Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Mistaken Identity (also known as Not-Quite-Sure-What-The-Hell-I'm-Doing!)

Saxifraga Peniculata 'Rosea'! THAT'S the name of the pink flowering plant I posted a picture of in last week's blog.  Lord knows where I got the other one from...........Note to self:  check several websites and books when trying to ID a plant which has lost it's label; don't just go for the first one you see!  So with it finally named correctly it can carry on helping to keep the weeds at bay in my border and rockery by slowly spreading itself across the ground.  Useful little plant and extremely pretty - I think I'll look out for some more varieties to plant on the rockery.

Now correctly identified, the Saxifraga adds a spash of colour to
borders and banks in my garden

Thankfully I had a quick reply from my brother and his partner Dancin' Fool (who also has an arboricultural blog - The Green Man) last week about the damage to one of my apple trees; frost damage apparently.  Although not good news, I have to admit to being slightly relieved that it wasn't caused by any animal...I get all sorts in the garden; rabbits, badgers and foxes.  Anyway, here's his suggestions for looking after the tree.  I've copied this straight from his email:
a) wrap the damaged area in hessian and leave it on as long as necessary
b) 30g of 'Tate & Lyle' per 1 litre of water per 1 square metre - this will artificially provide the tree with sugars (that it would normally obtain from photosynthesis) and encourage fibrous root development. Do this once a month for the next 4-5 months and repeat again same time next year. You could also try it on your other newly planted trees (or anything else that's struggling and requires photosynthesis) The more fibrous roots that a young tree (plant) can develop, the healthier it will be and the more able it will be to fight off any secondary 'host specific' pests & diseases that may want to take advantage of the exposed wound. 
c) If the tree isn't staked, you should stake it (windward side) and place the ties around the wound area to relieve any structural stresses. 
d) Don't prune it (except to remove damaged, diseased twigs & leaves 
e) pray
c) is already taken care of; d) is fine because I haven't pruned it so that just leaves a) and b) to carry out and then rely heavily on a lot of e).

Saturday afternoon was spent at The Lost Gardens of Heligan with a group from the dementia project - Creative Spaces. Small groups of residents and staff from the care home spent a lovely couple of hours wandering around the Northern Gardens with young people and their parents from the community.  One lad was provided with a recording microphone by a local radio station so that he could record some of his conversations with one resident.  It's going to go out on the station's gardening programme shortly.  These two chaps have formed a bond over the past 18 months and it was a delight to come across them sitting on a bench on Flora's Green, just enjoying their surroundings; not chattering but sitting quietly, arms and hands linked.

Unfortunately, due to a bout of illness over Sunday I didn't get any work done in the garden at the weekend.  However, a short walk up to the top revealed that the brambles this year have been replaced with intermittent 'rugs' of Forget-Me-Nots, gatherings of Bluebells, Red Campion and Buttercups. I even discovered one tiny Wild Violet that was struggling towards the light through a clump of nettles.  Ah yes, the nettles return each year........little do they know that the strimmer is coming in for a clean up this weekend in preparation for much use!

Does anyone else have an invasion of Hairy Bittercress? I pull it out of the borders around the lawn every year and this year it's gone mad in the rest of the garden; particularly in the area beyond the vegetable garden.  Reading up on it, in Richard Mabey's 'Food For Free', I've discovered that you can actually eat the whole plant; I thought you could just eat the leaves.  According to the book it goes well with cream cheese (sorry Jane!).  It has beautiful, delicate flowers which can be appreciated either by getting on your hands and knees with a magnifying lens or, like me, using the super macro on your camera.  The seed pods protrude from within the flower and look as though the stem has pushed through and beyond the petals.  Even the slightest brush allows them to scatter their seeds on the helpful to us gardeners!

A small army of Hairy Bittercress; strim or salad?

Take a closer look; there's beauty in weeds

Have a wonderful Easter everyone and I hope you all have a great time outdoors (illnesses and weather permitting!).


Morlock5K said...

You have some awesome pics on here. Looks like you have a large growing area also which I am slightly envious of, lol. Although I have much less room I've found reading your blog interesting and useful. Thanks

Sensory Dragon said...

Hi Ian, thanks for the positive feedback. There are days when I wish my garden was much smaller! particularly as the list of things to do just keeps getting longer; but then I remind myself that this is why I bought this place - so that I had a garden project. By the way, I'll be mentioning the plum wine in my next post, along with the recipe I used, if you're interested in making some. Now I'm envious of all the free plums you have..think I'll have to plant some plum trees up with the apples!

Dancin' Fool said...

Hey Bud! Great post and well done for spreading the word about sugar water! I will email you the most recent paper on that which makes for an interesting read.

Happy weekend to you!

Sensory Dragon said...

Hi Dancin'! glad to help spread the word about useful practices in the care of plants and trees. I don't have internet access at the moment - using Sue's next door. so will have a new post to put up once my phone connection is much to catch up on!