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Hope triumphs

April 30, 2017

First nice sunny day since the last nice sunny day a couple of weeks ago, so back to the garden.

Even though I’d covered almost all of the raised bed, Stella (pretty sure it’s her) did find an uncovered bit of turned earth between the chicken wire tubes and has been using it as her litter box. Suspect some of the peas planted are long gone. So I shift pots and rocks to completely cover that end of the bed. Shortly afterwards Stella joins me in the garden, clocks the raised bed and gives me the evil eye. (Although she is willing to join me on the swing once I’ve put the cushions on.)

04-29 stella

No sign yet of young peas, but there’s plenty of other excitement. Some of the strawberries are starting to flower, as are some of the raspberries, the gooseberry and one of the black currants and one of the blueberries. Hurrah! There is definitely blossom on the pear tree (even though two of the six spliced varieties seem to be dead). No sign of blossom on the apple tree, which is probably not a problem, but I cannot help remembering the it produced no blossom two years ago. Do dwarf spliced apple trees only produce blossom every other year? Pretty sure I asked at the nursery two years ago and the answer was no. Pile more compost around the trunk and hope for the best.

In a triumph of hope over experience, I’ve decided to have another go at lettuce and rocket. People are always telling me how easy it is to grow these but that has never been my experience. I am informed by the internet (so it must be true) that both grow well in containers, So today I planted three containers with seeds. We shall see. Also planted some nasturtium seeds. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, out back, I need to plant some new lavender to replace the ones that didn’t make it through the long, cold, snowy winter. Fortunately, I’m very conscientious about sticking the little cardboard identifiers in the ground with the plants. If you live somewhere with long, cold, snowy winters, I recommend you do not attempt to grow Kew Red Lavender, because that’s what all four dead plants were.

Rhodo Dave was round in the week to show me how to “candle” my rhododendrons. Apparently you need to remove all the little green candle flame shaped green growths, whilst keeping all the doubles and trebles. This will help the bush get bushier. (Don’t ask me.) I was very disappointed to learn that the “candles” were not, as I had thought, even more flowers. So the total for this year will be four flowers on one rhododendron and three on the other. Not as many as I’d hoped, but seven more flowers than I had last year.

In order to perform said candling, we had to remove the chicken wire surrounding the plants for deer protection. Dave swears the deer will, at the very worst, nibble a few leaves, leaving the flowers alone. He suggested permanently removing the chicken wire in order to allow the bushes to get bushier (which seems to be the main idea). I had my doubts, but bowed to his superior knowledge of all things Rhodo. Four days later and the deer don’t seem to be feasting. We shall see.

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