Saturday, 30 April 2011

30.04. A new lily

It’s the last day in April! Where did last month go?? I have no idea, except I know I used a lot of it in my new garden, and some of it in the 3 different hospitals I regularly go to, and I also spent a lot of last month in bed – as usual – but apart from that, I think the month has gone very quickly. I past a milestone last week, writing my post number 50 :-) and after 4 months of blogging I am pleased to say I think I will continue with this...I enjoy making these blogs, I hope you enjoy reading them!

I’ll start today with an update of my new garden, the garden next door. I have been staining the fence on the left side the last few days so now it looks really nice. I have only done the part of the fence which is behind the flowerbeds, so there are more fences to do later on. And then there is the fence on the right side of the garden of course... which belongs to the neighbour next door to this garden, and she has said she will replace her fence this summer. That’s about high time, as her dog keeps trying to make his way through the gaps in the fence – and succeeded here the other day! The fence is old and rotten and needs replacing, so you can’t really blame the dog for trying! I just hope the neighbour replaces the fence before I have done too much planting in that bed, as it is such an easy job to stain when the bed is empty, and such a big job doing it in between lots of plants. I also got a great planter to go in the centre square, and it has been stained in the same colour. I am planning to buy a dwarf Rhododendron to plant there; they are evergreen and grow only to about 70 cm tall and 70 cm wide – perfect for this planter. I hope to get gravel and bark for the garden next week; I am ordering on Monday but it depends on when the shop can deliver.

Seven years ago I got a tiny cutting of a lilac (Syringa vulgaris) from someone; the cutting was only about 20 cm tall and grew in a 5 cm pot. Since then I have re-potted the lilac every now and then and last year it got a permanent place in the ground. I hadn’t meant to plant it in the ground until the crown of the tree was reaching above the fence, but this lilac is such a water craving plant so keeping it in a pot became impossible. It started throwing leaves in the middle of the summer thinking it was autumn, and I lost a whole flowering season 2 years ago because I didn’t give it enough water. Since getting in the ground, the lilac has almost doubled in size and seems much happier. Most lilacs reach a height of 5-7 metres when fully grown, but that takes around 20 years. This little tree is now around 1.5 metres tall, after 7 years, so it has a bit more growing to do still :-) 

This particular type is a bit unusual, since it doesn’t have the sweet scent that lilacs normally have. It does have a scent, a very faint fruity scent, but nothing like you would expect from a lilac. The flowers also look rather unusual, with tubular bells. This cutting comes from a nursery in Suffolk, and I have been thinking of sending them an email with photos asking them if they can give me a name for my lilac. Maybe I will do that, would be nice to know if this is a very unusual one, or just a rather common one :-)

I went to B&Q the other day to get some more compost, and I had to have a look at their plant section...can’t really leave without having a look at least...but I must say I can actually look without buying, at least I have done that a few times in the past, perhaps not very often, but it happens! Not so this time though, I came home with a gorgeous lily! It wasn’t expensive, 3 bulbs in a pot for less that £5 is less than what I would have had to pay just for the bulbs, and the advantage of buying them as ready plants is that you know all 3 bulbs are alive and well. These 3 lily bulbs will produce lilies for years to come, and I will make sure to let some of the flowers go to seeds so I get lots more plants in the years to come. Each flower can produce up to 70-80 seeds on a mature plant, and lily seeds are very willing to germinate. They do take 4 years to flower though, and 7 years to become fully mature, so doing it yourself is a long term project. But I started out with 5 lily bulbs in 2004 and have only bought 7 more bulbs since then; the rest I have are acquired through seeds and divisions – and the total today is around 150 lilies.

Isn’t it marvellous close up?! It looks a bit like the lily ‘Stargazer’, which you often get in flower bouquets. This is not ‘Stargazer’ however; this one is called ‘Mona Lisa’ but is smells just as heavenly and after planting it out in the garden today I could smell it from any corner of the garden. I don’t think I will ever get too many lilies, and I plan to get a few more, but they are cheaper in the autumn after the flowers have finished, so I will get some then. The only slight problem with having many lilies is babysitting them for lily beetles...those terrible pests can polish off hundreds of lilies in a few weeks if they are left to get on with it! I have been on my daily patrol today too, and I am please to say I found none today. That doesn’t mean the war is over, far from, it just means that the first wave of lily beetles was all the ones that had overwintered in the soil in my garden. Now that they are safely removed (killed), I have to prepare for the invasion from the neighbouring gardens; all the other gardens where they have lilies! These beetles can fly you see, so with 150 lilies served as a lunch buffet in my garden, why stay in the garden they wake up in, where there perhaps is only a couple of lilies...much better to head over to mine! But I am prepared...life is short in my garden if you happen to be a lily beetle :-)

I guess this could be a good time to round up this post, I did say here the other day that it was an awful long time since I had posted any photos of my cat, so I took some last night when he was dozing in my lap. He looks quite regal and as if he is posing for the camera... I don’t think for a minute that he understands what that box is doing, but he is so used to me getting the camera out that he doesn’t bat an eyelid when I do, despite the noise the camera makes.

OK, that’s it for April, post number 16 this month and post number 53 in total. Never thought I would write that many... :-) Until next time, take care!

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