The Dug Out’s Secret Garden!

The Dug Out’s Secret Garden Directory!

Series Introduction …

Episode 10# – How Does Your Garden Grow Update.

A Pigeon feeder update gallery for you. These photographs were taken from the guest bedroom window which has an ideal angle to look down upon the garden at the birds in the garden.

We can clearly see a woodpigeon making a pigsy of themselves in the upper feeding station and a dove choosing to bathe and feed on the ground, but using the table as a higher perch.

I did have a combo bowl originally on the tables but nothing really used them, so l then took to scattering feed on the table and will do so, till l have a more appropriate feeding dish available. But it’s good to see less pigeons actually on the gravel path now – despite the one here.

Yesterday – l had a Kestrel land on the table and l was quite astonished!! A huge predator landing in the garden was a real gem, but she/he only stayed for a mere 15 seconds and was gone and it would have taken me 20 seconds to have gotten my camera out! I think the Kestrel landed there awkwardly due to a dive ending without fruit. In addition to birds visiting the garden l also have field and wood mice – l think the chances are the hunting bird was after something like that but l can’t discount the possibility of it chasing down a smaller bird.

For those looking for an Ava the Avocado update – well she is doing very well. She is not experiencing that blight to the same degree as she did last year on her stems. Although it is still present on her leaves – but again, not as severe as last year and as you can she has a lot more new growth to her stems than she did last year as well. Also, look at the sheer size of some of the new leaves!!? They are huge!!

I have been using on all of the plants outside and indoors alike a diluted bokashi leechate fertiliser and it is having a huge impact on the overall health of all the plants.

The two pepper plants will not be discarded this year, but will be allowed to naturally recede and experience fresh spring growth next year. Ava’s in plant companions are also all flourishing and the new companion to them all is Snappy D – a Dragon plant [Dracaena draco] l got a week ago at the market here and l transplanted her from her plastic pot to a ceramic pot on the weekend – she is also doing very well. Together the plants seemingly make for a nice happy clan.

There is only one more plant to add to this and that will be a creeping Jasmine. But l need to get an indoor trellis and once done, the jasmine will be able to creep upwards and will fill the house with a truly beautiful scent.

You can see blight, black spot and natural rose die back in the images above as well as healthy leaves and blooms.

Yesterday l was able to get out into the garden and tackle an issue l have been wanting to get started on for a few weeks – however due to the weathering conditions l was unable to freely do so and that was to attend to the roses in the garden – l have here two main varieties of climbing rose – pink and white in layman’s terms – but someone told me they believed them to be variations of Pilgrim and Rambling – who knows – well pretty sure the owner of the house, but l am not asking.

Jeremy, you will recall, hung the pictures in the house and did various bits and bots for me around the garden before l took up residency and he assures me that the previous tenants were not gardeners as he [Jeremy and his wife Sally] were hired by the letting agents to come and clear the garden. He said that it was a nightmare and well overgrown, that the previous tenants were not in the slightest bit green fingered!

I suspected this anyhow on account of the fact that l could tell that the soils in the containers and on the grounds were really not very good. I had seen blight on a few of the plants in the garden in the first week of taking up my own renting.

But l like a challenge and it would be good karma for me to bring this garden back from the brink of the bottom to the goldeness of the top and l started to do just that back in July when l began work in the garden. However at that time the roses were in full bloom, and so l knew that pruning could wait and busied myself with other priorities.

Currently the brutal side to me wants to perform a full prune, however the realist in me tells me to do a half prune this side of winter, dehead where required and mulch the ground after weeding. This makes for good sense, better sense than taking everything down to nothing. I really need to see just exactly how much blight these two prime bushes have over considerations of natural rose die back for the time of year.

The best way to see the true damage is to await for the newer growing season in 2021. As these are climbing roses they are more than likely going to display full bloom in the summer season over that of bush varieties who bloom in the spring. However by the spring of next year, l should be able to start to see first hand how bad the blight/blackspot is by the leaves that grow.

