Friday, 29 June 2012

Slugshead revisited

Visits to garden centre: 1 (unscheduled)
Plants purchased: 0.  (Resolve of steel)
Hours spent gardening: 1
Slugs and snails killed: 10
Garden magazines purchased: Gardener's World (ex subscriber)

 I woke up this morning to find that this slug was coasting right across my terrace in the open.

 Audacious or what?

He was killed under tragic circumstances, his body burst by the force of osmosis from a hail of salt.  May we not remember him; nor shall we mourn his passing.

Advantage: Gardener.

I forgot to share any details of the plants I bought on Monday, so  here is Alpine Dianthus 'Brilliant Star.' (Le Photographe is on kitchen duty again I'm afraid).

Style notes: mini strap foliage contrasts with flowers in chocolate and brown akin to a monochrome effect.  A crisp, clean look for a plant that means business.  Commands respect whilst maintaining femininity with scalloped edged petals.

The other plant was was a curry plant.  I was seduced by the pungent, velvety foliage. It smells more like the spices that stain the fingers of the cook and linger long after the curry has been eaten.

I think this plant will be slug resistant.  According to Gardener's World, slugs like beer but not lager.  As you need curry to go with lager then I don't think they'll like this plant.  I had been putting lager in my slug traps instead of beer, so now I know why they don't work. 

Monday, 25 June 2012

My Garden

Weather: warm and sunny.  Tabloids now threaten terrible heatwave will engulf Wimbledon
Slugs and snails culled: 4
Methods: salt, speared
Advantage slugs: holes in hosta Frances Williams and Pelargoniums
Visits to garden centre: 1
Garden magazines: 1 (RHS The Garden, subscriber)

My apologies, I forgot to introduce you to the topic of this blog, the garden.  It's a small courtyard, with a patio that steps up to a raised gravel courtyard surrounded by beds.  There is also a bed hidden at the back which is trying and failing to be a veg patch.  The garden is north facing and overshadowed by next door's sycamore (another Enemy). This season I'm thinking height and trying to get some foliage to cover those fences which are stained 'natural beech' which came out like horticulture's answer to fake tan.

I tried several times to take this photo but the garden is at an awkward angle to photograph.  (Note to Homes and Gardens: bring some special camera lenses when you come).  Also Le Francais is Le Photographe and he was on kitchen duty today.   

I went to Homebase on the way home, allegedly just to buy the varnish for the planter project.  Just to make sure, I repeated "IwillnotbuyplantsIwillnotbuyplantsIwillnotbuyplants" on the way in.  This worked pretty well.  I only bought two plants. 

Needlesss to say I didn't think much of these garden ornaments.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sunday slugs and rain

Weather: torrential rain battering the petunias
Slugs and snails culled: 7
Methods: salt, crushing
Injuries sustained during slug wars: 1 (fell backwards from squatting into raised bed)
Cat turds in the veg patch: 0

Copper tape has performed well at protecting this potted hosta but still needs daily surveillance against invaders.  Rating: 8/10.

Gardening activities were rained off apart from slug patrols, so I decided to get revenge on the vintage crate episode and make my own.  My husband (Le Francais) had an old wine crate to which I applied a blue stain.  This couldn't have gone better at first: the paint was Farrow and Ball and the crate from a St Emilion Grand Cru.  This surely beat the fruit crate. As the paint glided on, I imagined I could make a load of these, selling them on at plant fairs with signs saying 'extremely stylish! get your crate planter here.'  Quickly it would grow into an internet company and then perhaps branch out as a nursery on the side.  By the end of the afternoon I had already mentally drafted out my resignation letter for my day job.  A satisfying life lay ahead of me, exhibiting my crates at plant fairs and enjoying a stand at Chelsea flower show.

The final effect was a paler than I imagined, a sort of baby blue.  In a moment of horror I realised this wouldn't go at all well with the pale pink scabious I had planned to put in.  Style disaster!  Le Francais threw up his hands and instructed me immediately to sand the whole thing back and restain it darker blue.  Hopefully this will go better with the scabious which I can mix in with some cosmos seedlings.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Lavender hidcote

Welcome to my blog. I came here to write about gardening but first I had to decide what to call myself. London has been swamped by torrential rain and so gardening was impossible anyway, apart from a brief evening excusion to pour salt on a few slugs.  During these wet and miserable evenings I noted that lots of gardeners already have catchy names for their blogs. My French husband suggest Belle du Jardin but that name had already gone. In any case, this conjours up images of Catherine Deneuve wistfully scenting a rose. I do have an Iceberg rose but life in my garden is a bit more gritty and real than that. No respect to Ms Deneuve but I am also quite a bit younger than her. Cats are up there with slugs as the enemy so I was thinking of This might attract armies of cat lovers who would be inflamed my feline unfriendly slug pellets.  I would have  a cat fatwa on my hands. Cat lovers would break into my garden and plant signs saying 'cats, welcome to crap here' in my veg patch. Cats already feel welcome there anyway.  More on cats later.

I had a prima donna moment in one of our local garden centres the other day, so I really wanted to be Gardenista or a Gardenzilla. Alas, that both of those have already gone too to other pithier and faster off the mark garden writers.  Earlier this week I was browsing in the bijoux N1 garden centre.  They had some vintage crates on sale which I was planning to use as a stylish planter for my Cosmos seedlings but when I got to the counter they claimed they were no longer for sale.  I could have calmly stated my case and explained that as a loyal customer I would appreciate if they could reconsider.   I could then also review my stance on the clematis that I had just put back.  But no.  Instead I dropped the crate noisily and dramatically on their distressed wooden floor, turned on my Clark's heels and stormed out without saying a word.  This seemed like a good idea at the time but now I've realised that I can't show my face there for a few weeks.  Good luck to Gardenistas everywhere anyway.  I hope you get your own way.

So Licence to Kill Slugs it is and it's a pretty true reflection given this wet weather.  I'm out there every evening tracking them beneath my hostas.   Like the baddies in Bond films, they come up unexpectedly, eating things you would never expect and  intent on destroying everything in their path in the name of their own supremecy.  I'm sure gardeners everywhere don't need me to explain much more on why I hate them.