and I had hoped they would then produce more babies up in those branches .....but it seems that they don't  ...instead they become seedpods .

So I saved a few , hoping to let them dry out and get the seeds ...but  it was around this time that I got seriously ill with cancer and everything became a blur .
 I cant remember what I did with those seed pods !     Sigh ....

Anyway  , now it had finished flowering and the green seed pods were beginning to drop off ....and  then usually  , they die  :(         I began to wonder if I could save the mother plant , by chopping down the inflorescence /flowering spire , also known as a "mast " it wouldn't put all it's energy into it .
 Winter was fast approaching , we'd already had one terrific storm , which brought down some of my favourite pittasporums.
 I put a large cloche over the Agave and threw the branches over the top to hold it down .   Every night I would cover it and every morning I uncovered it . Also keeping it totally covered if and when we had really bad weather .

 The garden was such a mess and recovering from my op  , I couldn't do as much as I would  have liked .

 This old cloche is like an umbrella. I bought it about ten years ago and at the time my husband was away and I couldn't get the spokes into the pockets of the cloche properly that is why it looks so wonky . I really need to get another one if anyone knows where I can get one or one that is similar ?

 Here it is with all the branches holding it down against the winter gales  !

 So here we are today  , over the winter it did begin to get a bit yellowy  but it certainly picked up again through this Spring and Summer .
 By the way , the Agave behind is Agave Americana , a much hardier one  and in fact probably the toughest one , I don't usually cover it unless it is really cold and wet .
 It is usually the wet that kills Agaves rather than the cold , hence all the flat slabs of slate tucked in under it's leaves and all around ...and it is also in a bed of sharp gravel , which helps drain away rain water from it's roots and also keeps the slugs off .
 The gravel bed is a complete mess now and needs serious weeding and even  totally replace the weed membrane underneath the gravel and another fresh load of gravel .
 It was so lovely when I first created I look around and feel sad .

                                             ....but what is this ? !      Look !

                          It has begun to push up more babies / pups all around !
I am so happy ! I will be taking these up and potting them on . You know ,  Agave potatorum is such a lovely bluey Agave !
   Well , we are once again heading into Autumn and I am wondering if I can get the mother Agave through a second winter  ?  
 Cheerio for now .. Daisy Debs is off to dig out the big umbrella cloche again  .... somewhere in the shed I think ........

August into Setember - Veg garden update

 Sorry , August has been such a busy much going on in the garden !
 Anyway , remember the late end of July Kale seed sowing ? Well they grew away fast in their seed tray , I decided to hold them back as the space was taken up with other things .

 Here are the other things ... dwarf french beans , cucumber , tomatoes , Romaine Cos lettuce , beetroots and basil . ..and I,ve picked lots from them . I noticed that the few remaining lettuces are now beginning to bolt and the beetroots are certainly ready to pull .

    Kale seedlings waiting in the wings . I do have another patch of Kale which I grew earlier in the year at the other end of this bed . I will check on those tomorrow .

Notice how small a space I have  grown all these tasty vegetables in ! Just from that little brown patch of earth ! I am leaving in the Dwarf French beans , cucumber and the tomato plant as I think there could be more to come .
 The baby Kale plants are going in here .

 Tomatoes - well the best ones were the ones my husband grew in his Solar Shed .
 The next best were the ones in his VegTrug . The Cherokee Purple Toms that I grew were sown too late in the greenhouse but there is still time !

         From my veg garden I have pretty much filled this bowl every day from this seasons growing . So I am very happy , something tasty  for us to eat and fill our tums  every day  is all I want . I am not growing to sell at the market  , nor am I trying to grow prize-winning monsters .

         So , I planted up the baby Kale , scattered my crushed egg shells ....

          ......scattered some horticultural grit .....and put back the luminous lizard .

Give them a good drink to settle them all in and fix up the plastic chicken wire again .
 The only other thing is that I may need to find some environmesh to cover from the Cabbage white butterflies . I haven't got any at the moment and it is so expensive .
  So I,ve got to go away and think about it .