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Archive for March, 2008

Beware Vine Weevil Grubs

I moaned about the place to-day – rather like a bear with a sore head.

Couldn’t dig because it was too wet. Couldn’t cut the hedge down because it was too windy. Wouldn’t walk in the hills, because it was too wet and windy. Couldn’t work in the studio because, well – I just couldn’t. (You get the picture)

At tea time I decided to plant my violas and pansies in a large tub I have by the back door for “seasonal colour”.

viola.jpg

Last week the Heuchera “Plum Pudding” that was planted in this tub flew away. I didn’t think much about it at the time and put it down to either the high winds (we live by the coast) or the heavy rain – I thought maybe it rotted off at the base. As it landed in the fishpond I didn’t look at it closely.

So armed with pansies, violas and plant food I went to re-plant the pot. As I was forking through the compost – I did notice that the Heucheras roots seemed to have vanished along with the top.

Still the penny didn’t drop

Then I spotted them

Nasty little white crescent shaped larvae with pale brown heads. Vine Weevil Grubs. (For more information click here)

Well if I was like a bear with a sore head before this discovery – you should have seen me afterwards.

I had not experienced vine weevil until about 3 years ago, and now it seems to pop up all over the place. Last year we used Nematodes in all the pots, and drenched the surrounding ground. We also drenched shrubs that they like to eat.

But they are back and they ate through my Heuchera roots.

(They are very partial to a bit of Heuchera)

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Spring in the UK is getting warmer – so check your pots for this nasty little grub. I don’t usually find it this lively, this early in the season.

My pansies and viols will have to wait a while until I have treated the soil. Here’s hoping for better weather tomorrow.

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Support Please

First – Thanks to all of you who left comments and e-mails with regards to my sons wedding. We all had a fabulous day, I cried buckets, and I am just so happy and proud of all my children.

Today I spent 3 hours in a friends garden. Her passion-flower had blown down off the wall a couple of months ago and I went to sort it out. This plant was on the wall when she inherited the garden, and last summer it was looking very healthy and bloomed prolifically. However, to-day I discovered that it had been growing through chicken wire attached to the wall, and the poor plant was in a dreadful mess.

The main stems showed signs of rubbing and wear where the wire had cut into them and I am not sure if it had ever been well pruned.

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passion-flower tangled in chicken wire.
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It is important, before you even buy a climber to put proper support in place. I know that I am some times guilty of planting something and thinking that I will put the trellis/post/wires, whatever is appropriate in at a later date.

Then the plant grows – looks well and other things in the garden take your attention and before you can say “passiflora caerulea” (which I am not sure that I can say) Your climber has out-grown its twig, or bit of string that was temporarily holding it to the wall.

Passion flowers do not respond to “hard pruning” otherwise I could of cut it off and started again – as you can do with some other climbers.

So support your climbers well, as three hours of snipping away at chicken wire is not much fun.

In my garden, the magnolia has bloomed – but as the weather forecast is for heavy rain and wind, the blooms may not last very long, however it is a thing of beauty, which I shall enjoy for as long as I may.

magnolia.jpg

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A new kind of Scarecrow!

I am off to my middle sons wedding this weekend, which is very exciting, but it does mean that I am going to have to climb out of my gardening clothes.

So instead of this …

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Which is my usual attire – (standing in the middle of the garlic.) It will be this …

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And as for the footwear from this …

 

To this!

 

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So I will become a “Mother in Law” – How scary is that!

If you want to read more about my feeling about becoming a mother in law, I have written about it here

I will be away from my computer until next week – but I wish you all a lovely Easter

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Pennyroyal

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I have been wondering for a few weeks now why I grew Pennyroyal (Mentha Pulegium) from seed last year and more importantly why I had decided to plant a strip of it down one side of my raised beds?

50 maybe the new 30 – but my brain hasn’t caught on to that fact – and still forgets more things than it remembers. So I went on-line to remind my self of the properties of Pennyroyal and see if it jogged my memory about why I decided to grow it. I knew there would be a reason – I just couldn’t remember what.

Of course! – it is a natural ant repellent, and I had planted it in the veg bed because ants insisted on living there along side the lettuce. So I dug it up – because after a year – the ants must of moved on, but as you can see from these rather poor photos – they have not moved on, they are now living in the roots of the pennyroyal

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So that didn’t work at all – back to the drawing board……

Of all the “creepy crawlies” that inhabit my garden Ants are the ones that make me shudder most.

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camellia-double.jpg

This is my second Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – hosted by Carol at May Dreams Garden, do go and check out what is blooming around the world and on your doorstep.

I still have hellebore’s, daffs, and pulmonaria gently flourishing in the garden.

These have now been joined by camellia, wild primroses, vinca, and the blossom on the dark leaved prunus.

The buds of the magnolia are poised ….. waiting ….. promising …..

The main event this month is the unfurling of leaves. My Weeping willow is showing a haze of bright green at the bottom of the garden. So for me – promise of things to come is the word for this month.

hellebores.jpgwild-primroses.jpgcamellia.jpg


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And lest we forget … the weeds are also making a come back!

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Please click on the pictures to enlarge them

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A Cunning Plan

Carrot Tub

This is my cunning plan – my secret weapon in an attempt to grow carrots!

Last year I failed miserably with carrots. I had two attempts – and my carrots were rubbish – well actually the second lot were not rubbish – just about 1/4 inch long.

We have very stony damp soil here – not ideal carrot growing soil at all. So this year I have filled a half barrel with a soil and sand mix – and I am going to try growing these short stumpy carrots – “Parmex”.

Parmex Carrot

I have no idea what this variety tastes like – so if you grow them do let me know! Also in the same tub I am growing “Cherry Belle” Radish.

Quite often people grow carrot – with onions or garlic – as this is said to deter the carrot fly – which seeks out carrots by scent. I am trying the Radish/Carrot combination as I am hopeful that the quick growing radish will open up the soil for the carrot.

Radish “Cherry Belle”

Carrot fly should not be a problem – as apparently they fly close to the ground. Currently the tub is covered with its own little rain hood – to keep off some of the downpours we are experiencing – then later in the season I will swap this for a fine mesh – then maybe … just maybe … my cunning plan will work and we will have carrots to eat!

These seeds have come out of packets with pictures on – I don’t expect for one moment my produce to look like this – I wish the seed suppliers wouldn’t put pictures on the packets – but I totally understand why they do. Have your radish EVER looked so uniform? so shiny red on the outside? so crisply white in the middle? – mine haven’t!

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Vegetable Seeds have Arrived

My vegetable seeds have arrived which is very exciting. For those of you that live in the UK – this year I got the whole lot from Nickys Nursery. I got some veg seeds and Herb seeds from her last year and was very pleased with the results.

This year she was stocking all the specific varieties that I wanted.

This year I am trying for the first time –

Beetroot Albina Ice – This is a white beetroot. I am not sure that I can get my head around a white beetroot, but we enjoy “Burpees Golden” – so we shall give it go!

Other new to me varieties include:-

Aubergine Fairy Tale,

Chilli Pepper Black Pearl, and

Cauliflower Sunset – so if all these grow – our veg patch is going to be a very colourful place to be.

Nickys Nursery Seeds do not come with full colour pictures on the packets – (another reason why I like them – no pressure to live up to a picture of amazing looking, perfect veg) – so rather than show you several packets of foil wrapped seeds – instead you get to see where I walked to-day.

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It is very beautiful – there was so much water in the river from all the rain we have had over the past few days that the noise was deafening.

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It is also quite steep – beats going to a gym any day

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