Sunday, May 03, 2015

Garden update, Spring 2015

The more that I see it happen, the more I am convinced that two varieties of the same plant in the same pot doesn’t work. The stronger will dominate to such an extent that it will probably kill the other.
            Three times have I planted asparagus in the same pot (forgetting the name of the previous kinds) and each time I have expected spears of the previous variety to re-appear. But no. Even my new lot of seeds have taken and sprung up, but of the old varieties there has been not a sign.
            This state of affairs has happened with other plants, like lilies and shrubs. I should really know better by now and give each variety of plant its own pot to prevent this under-soil battle taking place.
            Our main success so far this spring has been our autumn-planted broad beans. Actually I planted four kinds in each container to see which turned out to be the strongest. It was Aquadulce. Their leaves drooped after each frost but recovered quickly. They have grown to nearly 6’feet (no blackfly), producing lovely columns of black-eyed white flowers (they are tied to bamboos). Bumblebees have done their bit in pollinating the flowers to produce lots of lovely little beans - so far.
            Our fourth sprouting of mistletoe appeared from the bark of our single, potted apple tree – four years after I “planted” the seed.
            A lemon tree (well, a small one in a pot and re-potted) sustains two lemons with more to come. As it is making some vigorous new growth, it must be happy – though it does look rather out of place in an English town garden.
            Not all saved runner bean seeds have taken. But they were planted in pots of rather freshly made compost, which may have been a bit too strong for them.
            A lovely fern appeared from the soil of a hydrangea pot, and has taken upon itself to cover and hide our two fruit tree pots. How did it get there? How did it know that I wanted that cover?
            Making compost each year naturally increases the volume of soil in a small and mostly paved garden. So from a nearby demolition site I managed acquire a stretch of Victorian coping bricks, and with them made a low wall to accommodate a deep bed of soil for used soil to be invigorated with compost and re-cycled thereafter.
            With a small section of cast iron Victorian water main, acquired when the cast iron pipe in our road was replaced by a plastic one, I now have two local 19th century items in the garden.
            I sing the praises of a rose called Typhoon, which is extremely difficult to find, for some strange reason.
            As it was much admired by a nearby resident, I put a couple cuttings of it in the ground two years ago. They took and grew. During the winter they retained their leaves when all others fell. In the late autumn I will be able to give this local lady one of the roses. The other I will pot-up and keep for myself.
            We will both be lucky with these roses as the variety is vigorous, disease-free and flowers (show-bench quality tight red buds becoming orange and rather blowsy as the summer progresses) the summer long. And it is scented, too. To me it is the best rose ever, and because I have grown these two examples of it from cuttings, there will no suckers to cut away.