The problem with pruning or l should say too brutal a prune now – at the end of the season – is that the plants still need to have leaves. You can see in fact that someone [maybe Jeremy or his wife when they cleaned up the garden in June] trimmed back a lot of the smaller leaves off the stems and this in turn made the plant very leggy or longstemmy.

Too many leaves off the rose can cause it to have an adverse effect on the growth. Equally l have noticed that the stems have been cut straight as opposed to a 45 degree angle which prevents rot developing from rainwater, however with a straight cut visible on a lot of the stems it has potentially meant there may be all sorts of problems with the plant itself and l am here too late on the scene to really do anything about it. But, l have also cut a few of the badly spotted/blighted leaves away during the summer.

There are two trains of thought here also, as an example – with tomato plants, if you cut off the surplus leaves then the water and feed goes directly to the fruits, with roses the same can apply, take away the leaves and allow the water to feed directly into the blooms.

But equally, take away too many leaves then it means that there will be very little photosynthesis [light energy [sun] converted into natural energy [fuel] that will be drawn in by the leaves which in turn could lead to more diseases that the rose bush would be open to … everything is always about balance with gardening.

So all l could do yesterday as a general exercise of perhaps 4 maybe 5 phases from now, October to perhaps May of next year, is prune as honestly as l can without causing unnecessary injury, clear the weeds and the base grounds of the plants and then mulch the grounds and protect for the winter months.

So,that is what l did …. weeded the ground, mulched the ground and covered the base of the plant, spread a generous layer of straw over the mulch, mulched again and then covered the whole lot with shredded wood chip. I performed the same for the second plant also.

The mulch l have used is a much coarser mulch than l would normally use, however it has been brewing for around three months and is a good rich mixture that will feed the ground wonderfully for the winter itself. With today’s rain, this ensured that the mulch was properly watered into the plants.

I knew today would be heavy rains, otherwise after working on the rose plants l would have created a natural fungicide spray and sprayed them. That will have to wait till we get some clearer days – however l will discuss the creation of natural organic sprays another time.

There is only sadly so much you can do at once. With the roses task out of the way , l then poured the rest of the coarse mulch mixture onto the ornamental garden beds it will do wonders for the soil over the coming winter months. The rains will leechate the nutrients of the compost mulch into the soil and that in turn will invigorate the microorganisms and worm cultures alike to really work the soil so that by next spring when l mulch the garden again ready for the new growing season – the soils will feel like a million bucks as well as happy to help the gardener out..

Anyway, just a quick updater for you.

Do you grow roses? If so, how do you tackle blight or black spot issues?

Welcome to the Secret Garden folks, thanks for reading and see you next time!

33 thoughts on “The Dug Out’s Secret Garden!

    1. Hey Chel, many thanks – there is always the tactic to hope they recover and sometimes – they will recover on their own – it really comes down to what they are recovering from 🙂

  1. A sprinkle of potash with the spring feed for Ava will help with the yellow (and the occasional weak fish- or seaweed- based fertiliser/conditioner).
    In Australia, we don’t put mulch right up to the stems due to the risk of fungus. I generally leave about a half inch of bare space, but as I’m not living in a place where they actually have real rainy seasons, I may just be talking out of the unseasoned manure.

    1. Valid points Cage and with a strongly acidic mulch like a manure or something l would be the same here, but the mulch l am using is a bracken twig mulch , so a very coarse and broken mixture.

      Comprising of twigs and bracken branches – much coarser than l would normally use. In the Hillyfields garden l used a chicken manure pellet as opposed to a old chicken manure and l placed broken crockery around the stems to not have any burning and then covered with the soaked chicken mulch.

      But of course here, we do have serious rainfall and many things can be wiped away very quickly, so this bracken mixture is a mix that will stay put, and the water will just dilute it further into the ground.

    2. For Ava, thank you l will try that – basically she wants to be a tree and not a pot bound plant, so sometime in the next 18 months l am going to have bigger issues with her, l feel like a parent with a grumblin teenager 🙂

      1. I get them growing wild in the garden (from the compost). Most don’t survive the winter, but some have stayed. They like being trees.

