Rational Brain vs Bindweed

It’s a good year for berries.

Taken before they bulldozed the house.

They look like cups and saucers.

Okay, these are getting better.

This bee was flying around with a leaf. I thought it was a dragonfly from a distance.

I did it again, Dear Reader, I saw some bindweed in the rose garden, you should see it at the very back, it’s so strong you have to pull so hard to break it, and after gently unwinding it I stuck my hand into the dense thorns and pulled it up in a blind-rage, I don’t know why, but it’s deader than it was and the rose is unscathed. Between this and the raspberry bushes I tossed barehanded, why?, again no idea, into the junk at the back, for the birds ostensibly, really because they’d been blocking my currant bushes, my hands are a map of scratches and cuts. But the garden looks great and I’ll be able to really tend to my currant bushes, white, red and black, and I even re-found, I lose it every year, it’s practically a tradition at this stage, the golden raspberry plant that almost went over the wall, my heart skipped a beat, Dear Reader, there’s no getting in there, once it’s gone it’s gone. I have three huge raspberry bushes that produce large, sweet fruit, these were bitter and small so no loss there, it is hard to get rid of plants, but you lose out by keeping too much and not being able to take proper care of them.

This grows from the same place as the yellow/peach roses.

All the roses are huge this year. Maybe the feed, maybe the weather, maybe I’m special…probably the feed.

The contrast between foliage and flower is arresting.

First of the garlic is up. It ripened a lot faster than the others, I almost missed it. A good size and well covered by the skin.

The Yellow rose is in its second bloom.

I’m still working on my indoor garden. Almost everything has been re-potted, the Dragon Skin had literally one teeny root, whereas the aloe vera that I’d been keeping in the greenhouse had these extremely thick pointed white roots and yellow roots sprawling everywhere. They’re both in pots, I’ve forgotten to take a photo, they look good, trust me. I’m mixing coconut coir and potting compost, just barely wetting it to start. I’m using aquarium gravel to decorate the top layer, it looks better than just dirt, but what doesn’t? You can get a lot cheap if you rummage around on Amazon, I don’t mind spending on what makes me happy, but I found three times the gravel for the same price as one. I have a good bit left over, but I’ll find a use for it in time. The hardest part is knowing I can’t endlessly re-pot these plants, I have to let them grow so big and then just stop. That hurts, Dear Reader, I want giant huge plants that block everything! Or maybe not.



The secret to straight lines of stones.

This looks less sparse now.

I’m now firmly engrossed in indoor plants too.

I’ve been busy keeping everything wet, I started when it was just slightly warm, making sure I didn’t repeat the mistake I made with last year’s heatwave and the plants are better for it, everything is well soaked and a top up spray is doing them the world of god. The onions are almost ready, the garlic too, the potatoes are drooping due to the extreme heat and reviving within an hour after watering so I think they’ll be fine. No signs of blight, there was a warning, but I’ve kept them in the best position and they’re not overly wet at anytime. The basil is struggling a little, it hasn’t been a great year for it, too cold when it needed heat and with he sudden heat it seems to have stalled, it might take a sudden spurt later, I have had a large harvest already so I can be patient. The squash finally look like they’re getting ready to set fruit, there won’t be a repeat of last year’s record breaking harvest, I just want a normal harvest and I’ll be happy.  There will be a flurry of activity at some stage, a lot of harvesting and curing, the pay-off of all these months work. Nothing too new, but I hope you enjoy the photos, Dear Reader, I’ll be back later, until then, take care.

Rescue rose, this woman had a lot of pink roses.

A clone…I think, they are about fur of these, two clones, all huge.

Saved from suckers.

Even this little one has really come on.

The pink amongst the yellow rose opens.

This is all they had left! But I like it and I have a clay pot leftover for bamboo.

I had an idea you see and I just had to.

I did have another solar fountain, but it arrived broken so now the birdbath is an actual bird bath. Cheap plastic is deceptively attractive.

