Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Sunday 23 August 2009

Incorrect flowering

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 4:16 pm

I can’t complain about the recent weather, but the autumn term is fast approaching. This means I have to prepare for the new season of tutoring. This does not just involve looking at some textbooks and exam papers; it means filling up the freezer with meals in square pots because when I am tutoring there is no time to cook. So I have been busy, and the garden has been lucky to have had its lawn mowed.

This morning I still didn’t do any gardening, but I did a quick survey of my plants to see which ones knew what they were doing. Here are the results:

Kerria (supposed to flower in April)

Kerria (clueless plant. Supposed to flower in April).

Hibiscus Blue Bird (supposed to flower in summer. Correct. Well done, plant).

Hibiscus Blue Bird (supposed to flower in summer. Correct. Well done, plant).

Primula or Polyanthus. Supposed to flower in spring. Totally confused.

Primula or Polyanthus. Supposed to flower in spring. Totally confused.

Rose. Supposed to flower in June, but August is near enough.

Rose. Supposed to flower in June, but August is near enough. (Note added 06 September 2009: this rose is called 'Mischief' and is an offspring of 'Fragrant Cloud').

I also had an attempted flowering incident from a rhododendron (two blooms), and my Viola Magnifico from Morrison’s has been flowering ever since it seeded itself into two of my pots of thuja.

It’s probably wrong of me to criticise my plants when I had a totally indulgent afternoon of wandering around other people’s gardens instead of putting mine to rights. I went to Windmill House, which was hosting an open afternoon in aid of the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice. The main strengths of the garden were the mature trees and shrubs. There were lots of lavenders and heathers, which I took careful note of because I want to use heathers and other plants in the area between my greenhouse and the thuja. However, on the minus side, they had wasted an awful lot of space by putting a tennis court in the garden. One of my neighbours was out watering her garden as I walked by on my return from Windmill House, and she invited me in to see her back garden, which I have never seen before. None of her garden is wasted. It’s all plants, and exciting ones too, like figs and orange trees and all sorts of exotic plants which I have never seen before. They go into the conservatory for winter. There are criss-crossing paths to take you between the plants (one has to breathe in) and no lawn and definitely no tennis courts. I think it was a good thing for me to spend time seeing these gardens instead of weeding because it’s very important to have lots of Motivation and Inspiration when working on a Garden Renovation Project.

The nonsense spam comments (see last post) are still coming in. It was almost a relief for me to get some spam from a German pornography site because at least it was genuine spam.


Sunday 9 August 2009

Summer trickles by

Filed under: Front garden,Progress — Helen @ 10:51 am

As the wet weather continues, perfectly synchronised to my available days, I have realised that no more progress is likely to be made until September. I still need to cut the grass, pull up the weeds, feed the plants and clear up after the cats, and there is hardly any time left after doing these maintenance tasks.

However, sometimes I realise that a planned task doesn’t need to be done just yet. For example, I was thinking that I had better prune my hibiscus, which I grew from seed about 13 years ago, and which is partly blocking the path to my house. (The photograph is taken from the side; the house behind the shrub is my neighbour’s). The tree to the left of the hibiscus is the Magnolia Grandiflora that I also grew from seed about 13 years ago.

This hibiscus needs pruning - but not just yet

This hibiscus needs pruning - but not just yet

Then one of my few clients over the summer made some admiring comments, and I realised that pruning the hibiscus now was a pretty stupid idea. I will wait until it finishes flowering.

The deadline for my preparatory work before calling the landscapers in is the beginning of December. If August is a wipe-out, that still leaves me with three months to do the work, and at that time of year there should be less maintenance work needed. So it’s not a lost cause yet. At work this week I had my appraisal, and despite the fact that my manager has read some of my blog, she still set me some objectives, in the apparent belief that I would get them done. So at least she still has faith in me.

I have been receiving some rather odd spam comments in the past couple of weeks. They are all from random-looking usernames, such as qjoowtuh, rrgmecvum and zxabxdare. The comments themselves are like the usernames, and they point to web addresses that don’t exist, like http://ccfzjldvbfjz.com. (It is not a good idea to put a spammer’s web address into your browser to find out whether it exists or not, but you can visit http://downforeveryoneorjustme.com/ and type the address into their box, which as far as I know is a perfectly safe way of finding whether a site exists or not). When I get a spam comment, I normally add the IP to my blocked list, but these all come from different IPs, which makes me think they are faked or belong to PCs in a botnet. What really gets me about this spam is that I can’t see what the purpose of it is. If anyone has any ideas about what the spammers are trying to do, I would be interested to hear them.

And finally, one of my water butts has sprung a leak. At first I thought it must be coming from the tap, but when I looked closer I saw that there was a very small crack in the plastic quite near the bottom. The water will be under high pressure there most of the time, and I am wondering what I can do about it. I might be able to paint some kind of sealant on it. I will have a look in B&Q.