  2. The problems we had with our roses were aphids and white flies. I know we bought ladybugs, but I’m not sure what else my ex did. He was a self-employed landscaper, he took better care of the plants than I ever could.

    1. Aphids and white fly would be an easy enough solution if l had that here. I have had white aphid on the peppers indoors all year, and we had major aphid problems in the greenhouse earlier this year. I think the problems with the roses here are mostly terrible weather and the usual problems of poor previous tenant care. I will sort it 🙂

  3. I love jasmine ❤️❤️❤️ I love the smell of jasmine ❤️

    I just don’t like the bees it attracts but I really love jasmine!! Such a beautiful smell!

    You garden words are like a foreign language to me – I am not green thumb whatsoever – I am the plant grim reaper lol

    Although I have managed to keep an aloe plant alive since February lol… not really sure how??… but whatever it’s working so far (knock on wood)!

    I am curious about your Roses – but that’s a plant I do not understand at all!!

    My grandmother always kept and had roses 🌹 ❤️ I remember the bushes and her always pruning them at a certain time of year but I never understand them… beautiful but I don’t know how to care for them

    You could try to explain to me but it still won’t sink in. It be like trying to give me actual directions… that doesn’t work either lol… I just GPS it

    Too bad there is not some kind of gps how to do plants lol – that be perfect for someone like me with that!!! ✌️

      1. Yeah I don’t pick up on keeping plants alive – I have tried over and over and over

        Is not my thing at all. I can do plastic plants 😄✌️

        I am, just busy handling all my stuff… I got a new car (new to me) – how are you doing lately

          1. Well teeth do that as they age – I hope you are not in pain, or are able to have solution for that.

            I had to do this ship out thing at work… basically someone died here in California… but their family is back East in NY… and that’s where their plot is… so another funeral home there is handling through us (hence “ship out” – we send the body)

            So anyway… this guy from NY kept calling… I talked to him on weekend, when was just an imminent call – before they died… telling me would be dying… and then again on Tuesday

            Every single time he calls … he has that NY accent and then he says to me each time… so how are you? Lol

            And every time I say “ah ya know livin the dream” lol

            And then each time he stops for a sec and says oh yeah that California dreamin lol 😄

            It just makes me laugh – made me think of that somehow??

            Totally not living any dream lol 😄 and California is not very dreamy it’s just normal lol

            Life sometimes 🙄

            1. Oh aye, life!! Gotta love it.

              Teeth, yes, my teeth are in a pretty bad way, was going to get repair work done from March this year, covid stopped that – now British dentists are not offering any repair work till 2021 sometime, unless it’s an emergency and currently despite my pain, it’s not classed as an emergency.

              1. Oh?? I’m sorry about your pain

                Yeah think dentists same here regarding repairs unless emergency due to Covid 🤨

                That’s brutal you have to suffer with that

                Hopefully no abscesses 🙏

              2. My fear would be the abscess … l think l just avoided that recently with a huge salt wash programme over three days, an abscess would be a serious problem for me.

              3. Well I hope you ok until you can safely get in… yeah definitely do not want an abscess

                If able – floss, brush and maybe listerine which may help with any tooth or gum issues? Only slightly though … if can do often could help?

                Advil or Tylenol might help with any pain

                But I am sure you know all the tricks anyway. Just trying to be helpful so you not in pain ☹️

              4. Thanks, l do most of those, but it’s good to have a reminder – hell l forgot to take a drink until midday the other day ha ha memory is fizzyfuzzy some days 🙂

              5. At work I forget which funeral home I am at… when I answer the phone I have to pause for a minute to remember lol (but usually because I am doing 500000 other things) 🤨

                Feel like Alzheimer’s setting in but is just because been seriously crazy lately!!

                * Same *

              6. Excited for that I will keep eye open but tag me just incase – I mean to read and miss reading – but that busy crap is taking my entire life 🤨 is stressful too 😔

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