Another anemone.

I finally rigged it up to babble, if I attach a spray nozzle it shoots three feet out of the bath.


Zoom Out!

Apparently this is a Hen and Chick, the large plant is the Hen the smaller the chicks. They use to be grown in thatched roofs as they were believed to be fire proof.

They would slow the progress of a fire so there was some truth in it. I read this on a garden centre blurb if I’m honest.

That’s a lot of buds.

They were very weak just last year. Patience pays, Dear Reader.

It’s all too easy to get swept up in the fine details, Dear Reader, to look too minutely at everything and miss the greater whole, I am of course not talking in metaphor, however fitting, I’ve just been thing that I tend to zoom too much and forget to show the whole of a plant. As Hell is coming, seriously, they’re calling a heatwave that, I decide to take a few photos to make the progress, a before and after and during all muddled together that I’ll look at next year. There isn’t much to show yet, Dear Reader, the garden as been slow to grow, healthy and happy enough, but lacking the necessary sunshine to really show its stuff, it feels as if we’re a month behind. I’m doing a little here and there and will share whatever meager anecdotes I have with you, or force them upon you, whatever first, Dear Reader.

A neighbour has this exact rose, I’m sure the woman who used to grow them bought them from the same place. ST ill mine.

Those pink roses were never so tall, neither were the oranges ones.

Various Lilies.

This is as tall as they grow.

I was visiting a friend who has a pond, with fish!, I like animals, and they’ve added a solar powered filter, which if you know me, and you know me, Dear Reader,  I tend to take a winding path towards progress and anything can change my course, I saw that there was a cord running from pump to panel and that made me think about my cheap little pump. It’s the same idea, whereas my cord is short due to the fact the whole is suppose to float which causes a lot of issues in the small bird bath, scale always damns Dearest Daring Jack, so I’ve just been using the smallest nozzle, but after seeing this set up I though about it and thought about it and have now taken the pump and panel and put them apart as best I can, the pump and nozzle are suckered to a stone in the middle, spraying a large gush of water, while the  panel is a few inches away sitting on the rim of the birdbath. Now the pump won’t migrate from the centre and empty the bath, nor will it tilt and spill the contents. I had to clean it out as it got very blocked up, I used washing up liquid, just let it run through and it seemed to alleviate the blockage, it might be cheap, Dear Reader, as am I, but I like to see it working well as can be. I hope this works well, we’ll see whenever the sun appears in all its glory if it can spray within the pond and not everywhere else.

Okay, maybe this was worth the effort.

I think I lost a few, but I have so many it balances out.

Naru’s Garden.

The miniature garden is doing well, getting slightly larger than intended, I have shuffled the mesh storage cubes so much that it’s making my head spin, I have it ready now though. The little succulent and cacti garden was completely dry after the thundery downpour, as expected, but it;s good to know for certain, so that’s ideally situated. I’m now adjusting my window area to get the most light and as an excuse to buy more plants if I can make it work. You can never have enough plants, Dear Reader, trust me on that I’ve been trying for years and have had no success. Ah, well, I’ll just keep trying and see how I fare. Wish me luck, Dear Reader! Until later.

Is it early or late?

I moved the carpet rose only to find it has been holding up the hydrangea while the hydrangea is holding up the rose! Like a pair of drunks, I’ve let them be.

With so little rooting room they’ve done really well. Weather has been just right for them.

Every year it’ll get better.


Same Old, Same New: Yearlong Coconut Basil Sauce

Those crates save so much time and backache.

Though sitting on the low kitchen chair hurts my back. Worth all the pain though.

I used a little more coconut milk and used some coconut cream too.

If only you could smell it, Dear Reader.

Freezing currently then popped out, bagged, put into one large bag and back they go.

