|Mystery plant growing in dappled shade
First, a slight distraction. Do you recognise the flower in the photo? I am pleased to say that it has appeared in the shady corner I worked on earlier in the year. This is one of those plants that like dappled shade. I have put several different plants there that like those conditions and this is one of them. Look next week to see if you have managed to identify it correctly (cheating via Google or any other browser is allowed! A good little test of an image search, actually)
|Here are the six planters I'm currently working on
One, mage up and ready to go, could be yours!
|You need a free-draining mix like this - plenty of grit
There is a little drawback with
these things. Most come without holes – you have to drill these yourself.
A little reminder: bulbs like a free-draining mix so it is best not to use
potting compost straight from the bag. This other photo shows what you are
aiming for – potting compost plus vermiculite plus grit. If you can add a
little leaf mould and blood, fish and bone then so much the better
|This shot taken today - 12 days after sowing -
see previous blog post for varieties
|Two of the four original lamps working
(I repaired one of the three that failed)
So, two or three years ago, Codger
bought four cheap LED grow lamps on Amazon. Being cheap, they came on a slow boat
from China, so we were really in the cold and the dark when they arrived.
However, using a timer, I successfully germinated some seeds in the garage but then
disappointment as one by one, three of the four lamps popped. I now realise
that these cheap lamps are also a bit of a fire hazard so I can hardly recommend
However, there is an alternative
type that appears to be safer, so I am about to have another shot at this.
Watch this space (or listen for the bang!)
|Codger scraping out the moss and thatch
An operation known as scarifying
Anyway, spotting a gap in the
weather a week ago I found out the rake (the one with spung tines) and scratched
away at the front lawn. To be honest, this is a job I do not enjoy but,
despite, the hard work I stuck at it collecting a considerable pile of moss in
the process. In theory, this should be great stuff to put on the compost heap
but in my experience, moss refuses to rot down. I reckon it must contain some
sort of natural preservative. I have also tried using it as a mulch but This
time it went in the council green bin
|This is the sort of rake you need - the tines are springy
This may be of some help to
readers, so let me tell you about the repair job. I am no great lover of lawns,
but a mangy lawn is an insult to any Englishman who claims to be a gardener. So,
honour drove me to spend ten pounds, or thereabouts. The big DIY stores sell a
strange substance labelled Top Soil. How this is defined, I know not. However,
they claim it is weed-free and the 20 litre bags were on special offer – cost £10.
Grass seed is more straightforward, and I managed to get a box for £3.99
|The soil temperature was 12 degrees when I sowed the seed.
That has now dropped to 9 degrees so we are on the edge, I fear
I seed I used was packaged by Westland. The box usefully points out that you need a soil temperature of seven degrees or more. I have found that that is easier to achieve in the autumn than in the Spring. Remember the oft repeated autumn maxim, “sow while the soil is still warm”
|Looks pretty drastic, doesn't it?
I spent £13.99 in total but with
half the seed, and one of the four bags of topsoil, left over I reckon it cost
me a mere tenner. I should also add the exertion do knock me about a bit and
caused me to ask …
Am I a seven
Remember my tip about grit in
previous issues? Buy chicken grit rather than pay through the nose for
horticultural grit. However, I also mentioned the weight of the bags, 25kg. I now
resort to the barrow and this got me thinking about the days when I could
handle a one hundredweight bag of cement. So, the question arose in my mind: is
the old hundredweight the same as 25kg?
|Gets even trickier. Although the US hundredweight is 100lb their
cement comes in 94lb bags. Why? 94lb of cement occupies
one cubic foot! (with thanks to Wiki )
|Different commodities tended to use different sizes and measures
These are Royal Navy coal sacks
|Remember the photo and the advert? Actually, a genuine guy
who was a bit ahead of his times. See the YouTube video below
… and finally …
… a curious photograph. Now here is another fishy tale. Can you work out what is happening in this photograph sent in by expert aquarium-keeper, Brian Turner?
Remember the squash I grow every year
called Turk’s Turban? It turns out to be a delicacy beloved of tropical fish. Here they are, enjoying the hat band!
Note: next publication date is Friday 6th November - or, perhaps, a bit before if we can
Oh! And here is the advert that appeared in the comics I read in my youth. (I'm afraid to say that I was a great devourer of comics. I was once moved on by a policeman for reading on the pavement after picking up the Beano from the newsagent)