Monday 31 July 2017

Impatiens tinctoria

                                                     Impatiens tinctoria
 I just love this plant ! It's natural habitat is beside streams  in cooler more forested regions of  central Africa .
  Here in my garden it grows very well in clumps , without becoming a thug .
The flowers are just delightful and always draw attention . It is a perennial  too surprisingly dies down when the frosts come ( and we hardly get any here in Mullion Cornwall ) and comes up again in the spring . I would think in other parts of the U.K it would be an idea to give it a good mulch over winter . I always take cuttings ..which easily root in a jar of water a, pot them up and keep them over winter in my greenhouse .
 They do have large tubers.. I have not tried dividing these ,but I don't see any reason why that wouldn't work too . Anyone tried dividing the tubers ? Why bother when cuttings in water take so easily !
  Sweetly scented too . Ask if you want a piece .  It is my plant of the week !

Sunday 30 July 2017

Bye Bye Blackbirds

                                                   Mother Blackbird ( Birdie )
 Introducing my resident Blackbird family if you haven't met them before on my blog .
That's Birdie up on top , She's been here for many years and this year strangely lost her feathers on her head and hurt one of her feet , we think maybe she got caught by a cat , but  she got away and is just fine apart from that .
I didn't think she'd find a birdy boy to love her , but she did ! And they had two beautiful babies .

I have really enjoyed watching her little family and because she trusts me , she allowed me to get close to take photographs .

                          Here's the Papa Blackbird..he is a very handsome boy !

They have hopped about where ever I am in the garden , sometimes they come to my kitchen for grapes , but while digging I have thrown slugs , snails and they dive in and pull out grubs and other insects ....I made sure the bird baths were full and they had plenty of fresh water to drink .

 We have a pile of old decomposing woodchips and rotting logs , during the heatwave I forked it over so that they could find food to feed the young fledglings .

                                                   Plenty of food in there !

                      I turned over one of the rotting logs to reveal a large ants nest !

 The eggs were huge and Birdie danced about trying to avoid being stung by the ants , whilst grabbing those fat ant eggs .

Later on I noticed that each of the parent birds took charge of one each of the fledglings .

         I can already see that one of the fledglings is much darker than the other .

 This photo shows it better . You can already see that one is a male and the other a female .

                                        Plenty of fruit about now in the bushes .

 But alas ! Since this last weekend they have all disappeared .End of July . This is the time that they keep hidden while they are moult and grow new feathers . They are still there , just keeping a very , very low profile down under bushes ..especially while that Sparrow Hawk is hanging around!

                                                         Sparrow Hawk

I do hope that Birdie gets some new feathers on her head ! She deserves a rest now after all her hard work raising those two hungry babies .

 Hey ! I told you that the sun would come out !  Have a happy and blessed Sunday  .

Saturday 29 July 2017

1st Pollination of Gete -okosomin Squash flowers by hand

 Up at 6am to get to the freshly opened flowers before the bees . I,m quite sure that the bees are still in bed , it has been raining all night and still very overcast now .

