It’s beginning to feel a lot like Six on a Saturday. 15.12.18

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  1. As I wound up my professional gardening for the year this week, to perfect crisp, cold, dry weather, I was put in the Christmas spirit by the sight of this beauty. It had been a rather sprawling, badly pruned holly until I gave it a hard chop earlier this year. Now, the berries sing out and the leaves are lovely and glossy. The holly wears the crown, eh?

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2. It was my first time growing Nicotiana mutabilis from seed this year. I had high hopes for them. Perhaps they are a little slow to get going, but my word, when they do, the flower power is extraordinary. They are still flowering mindlessly away in my front garden to the extent that I am now thoroughly bored by them and will whip them out next week. Probably six months of blooms  from them though.

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3. Miscanthus (unknown cultivar, as I dug them up from somewhere). I really like them at this time of year for their wind and light catching properties. There is no light to catch today, but they are impressively tall and elegant plants for a sunny spot. Easy to split and divide in Spring, which is exactly what I will do with these.

 

4. I am pretty poor at looking after my tools. I will admit it. However, I gave this old fork a clean last week and was reminded how much I love it and enjoy using it. From the worm eaten handle to the sharpness of the tines and the lightness of its balance, it is a joy to use. New forks are often made from heavy steel and are really clunky. This is light and strong and great for digging out roots or turning compost. It may not be long for this world as cracks are starting to appear, so I will miss it when it’s gone. What tool would you grieve for, if it went?

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5. Euphorbia characias. Touched with morning frost, which only accentuates its grace. You may have heard me extol the virtues of this plant before. I love it. It just does not have a bad day.

 

 

6. Winter projects. I have come by a motley collection of containers which look weird and shabby right now. I have a vision though. I want to make a linked series of ponds, pools and bog containers so I can grow plants which thrive in those conditions. I have very little experience of these conditions, so am eager to experiment. I am also trying to create a situation whereby frogs and toads can access the lowest and shallowest container (by half burying it), hop into the next one and so on until they reach the deeper ones (and get back again!). I patched up the old water tank with floor tile, but have to see whether it holds water. That will be the sixth container. Anyone got recommendations for must have water and bog plants?

I am also gathering together all the broken gravestones and slabs which clutter a 900 year old site in order to make a new path to the compost heaps. It’s going to be a busy Winter.

16 thoughts on “It’s beginning to feel a lot like Six on a Saturday. 15.12.18

  1. I will be interested to see how you will succeed in creating your ponds. I only have one small (50 cm depth) and 2 goldfish +1 frog inside. All plants are in perforated pots that help the roots but also help the frog to rest a bit on the one of the top. When I started digging this pond, I didn’t think it would be a little too small … so my next attempt will be bigger and with different water levels. Next year I presume? …
    Otherwise, I understand your choice by wanting to save your fork. The old gardening tools have memory and you’re right when you say that those sold today are heavy steel.
    Last thing: I cut my nicotiana 3 weeks ago and there were 2-3 leaves left. So far, they seem to resist frost … otherwise, I will sow them again next year: beautiful flowers.

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      1. I have a dwarf nymphea that gives 5-6 flowers a year. I also added a Pondeteria cordata , Thalia dealbata, acorus, hippuris vulgaris , potamogeton( not anymore) , equisetum, scirpus cernuus…
        I tried and failed with lovely orontium aquaticum… a shame…
        Around you can plant flag irises, cyperus alternifolia, typha… and I also have a pitcher plant in pot.
        Good luck !

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I like your idea of a succession of frog ponds and hope you post some photos when it’s completed. That garden fork is a treasure, no wonder you’re so fond of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the idea of ponds with those beautiful containers that all look as if they have history. Also love the fork. I’m a sucker for tools with wooden handles, the older the better. Again – a history thing. Can you not just replace the split handle with another wood handle?

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  4. My great grandfather’s old pitch fork was left out in the weather too much, so only functions as a pitchfork now. I still use it though. I also use my grandfather’s hatchet. All those old tools are very important to me. My old shears, which are retired now. were given to me by my Pa when I graduated high school in 1985.

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  5. Not sure whether floor tiles will hold water but it happens that I have a largish offcut of heavy duty pond liner looking for a (free to good) home. If you’re interested, let me know the dimensions of your tank and I’ll see if the offcut’s big enough. As to plant suggestions, depends on depth of water, whether you will have any flow between the levels (i.e. a pump of some sort) and how well you’ll keep it topped up. Ideally, for planting you need a minimum depth of 20cm. Then you have to think about freezing in winter so somewhere in your construction should be at least 60cm deep so frogs overwintering are safe.

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    1. Thanks for your kind offer, John. It looks like, on first impressions that my tile will hold, but I will get back to you if not. I have three containers which are 50-60 cm deep and I am reckoning to just have them still, no pumps. I will top up regularly ( daily if need be). I fancy a Colocasia esculenta ( protected over winter), Pontederia, Equisetum, Zantedeschia, Iris and three minature waterlilly. As well as oxygenating plants in each container. So quite a tropical look in Summer.

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  6. When I took on my first allotment I inherited an old fork with a wooden handle and shaft. I realised very soon that I preferred it much more than my own relatively new one. As you say it was the sharpness of the tines – lethal – and the lightness. That fork has a serious crack down the shaft now and I know I shouldn’t really use it anymore but I do. Maybe amazon can offer replacement handles. I also love your old containers and the pond ideas – looking forward to following your progress.

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