Back yard reportage 1

A belated Happy Solstice to one and all! It was a shame we couldn’t get Ken Barlow, Jamie Reid or Arthur Pendragon (they were busy elsewhere) in our garden first thing yesterday to give the plants added help with a blessing or two but we have the next best thing, a bucket of home-made Comfrey Liquid (with added borage and nettle leaves) ponging away nicely!

It’s been such a boost (we use it diluted, 10 parts water to every 1 part of the dark stinky liquid on a weekly basis) all over the garden especially the various poppies that are coming up now after we used the “throw em randomly and see” method of distribution from seeds obtained from Shannon’s, ebay or off a seed swap or two. A few years ago we were into how many types of mint we could find, now we’ve moved onto poppies!

We mention Comfrey liquid, yesterday we passed on a bottle of the said pongy stuff to Honor Oak Park train station to add some weight to their entry in the annual “Station in bloom” contest. We gave them an accompanying set of instructions ‘Warning this stuff smells (think of  body odour and times it by twenty), apply once a week diluted 10 to 1 very early in the morning or you will lose customers!” Best of luck to them!

In for a penny, in for a pond

There’s eight fish in there, go on count em! We’re so glad those eight goldfish are still alive as we haven’t seen much signs of life over the last few months. The water has been well cloudy as the pond pump went for a burton earlier this year but one has just been ordered so normal service will resume soon.

To add to that, we spotted the Lewisham Heron on Good Friday evening on the roof of the prefabs behind our garden. It has been making regular visits to the neighbourhood of late so we feared for the worse. The picture below taken earlier this year gives you some idea of what we’re dealing with. Look closely for the pterodactyl type thing standing motionless on the edge of the pond!

And here it is again giving it the freeze frame business on the fence, there’s no stopping the thing. Thank god we stuck the pea wire obtained from Shannon’s over the pond or the goldfish (bought from Lewisham’s Number 1 pet shop!) would now be goners!

A foxtail lily and New York City

We’re expecting some cold conditions this weekend in London town (with a possible low of 1 degree) so the cloches and covers are still in place in the garden. The terrarium found in the street many moons ago is nearly being lifted off by the foxtail lily growing inside it (post from February here). We don’t want to take it off yet just in case. Look closely and you can even see the flower stem ready to reach up to the sky, and it’s not even Easter yet!

Now here’s a mad tune for a Friday night, very New York 80’s sounding, think New Order, Jah Wobble and ESG. This is one big tune! It’s off the Poli-Ritmo E.P. (available here) by Internal N.Y. Rhythms on Optimo Music and a belter it is, tribal with some added dubwise goodness! One for blaring out loud while hunting down that horticultural fleece!

Good companions?

Wow! It clocked nearly 19 degrees here in London today and what a pleasure it was to be back out in the garden! The newly transplanted silver birch (originally found in a carrier bag in the street two years ago post here) is now surrounded by a circle of broad bean seedings (masterpiece green). Cleverly inspired companion planting or just plain daftness?

Weeds were taken out and beds tidied up with a hoe. The grass was cut, some seeds were sowed: a row of white borage and some night scented stock. Whether they’ll take as you never know what the weather will bring over the next few weeks but it’s worth a chance.

Thanks to our good friend Nancy B for recommending the lovely clematis montana to go against the grey fence (this fine specimen was bought from Shannon’s last year) which is now making a bit of a growth spurt complete with flower buds! There was plenty of splashing around of comfrey liquid around all of the garden too so all of the plants could get a spring feed before the gardening season properly kicks off.

And indoors there’s a few varieties of tomato seedlings on the kitchen windowsill suprisingly not as leggy as they’ll usually be if we’d have sowed them at xmas which is customarily for us here at Weeds. Here’s hoping they grow up strong!

The big question is though, will the sun be out tomorrow? And do remember to adjust those clocks tonight.

Under starter’s orders

We popped into Shannon’s yesterday morning for some seed potatoes and more seed compost. It was great even though it was well grey outside to see it busy with gardeners ready at the starting blocks for the new season.

There’s more seeds to start off this weekend and we can pat ourselves on the back that it’s March and we are now just starting to thinking about sowing some tomatoes as we usually do that in January and at this time of year have a mountain of leggy tomato plants on the kitchen windowsill (above pic from a few years ago in March!)

Things are starting to wake up outside now, look at that foxtail lily go (above pic, please ignore the penicillin growing on the inside of the terrarium cloche).  And wherever you look in the Weeds HQ there’s always something gardening-related, I mean look at the dahlia tubers hiding under the bed, strange goings on indeed. It won’t be long now…

Superhero dahlias are the next big thing

We booked a day off work yesterday so in the morning popped down Shannon’s to get some seed compost and whilst we were there picked up a delightfully named dahlia called Hollyhill Spiderwoman. It’s a mad looking “cactus” variety with blooms that can grow up to a whopping six to eight inches across! How good is that? Flowers “as big as a dinnerplate” as it says on the packaging, brilliant!

We returned home happy with our purchases but after being indoors for about ten minutes we spied out of the kitchen window an unwelcome visitor to the Weeds garden, the Lewisham Heron (we’ve had trouble with it a couple of times, see here and here.) The pond has netting all over it now so hopefully the winged beast didn’t have its way again but the water is dark and murky at the moment and no fish were to be seen after we shoo-ed the monster away. Go back to Ladywell Fields Pterodactyl-features and leave our goldfish alone!

After we got over the shock of seeing our pond’s sworn enemy the rest of the afternoon was spent with a bit of bed tidying and inspecting the dahlia tubers that are plonked under the stairs in a blue builder’s sack. Any excess soil was knocked off and anything that looked a bit mushy or mouldy was chucked into the bin. If you like dahlias like we do, a couple of good resources are The National Dahlia Society Facebook page here and Dahlia Divas have a long list of varieties here.

No matter how much we love the plant we wouldn’t eat them. But some people will, dahlia Rosti anyone? No thanks, we’re not hungry.

The plant that came from outer space

In celebration of buying another Foxtail Lily from Shannon’s this weekend Madtone & The Eremurus All-stars have composed a short piece of music called Foxtail Lily Dub influenced by said plant. To say that the root crowns are out of this world is an understatement and the blooms are something to behold!

The flower spike:

The mad as anything root crown: (about 10 inches across!)#FoxtailLilyDub #Itcamefromouterspace