Original recipe here. Today went from “I will do nothing” to “I have done too much”, but after a long year, Dear Reader, I finally have this Coconut Basil Sauce, sans lime and without any meat as of yet, but I tell you honestly without any hyperbole that this has been in my mind since last year. I made so much pesto that second year and the third followed with an even better harvest, I’m still eating pesto from that year, so I was able to experiment, but this sauce stood out. It’s this and the Basil Mango Sauce from here on out, this year hasn’t been as kind, but finally the sauce returneth! This is a huge punch of basil, garlic and I can’t tell you how much I’ve wanted it. Freezing diminished it in no way and the basil used was only hours old. The basil hasn’t looked as good as last year, nut last year was a true fluke I may never see again in my lifetime, but patience has paid off and I have a blend of, wait for them:

Genovese Basil (The great balancing basil, lets strong flavours mellow)
Thai Basil (The punch of aniseed and gentle warmth)
Basil Horapha Rue Que (Diminutive, but hat smell is concentrated)
Basil Cinnamon (Much like the Thai, but more vigorous)
Basil Violetto (A gentle warm clove smell and taste, but much stronger than other purple basils)

Even if this was all I get, I did have to take a heavy hand with the cutting, but I did feed them before they went back into the greenhouse, I will be content. I made three last year as a test and I have thought about them, the flavour is like nothing else. Pesto doesn’t compare. All I need do is defrost, let simmer with meat, or not if you prefer, get your own sauce mind!, and serve it over rice, if I’m lucky and the stocks last with Sauteed Harlequin or Sweet Potato. I started the garden for basil, just two long trays on a chair and look at me now, Dear Reader.

One of the rescue roses.

The Sweet Peas and Royal Mallow are starting to grow well, they’d been swamped by weeds, but a good, careful, weeding helped.

A lot of my roses were rescues. Much better in my garden than dead.

My red rose. Red is surprisingly rare around here.

Alcea Rosea. I thought it was dead.

There’s a big supermarket, getting bigger soon, that sells these bulbs, root sections and different kinds of corms for just €1.39, which is admittedly a very specific price, and you take a gamble each time, but if they grow at all they will thrive. The selection is so varied from little anemone to huge hollyhocks, I never let a chance to get something unusual out of the bin whenever they appear. It’s where many of my flowers came from, you can’t guarantee they’ll grow regardless of where you get them so it’s much better to go cheap and plentiful with occasional splurges. I lost a dahlia and something else that wasn’t marked, but after a moment I realised I had two hostas from a friend that needed potting, I lost lilies, though I have one and a nub left, but I used that soil for planting. I can replace and in a way I’m glad to have the chance to change things up, there are flowers I really do love, but you can’t keep everything static, that goes against nature. It’s not always an even flowing path, but wherever it goes there goes Jack, where it’ll take me is anyone’s guess, Dear Reader, but it’ll be fun, even in the heartbreaks fun is lurking just beyond the horizon. Until later, Dear Reader, take care.

I could’ve made this panoramic…whoops.

Next time…if I remember.

It’s very long.

Cry Garden, Let Slip The Flowers Of Jack!

Bonsai pot becomes Tradescantia Purple Flame pot.

Fittonia Forest Flame. Pot incoming. Well, bowl incoming.

It was a choice between two purple leaved plants. One whose flower stank and needed quick removal. I opted for this instead.

I kept those little pots for a reason, it seems this was the reason.

Bottom level is done. Top needs a lot more work and, again I repeat it a lot, sorry, a FUNCTIONING WINDOW. Soon…soon…

