Sunday, May 26, 2024

Garden Successes

I'm sure you are sick to death of pictures of our lawn. Sorry about that! But I wanted to show you some of the work I did yesterday. I pulled out all the spent forget-me-nots that would have been on the left-hand side in the photo above, and mowed the grass around the edge of the flower bed. That will give more light and air to the plants there, which were buried in tall grass and forget-me-nots. I also did some weeding (that darned dock!!) in the middle, and ultimately filled two yard-waste bags with trimmings. I feel like I accomplished a lot, even if it's not evident to the casual observer.

As I've said before, our garden creates a ridiculous quantity of what my marine-biologist friend Liz would call "biomass." It's amazing how much grows over the course of a season.

I did a lot of other stuff yesterday, too.

First of all, remember how my white Christmas cactus (from reader Frances) got root rot? At the time I took cuttings and replanted them in fresh soil. Well, they're showing new growth, as are the sprigs of my salmon-colored cactus. So it looks like they've rooted and I've salvaged both of those plants. Whew!

This is what's called the "side return" of our house. The gate at the end leads to the street. This area was littered with construction detritus -- brick dust, chunks of pebble dashing, old roofing nails -- from the various projects the Russians have done upstairs (as well as our recent shed roof repair). I swept it clean and threw out a big bag of debris, and weeded some of the campanula from the edges. I probably should pull all those weeds, but it's nice to have a little greenery there, and they have purple flowers in the summer. I'll weed in the fall.

This is a Nicotiana that Dave bought at Waitrose not too long ago. I cleaned out the weed-filled planter at the side of the house and planted it there, where it will get lots of sun. (The shards will keep the squirrels from uprooting it, ideally.)

A couple of weekends ago I dug our one remaining foam flower (Tiarella) out of our flower beds and put it in a pot -- it was so deeply buried beneath some big ferns that I had trouble finding it, and it wasn't getting any light or air. It has since sprouted new leaves and seems very happy. And we can see it -- big plus!

I also staked up the leaning rose, using the heavy-duty tree stakes and rope I bought from Amazon. It seemed very secure but we had rain all night, and when I woke up early this morning the rose was leaning again. I haven't been able to tell whether the stakes pulled out or what. I had to wake up Dave to help me put the chair back in place as a brace. "We're definitely cutting this f*cker down," he said.

(Don't worry -- I'm continuing my campaign to save it.)

All our dahlias are also showing growth, and our canna lilies have sent up a single shoot. I'd feared they were dead because they've been dormant until now. Woo hoo!

Last night, Dave and I went out to a restaurant in Shoreditch where the main claim to fame is whole turbot, served with the head on. We went with two of our co-workers, and the four of us split one turbot and got a variety of other entrees and side dishes as well. We had fun but I think Dave and I both came away thinking we'd spent a lot of money on good but not mind-blowing food. I did love the olive oil ice cream!


gz said...

All that gardening was worth a celebration out!

River said...

Put the heavy duty stakes behind the rose away from the direction of leaning and tie it back to the stakes instead of propping it up from the front. Bury the stakes as deep as you can and trim the top of the rose by at least a foot. It doesn't have to be every branch just enough to reduce the weight. Also tie the stakes if you can to something sturdy behind them, like the fence or a big tree, ths will help them not get dragged out by the rose.
To prevent root rot in those cactus plants, make sure the saucers don't hold water empty them after watering and water less often, also put a few shards in the saucers to raise the pots away from any standing water.

Frances said...

Good to see the cacti doing well. I am trying to root a tiny bit off the one you gave me.

Moving with Mitchell said...

Ooh, olive oil ice cream. That’s a new one for me. I love all your rescue plants. I would do that, too, but it drives SG crazy. Yes, he’d be one to go out and cut all the f*ckers down. I do love your squirrel deterrent, ideally, shards. Keep us posted.

Andrew said...

I love the word biomass.
I can wear fish heads if the eyes are removed.
It is a great time for you as plants get very busy.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

A much better offering than yesterday's paltry blogpost! The goings-on in your garden are so varied and dramatic. How would you live happily without your garden and more than that what would you have to blog about?

Bob said...

I agree with gz that you deserved a night out after your efforts in the garden!

Boud said...

I never get tired of gardening posts and your success with replanting. I think the rose needs to be pruned back to a few inches!

Ms. Moon said...

