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The first rule of garden club is...!?!

(1000 Posts)
Lexilicious Mon 16-Jul-12 18:25:19

<echoing silence>

hoping Humph's Happy Osteospermumsnet chums will find this... la la la... I'm uite used to being betty no mates though...

Come on in and have a seat/kneeler/foam pad and a virtual [gin], anyone who wants to idly chat about what they've been dreaming of planting, actually planting, buying without a care for having a place for it, propagating, harvesting, hacking and chopping...

Lexilicious Thu 19-Jul-12 11:28:25

Yes please I'll have some elderflower cordial! But was it a good year for elderflowers? I don't recall seeing blossom on the tree near me. I must go and check my local wild plum trees in the woods too - there is a great yellow one (might be mirabelle) nearby. The brambles look unbelievably well laden. We could have some serious jamming going on in a couple of months! Glad I have been saving all my jam jars, I have a huge quantity now!

I'm going to pickle some of the smaller onions and shallots this weekend. They are too small and fiddly to use, but had to be dug up. I need to plait the garlic too (might do two or three plaits, keep one and give the others as gifts).

Is it time for another one of Lexi's Nature Notes? I read article on the Guardian about hedgehog corridors, followed some links in the comments about whether they really eat slugs, and now I'm all worried that I might have hedgehogs eating diseased slugs and themselves dying, and my pond isn't well enough get-out-able, and hoping the rat bait station I'm about to put down won't let hedgehogs and voles in too, and oh my goodness but it's a minefield. I even think I might have Turned My Compost Heap With A Fork later than April, and now I'm fretting I'vestabbed a baby.

I think I need to sniff a sweet pea to calm down. Meant to cut some and bring into work this morning but I forgot. They are going too fast for me! But they are all one colour (really bold cerise-y pink) which is a bit boring in a vase.

Lexilicious Thu 19-Jul-12 11:29:15

I knew I would do at least one link fail... the Guardian article

chixinthestix Thu 19-Jul-12 22:37:00

Lexi its been a rubbish year for elderflowers here. For a start the hedge cutter flailed our regular harvesting bush to within an inch of its life so no blooms there, but also because they should really be picked on a sunny day. Needless to say we haven't made much this year. But it really is the essence of summer, I also love elderflowers stewed with gooseberries and we've had loads of those this year. Think it seems to be a good fruit year all round.

If only my tomatoes would go red!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 19-Jul-12 22:41:56

Next year I will attempt to make my own elderflower cordial!

HaitchJay Fri 20-Jul-12 06:41:41

Am not keeping up with this thread sad or the garden sad

Toms mainly lost to mould, greenhouse too damp sad
Fennel & peas doing well.
Potatoes not so good.
Strawberries keep splitting with so much water. Raspberries ok but not making it to the house. Apples looking ok at the moment.

Dh seems to have grown enough lupins for the whole town and we are monitoring colours and I'm vetoing boring ones

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 20-Jul-12 09:19:24

My two lovely lupins turned out simply to be an expensive form of slug food. Sob.

Lexilicious Fri 20-Jul-12 09:54:52

Those salvias I bought last week at tesco are currently a slug snack too. Lupins seem to be doing okay on top of the rockery (beside pond) last time I checked. Do frogs eat slugs?

I am only keeping up with this thread because I can't get into the garden!! Although it is a quite nice day today and I am working at home so will no doubt potter out there a bit. I am thinking of getting my winter veg sown (carrots, parsnips, and poss salsify and scorzonera) and turning part of the veg side of my garden into a more permanent patch - the rhubarb has really taken off and I can see it needs more space, so I will put a gooseberry beside it I think, and make a low fruit cage around it, then a cardoon, then strawberries in the ground rather than the stacking thing.

Hoping to cut some of the beautiful bergamot for a flower display indoors. The flowers are out in great numbers now and look like bright red jesters hats!

I planted tansy last year as a companion plant (it has button flowers in a big umbelliferous handful which attract ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies, which eat aphids) but it hasn't been in flower yet and so aphids have done their thing so far without getting caught. However it has put on a massive amount of growth and (it is in two places) it is nearly 6 feet tall! I can just see the flower heads coming now though, and I love the smell of its leaves, which I can't describe.

