Thursday 23 March 2017

Banana plants - Spring

We took a ride over to Hayle Plants to collect a couple of baby Banana plug plants that I,d bought online , actually I bought them from Plantaholics but I was to collect them from Hayle Plants next door....anyway very excited .. as it is always been closed whenever we,ve tried  to visit .

  Blue sky..we've had some squalls ,hail and thunder , it is still a little blustery , but brightening up now .

  It was a lovely drive ..all the daffodil fields are looking so beautiful right now .

We found the place , its quite close to the Golf Club,where my husband likes to practice on the driving range . I usually sit doing my embroidery in the car while waiting for him , but now I can come and look at the plants and get ideas for the garden .

They are very busy filling up the main huge greenhouse with lots of beautiful plants .
 I  love the succulents ..unfortunately the one I would have liked was not for sale ..but Bess told me they will be bringing more in and maybe they'll have that one .

A couple more photos of this splendid greenhouse ...just give me a deckchair and I could sit here quite happily all day ..lovely and warm ... aaah  .

My two Musa Basjoo Banana babies ,were actually quite big and very healthy looking specimens .

I grew one from seed about twenty years ago , it grew very big and I eventually planted it outside . After three years though it began to dwindle away and last Autumn I decided to dig it up and give it some more intensive care and pampering .

Here it is , it is putting up a new shoot now . I just cant remember which variety of Banana it was . I really would like to have a clump of Bananas in my garden  and Musa Basjoo is the one that does best here in Cornwall  . It is known to be the hardiest one .

 The rest of the day I spent potting these little ones up and tidying up my big old Musa Ensete  maureii red banana  . This is such a beautiful banana plant, but not very hardy , not even here in Cornwall , this one should always be dragged into a shelter zone for the Winter .     ( By the way , I,m talking Cornwall England here , not Cornwall in Canada ...who are having some really cold and wet weather at the moment !  Hi ! Cornwall in Canada ! )

                   Musa Ensete maurelii red banana - before and after its tidy up .
In the Autumn , when I drag it in ,I dont take any of the compost off, I dont disturb the roots at all . I dont cut any of it's leaves off . Some of the outer leaves go crispy and that is fine . I dont water at all through the winter .
 Today I have taken off a few of the crispy leaves , but not all of them , see my picture above . There is a lovely new leaf coming up and beginning to unfurl .
I scraped off some of the old compost on top and refreshed with some multipurpose compost . I ,m thinking about to planting it outside into the ground , but that wont be  for a few weeks yet .Its either that or it should really go into a bigger pot  .
 Here is a slideshow of how I brought it in for the Winter a couple of years ago .

                    I pulled off a couple of those shoots and potted them up .

I also put fresh compost in that time, as the plastic container was much bigger than the original pot .
  Hope the slide show works or I'll have to come back and re-edit this !

Monday 20 March 2017

First Day of Spring 2017

 It is officially the first day of Spring and we have pulled the garden table and chairs out of the garage . After about fifteen minutes of fiddling about , we finally remember how to pull open those chairs without getting our fingers caught.....except for one chair ...which is well and truly stuck !

Sunday 12 March 2017

Gravel Garden + Agave update

I made the gravel area of my garden about 15 years ago ..and landscape weed membrane has lasted very well.  It makes a pleasant interlude for the eye as you look around the garden . It is a nice place to sit  and we have a seat here . A gravel bed/garden needs to be raked often to stop weeds germinating ...I like to rake patterns in the gravel and keep it looking nice everyday .
However I wasn't able to keep up with it while poorly the last two years , the leaves fell from the trees, people walked on it with mud on their boots , the wildflowers crept in and  well nothing  lasts  forever . The big Agave potatorum which flowered three years ago , I had cut down it's flower mast after it had gone to seed and I had expected it to die....hasn't died ...and I thought I,d wait and see what it might do after cutting off the flower spire .
Would it die ? Would it carry on growing ?  Well , it has pretty much remained in a static state , doesn't look to be fading away , but not growing either .

                                The weeds crept in around it ....sigh....brambles too .
                                       Time to do something about it .

 After four days of heavy drifting fog ,the sun has at last returned  . I found a comfortable flat slab of rock to sit on and with the sun warm on my back and bucket at my side , I must have spent a good hour taking away all the rocks and pulling out weeds .

            There were even snails in there hibernating underneath those spiky leaves  .

I pulled off the very lowest leaves that came away easily and left the one you can see here. There is beauty in them too . They actually go hard and crispy and shelter the ground underneath and around the plant . The rocks that I put around the Agave soak up the heat from the sun all day and pulse it out again during the night and help shed the rain away from the roots . I also put a big cloche cover over it , on cold ,wet days and especially during the winter months . See the first picture  of the cloche cover . It is more the wet that kills them than the cold .

                     Then look what I found ! A baby Agave ! So it is still growing !

