Friday, 7 March 2014

This is my challenge today

OK..so we're in the SIXTH month of hot weather - I've not known anything like it. Of course the days are wonderful as long as you can sit with a glass of wine and dream the day away..

I need desperately to plant some shrubs; bought them as mentioned before as all gardeners tend to do: on impulse. There again my intent is to get them in so that by the time they have over-wintered they'll be just right for next Summer, larger and stronger.
 This was all lawn. On the left against the fence is Michelia 'Inspiration'. Been watering the things all Summer but the last 2 months they've shown new growth which means the roots are ext5ending. In 2  or 3 years these will be almost 2 metres tall. Evergreen and covered in scented white flowers they are one of the best hedges.

A right mess. the soil is like dust but finally got out into the heat - officially Autumn and 26C - and laid the weed mat. The next picture shows how weeds have grown in a few weeks...

And they're tough weeds. That bunch of plants to the right are all weeds. Off to buy some mulch over the next few days then I'm going to edge the border with timber lengths. When the rains do come it's often heavy and the edges can get washed away. And blackbirds love to scruff around looking for insects. Hopefully the wooden edging will limit that - be a bit tidier as well. The goal behind doing this part now is to bed them in before Winter so that next year when they come out of the 'hibernation' state, they'll be strong and should become the start of far larger shrubs.

The main shrubs in the majority are: Viburnums,  Hydrangeas and a new carpet rose called 'Amber'. Detail names are:

Viburnum Plicatum Mariesii
Hydrangea Paniculata
Miscanthus Sinensis Morning Light
Hydrangea Quercifolia 'Pee Wee'
Cornus Alba Sibirica
Philadelphus 'Frosty Morn'
Hydrangea Waterfall
Hydrangea Grandiflora
Michelias Inspiration and Fairy Cream. Other shrubs/plants are Zantedeschia Hot Blooded,
Scilla Peruviana, Sisyrinchium Angustifolium, Clematis Heracleifolia, 2 true Geranium's 'Johnson's Blue and Sanguineum.  'Amber' carpet rose; Weigela (white) Echinacea, Lobelia (Fan Blue) and one wine red - the label said Stokesia and that it ain't. Have planted a Prunus Campanulata further back in the lawn and Magnolia Denudata in one far corner. I'm hoping the latter will give some definition to the land I have. I've just bought a Robinia to put in the lawn which I need to plant soon. The whole idea in all of this is to return the garden to just that. So the rationale behind planting the Michelia hedge is to separate what is the vegetable garden from everything else. The 'garden' as a whole was made into a food-producing environment and many shrubs were removed e.g Camellia's to do this. And, crazily Banana plants were planted randomly. Assuming the bananas are edible they 'flower' once only but increase in size at a huge rate and leach all the nutrients out of the soil. Getting rid of them is a nightmare as they have rhizomes as a root system and these have to be broken down. Nightmare.

FOOD: A quick aside. Cooked these for some friends and myself yesterday. Not sure how to use figs as they're so delicious fresh..discovered a way of keeping them using a recipe found here:


 My spin: Slice figs in half; put raw sugar according to taste and heat until dissolved. Add the figs halves with slices of lime - lemons will do - and then add sloshes of Malibu or coconut liqueur . Bring to a strong simmer until the halves have softened and the sugar has caramelized - if the figs look too soft take them out and reduce the syrup and then replace them. I used Malibu only as I'd used limes - I wanted a tropical taste; brandy can do just as well or even a fruit schnaps. Eat them with thick Greek yoghourt or if you have enough put them into sterilized jars, with syrup if any left and top up with brandy. Have them in Winter when it's cooooold outside.

No comments:

Post a Comment