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!