Monday, 11 June 2007

SLUGS, SNAILS AND POPPY, FROG TALES

It's that time of year again...


the Rhododendrons need deadheading......we've had a full 6 weeks of superb flowers but now they are looking quite bedraggled. It's a long job and I normally do a few a day over the course of a week. I know some gardeners don't bother to do it but we always have. Our soil is not naturally acidic so it's also the start of the feeding regime. Every fortnight now until the beginning of August I'll give them an acid feed...both directly into the soil and also foliar; Mick heard once that if you feed them too long after August the buds can turn to growth buds rather than flower buds.....as he was the Rhody King around here I'm not going to mess with his way of doing it. Then in the Autumn and Spring a potash feed and a mulch with cocoa shells.

Although our garden is small we still have our fair share of problem areas....caused most by the North facing aspect and complete lack of sunlight in some parts. One of these areas is behind the Red Rhody ......

the Rhody leans out towards the light and there's this SPACE that looks so bare. I've tried sowing seed or small shade tolerant plants there but nothing works.....a few inches to the left a fern happily thrives; I tried the same type of fern in this area but it failed miserably. What a difference a few inches can make!..........(Did I hear a few sniggers then...LOL)
The bare bit of fence really niggles me....even ivy doesn't seem to want to cover it......
so as a last resort I've hung a basket on the fence filled with some left over fuchsia cuttings, some morning glory seedlings I had left and a couple of begonias. I'm hoping that the fact that it's high off the ground means it may get enough light to do something!...only time will tell...I guess I should say "WATCH THIS SPACE!"........
Another problem we have a lot of is slugs and snails......I was hoping that as it had been a dry winter that the problem may be less this year......but I think the whole of the mollusc population has descended on our garden....................why I try to grow Hostas I don't know...it's a waste of time really....it's as though there's a sign saying "SLUG CAFE THIS WAY" pointing towards them. I think I've tried every possible organic and chemical solution there is.......they even climb the walls to get to the hanging baskets! Some seem to have very weird tastes....I'd planted my Hestia Runner beans in a tub with a few lettuce as a catch crop.....well look....they're eating the bean leaves and leaving the lettuce!!!


I've also had to say a sad farewell to the annual poppies that were smashed down in the torrential rain a few weeks back......I was hoping they'd pick themselves up with all the sunshine lately...or at least flower before I ripped them out.....they had to go though.....I was at risk of losing 3 roses, an hardy fuchsia and an agapanthus which were being smothered by them and I'm not losing perennials for the sake of a few annuals.it's left a bit of a gap (do you like my kneeler...Mick made me that many years ago)....but I've a few busy lizzies left which can go in there just for a bit of colour this year. I've some phlox root cuttings growing that I may try in there next year....I'm worried about the light levels for them though as the Open Arms rose throws a lot of shade over the area.
I remembered to photograph the Poppy flower I'd been watching ................
and the Peony flowers are looking beautiful.....they have a slight scent of Germolene!
I didn't see any butterflies or dragon flies in the garden today....very unusual....perhaps they've taken fright of the crazy woman who lives here and cavorts around with camera in hand......the frogs don't seem to mind though...they're always happy to pose.
It sounds as though we are in for a lot of rain this week; after hearing the news about the horrendous weather there has been in New South Wales I must try not to complain too much.

8 comments:

Shaz said...

Ruth Pops thinks I've over watered the Peppers plus you aren't supposed to feed them till they get fruit so I went wrong on both counts!

I love the way you know all the names of those flowers. I call them all blooms! But I'm learning x x

Akelamalu said...

I'm intrigued that your peonies smell of Germoline, I'm going to sniff mine later!
Great idea to cover the bit of fence with a hanging basket.

PS I've awarded you The Thinking Blogger Award today, please see my blog for details. x

Auntie Noo said...

Lovely post Ruth. That poppy is so beautiful, and the peony. soooo pretty!

Peter said...

Hi Ruth,

Nice garden you have. Wish I have that kind of interest to maintain a garden like that. Sorry to hear about your husband.

Actually popping over to say thank you for visiting And now the best - ENVIROCARD 3 and for the nice things you said.

Peter (Blog*Star 2006 and 2007)
Blogger Tips and Tricks

UKBob said...

Hi Ruth. When I worked at Chatsworth house we always used to put a lot of leaves around Roddies and Azalea's in Autumn. I think it is best to dead head, it looks tidier and also it must be better for the plant not to have to put a lot of energy in to making seeds.

CG said...

Very interesting post, ruth. Would an acid feed be good for my acer? Which one do you use?

We seem to have a fair few slugs too :(

RUTH said...

I use Miracle-gro concentrated ericaceous feed (bright yellow plastic bottle so easy to find on the shelves)...used to use Miracid but I think this has replaced it. I usually give my Acers a foliar feed of it a few times a year...I also give my Daphne some.

Kylee said...

I've never had a slug problem until this year. UGH!

Love the poppy!

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