First Frost & clearing back Herbaceous perennials.

IMG_0961 (1).JPG
 A frosted Walled garden.
IMG_0954.JPG
Crystallized Verbena bonariensis
IMG_0972.JPG
Frosty Penstemon ‘Burgundy’
IMG_0951.JPG
Flower head structure of  Agapanthus inapertus subsp. pendulus‘Graskop’ accentuated by frost.
IMG_0957.JPG
Herbaceous border with Crocosmia × crocosmiiflora ‘Carmin Brillant’ in the foreground.
IMG_0967.JPG
Gorgeous frosted foliage of Euryops pectinatus.
IMG_0955.JPG
Frosted flower heads of Fuchsia ‘Lady Boothby’

Herbaceous Perennials are not demanding plants, but trimming them after flowering finishes in late autumn/early winter helps improve their appearance and flowering. However, some stems can be left over winter to provide homes & food for wildlife, & then trimmed back in spring.

Respect the Cow.

For the past few weeks my daily walk to the sea has involved witnessing an alarming cry from this herd of cows.
img_0712
On closer inspection I recognised that all the cows were females & separated from their sons.
The sons having been contained in the green roofed hanger down the road & are equally vocal. I have no qualifications on animal psychology but nevertheless, my intuition has been telling me that both are protesting at the injustice of this painful separation.
To humans the sons are commodified as ‘bullocks’ ready for the slaughter-house.
And then there is Game shooting, which has become increasingly popular in recent decades. There is an exclusive hunting lodge immediately neighbouring Logan Botanic Garden & groups of rich shooters from all over the world have been steadily flowing up here since October to shoot pheasant, partridge, geese & duck. The cottage I live in directly overlooks fields where there is currently shooting going on – its right on my door step! All the animals shot have been brought in, mainly from France & are reared for this season of shooting till February. How does this nurture sustainable biodiversity?
I find ‘Idyllic’ rural country life in the UK is often punctured with episodes of this kind.
As far as the eye can see there is nothing but deforested grass fields with continued grazing, keeping the land devoid of trees.
But this was not always the case. For about 7000 years, following the end of the last Ice Age, nearly the whole of Britain was covered with forest mostly consisting of broad-leaved trees such as oak & elm. Then, about 5,000 years ago, Neolithic tribes in Britain began to clear the forests using flint axes. Later the Celts arrived with their more advanced farming techniques. They began to create fields for crops & meadows for cattle. Much of our remaining forest disappeared during the 16th & 17th centuries to provide timber for boats & charcoal for the iron industry. During this century, even more of our woodlands have been cleared. Very few to today’s scattered woodlands date back to prehistoric times, except remnants of the ancient Caledonian pine forests of Scotland, made up mainly of coniferous Scots Pine.
And deforestation continues on a global scale. So much rich abundant ecologically sound forested land is destroyed & designated to rear cattle despite damning reports from the UN stating how rearing cattle produces more greenhouses gases than driving a car!
With affluence comes increased consumption of meat & dairy – but the earth simply cannot sustain it.
I am inviting us all to consider our consumption & perhaps to limit it, modify it, simplify choices that are respectful of all sentient life & their dignity.
Further Reading:
 
 
IMG_0712.JPG

Looking fabulous right now: Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ & Buddhas :)

img_0786
Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ with glorious shades of bright scarlet this autumn.
img_0787
Brilliant scarlet colour!
img_0792
Meditating Buddha sculpture at Glenwhan gardens.
IMG_0797.JPG
Buddha sculpture at Glenwhan gardens.

The sea. A constantly changing companion.

Standing in solidarity.
We are water – we are all one.
Honouring & Protecting sacred water – our common ancestral interconnectedness around the world.

I feel incredibly nourished & lucky living by the sea. Listening to her song, watching her movements & the spectacular play between water & light.

IMG_0755.JPG
Liquid gold.
IMG_0740.JPG
Dusk & local fishermen hauling in their boats using a tractor next to Port Logan Lighthouse Tower and Pier.
IMG_0731.JPG
Low tide. Mericurial silvery movement.
IMG_0717.JPG
Expansive fine spun clouds up above.
IMG_0752.JPG
Honouring the most life sustaining gift on earth – water – our common interconnectedness.

Looking fabulous right now:Cercidiphyllum japonicum

IMG_0561.JPG
Dazzling golden autumnal display of Cercidiphyllum japonicum

I wish you could scratch & smell these photos!

Because, not only does this tree bear a spectacular autumnal display of golden heart-shaped leaves but it also gives off the most gorgeous distinctive ‘candy floss’ fragrance as you pass by these Japanese beauties.

I was fortunate enough to be in the presence of several Cercidiphyllum japonicum in the walled garden at Dunskey, all shimmering golden delight on a bright sunny autumnal day.

IMG_0556.JPG

Propagation part 1: Taking Semi-ripe Plant Cuttings.

IMG_0092.JPG
Osteospermum ‘Pink Whirls’

I find this one of the most satisfying horticultural tasks & a great way to increase plant stock.

Step 1. Select the right type of plant for semi-ripe cuttings.Its pleasantly surprising just how many plants can be propagated at this time of year by selecting semi-ripe cuttings. Healthy, vigorous side shoots without flowering buds from this years growth are best. The same method applies whether its a half hardy perennial  (e.g. argyranthemum, osteospermum, pelargonium or fuchsia) or semi-tender or root hardy shrubs.

Step 2. Heel cuttings where the cutting is pulled away with a piece of  stem from the stock plant have the added advantage of giving the cutting a kick start to root faster.

IMG_0519.JPGStep 3. The cuttings are vulnerable so need to be kept moist in a bag & put into growing media as soon as possible! Using a sharp clean cuttings knife, make clean cuts clearing away any foliage approx 2cm from the rooting tip this will help prevent the cutting from rotting.

img_0509Step 4. Dip the prepared cuttings into rooting hormone to further prevent the cuttings from rotting.

IMG_0510.JPG

img_0508Step 5. Mark out a row in your growing media. Here at Logan Botanic Garden a peat & perlite growing media mix is used for all cuttings in a heated bench to 21 centigrade in a glasshouse. With a pencil thickness dibber mark out holes along your row & gently place a cutting into each hole & firm in as you go along to ensure the cutting is upright.

img_0512img_0516IMG_0520.JPGIMG_0524.JPGStep 6. Label, date & water cuttings. Then cover the entire heated bench with a plastic sheet to increase the right growing conditions of hot,humid & wet.

IMG_0526.JPGStep 7. Check every other day for four weeks watering as required, removing any debris, diseased or damaged cuttings as you go along.

 

 

 

Up close & personal with Griselinia littoralis hedge trimming.

I love the fresh distinctive green of salt-tolerant Griselinia littoralis & was up close & personal with it today hedge trimming.IMG_0420.JPG

My hedge trimmer tool a Stihl HS 82 T with 2-mix engine technology ( petrol & oil all goes in one compartment).

IMG_0421.JPG

Got the job done in no time – happy days!

IMG_0424.JPG