Has just reminded me of this board game which I got as a birthday present about 20 years ago and now regret having got rid of! Hilarious game, would have been excellent for a MN gardeners meet up on a rainy day. Anyone else heard of it?

Phacelia Fri 20-Jul-12 11:37:14

Umbeliferous. grin Great word!

Goes off to google tansy, bergamot and the board game.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 20-Jul-12 14:23:19

That board game looks a hoot!

Umbellifer is a very fine word indeed.

mollythewitch Fri 20-Jul-12 20:05:54

I've not been keeping up with this thread either due to a poorly laptop. I'm sharing the woes of trying to do any gardening on clay without turning the place into a quagmire. To summarise:
Minature rose - mildewed.
Lettuce -slugged to stumps faster than I could possibly believe.
Dahlias - chomped by snails.
Sunflowers and cosmos - beheaded by mystery pest. I suspect those v tiny slugs.
Elderflower cordial - went mouldy.

On the plus side my astrantia and meadow rue look lovely. I'm very envious of all your roses. As soon as we are out of rented accommodation and manage to buy our own place I am sitting down with the DA catalogue. Munstead wood looks particularly lovely, and whichever that lovely deep red one is that is OK for a north wall -Cardinal Richelu?

I had a margerite daisy in a pot that was looking particularly shredded - it was quite pot bound and when I eased the soil/rootball away from the side of the pot there were dozens of slugs all making their home down the gap! I've had a look at my other pots and it seems to be a favourite hiding place, eurgh! I had to ease them out with a teaspoon and flick them into the road.

Fingers crossed for sunnier weather this weekend, tbh Id be happy with anythign that wasnt torrential rain!

Lexilicious Fri 20-Jul-12 20:20:07

Gw's on!!!

chixinthestix Fri 20-Jul-12 22:53:46

Lexi I have a tansy too, and its a monster. I'm not keen on the smell but have put it down the side of the veg patch to draw in pollinators.

Very pleased that my roses have done better than Monty's and my Lidl carrots too!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 20-Jul-12 22:56:31

An hour with Monty. Bliss!

Phacelia Sat 21-Jul-12 11:41:41

Loved GW tonight. It's great that even MD has failures, his poor carrots.

Great shots of Nigel; that dog is gorgeous. I would love a golden retriever. Loved the potato taste testing too and very interesting about how different they all were. My early potatoes look like they're pretty much ready to dig up.

I've been out in the wonderful sunshine we've been having and nibbling the first ripe strawberries off the plants. They taste so much better than anything you can buy in the shops. I'm loving my broad beans too, I can't believe how much sweeter they are than what you can buy. Am converted and will grow 3 times as many next year (plus I heard that you can eat them the same way as pea shoots so will have a seperate crop just for that purpose)

MooncupGoddess Sat 21-Jul-12 13:09:48

Beautiful sunny morning here. My strawberries are sending out shoots in every direction and lots of little clumps of grapes are forming on my vine. The tomatoes are doing well too; if we get some good sun over the next few weeks then perhaps I'll be able to harvest them before the dreaded blight sets in. One of my onions is about to flower, which I believe is a Bad Thing, but I'm curious to see what the flower looks like!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 21-Jul-12 17:40:22

Lovely day here too and I have spotted the first tiny fruit on my Tumbler Tom tomatoes.

I have also planted or at least laid out all the plants from 3 T&M orders that came at once. But AIBU to be peeved that, because they had run out of certain plants, only one third of my black plant collection is actually black? I understand that they have to make substitutions if their stock has failed, but surely those substitutions ought to be black? hmm

funnyperson Sat 21-Jul-12 19:41:51

I went out and cheerily chopped my geraniums back today al la Monty!

Was any one else really impressed by the size of his hostas? However I was surprised to see that my roses have definitely done better than his - perhaps I go for a different type of rose flower: more of an open flower so less susceptible to the rain. I have been deadheading the roses and now there is a second flowering on Albert Carriere already! I have decided not to deadhead American Pillar as I read that it has oval hips, so this year as an experiment I am leaving the flowers on, as it is so vigorous anyway I dont think it will suffer and may provide Autumn colour and encourage the birds in the winter.

