I have been on annual leave for the last week. So where have you been I hear you asking – lying on a beach in sunny Majorca? Windsurfing in Barbados? Swimming in Tenerife? Icecream in Rome? (Well I have done that one in the past but not this week). No – in fact I have spent most of the week either sowing seeds, potting on, pricking out, planting out, weeding or helping husband and family demolish and start to rebuild my allotment shed. In fact I am realising that short of retirement I think that this might become a pattern for the first week of May every year, at least I can catch up with my planting. Last year we went away and I never felt like I quite got on top of things all Summer. Not that we are on top of things of course, there’s the polytunnel new covering to go on, the fruit cage to repair, the greenhouse to clean out and prepare for tomatoes, and the weeding of couch grass out of the paths and in the one bed we haven’t quite got under control in spite of no-dig. Anyway here’s my #sixonsaturday #six-on-saturday.
1. Spring flowers – I am not a flower person, and have focussed on the fruit and veg and the allotment for the last couple of years. My garden has suffered a little and this year I decided to grow some spring flowers for a change along with some Muscari (grape hyacinth) and Ipheion (below, Alberto Castillo with a lovely evening fragrance) – I am so glad I did.
This tulip (Victoria’s Secret) has been fairly spectacular and has a lovely if faint scent, and has been flowering for a good month, well worth the money.
2. We have bluebells in the garden, I have double checked and they are native ones, however we also have hybrid ones too, although they are now no more. Although they are lovely (and we might be too late admittedly as those bees have been busy this week) the flowers have been picked and the bulbs will be pulled.
3. Hopefully the last frost – as we are now in May I am rather hoping there is no more frost. I noticed yesterday that the potatoes had been frosted although I believe they will be OK. As it was forecast earlier in the week to be frosty I went and covered some of the fruit that was in blossom just in case, here is the mini apple tree and blueberry bush in my garden tucked up with a bit of fleece ready for the cold night.
They survived the night and here is the apple blossom today.
4. Am hoping you can see the buds on this medlar. I was fortunate to win one last year for my son and his partner for their new house. However I didn’t think it had survived its first winter so last Spring I bought another only to find that my sons had in fact survived (now nicknamed Groot after the tree character that survived getting blown up in Guardians of the Galaxy film). I kept the new one and have it in a huge pot and yesterday I noticed that it has buds, surprising as it is only its second year, obviously another tough cookie.
5. Strulch – Slugs are every gardeners nemesis, in fact they can be so destructive in such a short space of time they can undo weeks of growth and set you back by weeks. I live in Wales, we are not renowned for our dry summers and slugs proliferate at such a rate. I am taking a multiple approach this year, some nemaslug, some beer, pellets if I get desperate, squishing on sight and for my strawberries – strulch. Strulch comes with great credentials as a mulch, the packaging says used by the Eden Project, maintains moisture, adds nutrients to the soil among others benefits. Finally strulch is said to deter slugs and snails and active for up to 2 years – fingers crossed it works as described. Let’s hope this multipronged approach will work and any slugs confine themselves to the compost heap, or can’t we breed them to eat couch grass instead of our favoured plants? Now that I would pay good money for.
6. She-shed at the allotment update – there is no new shed … yet, but its coming. The old shed is gone, the ground is cleared and is in the process of being flattened out and there is the shape of the new shed. V. exciting.