Friday 29 December 2017

Gloomy Day

               A very gloomy  day here in Mullion..and the gales still blowing  .
 The sun has tried to come out between the showers of rain ...but not enough  to open the Marlothistella uniondalensis daisies ... sigh ...maybe tomorrow .

              My broomstick ! Look what's happened to my broomstick  !
                   Broken clean in two ! Going to fail it's MOT for sure !

 Only the wild birds  have brought me any joy today .... I topped up the feeding station and I did get some peanuts , but I,m only putting in a few at a time  ...try and make them last..they are SO expensive to buy .

          The Long Tailed Tits have come in today to feast on the fat-balls  .

 A Goldcrest flew in today to delight me , hopping about on the lawn , not bothered that I was standing there with my camera clicking away . I couldn't get any closer though sadly ...such a sweetie ! I,m not sure what they like to eat . it hasn't ever come to my bird feeding station .

                              Looks like it is foraging for small insects .

 Oh ..and here's my little friend , Birdie girl , the female Blackbird , whose feathers have grown back again on her head and she's looking gorgeous again !

Thursday 28 December 2017

Marlothistella uniondalensis - is flowering !

 I had a wonderful surprise this morning when I uncovered the cactus collection of their sheets of newspapers . Little specks of purpley-pink caught my eye .

 My Marlothistella uniondalensis is smothered in buds !  I swear they weren't there yesterday !
 My brother gave me a tiny piece of this years ago and it really is my most  favourite plant in my collection . It has slowly spread and is now a nice sized clump in this shallow terracotta pot .

 It never fails to delight me with its dainty daisy-like flowers with a faint sweet perfume .

 That is a quite rare species Pelagonium next to it...I cant remember it's name ..but it has a flower that smells like nail varnish remover I was told at the Penzance Cactus Show , where I bought it has since flowered ( green ! ) and do you know really does ! Extraordinary !

 Other things growing through the Winter months right now are this Tylecodon wallichii ..... Those green leaves will drop off and it will go dormant through the Summer  just leaving that peculiar stump of a stem . It is leaning towards the light .I daren't put it any closer to the window , where it would be too cold for it .

 ......and this Dioscoria elephantipes ( so called on account of it's caudex looking like an elephant's foot ) .
 I think this is now about to die back and become dormant  ... I have  just noticed that the leaves are a little bit spotted and ..aah..I think it has been dripped on from the leaking roof . I have moved it over and put that old washing up bowl there to catch the water . I'll take a closer look at it tomorrow , if it has become too wet I might bring him indoors and put him on a warm windowsill to dry out .
 Whatd'ya think ?

 Outside , I took the cover off this very young Agave this morning ,otherwise it would get too hot under it's cloche .
 Actually I have just covered it  up again for the night .

 This Agave is not doing very well because I have not been covering it ....tomorrow I will be looking for another cloche for it  , or I will dig him up and bring him under cover for the winter .
  Agaves can take quite a bit of cold , but do not like getting wet . There are slabs of rock around these to drain away the rain and older plants cope much better , I think this one is going to be dug up and given a bit of pampering .

 Look at this pot of Snap-Dragons ! This is very much a typically  English Summer time plant ! 
 Tomorrow I will take a look to see if there are any signs of the Snowdrops coming up  .
 I don't think it will be so cold tonight .
So tomorrow , check the Snowdrops , dig up Agave and hopefully show you the Marlothistella uniondalensis with  fully opened daisy flowers !

