Helen's Garden Renovation Project

Thursday 21 June 2012

Sour cherries

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 1:48 pm

The rain continues, and I have not been able to repair the shallow pond yet. Maybe we will get a boiling hot October again and I can do it then.

Meanwhile, everything keeps growing, and the Plan is going to have to adapt itself to another new arrival – a Morello Cherry, which was a very kind leaving present from the parents of one of my students. I took a few photographs of myself with it, and chose the one that was most flattering to the tree, not to me.

Left to right: Cherry tree; me

Left to right: Cherry tree; me

I had been thinking about how much I would like a cherry tree that did fruit I could eat instead of just flowers and leaves, and suddenly I have one. I think I will put it at the right hand side of the garden, near the blackberries, or possibly in the front garden. It claims to be capable of reaching a height of 4-5 m, so it will be bigger than the apple trees, but not too enormous. And anyway, I can always prune it. The label has a knife and fork sign with “July. Aug.” next to it, but I think if I make the cherries into cherry ice cream I’ll probably eat them with a spoon. I have put the cherry tree into one of my square plastic pots with lots of organic compost.

I decided that the Phormiums had probably rotted away, and threw one of them into the soil mine, but as I was about to pick up the other one, I noticed it had a couple of tiny green shoots. So I put two bits of path under the pot so that the next ten days’ rainfall will drain away, and maybe it will survive. I put the five pots that contain bulbs aside, as they don’t need to be watered this summer. So I have gained one pot and lost six.

Pot count 58. Very good.


Tuesday 5 June 2012

Who’s been eating my pond plants?

Filed under: Pond,Progress — Helen @ 10:29 am

I have, I think, partly solved the mystery of why my Callitriche (starwort) and Hottonia (water violet) have failed to thrive. Something has eaten them. This thing has also taken chunks out of the Myosotis palustris, Ranunculus aquatilis and Veronica beccabunga. It hasn’t touched the Myriophyllum crispatum or the Equisetum japonicum. I am at a loss to work out what it could be, as the plants are far enough from the edge not to be in danger from land snails. I have seen pond skaters, but they eat insects. And of course, newts are also carnivorous, catching most of their prey on land. So I am completely baffled about what is eating the plants.

I think the problem is that the pond is out of balance. There is not much plant matter in there yet, and so it’s easy for whatever is eating them to eat the lot. I am hoping that the Myriophyllum and the Ranunculus will survive long enough to grow very big and healthy and oxygenate the pond themselves. If not, then the best thing is probably to buy a large quantity of oxygenators cheaply from a mail order company, and put them all in at once so that they can’t all get eaten.

The peony has no buds on it, and so I don’t think it will flower this summer. On Gardeners’ World, Monty Don said that peonies hold a grudge against being moved and can refuse to flower even three or four years after being moved. Since I moved it in 2007, and it has flowered at least twice since then, I think the time for it to register a protest has passed. Unfortunately there does not seem to be any statute of limitations for crimes against plants.

I made some more progress on pot reduction by planting the very congested flag iris in front of the thuja.

Number of pots = 63.


Monday 4 June 2012

Passion flower replacement

Filed under: Progress — Helen @ 4:06 pm

So far the weather has gone from constant rain to blazing hot sunshine to cool and cloudy, and now it’s cool and showery. Obviously the constant rain inhibited progress quite a lot. Less obviously, the cool and cloudy weather has inhibited progress too. This is because the conditions became ideal for me to stain my garage doors, which I couldn’t do in the rain or the extreme heat. So I applied two coats of stain to the garage doors, which took a good few hours that I couldn’t spend gardening, and then we had the Diamond Jubilee, which meant lots of rain.

Today there was only a little bit of rain, and I reduced the pot count by one, by planting the kiwi ‘Oriental Delight’ that I bought from J Parkers in the place where the passionflower used to grow. It’s supposed to be self fertile so doesn’t need a male companion.

Kiwi fruit plant

Kiwi fruit plant

If I had thought ahead a bit more, I would have stained the trellis in 2011, just after the passion flower died. I can’t stain the trellis now because newly-stained trellises are not good for plants. So I will just hope that the trellis lasts a good few more years before I have to replace it. I gave the kiwi plenty of compost and some Rootgrow. I have lots of Rootgrow left because I haven’t been able to use it on the rhododendron or the blueberries.

Number of pots = 64.