Tag Archives: bamboo

Bear’s Guest Blog

It’s a bit nippy out, and there’s a North wind blowing across Nottingham as I type. You notice things like this when you have no trousers.

This cold wind may be a metaphor for the current state of world politics, if you think that a bear with a head full of viscose kapok is capable of metaphor. Or it may just be a weather report. Looking at our current crop of politicians, it’s clear that brains aren’t required, and in at least one case the stuffing appears to be leaking out.

The lack of trousers may also be a metaphor, depending on your view of the Prime Minister’s well-publicised private life.

boris stuffing

The lack of trousers is even more apparent when you spend a lot of time sitting in a tree. It wasn’t particularly cold during the photoshoot, but there was an element of chafing I didn’t particularly care for.

This isn’t the only deficiency in the knitting. You’d think if they expected you to type a blog they’d have managed a few fingers, wouldn’t you?


Me amongst the cranesbill

However, I digress.

Today the two large moving objects that share the house went to visit something they call “the gardens”. This is different to “the garden” which is an area of untamed growth to the rear of what they call “the house”.

To get to the gardens we drove, which seems to be a process where the one with the furry face twiddles a few bits and pieces and offers a stream of helpful advice to other drivers.

The quiet one, who knitted me, mutters things like: “You really shouldn’t say things like that to people.”


I keep pointing out I’m not a panda but it doesn’t seem to sink in

I remember her voice from the knitting, because she did my ears early on, though it was nearly a day before I could see her. It’s a pity she didn’t take a bit longer and add a few extras. I’ve already mentioned trousers and fingers, but when posing for photographs it might have helped to have had a few joints. There is a limited number of poses when you can’t bend anything, and I’m not going to be Playbear of the Week if I can’t strike a pose.

Fortunately I do have a winning smile and a twinkle in my eye.


From this angle the lack of knees and elbows isn’t apparent, but this doesn’t mean I’m going to stop mentioning it

Flowers in the Frost

It was a bit cold this morning – minus 3.5 degrees C according to my car. With a bit of a breeze and the proximity of the River Trent it felt even colder. I started taking photos and twenty minutes later, when my hands could no longer feel the button, I called it a day and sat in the car with the heater on. Julia continued her inspection, declared the garden closed for the day and started ringing round to reorganise things.


Frozen solid and minus three and a half degrees, though the moles are still active

I think it’s fair to say that they enjoyed themselves more in the main building than they would have done in the garden.


There was still plenty to see, though it was mostly droopy and covered in frost crystals. I tried to get some sun into the pictures but it was a bit low in the sky, and concealed behind trees.


A cold-looking garden gnome

The poppies, meanwhile, are standing up to the cold weather better than the real flowers.


From there I dropped Julia at the main building and went to the jewellers to get a safety chain fitted to one of her Christmas presents. I will say no more…

I managed to do some shopping before my return home and a session of writing Christmas cards and blogging before starting to cook tea.

This is the street, complete with frozen snow. Despite the forecast of higher temperatures I fear it may last a week or more, and continue to be a hazard underfoot.


A wintry scene

The seeds arrive

I learned a valuable lesson when my Fatsia Japonica seeds arrived the day before yesterday, check the planting requirements before ordering.

I have, it seems, committed myself to keeping them warm, then keeping them in the fridge then waiting up to a year. Our fridge is a hazardous place, and my memory is poor, so it looks like the poor things are doomed even before we start.

Everything else looks fairly simple. Good King Henry, and Sorrel seem easy and the bamboo seems simple too, though I’m worried that in the wilds of Nottinghamshire the target of 100 foot high, a foot wide and a growth rate of a foot a day may not be achievable. On the web it says it will do well in any sort of soil apart from clay. We, as luck would have it, are on clay. Ingenuity and compost are likely to feature in the bamboo story.

Meanwhile, the seeds of the tea bush proved to be a little unusual. They are more like nuts than seeds and need soaking, scarifying and refrigerating before they start to grow. Somehow the effort seems justified to grow our sacred national drink, whereas it doesn’t seem worth it for a shrub.


I’m sorry the photograph is upside down but that’s how it’s coming through. Even when I turn the photo upside down before loading, hoping that it will come out right way round, it still comes out upside down. Does anyone know why?

It’s a bigger mystery than the miracle of plant growth.



Games, bamboo and beans

It’s not often we welcome a sports personality to the group but we did today, after his trip to the Disabled Games at Scunthorpe. So it’s congratulations for a job well done (including archery and curling) and a big thank you to the Rotary Club for putting on  the games.

Despite predictions of cloud and rain over the weekend we pretty much seem to have had good weather. Too good for the plants in the polytunnel – some of which had laid down and died on heat stress on Sunday. I was in on Saturday so I know all was well then. Current forecast indicates we are in for some cooler days but they haven’t exactly covered themselves with accuracy for the last ten days so I don’t know what to believe.

I’ve been ordering a few new seeds as I crave excitement in the garden and don’t think I’ll be getting that from phlox, onions and feverfew. So it’s hello to Giant Bamboo and Bananas. The Giant Bamboo is suposed to grow a foot a day when it gets into its stride so I’m looking forward to that. It’s going to make an interesting photo diary at the very least, and next year’s bean frames are going to be pretty spectacular if it gets anywhere near its predicted 100 foot tall.

Final picture is of our new, slightly out of kilter, X-shaped bean frame. The theory is that the beans will hang down and be easier to pick from an X than from an inverted V. I’ve seen a more sophisticated version of this in a book – I think by Alan Titchmarsh – which was a timber frame supporting a proper V shape. If the X works I may look at going the whole hog next year.


More news on the beans is that the roots we saved from last year are starting to form shoots. Normally gardening books tell you to cut the top part off and leave the roots in to the soil so that all the nitrogen they have fixed from the air will go back to the soil. A couple of years ago  Julia read an article saying that runner beans were perennials and you could store the roots like dahlia tubers. We did it and they seemed OK. Opinions on the net seem a little mixed but we’ll give them another year and see what happens.