Wednesday 27 December 2017

The Cactus House Lantern

 So here's one of two Lanterns that I use up in the Cactus greenhouse . Tonight I,ve lit two 8 hour should take the edge off the cold .
 I have a pile of newspapers that I throw over everything over night and insulation foil stuff that is unrolled over the rafters to trap in the warmth that has built up during the day .
 I also have a couple of those car sun screens along the North side of the greenhouse . I use polystyrene sheets or blocks that I have saved from packaging to stand the most tender plants on .... I need more !  Send them round to me if you have any to spare..don't throw them away !
  There is a bucket of water that has also heated up during the day giving out heat at night . Last year I had a bucket of  sheep droppings which also gave off some heat..and didn't smell as bad as you'd think !
 I,m more worried about the water coming in from somewhere on the roof..cant figure out where its coming in ...I think maybe the wind was blowing it through  the window hinges on one roof window . Anyway there's nothing underneath it now .

 The weather report say it will be a clear sky the temperature is going to drop during the night .
 Brrrr it's cosy warm pyjamas and an old hot water bottle for me !

Meanwhile up in the Veg Garden ....

 We,ve had a very windy night and heavy rain ... but the sun did make an appearance and I thought take that opportunity to wrap up warm and venture out to check my greenhouse hadn't blown away .
 On the way up I can see that I,m going to have to replace the windbreak mesh that I had sewn on to the fence that surrounds the vegetable garden .  Especially behind the Labyrinth ...I am also going to plant something along there that will look nicer too , although I do like that I can see through the mesh across the meadow ..hmmm ... will have to have another think about that ...but that windbreak is so important to shelter my veg beds .

 The VegTrug is full of goodies , but we're in for a cold clear night sky tonight so I have put on the plastic cloche cover and fastened it down with some of those metal tent pegs and some bricks .

                                           That looks so much better !

                                      Lettuces , onions , kale, cabbages .

Oh dear ! The greenhouse is leaking ! I,m not sure where it's coming in either !
 Anyway , So I tipped that water away , moved a whole lot of precious cacti and put a bowl under the place where I suspect it is coming in .

 I have covered over the more tender Cacti with newspaper to keep them warm over night . I will pop in again later on with two 8 hour candles to take the edge off the cold and everything should be fine . I will uncover in the morning .

In my husband's solar shed , the Gete okosomin is just fine..the two little ones have begun to turn black , I will throw these on the compost heap .The seeds I am sharing will be from that big one !

 This is the awesome no dig keyhole bed that I made over the last year and a half.
This is the basket in the middle , the watering hole that , has a large bucket/tub with holes in the bottom .....this was brilliant for getting the water deep down into the earth and around the roots kept the whole thing cool and moist .
If you are in a really hot zone , or if there were drought conditions , you could weave a simple shade with sticks or straw ,to go over the top of this basket to help prevent evaporation .

 I did cover this now empty bed over with cardboard ..but it has blown away ,so I will have to start again..remember to weight it down with rocks ...note to self !!!

( For those who can see fairy spirits .. there's one in the middle of this photograph !   Can you see her ?  ..yes !....For those that can' will just look like a pink orb ! )  :)

Here's another no dig /lasagna bed being prepared for the next veg growing season .

I know all that cardboard and sludgy seaweed , newspapers and manure looks untidy to some..but it keeps down the weeds...cuts down on digging...and improves the earth and feeds the good worms ...and grows great vegetables !

 This bed has next season's onions, a leek soon to be taken and put into a meal .
I,m also trying to get perennial kale growing .

  The Tetrapanax papyrifer rex  is not really enjoying the winter ...but will revive in the Spring .

                                                   Lots of Leeks .

      Leeks are so useful and stand the cold very well and we love them !

                                           We use lots of Kale too .

                     The odd Nasturtium still flowering and romping away .

                                         A few Roses to surprise me !

               Brrrr.......time to go in..I'll just  top up the bird feeders  .

 What ?  No peanuts ? !   So expensive ...but the birds give me so much pleasure from my kitchen windowsill ..o.k..We're wrapping up warm again and off to the shops to buy some more .   Byeeeeee !

Monday 25 December 2017

Christmas Day Mullion

 Our Christmas mass , yesterday evening at St Michael's Church Mullion ,was beautiful .
   Thankyou to Father David for coming and standing in for our dear Father James who was called back to Buckfast Abbey .
  Our church was full of cheerful people and we put out the hymn books and sang for the first time in ages !  We should put the hymn books out more often !

