greentapestry : June 2019

Saturday 29 June 2019

Musing In June ~ Weeding For Gardeners

"Weeds have a particular fascination for us. They are endlessly interesting, like an enemy who occupies our thoughts and schemes so much more than any friend and who (although we would never admit to it) we would miss if he suddenly moved away. I know the weeds in my garden better than most of my flowers and, without them, my victories would be insipid affairs. They may sometimes appear to us as ineradicable as Original Sin, but we would be sorry to to admit that, like sin, we were not conscious of a strong urge to overcome them ...... They come in unalterable , even decorous, procession, like a formal dance measure of long ago. First the speedwell in its long trails, the goosegrass, whorled and easy to remove while it is not too sticky ; the ground elder with its fresh - green palmate leaves ; the hairy bittercress and the nettles. There is the constant background theme of shepherd's purse and groundsel which, in mild winters, never seem to cease growing. Later, in late April, the first leaves of bindweed will make their entrance, usually after the first mulch is applied so that it can grown unseen and unchecked for some time. As speedwell is the spring's weed , so sowthistle belongs to the early summer, even half an hour's pleasant labour in June will yield a barrow-load of weeds".

~ an extract by Ursula Buchan from 'The Virago Book of Women Gardeners'.

I seem to have spent an inordinate amount of time this last week or so weeding especially at the allotment, where there has been a proliferation of weeds, encouraged by excessive rainfall. In addition to the above I'm also well acquainted with rosebay willowherb, dandelion, herb robert, wood avens, couch grass, creeping buttercup and nightmare of nightmares - horsetail. I was slightly puzzled by the reference to sowthistle in the above extract and was congratulating myself on not being plagued by that. My joy was short-lived as I made the mistake of looking for further information and once I saw a photo I realised that I've got that in the collection too! Which weeds are you engaged in mortal combat with?

Monday 24 June 2019

IAVOM- Thereby Hangs A Tale

Never mind the 'Chelsea Chop' - it was more like the 'Malvern Chop' when my centaurea cyanus 'Polka Dot Mixed' and nigella 'Persian Jewels' provided hearty fare for grazing rabbits in early May. I knew from previous experience that the cornflowers would survive but I wasn't sure about the nigella, which was reduced overnight from a frothy green haze to pathetic tattered stumps.

So this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' shows that happily both have survived to tell the tale. They were sown directly at the allotment sometime in mid September where they have both been left to get on with things. I did a little bit of thinning out but other than providing support for the cornflowers have not paid either any special attention. The cornflowers have been blooming since the start of June but these are the first nigellas to open. Both are from packets of mixed colour seeds but I've noticed that blue seems to the dominant colour in the resulting flowers of both varieties.  Maybe next year I will stick to packets of single colours and create my own mix. I couldn't resist adding some lagurus ovatus also known as bunny's tail grass to complete the vase which must have been a milk jug in a former life.

As always a special thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for her weekly invitation to share our vases. A little peek over there has revealed that some beautiful sweet peas and tempting cake are on the menu this week. A most irresistible combination!

Monday 10 June 2019

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Tragedy'

Well it was almost a tragedy! Picture the scene : 'In A Vase On Monday' assembled and waiting to be photographed. Vase left perching on top of wall behind which there is a good drop down into a stream. Me retreating indoors to find my camera and returning a few minutes later to see a squirrel inching along the wall towards the vase ready to send it toppling. A silent stand off ensued which I'm most relieved to say I won and the vase has survived to tell the tale. I would have probably cried if the vase had been broken. It is a favourite. Although I don't anything about its history it came to me from my mother. A salutary lesson has been learnt. Vases will not be left unattended in the future!

The contents of the vase all come from the allotment, where I seem to be spending much of my spare time whenever it's not raining. In the vase are :
  • A rose which grows in no man's land so good material for foraging.
  • Cornflowers 'Black Ball' and 'Mauve Ball' from my plot. I think that I described the latter as 'Purple Ball' in a previous post but that is not the correct name. September sown directly into the ground the cornflowers have got into their stride now. As always when I use 'Black Ball' in photos it seems to disappear but you may see it if you crease your eyes up extra hard!
  • Some stems of alchemilla mollis - this grows outside the allotment community hut and is in flower before my plants at home are.
  • A shimmer of of briza maxima again growing outside the allotment community hut, where it self seeds in profusion every year. I also grew this from seed this year hoping to transplant seedlings on to my plot. Sadly it has not germinated neither has hordeum jubatum, both of which I've grown from seed without problems in the past.  I'm using a new compost this year for all my seed sowing - it is Dalefoot Wool Compost For Seeds which is peat free. Made of bracken and sheep wool is has a most pleasing texture. I've had great results with this so can only put the non-germination down to poor seed.  I'm pleased that I can readily get hold of the briza but will miss out on the other grass for this year. 
Thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for providing us with the opportunity to start the week on an upbeat note. Do visit so that you can see what is singing in other people's vases this week.