Category Archives: Gardening

TGIF

First job of the day was to wake up. I did not achieve total success in carrying out this task. My mistake had been uttering those immortal words “I’ll just have another few minutes.” I set my new phone to give me 15 more minutes and, 25 minutes after it went off, was found cuddling it affectionately to my bosom.

Julia soon put a stop to that.

We visited the Mencap garden next and I had a look at the progress made during the week. Julia is aiming to build some interest amongst group members and to tidy up a bit. It’s never going to be immaculate, and that isn’t the intention, but she is aiming to make the garden more productive and define the wildlife areas more clearly. We know from bitter experience that visitors are all to keen to complain about weeds, and that this always causes problems.

Then, after coffee and cake (the remains of our stash from Mrs Botham) it was time to go home. It also seemed a good time to take Julia’s new Facebook profile photo.  She always looks happier after cake.

I realise that cake for breakfast is probably frowned on by Big NHS Brother but what harm can a bit of cake do? The sultanas alone must be worth one of my five a day, and if they really want us to go to ten a day I’m going to struggle without cake.

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Great job, cake, wonderful husband – you just have to smile

From home, it was off to the anticoagulant clinic again. I won’t bore you will the details, but after struggling to get my blood to respond to anticoagulants they are now struggling to stop it responding. I let them flap for a bit, but as stress is a killer I decided not to worry about it.

Final job of the morning is checking out a few blogs and writing my first post of the day. That is now done, and after loading a few pictures I will be doing my first job of the afternoon, which is eating lunch. The other plans are collect prescription, shop for evening meal, visit duck pond, eat ice cream and watch Pointless.

In the evening I shall coerce Number One son into washing up, collect Number Two son from the station, cook tea, dispense unwanted fatherly advice on a variety of subjects, and complain that nobody speaks clearly these days. They will counter this final assertion by pointing to hearing aid adverts on the TV, though I may well be asleep before any come on.

 

 

The Promise of Future Fruit

Here are some pictures of the fruit trees from last week. The Magpies seem quite keen on the big yellow cherries, which are ripe despite being yellow. We are going to have to research the variety. The smaller, more prolific yellow cherries are not yet edible. Even the Magpie, which is happy to eat a dead badger from the gutter, won’t eat them.

The strawberries are doing well, and this particular punnet was going to the school caretaker, on the grounds that cooperation is a good thing. They are one of the few things Julia is able to sell from the site, and they will be paying for some of the materials needed for shed repairs before winter kicks in.

There is a good selection of apples, pears and plums around the garden, though Julia has given me (in my capacity as a non-volunteer) responsibility for drawing up a pruning plan for the winter. They are generally in good order but a few are growing water shoots, and most are congested. It’s easily done, as people tend to concentrate on pruning for fruit and neglect to open up the centres of the trees.

There are also several apple trees that were obviously pruned as step-overs but have grown into hedges over the years. Being the owner of a plum tree that started life as a minarette I know all about this sort of thing, and have no moral high ground to take.

There are vines and figs in the polytunnel, a hazel with nuts and, in one corner of the garden,  we havea group of Nottingham medlars. They are a “traditional” tree which means they have no practical use  these days and are grown as a curiosity.  At one time they were handy for late crops but we have imports and chillers to fill thst gap these days. You have to blet the fruit before eating, which means letting it ripen to within moments of it rotting. They dress it up in most articles on medlars, but that is what it means in practical terms.

It will be interesting to see how they go, and to try some recipes with them.

Plans include raspberries and gooseberries, because we can get free cuttings, and finding what is known as “the special plum tree”. I think we’ve probably found it, but we just don’t know it’s special yet. We also need Cape Gooseberries, because we’ve always done well with them and visitors like to try them.

Compared to the farm garden, which was lumpy clay and rubble when we got there, this is luxury.

You also have the bonus that people don’t steal your fruit when you aren’t there.

Next Week – Plans and Flowers

Yes, despite the outwardly chaotic appearence of my life I do have plans. Some of them (such as the Nobel Prize (Peace or Literature – I’m easy) are not likely to come to fruition. The oldest laureate was 90, so I still have time, but I fear that it may no longer be a realistic prospect.

However, assuming that the younger me had planned to become a middle-aged man with a weight problem and unrealistic dreams of winning a Nobel Prize, I think it’s fair to say we can consider that done.