Today my husband is still poorly with a very bad cold , but we did venture out to take the dog for a walk along the cliffs and get some fresh air and watch the waves , before the rain came in and quite strong gales .

We have postponed Christmas lunch until husband feels well enough to enjoy it .
 Going to curl up in my armchair and read my seed catalogues . Plan what I,m going to grow next year up in the veg garden .
 We will be using the Okosomin Squashes in the next few weeks and I will sort and send out those precious seeds to those who asked me for them .  I haven't forgotten you ! :)
 I just hope there are lots of seeds inside when I crack it open !

Thursday 14 December 2017

Happy Christmas

                 Wishing everyone a very happy  and peaceful Christmas !

If you are in the area then please come along and join us at our little church ...St Michael's  Roman Catholic Church Mullion .
 We have just heard from Father James Courtney , that we will be celebrating
Christmas Midnight Mass at 6pm on Christmas Eve .

Sunday mass is at the usual time of 11am on Sunday Christmas Eve .
We are having our Midnight Christmas mass at the earlier time of 6pm on Christmas Eve .

Tuesday 12 December 2017

One Very Happy Cactus !

Looking much happier today with a nice mulch of  Marazion beach shingle .

 Made up a wreath for our church grotto .... sore a bit of flower arranging wire stuck in one of my fingers too ....ugh !

Sunday 10 December 2017

Cactus Rescue

                                                What's in the box ?
Well the day took a funny turn ....I felt better...but my poor husband developed a nasty abscess on one of his teeth .... so we had to cancel going to the Christingle service at St Grada church and go to the Helston Cottage Hospital instead  ..anyway to cut a long story short ..the abscess  burst and he is feeling a bit better now .
      Not long after we got  home my good friend came round to see how I was and to give me her beautiful Christingle orange and to tell me how the service went ..I hope I can go next year sounds really lovely !
 Anyway , earlier this morning at our church , she had given my husband this huge cactus , which had once belonged to a dear ol' green-fingered friend of hers who had recently passed away .
 The greenhouse was to be dismantled and another friend , Doug , rescued it ...worrying about it being left outside in the cold wind and rain ..but he was worried about the condition it was in...well she told him that I might know  and took it and gave it to my husband who gave it to me when he got home from the morning service at our church . was very loose and wobbly , which is why we put it into this cardboard box , to prevent it from falling out of the pot , while it was in the back of the car see it was at that moment that we had to dash off to the hospital ! 
             Are you still with me ? lol !

So this evening I decided that I,d get it out of the box and see what needs to be done .

I love cacti and have quite a collection both up in the greenhouse and on every windowsill in the cottage .  I try to remember what they all are and keep them properly labelled .

 I am not sure what this cactus is and would be really grateful  if anyone could identify it for me .
 I was told that it flowered regularly every year..but I should have asked..and will ask my friend if she knows what colour the flowers are ?

 Some of the roots have come away, but I think there is still enough of the root system to keep it alive  .

                                             What do you think ?

How old would you think it is ? I,m guessing about twenty-five years or maybe more .

 I have put it temporarily into this nice new terracotta pot and put back into it the soil that it was planted with in the old pot .
 The earth had a delicious sweet patchouli like scent's good earth !
  I will go to the garden centre tomorrow and pick up a bag of cactus compost to fill it up a little more mixed with horticultural grit and top it off with a nice thick layer of more horticultural grit  for drainage and also to steady it a little while it recovers and puts down new roots . 
 I wont water it until the spring , there will be just the slight moisture that will be in the new cactus compost , but that's all .
  So it's an emergency dash to the Trevena Cross Nursery Breage tomorrow ..that's my excuse anyway ! :) (....unless we have to dash to the dentist that is !)