Am still addicted to dreaming on Pinterest….today’s addition to my fantasy garden is this dreamy field of cosmos
Pinterest..my latest addiction. If you haven’t heard of it (and if not, where have you been?) it is like an online mood board and I am having a lovely time creating my dream garden…
Apparently an eager fan presented Madonna with a floral gift of hydrangea at a Venice Film Festival press conference for her new film W.E. While the singer and actress gracefully accepted the flowers, she turned to the person beside her voicing her disgust at them.
‘I absolutely loathe hydrangeas.’ she was heard saying when the press conference microphone was left on.
The flowers are great for cutting and very easy to arrange in vases. There is something reassuringly old-fashioned about hydrangea, so I like to arrange mine in a country vase or a vintage bowl, but they also look great arranged in a group in a clear glass vase and stunning mixed with white roses and green foliage. Now tell me what’s not to love Madonna??
So I’ve heard of love bombing, but seed bombing is a new one on me and I am really taken with the concept of flower grenades which I’ve only just come across.
I admit I hadn’t heard about this growing movement of guerilla gardening before now, but I just love the idea encapsulated in Tony Minh Nguyen’s original description of a 2008 project he called the Bio-Grenade:
Instead of the grenade form leaving a detrimental impact it disperses life
The basic idea is that you lob ”seed bombs” in empty urban waste ground and let nature do the rest. Seed grenades were first used by the Green Guerillas in the USA in the 1970s to introduce explosions of wildflowers into the concrete jungle of New York.
So if you fancy a bit of throw and grow therapy, check out Designist in Dublin, stockists of flower grenades. You can also buy online from their store or for UK readers, check out Suck UK for more information.
Spinach is one of the easiest and fastest crops you can grow with little effort, so it’s perfect for my beginner’s veg garden. I have planted perpetual spinach which to my delight has taken off. The instructions were to sprinkle the seeds thickly as this encourages small tender leaves, just the way I like my spinach, served in a mixed leaf salad.
I have been busily burying egg shells, tea bags and the peelings from vegetables in strategic holes around the garden over the past few months. Now I would be better off putting that to good use to make my own compost! What has put me off is those who have told me of their composting woes. So, I have been doing some research in advance of purchasing my own compost bin from the local council.
First things first, I will need to put in some twiggy material such as hedge clippings to help with air circulation at the base of the bin. To this will be added some more brown/dry compost material – about six inches deep and gently firmed in place. Examples of brown material include dried leaves, straw, sawdust, shredded newspaper, shredded paper, crushed egg shells.
The next layer is made up of green/wet material, such as grass cuttings, plant trimmings and dead cut flowers. It’s important not to include weeds that may carry seeds. Continue to add green material until you have the same depth as the brown material, about six inches. Never add layers of grass clippings more than four inches deep. Ideally this should be mixed with other garden waste. This is to avoid it becoming airless, which lead to it becoming smelly – one of the composting woes I’ve heard a lot about.
Now you can add your kitchen waste, such as fruit and veg peelings, coffee grounds and torn up tea bags and to this you can add a thin layer of one to two inces of fresh garden soil.
Now it’s back to stage one again, the brown stage and you continue layering in this manner until the bin is full. When full, water well and cover.It takes two to three months for the compost to rot.
Mmmh, still sounds complicated to me….
Seems like every shop you go into these days, have special offers on punnets of blueberries, but still there is nothing like the thrill of growing your own and they are actually quite easy to grow. While I am waiting for mine to appear, I have a punnet of those special offer blueberries in the fridge ready for adding to my thick american style pancakes, or for mixing a batch of blueberry muffins.
The trick to growing blueberries is to plant them in lime-free soil. This is sold in garden centres as ericaceous potting compost. Make sure the soil doesn’t dry out so keep it moist and you will have nice juicy berries for those pies. Now, the only problem is keeping off the birds who love the fruit. I have some light netting which I picked up cheaply in Lidl and so far that seems to have done the trick.
Reading my how to grow organic crops book at the moment. Just came across the term companion planting. It is based around the idea that certain plants can benefit others when planted next to, or close to one another. The theory is that companion planting benefit certain plants by giving them pest control, naturally without the need to use chemicals.
I have decided then to plant some french marigolds which should keep whitefly at bay around my budding tomatoes. I have already planted my leeks but if I had planted them beside the carrots, they may keep the carrot fly away. Perceived wisdom is to plant nasturtiums with cabbages, as they are a magnet for caterpillars and there is plenty more advice in the book and indeed online, for me to follow.