Saturday, 23 June 2018

Things That Work, Things That Don't

Garden workers.
This is our first summer in this garden, so I'm learning what works & what doesn't.  Let's see what you think of this lot.

Of course, when you're done, go over to The Propagator who is our #SixonSaturday meme host.  Read about his colourful Six, all workers in my mind (even the marigold).

Then scroll down to his comment section where throngs of other SoSers have links to their week's SoS.

So first, a coupla things that work.

1.  Cucumelons.

Not only a new garden, but a new crop.  We had poor luck with our cucumbers last year, so thought these might fare better, as they're reputed to be rampant.  The teeny weeny bloom surprised me.

Cucumelon blossom.  A small chap.

2.  Bed spring trellis.

Remember during the rainy spell earlier this year, when I got cabin fever?  We had an old mattress that we couldn't give away, so I decided to re-purpose its parts.

The inner spring was destined to be a trellis for the berries.  We cut all the little coils down the middle to make 2 trellises.  Separated, the bed spring is quite floppy & could be rolled up like wire fence, so that solved my winter storage question.

The Fence Guy, however, put a wooden trellis above the berry wands, so the bed spring went to the cucumelons.

They seem ready to explore the new trellis.

Because the springs are linked, it loses its floppiness once it's in place & without too much securing.  Two rows of coils are above the wooden fence.  In the afternoon, they catch the sun & the trellis looks a bit like prison razor wire.

In truth, the cut wires can scratch a person, but no worse than roses or brambles.  Even so, I've been mulling over solutions for that.  Maybe some type of tape or fabric plaster on the ends.

Another bad weather project, don't you think?

So now, a coupla things that aren't working.

3.  Droopy smoke.

We lost 3 trees this year, & I haven't a clue as to why.  All three of them - an apple tree, the Asian pear, & the sambucus - survived the winter & started to grow with varying success.  The apple died when the first leaves began to show.  The pear came into full leaf, but no blooms, then died.  Sammy actually had buds but then keeled over.

The smoke bush, thankfully, only has droopy flower buds.

Can't bring myself to full bloom.

Has anyone else had an unlucky tree year?  How about ideas as to why we've taken such a hit?

4.  Calloloo

As I mentioned last week, our front garden gets more sun, so I've put some of my veg there.  When I could, I chose veg of colour in hopes that perhaps the neighbours* wouldn't notice my less than frivolous beds.  The photo of callaloo in the seed catalogue made them seem like a excellently flamboyant candidate for my deception.

But the callaloo isn't reaching the heights advertised.  In fact, it's not reaching heights at all.  Here's a photo of them, potted up after they first arrived, all pretty & sassy.

New baby photo

This is what they look like now, six weeks later. 

Callaloo in June.

Although it's obviously gown, for a plant that's reputed to be a metre tall, this fella has a long way to go by the end of summer.  The foliage has also lost some of its vibrance, but perhaps that's normal.

Interestingly, I've had very odd results in this bed.  As you can see, oxalis & buttercup grow to beat the band, but my bulbs have languished.  I've lost one of my Paris roses in this location, too.  Everything is well fed, but I'm wondering if it's simply too much sun, not enough water, or something a bit more complicated.


As to the neighbours, I under estimated these guys.  They're an overly inquisitive bunch, but rather friendly, so my veg has been allowed to stay.  There may or may not've been an offering of produce on my part.

5.  Tonsured mullein.

So let's end with some more things that work.  In my mind, Nature does it best.  Like others of you, I let my favourite weeds self seed somewhat unabated. 

This mullein appeared in the smallest of troughs last year & grew to about 15 inches, which I assume is normal for a first year.  I gave it a bigger trough for this year, though, & here we are, doing what mulleins do.

Monk Mullein.

And here's a close up of his hair cut.  I love the texture & colour of those leaves, especially with the pops of yellow when it blooms.

Bugs like him.

6.  Opium & the creep.

When this poppy first showed itself in my Creeping Jenny, I figured Jenny could take Pops, so left them to it.  They've been quite lovely to watch, the poppy foliage elbowing for space, Jenny running toward the ground.  Then Pops bloomed.

Fleeting beauty.

I'd expected the more subtle purple blossom, but was a bit wowed by the red.  Which of course only stayed with us for the blink of an eye . . .

Shedding petals

. . . then left a bit behind so we know it wasn't imagined.

Both blooms.

The not-workers.
There's my contribution for this week.  Hope to hear some ideas & maybe even some solutions.

For now, I'm off to read your blogs.  Although I've been quiet in your comment sections, I am reading & retweeting as much as possible.  When my energy level returns & I'm my more gregarious self, you'll look back on these quiet days with fondness.

Until next time!


  1. I didn't know Callaloo's name, but it seems to be close to the amaranthus family. Are you going to eat the leaves? Or are you going to keep them just to enjoy their flowering? About Cucamelons, mine are at the same stage and I'm looking forward to eating them for the first time.

    1. I think callaloo is amaranthus. Just saw yours in your post & your comment that the red is later, so perhaps that's what's happening in my garden. Yes, I plan to eat them, though I've never had it before.

  2. Hi Lora, I think this is a normal lull in a new garden, when you are waiting a seeing. Your mullein is lovely. And your poppy. Nature knows best, doesn’t she? That’s sad about those trees. We thought we had lost two figs, but they arebouncu f back.

    1. I also thought I'd lost my fig, but then presto! It came back. Weird year in the garden.

  3. I think this is a funny year with all the cold we had and now this hot dry weather - some plants like your mullein are loving it, others not so sure...

    1. I think you might be right. The cold, the heat, the plant's preferences & its individual resiliancy . . . outcomes will vary. That's gardening.

  4. I quite like the idea of a bed spring trellis. Brings a new meaning to the garden beds. Take care.

    1. And the Groan Prize for this week's most impressive pun goes to . . .

  5. For Christmas Santa ( my step father in law) gave me a packet of Callalloo and a packet of Cucamelon seed. Both of yours are doing better than mine, so don't worry about the Callalloo! I have got mine out in allotment beds where, bar watering once or twice a week, they have to just make do. Let's compare in September, shall we?