Saturday 18 June 2011

18.06. Blogging break

Hello, this will be my last post in a while; I am off to the hospital on Monday to have a hip replacement operation. When I heard that it would be late June before I would get the operation I thought to myself; Oh, no, that’s going to be impossible with my garden, how am I going to take care of it while recovering? And all the watering I sometimes do during the summer? Well, I say ‘sometimes’, because it really varies, as the amount of rain we get here can really vary a lot. The last 3 months we have hardly got a drop of rain over the whole of South-East England, and several counties have declared drought already, although London have yet to do so. But the last 2 weeks it has rained almost every day, sometimes really bucketing down, and I haven’t watered my garden at all. You know, it really evens out over time usually…what doesn’t come down one month usually comes next month…so I suppose it’s just good timing if we get showers for the next few weeks then ;-) But watering is just one part of gardening and the rest will have to be just so so, like deadheading and keeping up with the pests etc…I guess the lily beetles will have a right feast the next month! But most of the lilies have finished flowering, only the Lilium regale are left and they are flowering right now, and when they are gone the lily beetles are welcome to have the remaining leaves and stalks!

The rain this week has awoken a lot of snails and slugs from their beauty sleep; they haven’t really been keen on this dry weather we have had for such a long time, but the rain got them in to action – my poor strawberries have suffered most for that....why do the snails have to eat one small bite from each strawberry, instead of eating just a few whole berries and leaving the rest to someone else…bad table manners! Well, I got my revenge the other night, as I picked all the snails I could find and put them in a plastic bag, tied a knot and carried them out to my rubbish bin. My rubbish was collected yesterday so by now the whole lot, around 45 snails (!!!) will be congregating on my council’s landfill site, with not a green leaf in sight. Serves them right, for eating my strawberries!

I do have some pictures for you tonight as usual, the pictures are of really sweet and pretty flowers; roses, lilies and gerbera – sounds like a very nice flower bouquet :-) Here is the first one, a miniature rose, or a patio rose as they also are called. These are often sold as indoor plants which you are mean to throw away when they are finished producing flowers, but don’t do that if you have an outdoor space! All you need is a small tub and a bit of extra compost. These plants are really tough and can survive a winter down to minus 5-8 Celsius at least.

Here is another one, a bit more opened. Miniature roses are really great for a small space as they don’t really get taller than about 30-40cm, although they need the same spring pruning as all roses need if you keep them for several years. Just cut them down to about 15 cm and a few weeks later they will have started shooting again.

And here is a photo of my lovely Lilium regale, the first lilies I had. I got 3 bulbs as a present in 2004, and from those 3 I have made around 70 plants from seeds. I have given away some of those 70 plants, but the rest are spread around in my garden. It takes 4-5 years for a lily seedling to become fully grown and flower, and 8 years to become fully mature. Gardening is certainly not for the impatient! A few facts? Lilium regale is a trumpet flowered, scented lily, native to western Szechuan in China. It was introduced to England in 1903 by Ernest Henry Wilson.

The next one is a plant I really like; Gerbera. You often find these in flower arrangements and they will then have long stalks. Here they have very short stalks and the whole plant is not much more than 25cm tall. They flower from May until severe frost…and I mean severe frost. This one has survived several winters with nonstop flowering; it just went on and on and when the spring came it just continued flowering! But last winter was too tough even for this plant, so the leaves died down. But as you can see, it came up again and looks just as lovely.

And here is a new addition to my garden; another gerbera :-) I put it in with the red one, as the tub was big enough for both of them.

Here is a little known fact; the gerbera is a member of the sunflower family, with over 30 species found in the wild. Oh, and Gerberas are presently the fifth most popular cut flower in the world - that is no surprise to me - I really like them, maybe I need to get a few more!

OK, that’s the last flower photo for a while, and my last post for a while too; Monday I’m off to the hospital and on Tuesday morning I am having my hip replacement operation. But I will be back here as soon as I am able to, so please check in now and then, as I don’t think I will be able to keep away for very long :-) Until next time, take care!

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