Quick post, Dear Reader, I have acquired all the plants I planned to get, though I may have one more trip to make, and have started to assemble the miniature garden, I’m stymied by the window, but I can arrange and prepare and as I really despise keeping methods and techniques, no matter how kludgy and out-there, hidden slyly I will share with you, Dear Reader, my newest brain-explosion! This literally came to me as I was preparing to make some self-watering planters for a grave, they were some of those absorbent gel mats, practically nappies in all but shape, a maple syrup bottle, empty naturally and a self watering spike I’ve had a while. The mat retains, the spike draws from the bottle and a layer of aquarium stones cover the soil under some Heuchera. Simple, but most of this is, it’s just time consuming and needs a lot of odds and ends. So, lengthy aside, er, aside, the Lithops will stay in those tiny pots, they like being tightly root-bound and you have no idea how much I have to fight the urge to put every plant in a huge pot, I need these all to stay a certain size and that means restricting the pots, for all plants. Those pots are slipped in and out, as needed for watering, of the same sized pots that are blue-tacked to the bowl standing on a layer of that aquarium gravel and I then filled in the gaps with the same and a funnel. They look much better than all in a jumble. All the new plants are either going into bowls soon or will sit in pots within bowls until later, each will get a layer of stones to make them look tidy and keep moisture in, all are fed with organic fertiliser, well diluted. I’m enjoying this immensely, Dear Reader, because it goes against all I do in the garden: I can’t over-feed here, I can’t make a mess, I can’t over-water, I can barely water some, whereas I can: Dunk plants upside down in water, keep them small and, of course, buy even more. Wait, that’s true of the outdoor garden too. It’s not my fault, Dear Reader, the plants need me! Until later, possibly with more plants, even Jack doesn’t know any more.


Narrow Goodbyes and Broad Hellos

I still have seeds in cold stratification, but why not? The pot it was planted in was much smaller than the one it was inserted into. Sneaky, but just right for the ceramic one.

This rose is really large and keeps unfurling daily.

This rose now has what looks like a third type, a pink rose. I’ll take a photo and try to understand this.

I thought these were tulip bulblets, now I think I planted something else and I forget what. I dried them and they’d sprouted in the shed so out they go.

This is the harvest of raspberries so far.

I really love the smell, it’s almost unnatural due to how sweet it is. Almost like he smell of candy.

Same flower, but different petal patterns.

One of the rescued roses.

I’ve often talked about losing plants, Dear Reader, it’s surprising how quickly an attachment to the idea of what they will be can form, because when you plant a seed there are so many ways it can go wrong, but the important part, as I often, even now, have to remind myself is that if they fail to grow they can provide a space for another plant, they can be composted and used to feed other plants, even time a single plant fails to thrive I have to remind myself to look towards the future, to what will be grown in that pot. The absurdity of the garden never fails, I lost two late planted lilies, others did fine planted later and I still have one and a bulblet, so I waked around, found myself in the greenhouse starting at something, something large and green and weed like and realised the Inca Berry seeds I didn’t want, didn’t order have decided to live and thrive. The garden is one huge play where no part of the script is ever followed exactly. It’s important to avoid narrowing your focus to one failure when there are successes all around. That’s true of life to, I suppose, Dear Reader.

Cabbages gently cabbaging.

See? This is the same rose as the peachy yellow one. All from the same central stalk. Do roses mutate with age?

The light is screwy these days, but the clone looks so pretty in pink.

The tall roses.

Inca berries. Which are supposed to be sweet I think, but also a nightshade because life is funny that way.

Saved tigernuts that are already bigger than last years.

Though I keep buying indoor plants, I have just two to get and that’s it…for now, I can’t get everything ready until the window arrives. I just know that the opportunity to buy a rare or desired plant can vanish quickly, dithering over something so small is pointless. The joy they bring is priceless. I enjoy sharing that joy, Dear Reader, it can be the case that there are people who really won’t stop to smell the roses, for various tiresome reasons often, but being able to put up these posts and to spread that joy around makes all the work that goes into the garden worthwhile even more so. This year has been a disappointment weather-wise, but the contrast of last year is to blame too, add to that that everything is familiar to me and sometimes I hit a period of ennui, but often is the case that the garden throws a curve-ball that draws me out of that. Everything that happens in the garden is a cycle, it returns to familiar stages, but always subtly different. It’s a wonderful hobby to have, one I naturally recommend! Not much today, Dear Reader, enjoy the photos and take care.

