Sunday, 27 February 2011



Sunny in late February.

FIVE THINGS - I must try and do them soon.  Oh dear, made a hash of the bulleted list thing following this, have not used it before and it has gone all wrong!

Bargain crocus - cheap buy!

  • Prune any fruit trees, particularly apple.  Prune off the dead stuff, and any branches that rub against each other.  I have a couple of small apple trees - easy to prune.  But one huge tree on my allotment which I cannot manage to keep under control.  It defeats me!
  • The apple tree was there when I started renting my allotment plot and has just got more and more vigorous.  Its a real pain.

  • Cut back the plants in the garden which have lots of old dead stuff on them from last year.  This is an easier job, thank goodness, but still a bore when you would rather be getting on with your painting.  All you need is a pair of strong scissors, or maybe if you want to look professional, some secateurs.  Plants I need to cut back are the red hot pokers (kniphofia)  which have lots of dead leaves at the base of the clump, a kind of dismal skirt, which the slugs and snails love to hide in.  I usually end up pulling these dead leaves away by hand, makes a nice noise too so you feel you have mastered nature for once.
  • The salad seeds should be sown now, and luckily I have some sheltered space in the greenhouse. I mean the early salad you might want to pick as very little leaves.   I should put the seeds into trays, which I should have washed out last autumn but I usually don't have time.  I have used unwashed seed trays most years and things seem to come up OK, but not always!  If you don't keep them clean, you might get a fungal disease in the seedlings, called 'damping off',  I believe.
  • Trim off the old flowering stems on the lavender bushes.  I have gone overboard on lavenders because here soil is very sandy.  Lots of things I try to grow die, but lavenders thrive.
Lavenders await trimming

Dead leaves and teasels
Favourite pot, broken by frost
  • Make a start on getting rid of all the dead leaves.  I get a lot in the front garden from the trees nearby and this year (as usual) I did not get round to raking them up and putting in bags to rot - like you are supposed to do.  I should do this in December  but am too busy then.  Anyway, I thought to myself that they are a good space for the all little wildlife things to hide in during the cold weather -  you are supposed to think about the little wildlife things nowadays, aren't you?  I get lots of wildlife - some of it a real pain - particularly the foxes, squirrels, pigeons, not to mention mice, slugs, snails and, once, rats in the compost!More about them later.
I will add another thing, some of the pots you might have left outside might have broken in the frost, like mine did.  Curse yourself for not being better organised and put them inside (but where?) next autumn.

Now back to the painting!


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