Pollination -the act of transferring pollen grains from a male anther of a flower to a female flower stigma .  This I did with a cotton bud stick . you can see the flowers and the pollen are very wet from the rain I,m not sure this is going to work .
 Does it work if the pollen is wet ? I dont know ?
 I went out into the veg garden later on , around 10am and repeated this . I got more pollen this time round .
 I also untied the twine on the other female flower and pollinated that one too .
By the way , you can do this with your Courgettes and cucumbers , Pumpkins and other types of Squashes too . I,m just trying to keep the seeds from this Gete -okosomin squash fruits pure and not cross with any other of those above .
 I cant believe how fast this plant is growing now ..I usually have my Butternut Squashes growing on a large piece of pig-wire leaning on two large Hazel supporting sticks/rods , but last year I grew the Giant Pink Banana Squash and It was far better trailing about on the ground ,with the fruit resting on a stool and eventually getting to a very large size  . This Gete -okosomin Squash is a similar size beast . I planted it on the south side of the , I,m sure now familiar to you " Pumpkin bed " and it has turned to grow firstly to the rising sun in the East and now heading to the North side . It is indeed circling the central watering basket ! I am pushing in sticks to keep it in place and steady in the wind and rain that we're having at the moment .
 The Cherokee Purple Tomato plants ..two of them have become enormous ! Far bigger than the ones in my greenhouse and they are scrabbling , quite rampantly and greedily towards and even into the watering basket . They are covered with flowers .
 Well , it has been raining for most of the day . We visited Steve at Lower Kenneggy Garden Nurseries and Trevena Cross Nurseries , bought more plants , walked the dog in the rain , hot chocolate in Tescos , came home and got the fire going in the wood burning stove . It's still only July and it feels like Autumn !
The rain is thundering down again as I write this .... I think it is back to sunshine and showers again tomorrow here in Mullion  .
 I,m praying for some sunshine now , to make the flowers open , pollen dry and the bees sing again ..although  ....just not near this Squash plant !
         Fingers crossed ! On a more happier note , I received my Romneya coulteri"Califoronian Tree Poppy seeds from Nigel Dodds of Kykeon happy ! He even slipped in a free packet of mixed Poppy Seeds ! Nigel sells lots of different Poppy seeds ---
 Brilliant ! Made my day ! Thanks Nigel ! :)
 Sorry to those of you who are on holiday here at the moment , it is not very good weather for building sandcastles on the beach  is it ? !!

  Everybody join in and sing with Mummabear .......

                               " The sun 'll come out ..tomorrow .
                              Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow.
                                          There'll be sun ! "     :)

Friday 28 July 2017

Maybe tomorrow .....

                                    Yep !'s another Gete -okosomin update !
           We,ve had a few rain showers and it has made such a difference . Well maybe not the sweetcorn , but the kale , Cherokee Purple tomatoes , Gete -okosomin Squash and a few nicotiana plants are all really doing well .
We had a problem in that the squash was only producing female flowers ..and then a few male flowers appeared..but seemed very reluctant to open their petals .

                       Female Gete-okosomin Squash flower bud with immature fruit .
This evening I ventured out into a warm , foggy Mullion evening , typical for this time of the year , and found that we have two female buds and one male about ready to open . I think maybe tomorrow morning .

                                       Male Gete-okosomin Squash flower bud .

There is another female flower which I tied with soft twine to prevent the bees getting in to it .

 Here is the female flower tied with soft  twine ...hopefully I will be able to pollinate these two female flowers tomorrow .....and breathe a big sigh of relief !
Anyway, other news , keep an eye  out for the Sparrow Hawk flying around our way in Mullion , at the moment . At least ..I think it is a Sparrow Hawk..please let me know if you think it is something else , I,m not an expert and would love to know for sure .
 I began taking photos from the kitchen window after my husband called me "Quickly come and see this !"
I took a couple of  photos indoors , then , quietly ...managed to sneak out side and get surprisingly close to it .

    My heart pounding  all the turned and looked at me and flew away !

Poor pigeon ..he was still alive ! He flew into the bushes and I just left him there to hopefully recover from his terrifying ordeal . I needed a cup of tea after that too !

 More rain coming our way tonight , will make the job of weeding easier tomorrow .

Thursday 6 July 2017

Gete -okosomin first flower !

Delighted to see my Gete -okosomin plant has a flower coming !
  Its a female flower though and unfortunately there are no male flowers to pollinate it with yet .

Female flower has an immature fruit behind it .
Male flower is just a flower on a long thin stalk .

 If you only have male flowers , these can be picked and saved in a jar of water in the fridge for a few days , until you have a female flower to pollinate .

 Sadly this female flower and fruit will just drop off if left unpollinated ....sigh I,m hoping for lots more flowers to come .

The watering basket in the middle of the Pumpkin bed is such a great idea , because the water goes straight down to the roots of the plants and the surface remains dry , which discourages the slugs and snails , who prefer a nice wet surface to slither along on .
 It is so hot again !  I need it to rain arms are getting longer and aching from carrying watering can about !

                                      Birdie is very busy feeding her two babies .

                                 She lets me get quite close with my camera too !