Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Warlick/ Cultivation Nation/ Compost Mentis

I have been growing a beard for the last two months and have tried to secure my status as a warlock. You know the type: dudes who go around in matrix style long leather jackets, wear chunky heeled boots or trainers and go to Games Workshop. I don't go GW, I used to though. Could use some of their strategies on tackling my precocious garden!

Anyway Warlocks are the flavour of the day. Warlick applies only to Alice/Weasel as everything we say to her involves the substitution or addition of the letter 'I'. Thus: Milk becomes Milik, Wolf becomes Wolif, Cakeatonne becomes Cakeatin (I made that one up just now). She was with us in the garden the other day, on a royal parade in her pram. Every inch the Warlick! Check out that hoodie!

Order of the day was filling the cultivation stations with soil from a massive WICKES bag. The desire to write WINKS bag there was molten. Parsley was rigging and a pigging with a huge length of hosepipe that ran from under the solardome, it was skillfully threaded behind many a tree and bush to lead to the rear of the house. This will supply water for the stations in the hot season.

I filled both stations with a mix of the soil and compost. Now I have seen the compost bins hidden away and have been intrigued to see how well they have worked. Turns out, very well! Cakeatonne had been having a bit of a joust prior to my attack. There was a large space at the bottom, with a huge amount of rotting food paper etc at the top. There was only one thing for it. Parsley suggested I use a large piece of timber to bash it all down, so we could get the good stuff as it fell down. I was given the chance to do my best Gandalf impression as I repeatedly slammed down the timber 'You shall not paaaaasssss!' Parsley was having a proper laugh. So was I until I got blasted in the face by a wave of STINK. 'C'wor this fucking stinks!' That got more laughs. After a bit more pounding and a grounding, Parsley handed me an aerator. Magic things these. I was stabbing the magic rotting matter like a crazed warlock. Down came the compost and out it went in the trug to be put in the cultivation stations. Proper nice little soil and compost blend.

C'wor what a stink!

In other news we were feeding the chickens slugs and moth pupae. These (the pupae) are gruesome looking things. A kind of dark crimson bullet, you can see the wings tucked in. Apparently the tail rotates slowly when you pick it up! I didn't have time to notice as I tossed them to the appreciative chucks.

It was a good few days work and my pythons were humming like pylons by the end. First time I've broken a real sweat this year methinks. Can't be getting lazy!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Himalayan Blue Poppies & Crocosmia Exodus

Today! Yes today I took the first step in a long journey (possibly perilous) with my Himalayan blue poppies (Meconopsis betonicifolia). The first thing I did, following the detailed instructions I had been given, was to spray a piece of kitchen roll with water then wring it out so it was damp. I then ever so gingerly tousled the seeds out onto it and wrapped the sheet over so they were covered. I then put them inside a freezer bag, labelled it up and sealed it. Next step was to put them on the top shelf of the fridge door next to a big stinking piece of cheese. You never know it might aid germination. Here they will stay for a month! Then I have to decide whether to direct sow outside or try my hand at indoor germination first. Maybe I'll half and half it. As there are only approximately thirty seeds I can't be reckless...

Deeply suspicious looking baggy!

The garden called to me, so I tended to some weeding around the conifer and ivy bush. This is a prime area as the purple sensation is coming through as are the tulips, the fern and the hostas. With luck I shall be planting an arisaema or two there as well. And the blue poppies!

Then I had to make a hard decision. For a while now I've been meaning to move the crocosmia corms which have clustered around the fence on the right hand side of the garden, just past the
ivy bush. Over time they have tripled, possibly quadrupled. Amongst them have arrived some unwanted specimens, including 'nuff brambles. So I legged it upstairs and broke out with the old Spear & Jackson stainless steel spade. It was her maiden voyage. Following in the steps of Cakeatonne who always makes digging look super easy, I went to't. Up came great clods of earth, and sure enough handfuls of corms in various stages of growth. I piled them up in a great pile, tossing out unwanted bluebell bulbs, again these have multiplied at a terrifying rate over the last year. I don't like throwing things away and I know I'll get my ear chawed off by the Unit, but it was make or break. Besides I've left enough to grow on, but I wanted more space for the new agenda...which is still under consideration. Truly it was an exodus today:


The corms were then buried around the elder and apple trees. They will no doubt pick up the pace after the unexpected shift.

It was a mega day, and warm. Sitting with a brew and some golden syrup cake, pythons contentedly hissing under my cardigan, I felt at the centre of my own universe.

The garden is a sea with waves of energy all coloured green.

Salix caprea 'pendula' & March antics

Earlier this week I potted up David's willow tree with the soil taken from Parsley's garden. It now sits neatly by the pond, although I've found the honeysuckle reaching out an arm - an unwanted arm, to twine around it. Maybe they want to fondle the fur-soft catkins! Honestly you turn your back for a minute and something fruity starts happening.

Spring really does make the dramas unfold. You get the greedy weeds chomping up land like corrupt property developers whilst uptown (under the conifer) madame Purple Sensation starts to reveal herself, along with her entourage of tulips. All the while the ice cool daffodils, dressed sharper than Frank Smethwick, nod their heads in agreement: yes, yes, this is going to be a good season.

Later I filled up the trough for the sweet peas, which will sit by the back of the shed, as this gets a lot of daylight. I then stuffed a rickety old barrel full of debris (wood etc) and then put a deep layer of soil on top, hopefully this will either house the French marigold pinwheels or the teddy bear sunflowers. An alternative is a chimney, which again I filled with old wood and put a layer of soil down - should be a nice little spot for my malva zebrina.