Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Sunday 28 September 2008


Filed under: Conifers,Pelargoniums,Progress — Helen @ 3:13 pm

The past two weeks have been exceptionally fine and sunny, with hardly any rain. I have had six stints at the conifer excavation site, each lasting about one and a half hours, and after all this work I have removed two of the trunks. After cutting through the biggest roots, I pushed the tree over in several directions until the rest of the roots snapped or were exposed enough for me to see them and snip through them.

Removal of first conifer

Removal of first conifer

It is then necessary to dig a bit deeper to remove the snapped off roots to enough depth to give the new resident of the hole plenty of room to grow. Well, probably it is. I’m not taking any chances, as I do not intend to be replacing the next lot of conifers.

Roots exposed after Saturday\'s stint of digging

Roots exposed after Saturday's stint of digging

I took the two photographs above yesterday, but this morning I made some more progress. I dug up the conifer next to the one I took out on Saturday. This involved sawing through one root with my lovely chipboard saw, which was a Christmas present from my parents in 1987. I did not use the scary Alligator because it was only about nine o’clock on Sunday morning and I thought it might be a bit noisy, and I didn’t want to get mud in its teeth from the dirty root, not because I was too scared of it. It’s a perfectly safe tool if used sensibly.

I have given the potted plants their third dose of Wilkinson’s Wonder Gro, so that should keep them quiet until March. I think I will have to give them some more Vine Weevil killer too as it is only supposed to last for four months. Perhaps I can do that on Monday, which is forecast to be another fine day. It will make a change from digging.

On Friday I took some cuttings of my pelargoniums very badly. According to Gardeners’ World shown that very evening, I should use a knife sharp enough to dig into my thumbnail, choose non-flowering stems, and put the cuttings round the edge of a pot, using compost with bits of grit in it. Instead, I snapped the cuttings off without using any weapons, not caring about whether the break was particularly near a nodule in the stem or not, pulled off the lower leaves, and put them in B&Q stem and cutting compost, on special offer last spring. I put each one in a separate pot. Out of my seven cuttings, six were flowering or in bud. I have put them on a sunny, cold windowsill. (The windowsill is cold because it is in a room I hardly ever heat, and it’s now cold enough to need heating in the mornings and evenings). Let’s see what happens. My hypothesis is that taking pelargonium cuttings is so easy that even if you do it very badly, they will succeed. If I am wrong, and I don’t realise they are dead until the frost kills the pelargoniums outside, it doesn’t matter because I have a plant growing indoors and can take some cuttings off that in the proper manner. I will, of course, report the outcome honestly in this blog.

Very badly taken pelargonium cuttings

Very badly taken pelargonium cuttings


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