Focus thistles

We’ve taken to calling this area of the garden the “focus area” as it’s the only area of the garden I’m actively trying to keep clear. Daily I’m out here plucking grass or other weeds I don’t recognise. And still they come.

But we’re not talking about weeds today, I want to show off how great these globe thistles are! Theres three in this picture. The two left most are standing tall. The right most one is a bit squashed due to a fallen bird (a sad story for another time, maybe). They’re shooting right up and I couldn’t be more pleased.

The lavender you see there is neither dying nor growing. I’d really love to dig it up again and see if it’s bothered taking root or if it’s still kept itself pot bound.

Also in focus are some marigolds that have managed to stand themselves up. These haven’t grown anywhere near the speed that the greenhouse one have. They’ve mostly filled out, rather than growing upwards, which is fine by me.

The tree house

One of the things we loved about the house when buying it was that there was a tree house. In fact, when the surveyor looked around, he suggested that the home owner at the time remove it before we buy it because it’s potentially not entirely safe, yadda yadda.

We emailed our estate agent and requested that the seller absolutely not remove the tree house.

You can see Pebbles and No Pebbles in the conservatory there.

It proudly flies a … sort of… Welsh flag. We’ll eventually get around to changing it, but our current flags are mostly too large.

It is quite sturdy. I’ve sat up there reading at lunch times. Tim likes to stand atop it and survey our lands.

The wood needs treating (or replacing) in some places, but that will be an adventure for another time.

I’m also on the lookout for a more appropriate chair…

Buy cheap, buy twice

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a “good” deal and gotten in trouble for it.

This watering can was three whole British pounds from Morrisons and is worth… well, probably £3.

I bought it because my current watering can only has a single spout. This isn’t good when I’m trying to not drop many litres per second on my tender plants. The spout here creates a lovely rainfall effect which was exactly what I wanted.

However, in the few days I’ve been using it, it’s gone wrong in every way that it could have.

The white plastic head has fallen off. It’s gotten jammed with a few petals. The entire spout has come off. The thin plastic of the can nearly buckles whilst I was holding it (admittedly unusually).

The worth of buying this is that I’ve realised some things to look for in my future purchases.

  • The top handle and side handle is very important.
  • The spout needs to not block easily.
  • The spout needs to not fall off.
  • It needs to be fillable without my needing to get my hands wet when dipping it into my water bucket.

Reaching the glass ceiling

(More plastic ceiling, honestly.)

Remember a while ago I started planting some seedlings into pots? It looks like they’re just about out growing my single level greenhouse.

You can see them here pushing right up against the plastic. Being in that much contact with the wet surface probably isn’t good for them, so my next project will have to be graduating them to big plant school; the soil.

Many of the nasturium look like this. Long, with very few off shoots. I’ve no idea if this is their natural look, or a symptom of miniture greenhouse growth. Nonetheless, I’ve given it a deep drink of water that’ll hopefully allow it to perk up.

The marigolds are looking brilliant. I’ll be moving all of these into the ground quite soon.

Did I sun shock my kitchen herbs?

On my kitchen window sill has ben a group of herbs for a while, each growing reasonably so long as I remembered to water them. Chives, two batches of basil, mint, and some coriander.

The basil had been living in the same pot or so long that the soil level had visibly decreased. Instead of adding more soil, I decided it might be a nice idea to fill up one of the big pots I have and put them all outside together. (I don’t cook with these herbs very often, and so them being outside doesn’t hinder me too frequently.)

The mint seems to have taken root quickly, and is growing great. The chives – though very few in number – are also looking good. Better than in the pot, actually.

The coriander was actually browning in the pot. This all went away once I potted it outside.

It seems that the basil had been affected the most – the worst – to be point of nearly dying. The tips are blackened on some of them, others have browned and lost much of the beautiful green.

I mentioned this to one of the smartest of allotmentists I know and he immediately identified the problem; I took them outside too quickly. The kitchen is actually very sunny, but theres still a pane of glass between the sun and the herbs. Outside though, the temperature isn’t regulated at all and the sun is direct and day long.

I should have realised this because they even look burnt.

They’ve been out there for a while now. I’m hoping that it will settle in after the next harvest (which I’ll likely immediately toss into the compost).

You live and you learn.

Incredibly fast growing weeds

I’m including grass in that too; I only cut this two (or three) weeks ago. How is it this long again already?

One issue I have with this much grass is that it ends up almost entirely filling my garden waste bin. As its wet, the moisture all gathers at the bottom of the bin. I suppose this calls for very careful cutting of the grass the same week as the bins are taken away, otherwise it globs together and refuses to budge from the swampy bottom.

These unknown weeds are actually quite pretty. However, they’ve managed to amass themselves in force, now sixty, maybe seventy centimetres high. Culling them properly is taking me so long. I’m half thinking of just strimming them back and putting off removing them at the root until next year. However, that comes with the obvious disadvantage of not being able to use the soil they’re in right now for fear of them competing with whatever I chose to plant there.

This embarrassment is right at the back of our garden. The incineration bin is there only because we’ve not yet got a way of disposing of it. It’s ornamental by way of awaiting an empty enough bin. Those weeds beside it though, are horridly high. This area of the garden isn’t one I’ve yet found the time to touch. This feels like many evenings of work right here.

You see how the right side of the picture fades into darkness? That’s because that part of the garden is banked very steeply into the next door neighbour’s garden. A spot that I’ll have to work on, but maybe tethered to Tim in a bungee harness, or something.