I loved the Margery Fish garden and especially the delicate Astrantias in among the geraniums!

Round here we have gorgeous flowering hedges in the front gardens: lavender and hebe and potentiella hedging, and in addition all the large flowering clematis are out and blooming beautifully.

funnyperson Sat 21-Jul-12 19:49:00

One of the nice things is that people's front gardens round our way no longer seem to be rows of lobelia alternating with alyssum. There are lots of herbs, alpines, poppies, roses, lilies, clematis and now there are hollyhocks and calla and hydrangeas, and every kind of topiary, which is amusing to go past: bobbles and faces and pyramids and those helterskelter shapes.

funnyperson Sat 21-Jul-12 20:02:16

Sorry it is alberic barbiere my ivory climber and I am going to be doing this with it tomorrow!

Lexilicious Sun 22-Jul-12 09:19:29

CITGM, cant you send them back as unqanted? And don't they have a substitutions preference thing like the online supermarkets do? E.g. "if not available don't substitute" "if not available sub with same colour/height/leaf form/flower shape" ...sounds like the sort of retail database analysis that my DH used to do! I was talking with a couple of friends yesterday who do IT architecture that the house-finding and clothes-finding websites that are emerging could be so much more powerful with a different starting point to the search functions. If you limited the T&M catalogue by colour palette, pollination-friendliness, soil type, and then had it group the results by season of interest, height, perennial ness, or some other grouping AND then remember your garden style to limit what might be subbed, now that would be a good shopping experience.

I was out on town all day yesterday so today is going to be garden day. I have wasted an hour of it already...

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 22-Jul-12 12:05:03

I think the small print, Lexi, is that they reserve the right to make substitutions. It's the way they make substitutions that seems bizarre - as if they don't realise that people who order a black plant collection actually want their plants to be black - like a supermarket being unable to supply organic carrots so sending a pound of lard instead! I don't have time to send them back and so have planted them in another bed and accepted their £5 bribe voucher.

I think this could be another NGS afternoon.

Lexilicious Sun 22-Jul-12 12:57:25

Ah, I see. In that cases would write to say "thanks for the voucher. The substitute plants are nice but don't go with my black and white colour scheme, which was why I ordered your black plant collection. Not just a basket of plants which happened to be black. I hope you can improve your substitution algorithm in future. I am still a happy customer, mostly" You know, subtly warning-shot sort of constructive criticism.

I have harvested the last of my garlic and laid it out to dry. A couple of them had a sort of bulbous flower in the middle of the stem which I've pulled out and it has sort of bulbils - reckon they will grow like sets? Wonder whether to put them in the ground straight away or wait till late autumn.

Going to weed the front garden. I have a whole patch of gladioli just about to burst out there - it is going to be a riot of colour just as the Olympics starts! We'll see if my R/W/B colour scheme comes true - the middle buddleia of three is purple, not white as expected, so a bit of an early fail there.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 22-Jul-12 13:15:49

That is uncannily similar to the email to customer services that I have written in my head, Lexi!

HaitchJay Sun 22-Jul-12 13:21:58

Feeling more successful today . All our veg at lunch was home grown, even my first ever parsnip! Dd3 was v defensive of 'her' peas though, she likes to eat them in the garden not share them in the house!

Haven't watched gardeners world yet, will catch up later.

funnyperson Sun 22-Jul-12 14:51:53

When DA didnt have an old French rose I had ordered for a friend they emailed to say so and asked me to choose an alternative, so as her birthday deadline was looming I asked her what she wanted.
Maud I think you should have been given a choice of a refund or an alternative of your choosing.
Gorgeous day.
I am not doing red white and blue flowers but will be doing an Olympic theme picnic for the road cycle race if its sunny.
I am sitting in my colonial chair admiring the garden and sucking the end of my pencil, while trying to put a realistic timetable together to watch as many free events as possible in the open air without undue hassle. Very pleasant pastime.

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