My purchased red rose. I wanted a red rose and now I have two.

Er…three. This is just a few feet away. Again: Absurdity.

The Brussels Sprouts are starting to come on. The red cabbage didn’t grow well at all this year…Oh, some of those are red cabbages…good!

I forget what this is, but it was so cheap years ago.

The peas are climbing more now.

This is Euro something and I thought it was a weed. I refuse to look it up and spoil the surprise.

Japanese Parsley.

I can’t tell if this is late for anemone, this year has been so out of sync.

I’ve mixed up two plants and forget the name of this. I think it’s also known as Pineapple Lily.

These are really flourishing.

Just to give you an idea of how big these are this year.

They look a little like honeybells.

Succulents are hypnotic.

How To Repot a Cactu OUCH!

I struggled choosing which went inside and which out, there’ll all be mine regardless, but even so.

Only one featured its name, I threw it away because I’m just going to let them grow and that’s it. Here we need no names! I can look it up though if I want.

A bowl of pain to start the day.

I woke up and repotted plants then went into the garden to attach the rainbarrel pipe. The pipe and the fitting weren’t actually made for the barrel, but they fit.

Carefully, Dear Reader, very carefully. It’s like a handful of a bed of nails, but also looks very tender and soft which is cruel because those barbs are painful. Still the God of Random chance swung my way today and included in the tray were two living rocks, one I had and, well, an ugly one that will get uglier as it grows, still there was just the right amount to fill the planter and bowls when I took away the two Lithops so that was great. I’m slowly building up my indoor garden, but thanks to incredible weather, hitting highs of twenty five degrees with full sun, I was able to tend to my outdoor garden, which now features the small succulent and cacti garden hanging on a wall, a garden within a garden like I wanted, and was surprised to see the wees haven’t run over everything. The plants need this bright sunlight, they’re healthy but growing incredibly slowly, but that should speed up now if the weather holds. If is a very scary word, Dear Reader.

This might be the clone or the mother plant. Surprising no one they look exactly the same.

I originally did this to hide the fence, now I just have to.

How could I not?

One rose is wrinkly and peachy.

The other a smooth yellow, both the same plant. Roses are strange.

I can offer much in the way of advice as I’m mostly new to succulents. They do take a lot of abuse, but you still want to take care of them, I suppose as a starter plant they’re rather a bad idea as they almost teach you the reverse of good plant care. Little water, or worse very strange watering, like the living rocks soak and leave for weeks method, or the airplants dunking. But they’re interesting as they make you think about each of them and despite being different from the usual run of plants they seem to like comfrey tea just as much as any other plant, the first two living rocks seemed to grow a great deal, for them that means millimetres, after a soaking in heavily diluted comfrey tea. I’m not wasting money n fertilizers while I have my own supply. How long they’ll live is hard to say, it’s very difficult to gauge the health of a plant that grows so slowly you have to literally feel them to tell how they’re getting on. It’s a nice, easy way to engage the mind while the main garden takes care of itself. But no matter how cuddly they look, Dear Reader,  resist the urge.

The Canna from seeds are starting to form bulbs! This is really interesting.

Slightly rough looking and…eww.

The far end of the rambler.

Though slow they are a healthy green.

I’ll thin carrots and use them as baby carrots. No matter how thinly sowed the tops are bushy and take up a lot of space.

A neighbour that moved away gave me this. No need to rescue it.

After the heavy rains the warm, bright weather is a welcome change for the plants and Jack both, Dear Reader, they’ll start to shoot up if this stays a few days and I’ll be about, ambling two and fro either finishing work or making it. There seems to be something new everyday, I can walk out and see a rose unfurl over the course of days while others bloom and die in the interim, I can watch the progress of seeds as they spread over the wild patch and I can poke and prod wherever I please because this is all mine. I work hard at this and there are times I feel quite literally like screaming at the plants, but there is a very special kind of peace that comes from the invisible bustle of the garden. There are plans charted in every flower petal, there are menus written in the green of every stem and there is a aura surrounding everything that seems to separate it from the world. Not a gentle hush of quiet Summer days, but a roaring surge of possibilities and progress. I’d say it’s a worthwhile hobby, Dear Reader. I’ll be back later, yes, probably with more plants! Until then, take care.

