Leafyleith's Blog

June 9, 2010

Flower power

Filed under: Gardening Year 2 — by leafyleith @ 9:06 pm
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Ah, it’s been a while… but please don’t think work has ground to a halt at Leafyleith. Flowers have been my focus of late.

Am delighted with these alliums. I planted a selection last autumn out in the front garden. These are ‘Purple Sensation’.  They’re a beautiful violet colour and really tall – about 1 metre high. And there are 10 in a row, growing along the hedge. They’ve all come up at different heights so it looks a bit like a Mexican wave.

They were all fluffy and lovely when I took these pics but sadly, they’ve only lasted a few weeks. The flowers are already fading but there are a few more on the way. I planted about 60 bulbs of four different varieties – Purple Sensation, Christophii, Sphaerocephalon and Caeruleum.

One tip with alliums: because they’re a member of the onion family their leaves are quite ugly and lie around the ground so plant some kind of shrubby plant at their base to disguise this. I planted lavender but they are still very small. Next year am sure it will be lovely.

Other flowers that I’m growing from seed:

  • Calendula – Indian Prince
  • Sunflower – Ruby Sunset
  • Nigella – Miss Jekyll
  • Sweet peas – Tall mixed and Blue Velvet

The sweet peas have been a big disappointment and slow to take. Not sure what’s gone wrong but they are spindly and only about 5 cm tall, so I am not holding out much hope for them.

Same with the sunflowers. I put them in about three weeks ago and only one has appeared – perhaps the birds or mice got them. So have started a second batch in the growhouse.

The rhododendron is in full bloom at the moment. Honeysuckle, jasmine, mock orange and geranium plants are also on their way. We just need a bit more sun to make it happen.

March 28, 2010

Commando Cat

Filed under: Gardening Year 2 — by leafyleith @ 3:02 pm
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I was feeling rather inspired last week. Spring has sprung, I thought. So I got my seeds out and started planning for the new raised bed.

I started sowing sweet peas, calendula and nigella for my summer pots and window boxes. And I began hardening off my delphiniums and cleaned the copper rings which will protect them from slugs and snails.

And then this happened.

This is Princes Street, Edinburgh at 6pm at the end of March. It’s just not right. And now I’ve just seen a weather forecast and it says it’s going to SNOW.

Another upset are these bleeding cats. There are five regular visitors: Monster Cat, Cagney & Lacey, Scabby Doo and Minging Fluffball Siamese. And at least another three that appear every now and again. They really make my blood boil because they use the veg bed as a giant cat litter tray. It’s truly disgusting.

I have tried lots of things to deter them:

  • citrus peel
  • cat shoo plants
  • cayenne pepper
  • lavender
  • half empty plastic bottles of water
  • throwing glasses of water at them (quite satisfying, but worried a person might be standing over the other side of the wall)
  • chicken wire

The chicken wire is a recent purchase. I’ve covered the veg patch in it. There is nothing in the veg patch at the moment because it will soon be converted into a raised bed, but I thought if I can stop them crapping in it with the chicken wire, they may take the hint and move off elsewhere.

That was my theory.  But a couple of hours after unrolling my new weapon I looked out and Lacey was using it like some kind of Commando Cat, pacing up and down between the holes, like it was in training to go to Afghanistan. Quite funny, really.

I’ve been thinking about getting one of these sonic cat deterrent monitor thingies, but they are about fifty quid and seem to get mixed reports.

If anyone has any suggestions of how to deal with these blighters, I’d love to hear it. Please don’t bother with the dog suggestions though.

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