“Did the earth move for you, darling?” “Well, the shed certainly did.”

The landscaping is finally (earth) moving! First, we’ve managed to find a great local wet-stone waller (if that’s what you’d call them) and the terrace walls are now in progress:

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The builders are levelling off somewhat as they go, which is great: the master builder says he wants to do that, to counterbalance the back of the wall. That way it’s also less likely to heave forwards once the weight of soil lands behind it. We’ll still need at least some topsoil, as we’ve unearthed the clay subsoil quite a lot, and it’s pretty sterile given how few weeds have taken root in it!

Also, Kevin (partner of fellow gardener Gwenfar) very capably helped me move the shed, from the top of the garden:

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Down to the bottom:

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The wall builders were astonished we’d manoeuvred it round their partial construction. Not as astonished as us, I think! The scaffolding boards came in really useful: pound for pound, I think they’ve been the most useful equipment I’ve ever bought, at £8 per 4m-board.

Finally, a bit of consumerist eye-candy: we’ve bought a cast-iron chiminea, and yesterday I finally got a decent fire going in it:

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I’ll be more excited once I can start planting up; as we’re late in the season now, that could end up staggered over a good few months. In the mean time, though, I can sit by the chiminea and contemplate what will one day be our garden.

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End of Month View July 2017: a wobble, some growth

Only a few days ago, I have to say I had a bit of a wobble both on social media and off. I’d been sowing lunaria seed, without a potting shed to sow them in, so they’d been blown around my windtunnel of a garden. Then, when all the pots were ready, I put them on my growframe, which promptly collapsed:

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Around an hour or so of work, fetching back and forth, getting tools, forgetting tools, squeezing past pots and garden furniture: and that’s not including time invested in the pots it collapsed onto!

There followed a good few minutes of me ranting to the Welsh rose: when was it going to end? When would I have a garden, and a shed, and all the really boring things I was hoping (nearly two years after moving) to take for granted? This month’s EOMV is really in the shadow of all of those questions, I suppose. Let’s try not to think of the foundations of walls, still unlaid:

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And instead try to focus on all the things that are currently going right with my garden and my plants.

Outdoors

For a start, the ornamentals on the decking are doing wonderfully:

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The zonal pelargoniums just keep on giving; the cosmos has bounced back from the Bord na Mona compost; and the “Fat Head” lavender, although it’s gone over, is still looking and smelling great. Somehow I’ve made a salvia collapse again, just dry up then rot. Who knows? At least I haven’t killed any of the lavenders. Yet.

Acer “Anne Irene” is still looking lovely:

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As is the new shady perennial bed, a selection of pots where the Hebe once lolled and flopped:

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Vegetables are also generally going pretty well:

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We’re getting two or three tomatoes ripening, every few days. I’ve been cutting the existing trusses back, as most of the plants now have blight, so it’s a race against time! I can pick lettuce almost any day and—if we could just stop getting it in the veg box—the same goes for kale.

Along with delphiniums and eryngiums, the courgette “Nero di Milano” has been chewed to a stump by pests, but it yet might recover; meanwhile, the other courgette “White Volunteer” is thriving, as are my buddleia cuttings, and of course The Buddleia They Couldn’t Kill:

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Long-term readers will know I have a history of killing off buddleia cuttings, but these seem to have taken: there’s new growth in those pictures. And my zonal pelargonium cuttings are so happy, they’re trying to flower!

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(I’ve since pinched out the flowers, to try to get the energy back into the leaves.)

The lavender cuttings damped off, unfortunately, even though they weren’t bagged or anything. I think they just needed a degree drier: probably even just dampened grit at first.

Indoors

Speaking of thriving, though, Gwenfar mentioned that I seem to have had a lot of success with house plants, so let’s briefly tour those. The Ficus “Tineke” I bought as a small pot plant is now over a metre tall:

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You can also see some of the Billbergia x windii pups, now fully fledged plants, behind it. Elsewhere, these pups are so happy in only their first season that one is flowering:

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I thought they were meant to be monocarpic, but the mother plant is still in that pot on the left, despite it having flowered last year just after I bought it. The obligatory spider plant in between is doing all right, I guess: but then I’ve never seen them thrive, except when they really take off and become a nuisance.

My streptocarpus collection, all (without meaning it) from Dibley’s, are also thriving. “Caitlyn” is coming to its end, while “Crystal Ice” is meant to flower practically all year long:

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Neither of them, I think, can beat my first ever strep “Katie”, which flowers for around seven or eight months and produces deliciously indigo flowers, soft and paddy to the touch like a cat’s paw:

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A random lump of Christmas cactus is putting on new bunny ears of growth, suggesting that it’s rooted:

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Its parent plant is once again confusedly flowering, alongside a peace lily that’s all leaf and an M&S pot rose that’s all twig:

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Beyond them, into the front garden, you can see the bronze fennel and echinacea, next to a stump of delphinium, amidst a sea of recently raked-in Phacelia tanacetifolia seed, covered with pellets!

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Even my Ceropegia woodii cuttings rooted, although layering in a separate pot didn’t work out:

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Finally, I sowed some more coriander—hopefully less likely to run to seed, this side of the solstice—and pampered my “Bush” basil and “Basil” mint (confusing, no?) a little by topping up their soil with compost:

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Maybe there are some successes to be had, amongst the difficulties that the garden currently presents. And the Lunaria seed? Well, I had just enough left in the packet to re-sow:

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Hope triumphs over adversity. Although you’ll note the cable ties, bottom left and right: trust in Allah, but tie up your shelving all the same.