Saturday, 22 January 2011

22.01. Tree pruning

I didn’t get outside to do any gardening today, it’s been one of those days where every time I decided to go outside it started to rain again. Finally I gave up and whizzed my vacuum cleaner around the house instead. Probably more sensible, since I can’t remember last time I did it...I think it must have been in the middle of December but I’m not you probably understand, my vacuum cleaner is not exactly in action every week in my house! I did
however; take some photos of the garden between the showers.

Here is the photo I promised you yesterday, of the tree I pruned. It is a small conifer, now with no needles at all, and all the branches off looking rather sorry I must say. But I have a plan :-) I have already planted a honeysuckle up against the trunk, a Lonicera tragophylla, which has bright yellow flowers in the spring. The hope is that the honeysuckle will cover the whole crown of the tree eventually, and use it as a great support. The honeysuckle is a 6 year old plant, so it’s quite mature already, but it has been growing up a drain pipe in complete shade in a tub and didn’t flower that well the last 2 years. I think it will do a lot better in this situation, providing it survives the move. Some plants hate to be moved, they don’t like to be disturbed at all, and this plant certainly had some disturbing going on, both at root level and top. I had to unwind it from the frame it was climbing on up the drain pipe, and that was not an easy task, in fact, I broke one of the long stems in the process. But there is still 2 long and 1 shorter left, so providing the roots survive and take, I think it will be fine. It’s a tough plant :-)

Here you can see the stems going up the trunk, helped a bit by wire. By end of the summer, this tree will hopefully have leaves rather than needles. And should it not be successful...well, sometimes projects in my garden end in disaster, just as it can in any garden...then I can always take a trip to B&Q to buy another honeysuckle and wait for 4 or 5 years or so perhaps for it to reach the treetop... Anyway, it is a great way of helping a plant that didn’t thrive much where it was and at the same time not having to cut down a tree that is long gone dead and is just standing there not being much of a sight as it is. Well, someone wise once said "You're not stretching yourself as a gardener if you're not killing plants!" I think I can safely say I am stretching myself as a gardener! I do gardening the same way as I do most things; by trial and error, and that means some plants have to pay for it with their life. But I have learned an awful lot the last 10 years about gardening in Britain, and gosh how fun and addictive it is – I must admit this is the time of the year I appreciate most living in London where you can do gardening all year round.

Here is another plant doing fabulously right now, it’s got the impressive name of ‘Sarcococca hookeriana var. Digyna’. It is another one of those winter flowering plants with intense scent, a scent intended to attract the few insects around for pollination. I can actually smell the sweet scent of this plant when standing at the back door of my house, and the plant is at the other end of my garden, in the end bed! No other plant in my garden has such a strong scent, not even the jasmine in the summers evening.

Here is another picture of the sarcococca, this time you can see the whole plant plus another smaller sarcococca to the left. The small plant looks very different, but is same family and is called Sarcococca confusa. Not sure what it is confused about, but they have similar scent and both plants bear black berries in the autumn.

And here is today’s last photo, just to remind us all about what’s to come.... SPRING :-) This is the tip of my hyacinths, some are in the beds, these are in a pot and are therefore a bit earlier to poke their noses through the soil. I can’t think of a better sign of spring than the daffodils and the crocuses, which I have already shown in an earlier post, and the hyacinths which are incredible quick to grow tall, once they have emerged out of the ground. Remember, we are still in January, but the signs of spring is everywhere in my garden...well, except for on my thermometer perhaps; it was a measly 4 degrees today and it won’t be much more than 4-6 degrees the next 5 days. OK, so it’s not spring yet, but it’s on its way, I can see signs of that everywhere :-)

I got a present today, from some friends of mine: a Bonsai tree! I have wanted one for a long time, but they are expensive and I have not really got anywhere to put one....but tonight I got one as a present :-) I will take a photograph, of course, and hopefully I will manage to keep it alive for a long time, as they can live for decades as far as I know. I think I will have to read a bit on the Internet about Bonsais...don’t really know much about them. If you know nothing, I can tell you it is a miniature tree, mine is about 1 foot tall, but fully formed.

OK, that’s about it for tonight, but more some other day. Take care...I’ll be back :-)

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