Tuesday, 15 February 2011

15.02. Black grass

The builders have moved in! Well, not exactly moved in with me, but the house next door is to be totally renovated and they have just started the process. The builders have been here on and off for the last 10 days, but they seem to only work for an hour or two and then it’s quiet the rest of the day. Unfortunately it seems like they prefer to work in the early mornings... Yesterday morning I woke up at 8:30 with a power drill going off at such a loud noise I just couldn’t sleep through it. At 9 o’clock this morning I had two men chatting to each other whilst hammering on the roof of the extension next door, only 2 feet from my open bedroom window! I closed the window, but it did not make much difference. Fortunately they didn’t
seem to have a very long working day today either, by 10:30 they were gone and I had peace and quiet for the rest of the day. I do wonder how long this process is going to take though, if they are going to continue having 2 hour working days...the renovation could easily take a whole year! I just want them to hurry up so I can get the peace and quiet back. In these old Victorian houses, with no insulation between each house, you can hear everything...and I mean EVERYTHING. Having a neighbour renovating is a major disturbance to everyone close by.

It’s been a lot of rain lately, good for my garden as it needs the water, but it also means I haven’t been able to get out there and do anything since last time I wrote here, which was on Wednesday - almost a week ago. I do have a few pictures from that day which I didn’t put in that post because I had so many already, so maybe you want to see them today? 

The first one is of a black grass that I initially had two pots of, but although it grows very slowly, I eventually had to divide them so now I got 6 pots...but still nowhere to plant them. The black grass, Ophiopogon nigrescens, is best suited with lightly coloured pebbles or shingle, to emphasise the dark colour; when placed on bark like I have, the black grass almost vanishes. My idea has been to create an area with white shingle where this grass would get a centre stage together with some deep red  gladiolus and dark brown Chocolate cosmos I also have still in pots. It would require a lot of digging and some money...neither of which can be provided at the moment....so the idea is still just an idea. The grass grows very slowly though, it will survive several more years still in pots I think, so that’s not a problem.

It is quite unusual in the horticultural world to see something completely black, like this grass. Usually, when plants or flowers are called black they are not actually black but dark red, dark blue or dark purple. But the grass is actually completely black. The grass produce tiny white and dark pink flowers in the spring, here is a picture from last year from my web-site...as it is too early to see any flowers this year yet! The flowers are actually only 3-5 mm wide, so this is quite enlarged, but each of the plants produce up to 6-7 stalks with these pretty flowers on, so there are quite a few of them.

After the flowers have faded away, the berries develop, and they are almost completely black too! I know they have a slight tint towards blue on this photo, at least they do on my monitor :-) but I can assure you that the berries are really completely black as black. The berries last the whole winter and don’t drop off until the new set of flowers is well on their way. They don’t seem to be popular among the birds, I never see them eating these berries so maybe they don’t taste that well...I have never tried them...I have no idea if they are edible, but I wouldn’t think so! I like this grass though; it looks great all year round so I hope to give the 6 pots a more prominent place in my garden eventually, along with some other changes I would like to do to the garden too :-)

I took a nice photo of my cat last Wednesday too, in the sun, in the only sun we had the last week and will see for another week according to the forecast...it’s going to be a week with heavy grey clouds and rain much of the time. I just want to get out there again; I don’t need to do that much, I just need to be outside in my garden...a bit of sun in my face and a walkabout to take some photos and I am happy...perhaps a bit of deadheading and planting some cuttings or seeds on a good day too! I’ll let you know when I’ve had a chance to do that :-) Until then, take care – I’ll be back.

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