These were once stunted and low growing, I’m glad they’re growing well.

The cloned Hydrangea.

Our seven feet, or so, rose. Never grows any taller, never any shorter either.

I had three and this is all I have now and it just flops over after flowering.

Potatoes flower to remind you we stopped them growing naturally.

This is just so, so beautiful.

Just A Few More Plants: Indoor Edition

It grows faster after the first shoot.

These wire storage cubes are really useful.

Eventually it’ll go into a coffee bean tin.

I accidentally knocked it out of the pot, but there aren’t many roots yet. I then put more soil on top and it has stopped wobbling.

I had to trim the ice-cube tray…compartments?…flicking plastic chips everywhere.

The funny thing is that I’m not spending all that much, Dear Reader, but still a part of me persists in the idea that I shouldn’t have anything enjoyable like this, these days a louder voice insists I get them while I can because the chances for joy in the world slip away altogether too quickly and living with too many avoidable regrets is folly. Whenever I buy a plant from the garden centre it turns out to be the last in stock or near enough for it to disappear, if that isn’t a sign I should keep buying plants I’ll make it one! There’s a special joy in waking up to a little garden, literally stumbling bleary eyed from the land of nod into nature’s secret nook. The wire cubes are great because they’ll allow so much light in, more when the new window is finally installed, you can tell how long I’ve been without a functioning window by the fact I can’t stop mentioning it. The wooden serving tray I have the aquarium stones on, nothing was used for its intended purpose, has ice-cube compartments stuck on to allow me to lift and replace the airplants when the weekly soaking time comes around. The ramekins, I know, they were free with a dessert, keep me from over watering and spilling it everywhere and the moss in the jam jar is silly and I like it. I’ve stopped at a two tier garden because I’d literally hit myself in the face if I let it go any higher. I have some limits, Dear Reader.

No more ramming the rootball thingy into stone.

Who knows how long they’ll survive, but as long as I have them I’ll make it easy to tend to them.

In time I can swap out the holders. I’ll use plastic bottle caps if needed.

I’ll soon have succulents, then two more plants and maybe a ficus…I will not stop.

The lilies are doing fine despite the weather.

I have been eating a lot of lettuce and onions, those Welsh onions never stop producing, it’s amazing o cut off two and have a dozen there still then to come back and have even more, and I was making more crepes and learned two things: Firstly the egg size matters greatly, I had only smaller eggs so I used three, for a double batch, and there was zero tearing. I also replaced some of the buckwheat flour with golden flaxseed, less hold than brown for some reason, possibly the processing method it is cold pressed, but they all may be, which gave the crepes a little more flavour. Lettuce isn’t all that exciting, but it really gives you some motivation to add a few spices to some chicken or to play around with a simple nut or seed “dressing” without the need for overly fatty additions. I don’t need butter or copious amounts of cheese, not that I do all that often, but on humdrum days when I need to eat I just get lazy, the crepes are a great break from the monotony even if they don’t differ all that much from each other. I’ve ordered more lettuce seeds that will hopefully be ready whenever this supply dries out. Still hoping for better weather, but taking whatever steps I can to counter it and utilise it where I can. The fourth rain-barrel is filling up nicely. Pray for better weather for me, Dear Reader, you may have better luck.

It faced outwards! It looks good this year.

Teeny tiny roses. No longer infested with aphids.

You can just make out the slight blush of pink.

How? How are there two distinct roses growing like that? I’m not bragging, I just have no idea how that works.

From afar this looks red.

Gifted many years ago, very few people if any got them, and multiplied greatly over the years.

The miniature roses are still stunning.