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Cranesbill Geranium

You win some, you lose some.

The plans for the coming day include doing the laundry (I am now well enough to take up my domestic duties again). That’s according to Julia, anyway; I still feel another week of watching daytime TV while she brings me cups of tea is in order. I also have to buy the ingredients for a rhubarb crumble (apart from the rhubarb.)

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Nasturtium – once known as Indian Cress because it tastes like watercress

Apart from that, which I confess, is not an onerous list, I need to make something for tea (which will be a nice, easy salad)  and write a to do list for Julia. We ended up with four pages of notes on Friday morning. They are currently more of an avalanche of words and ideas, rather than a list.

By 4.30 this afternoon they will be a list – sorted by importance, season and financial implication.

Today’s pictures are more flowers, but this time I know the names.

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Yellow Flag

 

 

 

The Mystery Plants

Can anyone help me identify these plants? They are both growing in the Mencap Garden when I visited on Friday and I can’t place them.

The one in the featured photo is just leaves at the moment and stands about six inches high.

The other, in the three pictures below, looks familiar, but I can’t place it. It is up to eight feet high when supported by the fence, but most of it seems to be lying flat across the bed and path.

 

Any suggestions are welcome. There’s a lot I don’t know, but in this case I feel I have the readers to dispel my ignorance.

New Phone, Fingers and Flowers

 

Last night Julia went on line and arranged an upgrade for me with our airtime provider. Though you do have to pay for it somewhere along the line, it seems like a free phone and is not too bad.

The problem was that they set the ball rolling by sending me a code in a text. It’s tricky receiving a text on a touch screen phone when the screen is in pieces and stabs you in the fingers when you try to use it. Even when you try to use it carefully.

The new one is bigger than the old one, which seems to be the trend. It is also more complicated. I haven’t finished setting it up yet, but I have managed to fit the screen protector and insert it into the protective case.  Yes, definitely a case of locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.

(Did you know screen protectors come with their own screen protector protectors? I didn’t.)

I have also activated the fingerprint security system. Time will tell if this was a good decision.

Call me a pessimist if you will, but all I can think of at the moment is various ways I could lose my finger, and how I would unlock my phone if that happened.

The photos are from the Mencap garden this morning. There was no group in, and Julia needed someone to hold the other end of the tape measure.

Is this Rock Bottom?

Julia had an email tonight.

It seems that I am not an acceptable volunteer for the garden project because working with her will produce a conflict of interests. So, not only am unemployable (due to age, health and lack of qualifications) but I can’t even give my labour away.

As if this wasn’t bad enough I then Googled “pizza gardens“. This produced many references to round gardens for growing pizza ingredients with kids. I tried “pizza beds“, which produced a selection of duvet covers with pictures of pepperoni.

This wasn’t what I was looking for, so I tried a different way – Googling “paper cardboard mulch”. That produced the result I wanted. It seems I wanted “lasagna gardening”. That’s the trouble with advancing age, all foreign food merges into one.

Not only am I unable to give my free labour away, I can no longer distinguish pizza from lasagna.

Add my medical problems and I think my situation can truly be described as rock bottom.

Having said that…

Helping Insects

You don’t really need to do much for insects, just leave some of the garden slightly untidy. I can manage that. Unfortunately, when you look round the gardens that surround us, I’m one of a dying breed. The neighbours on one side have gradually turned their garden into a hard-landscaped hell over the last thirty years, whilst the previous set on the other side have erased every feature of interest. They also tried to tell me how to manage my garden. I’m hoping the new neighbours on that side might be an improvement. They have given me cake twice since moving in, so I do have reason for optimism.

The featured image is a bug box in the Sainsbury’s car park in Whitby. They did make a big thing about them at one time, with in-store posters, but this is the only one I actually remember seeing. It’s quite an elegant thing, and would grace any garden.

The next group of bug hotels are behind the centre at Attenborough. I just checked the link and see I’ve already shown them. Just goes to show how bad my memory is. The pictures below show some arrangements from Carsington Water  – which can be as simple as leaving a pile of logs.

The one attached to the tree is in the garden of the Bishop’s Palace at Southwell Minster.

At the moment I’m thinking about the best way to get some bug cover in the garden, as we’ve had to clear a lot of clutter to get the garden in shape. Somewhere I have more pictures, but how many do you need to see?