Looks like it’s going to be raining most of the day and the forecast for next week is pretty dire too. Tis the season for contemplative gardening for sure. The trouble with airing those contemplations on the world stage is that there’s a bit of pressure to see them through. There are two contemplations and one under way in this six, the rest is plants.
Pinus pumila ‘Säntis’. Three weeks ago I removed a pine tree at the back of the house. There were two, now there is one. Now I am looking at that one and thinking that all the reasons that led me to get rid of the other one apply to this one, but more so. Pinus pumila is a very slow growing species and this one has been there for over 20 years. When it was four feet tall it was absolutely beautiful. When it reached about six feet it began to thin out around the bottom and at some point I removed all its lower branches so it became more tree like in outline. Sadly, it doesn’t really work because the branch framework says ‘bare stemmed bush’ rather than ‘tree in miniature’. Its crown has become rather thin too, especially viewed from ground level. From upstairs it looks a bit better but that’s not really where we look at it from. Truth is, it was at its best quite a few years ago and will only get worse from here on in.
Composting has been on my mind lately as those of you who saw my blog about it earlier in the week will know. A product called HOTBIN came across my radar and it occurred to me that I could do away with the small compost heap I have in the garden (I have a bigger one on my allotment) in favour of a HOTBIN round the side of the house. Then I could use the space to put up a shed into which I could put all sorts of things the very sight of which cause Sue considerable distress. Have a good tidy up in short. OMG, I feel a project coming on. Funny how one thought leads to another.
Baptisia australis. This was quite pretty earlier in the summer in an understated sort of way. Now it’s turned black and the obvious thing would be to cut it down. Except that we visited the Garden House earlier this year and there was one there, beside the house, that looked like neither frost nor secateurs had checked its growth in a number of years, such that it was four or five feet tall. So am I not going to get much flower if I cut it to the ground each year? I need to get bookish, unless someone has experience of it to share.
Succulents. A bit of rubbishy weather can provide an excuse for a bit of adult play. That’s got your attention but is not what I mean. I’m talking about getting out my toys; no, that’s not what I meant either.
My camera does WiFi, so I ran an extension cable to the greenhouse, plugged in an access point connected to a broadband extender, put the camera on a tripod beside it and connected it to my computer. Then I remotely did some focus stacks of some of the cacti and succulents in the greenhouse and stacked them using Zerene Stacker. You still with me? I had a new 35mm macro lens to put through its paces too.
I don’t usually do allotment stuff on Saturday sixes though I’ve no idea why. I have two plots, one growing fruit and veg, the other Camellias, Dahlias and weeds. I have started to create beds on the second plot, separated by mypex paths. I dug two trenches 50cm apart and laid 1m wide mypex down the resulting mesa, burying 25cm either side. I now have a path that should be easy to keep weed free, that won’t blow away or get rodents under it. That’s the plan. What could possibly go wrong. Each path took a couple of hours of work and there’s six to go. It’d better not go wrong. The first complete bed is earmarked for strawberries.
Hak mac of the wk. Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’ is a very bright yellow leaved form of my favourite grass. Like many other bright yellow leaved plants it’s more prone to scorch than the green and variegated forms so midday shade is fairly necessary, but other than that I have been surprised by its vigour. It is the least upright of the varieties I have, arching out and when it rains, flopping onto the ground or surrounding plants. In the picture it is between H. macra ‘Mediovariegata’ and H. macra ‘Albostriata’, showing clearly its contrasting habit. The plant that it flops onto is black mondo grass, Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ and its hard to imagine a stronger contrast. Someone should plant a bank of alternate stripes of those two plants, black and gold, the colours of Kernow. Not that I’m Cornish, I just live here. I’m an emmet.
It’s a good thing the Hardy Plant Society seed list came yesterday, something to do while the rain lashes down. That and reading everyone’s blog posts, the links to which are at the bottom of The Propagator’s blog, just under the leaf mould.