Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Saturday 6 August 2011

Feedback from friends

Filed under: Front garden,Pond,Progress — Helen @ 4:34 pm

The wisteria is once again becoming wisterical.

The wisteria going wisterical, as usual

The wisteria going wisterical, as usual

So I pruned it.

Wisteria less wisterical than before

Wisteria less wisterical than before

I know what the books say about pruning wisteria – you have to do it twice a year, in July/August and January, and you have to cut x amount off each soft traily bit leaving y leaves still on there, and then it flowers. These instructions are clearly written by people without burglar alarm boxes and drainpipes. The only pruning instruction that my wisteria understands is, “Cut off as much as you can without falling off the ladder”. I am still waiting for the part of the process where it flowers.

A kind friend said that in the recent Willowherb Elimination Stakes he was rooting for the willowherb, describing it as “attractive and the way the seeds unpeel is nice (and it is, of course, free and very low maintenance)”. Low maintenance is a good way of describing a plant that needs no encouragement. Maybe next year the willowherb and I will have come to an arrangement where we can live together in harmony.

Another kind friend warned me that I had a demon in the Temporary Pond. I had noticed it had been getting somewhat overgrown, but I am used to having to pull out great handfuls of the pondweed from time to time.

Overgrown pond with pontederia cordata (nice plant) in flower

Overgrown pond with pontederia cordata (nice plant) in flower

She identified my demon as Crassula helmskii, aka New Zealand Pygmyweed. The RHS and other highly respected organisations have terrible things to say about it, mainly because it is an invasive non-native species. I have no idea whether this is the pondweed I originally bought in 1996 or whether it hitched a lift into my pond and took over from what I intended to have. However, in a small pond it requires little maintenance – just five minutes a month in the peak growing season to rip out a few handfuls and compost them after leaving them by the side of the pond for a few days for things to crawl out. And it IS a good oxygenator, and the pond has always been very healthy with the weed in it.

Crassula helmsii or New Zealand Pygmyweed

Crassula helmsii or New Zealand Pygmyweed

So I am not going to attempt to eradicate the demon, but I may consider using a different type of pondweed if I ever get the two official ponds up and running.

I have been engaged in the pleasurable but demanding task of eating all the Discovery apples before they go off – they do not store well. I don’t know what they are like when cooked, but it seems a waste to cook them when they taste so divine raw. After I’ve finished with them, I have Charles Ross to contend with. It is a shame that both my apple trees have chosen odd years to bear their maximum fruit load, but perhaps when I move them, one of them will be upset enough to start producing in even years.

And finally… I notice that WordPress is now inserting pictures where I want them, instead of automatically putting them at the beginning of the article and expecting me to cut and paste them. I do not know whether this is because I have a new version of WordPress or because I sacked Internet Explorer 9 (it’s unbelievably slow and crashes even more often than Internet Explorer 8, which is saying something) and installed Google Chrome.

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