 Usually I take these off from the mother plant , leave to dry off for a couple of days and pot up in gritty compost .

 I decide to leave this one on for a bit longer and remove it when it is a little bigger and has better roots . I put some earth around it , a hand full of sharp gravel and returned some rocks to protect it .

I put back the large rocks hands aching and sore... it is going to be very cold tonight after such a lovely day of sunshine and clear blue sky . I put on the cloche cover and weight it down with more rocks .

 Such a lovely day..... I get cleaned up and we take the dog for her walk along the cliffs.

                                            We sit and watch the waves .
I have a few other young Agave plants waiting up in my greenhouse to replace this one when it finally goes .
               Hope you had a lovely Sunday ....I will dream of Agaves tonight .

Sunday 5 March 2017

Gool Peran Lowen !

                                                Dydh da ....Gool Peran Lowen !
                  Which is Cornish for Hello or Good day ......Happy St Piran's Feast day !
The flags are proudly flying through Mullion village and up on the tower of St Mellanus Church Mullion . Have a lovely day all !

Saturday 4 March 2017

Walking the Dog

 After a chaotic morning of doing "Saturday morning things" , we decided to take what turned out to be an exhilarating walk up to and along the cliffs behind Lower Predannack Farm and Windy Ridge ..Mullion .
 Good idea to wear wellies here , sometimes cattle and horse droppings  , usually muddy , splishy splashy squelchy , but always a fun and breathtaking walk , when you finally arrive at the top of the cliffs to see the wild waves crashing down below and the wind in your hair to blow all your cares away.

  An arm full of kindling to get the wood burning stove going when we get home .

                                                      One tired little dog .

"Saturday morning things" list.....the plumber calling to fix and service the broken central heating and hot water boiler .
 Sunday mass which is now  10am on SATURDAYS here at St Michael's Church Mullion our church  has not closed .... then we go straight off to ....
 Helston Town to go to the library collect reserved books and get general shopping .
 Home for bite to eat and check on tomato seedlings , greenhouse , sow some Silver Fox Digitalis seeds . Husband cleans windows !!!
Drive to Mullion post office to post letters .
Drive around the village admiring all Cornish flags flying for tomorrows St Piran's Day .
Then off for dog walk .
 Husband cooking dinner , I wash up , put my feet up and do some embroidery.....early night .

Friday 3 March 2017

March already and World Book Day !

Yesterday was World Book Day- children dressing up as favourite characters from books and receiving  book vouchers ,to encourage them to love reading  :) Everyone talking about their favourite books ......well here's the pile of books I,ve brought home with me from the library this week . As usual quite a mix..... Danish embroidery , botanical water colour painting  , archaeology , Japanese patchwork and applique  , The Monastery Vegetarian Cookbook   Simply Heavenly ! by Abbot George Burke and a beautiful old book , Silence in Heaven by Thomas Merton for some gentle spiritual meditation and reflection for Lent .


This book Creating a Forest Garden by Martin Crawford is top of my list at the moment . It surprised me , since it is really is  how I have always gardened ..only he does it better !

 I pricked out the tiny Cherokee  Purple Tomato seedlings and took them out of my warm kitchen and into my husbands shed with the big sloping window so lots of light .

 My leek seeds are germinating  and I was surprised to see how the  tiny Babbington Leek bulbils have sprung up . I took the bulbils from a clump that I have in my garden . They have moved house with us several times. Originally coming from down Angrouse Lane here in Mullion , where they grew on my ancient Cornish hedge alongside our 400 year old thatch cottage . They taste leeky /garlicky .
  I also grow Amish and Egyptian walking onions , sometimes I have a few bulbils to share .

                                           Cornish Wild Leeks / Babbington Leeks .

                                                         Poldhu Cove .

 I have been trying to find Daubentons Kale ...a perenniel kale and was very kindly given some by a fellow gardener on Allotments4all .I am so grateful and really would like to return the favour . Ah..I didn't put a picture on of that ..I,ll post a picture of that one next time .
 It is very important to keep these simple ,old and once dependable varieties of perennial vegetables going in our home vegetable gardens .
  I bought a variegated form of it from Alison Tindale at The Backyard Larder .

It arrived so beautifully packed with shredded seed catalogues ..yes I found myself reading them ... Then quickly got to potting it up.  Actually both the cuttings I received , I will bring on  for a little while in pots , before planting out .  They revived very quickly from parcel to pot .
   The new pumpkin/squash bed ......
                                          ..........I,m going to grow something really special this year  ,  from seeds a blogging friend  has kindly sent me .

The new Pumpkin bed is really coming along now, so much good earth for so little effort .
 We have had quite a bit of rain and the earth is soft . It is a "no dig" bed and a "not too much walking on" bed either, but I gently and very easily turned it over yesterday afternoon and am amazed at the number of earth worms amongst it all . It is the worms that are doing all the hard work .


               Lastly my favourite Camellia "Water lily " with its pretty pointed petals .