You and I were doing many of the same things yesterday, albeit on two different continents. I think we are having almost-no-mow-May around here. Glen's been busy. My next door neighbor is mowing as we speak and it's annoying me. It's Sunday morning, people!
So I went to the link about Brat and those are not the most tempting looking photos on their website. Sorry, but they are just not. What is a "flourish" salad? When they serve it do they say, "TA-DA!"?

Sharon said...

My goodness, that is a lot of yard work and you still had time to go out to dinner too. Everything is looking very green and lush.
Olive oil ice cream....sounds delightful.

Kelly said...

For some reason, I always think of Ancient Rome when I see anything about turbot. It must have featured in a lot I've read from that time period.

Susan said...

Nice work in the garden. Everything is growing well and keeping the garden in check is no easy task. The top heavy rose seems determined to lay down. A good trim should solve the problem. Restaurants today are unpredictable. Cost is high and quality can be iffy.

Allison said...

I'm a solid no on fish with heads attached. We once did a bike tour where we were presented with a whole fish. Most of the Americans (me included) had not the foggiest idea how to eat the thing. Much bread was consumed.

Red said...

Christmas cactus are very slow to start. I started a new one in case the old one dies.

ellen abbott said...

I love your garden and no I don't get tired of seeing pictures. I still have things that need doing in the yar and gardens but too hot which ordinarily wouldn't stop me but now with all these impending procedures I don't want to get stressed out with the heat.

Colette said...

You were REALLY busy and productive.

The Bug said...

I am absolutely NOT tired of your yard and most likely never will be!

Jeanie said...

I hate it when I have not mind-blowing food that is mind blowingly expensive. The garden looks amazing. You've done so much. I wish you lived near and hired out. I'd know it would be done beautifully!

Pixie said...

185 pounds, not dollars, for a fish! OMG man, I can't even imagine. And then on top of that, it wasn't amazing. Well shit.

Debby said...

Christmas cactuses are amazing, aren't they? I had my great grandmother's, and honestly, after all those many years, the thing just up and started dying. I repotted it. I read everything. I mean, it was so old. I just figured for sure that it wouldn't die. By the time that I figured out that I should do clippings, it was beyond that. I kept it on the back porch in the mudroom, intending to throw it in the compost heap in the spring. When I began to pull the dead vegetation from the pot, there was one small shoot in the middle of the pot. I brought it inside and started over. I can'be believe I still have that wonderful old thing.

I enjoy your lawn. You just keep on keeping on.

Margaret said...

You got so much accomplished, and that side area looks great! I was shocked the first time I saw a fish served with its head on, but then I went to Senegal...

Steve Reed said...

GZ: Definitely! It was easier to work knowing a reward was coming.

River: That's exactly how I've staked the rose, with the exception of tying the stakes to trees -- I didn't think of that, and that's a good idea. Leaving water in the saucer was indeed my mistake with the cactus.

Frances: Excellent! I'm just glad mine seem to finally be doing well. They were looking terrible for a while.

Mitchell: In some ways I wish I could be harsher on plants. We wind up with some that really do just need to be put out of their misery!

Andrew: You can WEAR fish heads? Say what?

YP: Well, I managed daily posts even back when we lived in a flat with no garden -- but I posted about the plants on the balcony!

Bob: A just reward!

Boud: Well, maybe not THAT far! We'll cut it way back when it stops blooming.

Ms Moon: We laughed about that too! It was just a green salad. I have no idea what gave it a "flourish."

Sharon: It was surprisingly good -- and it came with fresh strawberries, which tasted great with the olive oil.

Kelly: Oh, that's interesting. I'd never have associated turbot with Rome!

Susan: Yes, a trim is needed. I'm trying to wait until the flowering period is over, which should be in another month or so.

Allison: Ha! Well, this was made easier because they removed the spine, so it was partially fileted.

Red: That's thinking ahead!

Ellen: It's probably wise to take it easy in the heat!

Colette: I didn't feel THAT busy, but it was good to get a bunch of little tasks done.

Bug: Good! You will undoubtedly be forced to look at more of it. LOL

Jeanie: Ha! And ours looks positively unkempt compared to our neighbors' -- they both have professional gardeners. I like a slightly shaggy look.

Pixie: Interesting -- the menu online isn't quite the one we had. We paid £145 for a slightly smaller fish. But still!

Debby: They ARE amazing. They seem fragile but they're actually quite durable, as long as they don't get overwatered.

Margaret: The side are actually doesn't look THAT great in real life, but it's better than it was. :)