To all of you following my blog religiously and who enjoyed the Celebration tremendously, I thank you all kindly. Please let me hear about your urban or other miraculous garden experiences.
And a big thanks to Nature the rare and kind creature who has yet again gave us a glimpse through the lens.
I’m signing off.
For a Maidenhair fern to be happy, it is said that the gardener caring for it has to be happy too
Please enjoy this short celebration of urban gardening. I will post a photo here daily and describe its content, today’s only a taster for you!
I will keep on going until I run out of photos.
If you like these, this could become a permanent feature here.
Ever wondered what to do with the peels of melons, just to give your compost bin a little break? Why not spike them to form works of arts which in the meanwhile will also feed ants! Tagetes patula (yellow flower) is supposed to send insects on their way, I have yet to see that happen.. The composed leaves overhead belong to none other than Licorice and the rhizome in the top left corner is Ginger. Front left corner: some leaves of Nepeta (catmint) only just showing. Want to see more?
A Male Nettle Plant (Urtica dioica)
If there is one herb we all know and respect it’s nettle. There are more than dozens of ways to utilise their nutritional value, be it soups or added to casseroles. Nettle is exceptionally rich in vitamins and minerals.
If soups ain’t your particular sting why not put a few freshly pinched leaves in your teapot and fill up with boiling hot water. For me a Nettle tea regime is a good addition to complete a well thought out bodily detox for this herb’s blood cleansing power.
Besides the culinary and cleansing properties, there is a long list of other medicinal uses and as for its effect on human hair nettle lend itself to cosmetics as well as being suitable for paper and cloth making.
In the garden, leave some in one spot only and find out you could quite easily control it, you will be rewarded with the sight of butterflies and other beneficial insects.
Do your bit for Nature!
According to Culpepper women should drink distilled Lady’s Mantle water for twenty days to encourage conception. I do not know if this would work.
As a gardener there is always room for one in the garden and besides some water during dry spells it needs little attention to thrive year after year.
They look beautiful catching rain and dew drops on their silky leave surface soft to the touch.
The flowers are creamy yellow and are regularly visited by bumblebees.
It hasn’t rained today and many a plant enjoyed a generous dose of sunshine, including myself.
What a strange season it has been so far, so much rain and so little sunshine, and all this after a great drought was predicted by the newspapers!
It seems that the Busy Lilies had enough of the big raindrops splattering down hard on them. I had to remove some bits of rotten foliage and flowers and since they are it pots I could move them to a sunny dry ventilated spot for today.
My Butter-nut Squashes are really late this year as none of the flowers had opened up so far.
The tomatoes have yet to show some colour.
It seems that this year in gardening can be accurately described as a slow one.
Am I right?
The human body need at least 10 min sunshine a day for optimum health, so don't forget to let the garden be and put your feet up sometimes
Life, how lucky we are...
I was sitting outside earlier and the most beautiful mosquito black and white striped set itself down my arm where bodily hair doesn’t cover and I could feel the very faint sting, it flew off straight after but the brief visit was enough to make me consider my role in nature and in this case my place in the food chain.
Same as plants we employ insects it seems, and we play host to a multitude of organisms also, we only have to think about the intestinal tract.
Yet we play God over so many other species, cage them up, experiment on them, surely these lower than animal behaviours must also be reflected in the world outside.
And just look at the news today and see that it is.
Why not think about where your coffee table comes from and think about the lives lost under the axe every day.
Basically our required tastes will mean the end of the species.
My conclusion: Best we enjoy all this while it lasts.
All us gardeners love Hydrangeas don’t we? Well I do, if only they didn’t take up so much space. I suffer a little to have to prune them back hard every year. I guess it is the best way to invigorate strong new growth.
As for colour, I never felt the need to chemically force a complete change of colour and I have yet to find out for myself whether it can be done. I can say that on one occasion, I did manage to really enhance a pink to a much darker, well… pink, simply by applying my home-made organic fertilizer on a regular basis.
There are two main reasons for a Hydrangea not to flower:
Firstly, a dry spell during a critical phase. To be safe, keep yours watered all year round (although they will stand midwinter dry conditions, if you must..) and to be completely sure it’s best to install automatic irrigation.
The second reason could be lack of sunlight, so you might have to transplant to a sunnier spot in the garden.
One way to have a brilliant show of flowers every year, is to keep your Hydrangea in a pot like I do. I have it in a sunny spot during spring until I can see the minuscule little flowers in the buds developing, then I move it away to brighten up a more shady location where the flowers last much longer.
One good tip to keep them happy: a cool shower on those hot summer days.
The Real Blackberry
Those of you who love soft fruits but think they are overpriced should love to find out what I have to say.
The blackberry plants that appear naturally as ‘weeds’ in our gardens can provide us with a very good quality, organic and delicious crop of sweet Blackberries to rival those sold in any good supermarket.
Although they might be a handful to control, if you are at it regularly (or by hiring a professional) they can be braided to form interesting shapes, or trailed up structures to form arches.
Once you make a habit of looking after one, you will be hooked, literally and figuratively…
Ailanthus altissima also known as the Tree of Heaven, is officially the first tree up for discussion in my blog, and there is so much to say.
I always say that it was brought here by the Victorians; I like the sound of that.
I do know that they can be coppiced and then repeatedly used for a dramatic effect in the summer landscape. And please do not try this near buildings.
They grow very tall, very fast, and that is why I love them.
If you have access to land, and there is space, plant one and watch it grow without interference. It could certainly be a good experience for you.