Six on Saturday – In between Lemsips

15/12/2018

I’ve been snatching moments in the garden this week, in between sneezing and coughing and guzzling vitamin C and Lemsip. There’s been a bit of tidying, a bit of potting up/on and a final bit of bulb disposal (OK planting, but at this point I just want to get it finished). However, now the substantial array of pots containing bulbs is currently causing me grief because something is steadily burrowing in to eat the bulbs. I’ve covering the pots with old wire shelving from a couple of defunct plastic greenhouses, but the excavations are still appearing, so it is not blackbirds or squirrels … something smaller … I’m thinking mice or voles. I know that there are both around here. I’ve double layered the shelving and covered them in fallen birch twigs now too, but I am still seeing holes. I need to go buy some chicken wire before I get too depressed.

Anyhow, I’m joining in with Six on Saturday hosted by The Propagator. It’s a growing phenomenon and there are tons of interesting observations to check out in the other SoSs.

1) Wood blewits?

I found these pretty purple mushrooms round the back of the greenhouse, under a birch tree, in the area I was potting up all the bulbs. I am fairly certain they are wood blewits (Lepista nuda), but I’ve no idea how they came to grow there. Having said that I am wondering whether the compost I use has something to do with it, because last year I found them in one of the raised vegetable beds at about this time of year. Anybody else experienced the same thing?

sos5dec

Wood blewits (Lepista nuda) appeared in the gravel driveway

2) Decorative post-seed heads

I like to leave as many seed heads on plants as I can over the winter, for interest and wildlife. Echinacea takes the interest one step further though as, once the seeds have dropped, the core of the flower has a fantastic shape and texture. Decorated with frost or snow (we don’t usually see that much here in East Anglia) the empty seed heads are an attractive feature well into winter.

sos1dec

The sculptural cores of Echinacea purpurea seed heads are gradually being exposed

3) Surprising tubers of Mirabilis longiflora

It probably isn’t a surprise to anybody who has grown this Mirabilis before, but it was to me as this is the first year that I have tried M. longiflora ‘Angel Trumpets’ from seed. I first saw these flowers growing at Cambridge Botanics last year and was super impressed with their luxurious, scented, white trumpets, so thought to give them ago at home (Chiltern Seeds sell them). They grew easily, but I neglected them and while they put out lots of top growth, I didn’t actually get any flowers. I was tipping up a discarded module tray into the compost last week when I discovered that there were fat tubers in each compartment. I’ve fish them out and replanted them to overwinter in the greenhouse, because when I checked the website it said … ‘the tubers will survive mild frost in the winter’. Hopefully I get to try them again, from a running start this time.

sos4dec

Mirabilis longiflora (not *folia as per label in photo)

4) Heron protection

Having lost most of the fish in our pond to a young heron (inset), we decided to give the fish a bit more protection, or at least more places to hide, in the form of large chunks of drainage pipes. So Steve went to a builders merchant and paid way too much for some interestingly shaped bits of clay drainage pipes (as seen on decking). Mid-week I found myself wading into freezing water to place the pieces. I am still thawing out!!

sos2dec

New caves to hide from the heron

5) Home grown Turmeric

I found an overlooked pack of turmeric at the back of the larder last week. It has obviously given up waiting to be used and decided to continue growing. So I’ve potted it up and am waiting to see what will happen next.

sos3dec

An experiment … will turmeric grow in a pot on a window?

6) Christmas purchases

I was looking for presents in the local garden centre, when I came across a lovely display of begonia rex. Now I am terrible at keeping begonias alive, but I am going to try again because I couldn’t resist those metallic colours and patterns (plus I really love the spiral one).  A Christmas present for myself I think.

sos6dec

New house plants … suitably shiny for Christmas

So those are my Six.

I hope that you are having more success with your Christmas preparations!

About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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16 Responses to Six on Saturday – In between Lemsips

  1. Sue says:

    Such a shame about the fish in your pond, but hopefully you have now given them a fighting chance. I have been looking into creating a pond in my new backyard but unfortunately I have discovered the yard is all clay and rock, being on a hillside I suppose. I’ll have to find some inspiration for a different kind of pond now as there will be no digging of any kind in my backyard!

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    I love your new rex begonias. As much as I admire them, I’m hopeless at keeping them alive, too. Mostly because it is too dry and cool in our house in winter. They really need to be kept in a terrarium or something similar to keep the humidity high enough.

  3. fredgardener says:

    Are the clay drainage pipes for the fish to hide in? Why not use a net on the surface of the pond? It would certainly be a bit ugly but effective. I will be interested in your turmeric growth!…
    Nice Six and good recovery of your cold…

    • Thanks … I am at the nighttime coughing stage now, so should be better soon. I don’t like the look of netted ponds and the whole point of this new one was to be as natural as possible. I was even against having fish to begin with, but was persuaded. Hopefully the pipes will allow the two creatures to co-exist.

  4. An interesting SoS,F. We used to have a Koi pond when we were in the UK. We also used drainage pipes and at least it gave the koi a fighting chance with somewhere to hide.

    Your observation on the Mirabilis longiflora was interesting. Yes, gardening is full of surprises! I wonder if it was putting all it’s effort into producing fat healthy tubers the first year and not flowers.

    • Thanks. I am definitely hoping so, for both the Mirabilis plants and the pipes/fish. Nature manages to balance things mostly, but we, of course, find it harder due to all the constraints we place on things.

  5. Yes the turmeric looks promising! And very kind of you to provide fresh free range food for the heron! I’m sure s/he appreciated it! I gave up on ponds when i lived in Toronto – the raccoons made short work of anything they could reach…fish or foliage…

  6. janesmudgeegarden says:

    I like your ?summerhouse by your pond. It looks like just the place to sit with a long drink on a hot summer evening observing your fish when they multiply. Good luck with the pipes. I had a pond in my last garden and I found that after the first year (when I spent the winter thinking they’d all been eaten by birds) they suddenly appeared in their dozens in spring. I had quite a lot of pond plants, so perhaps that helped.

    • I hope that you are right about the plants. The plan was that the marginal plants grew into the edges over this first year, but I will be buying more to provide surface coverage and heron barriers.

  7. cavershamjj says:

    Pesky heron! Good luck with the tubers, they seem to be bonny enough.

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