What will that weather bring?

Heading for a heatwaveIt was officially summer on the 1st of June but you wouldn’t have thought it what with the cold blustery weather at the moment. Everyone still keeps on saying about this expected heatwave. Don’t hold your breathe…

Here’s a couple of tunes to bring some sunshine and warmth. The first is a West African Disco crossover called Ta Lassa (Hide & Smile Edit) from the International Soleil Band from Guinea. It’s from the early 1980’s and out on a 12″ on Soundway records as heard on the Tom Ravenscoft show last week. It’s one seriously good tune!

The second is one I originally heard on a cassette tape of Red Dragon‘s Rambo Mango Sound system from Jamaica in August 1989 bought in Brixton for a few quid around that time. The tune featured on it, is from the great Frankie Paul called I Want You on the classic Mister Bassie rhythm. Recently bought on 7″ for £8 inc p+p on discogs. A bargain for such a big tune!

How do you make a Zen garden?

A big shout to Dr Strangedub and DJ Baby Swiss from the excellent radio show Echo Chamber on KFAI who every Wednesday from the crack of dawn play the best in reggae, dub and downbeat.

On this week’s show they played Dr Strangedub’s “In the garden of dub” mix (above) from a couple of years ago celebrating the “pleasures of gardening, the roots of life and the seasons of nature.” We here think it’s great stuff and includes Singers & Players (ft. Prince Far I), Madtone, Leroy Sibbles, Jah Wobble, Lee Perry and lots more, dedicated to the late great Peter Sellers (aka Chauncey Gardner). More proof that music and gardening do mix!

The rebroadcasting of the mix comes at an apt time where last week Graham Porter on Gardening with Tim Crowther on BBC Radio Leeds said that we’ve now reached the point where tender plants can be now put out. But that’s after the plants have had a period of being hardened off, a good watering and some slug protection has been put down first. But do keep that fleece handy just in case and watch those weather forecasts as you never know if/when those damn frosts will reappear.

Lock up your tubers

lock up your tubersLast weekend featured the fastest session of gardening in weeds up to me knees history! It was a quick pop out to the garden to stick something in the compost bin, feed those starving goldfish and to lift up a couple of Dahlia plants so they can be safely stored for the winter. My my my daliahThe frost earlier on this month had blackened the tops so I dug them up and cut off the stalks. It was then a case of cleaning off the excess soil, letting them dry naturally upside down and then sticking them in a cool place out of frost, light and heat which was under the stairs in a paper bag. I’ll keep a check on them over the winter just in case there’s any rotting going on. Graham Porter on Radio Leeds mentioned they can be stored in a tray of dry compost or the like as well.Adam and eveI’ve heard advice to the contrary but I do remember reading that Adam the Gardener (not a real bloke just a drawing in a book, above) starting them off in the spring and separating the tubers when new shoots appear thus producing a few new plants, how good is that?

Also James Wong mentioned that the Dahlia was originally brought to Europe from Mexico as an alternative to the humble Potato. Dahlia Dauphinoise anyone? Dahlia Chips with Cod and that pickled egg? Er, no thanks.

Respect is due…

Sad news as another great gardener goes to that big greenhouse in the sky.

Joe maiden RIPThis week the great Joe Maiden from Gardening with Tim and Joe on BBC Radio Leeds passed away with prostate cancer. Very sad news indeed, as he was a man who knew his onions… (and carrots, and brassicas, and beetroots, and chrysanthemums, and dahlias, and roses, and agapanthus, and foxgloves, etc, etc.) He’ll be sorely missed. R.I.P Joe Maiden.

A surrealist style summer

Here's gone summerAKA Is this the summer or are we in a perpetual state of hoping for one?

I’ve haven’t long got back from a family break in Camber Sands. The night before I left for the seaside I gave the garden a good old dousing with a hose, thinking it wouldn’t get another drop until I got back. All through that evening and during the night it tipped it down, great eh?

Yesterday I popped into my local supermarket to “get some bits” and said to the chap behind the till, “where’s the sun gone, mate?” as it wasn’t the best of days weatherise.

I thought I’d just get a smile or a jokey reply but he came back with a long bonkers theory that the british government are firing chemicals into the atmosphere during the evening (so no-one will see) to make sure our summers only last a few weeks or even days. The conversation went like that for a few minutes much to the disgust of the long queue forming behind me (he was the only one serving!)

I nodded and picked up my shopping bags. Judging by the weather forecast for the next few days, perhaps he’s right! Solitary squashOne thing in the garden that seems to like the rain, is the mad butternut squash that has filled the square bed at the side of the garden (only one squash on it though) and now trying to climb up the plum tree. Madness!

Ideal Guest House (Part 2)

Flame vine

A big shout to our good friend Phil Harmony from Dubnight Radio Show, Berlin for alerting us to this great flower pic taken at the Prince Valley Guest House in the beautiful surroundings of the Blue Mountains, Jamaica.

A big thanks to the owners Jackie and Robert for getting in touch with the name of the plant which is the flame vine (Pyrostegia Venusta). Just how brilliant are those flowers? If you want to know more about this rampant climber have a look here. It says in some parts of the world it grows as a weed! Beats ground elder anyday!

jamaican jade

Last year we featured the Prince Valley Guest House and the great plants that are on-site. There’s some out of the ordinary stuff growing including (above) the Jade Vine (a member of the pea and bean family, can you believe?) The posts are here and here.

So if you’re travelling to the “the land of wood and water” (as Rodigan says,) spend a couple of nights at the guesthouse (with an adjoining coffee farm) as it looks a great place! More on the guest house here. Thanks to Phil, Jackie and Robert again! We love that tropical flower madness here!