Sunday, July 31, 2011

The end of Spike and a Garden update

Helen has been growing a second generation Pseudo-Agave, from a small shoot. Like the first generation one we had to have taken away from our first house, this one had just got too big. We wrote to Kew but they don't accept plants from the public, they suggested a hospital or hospice.... Look at Spike - do you think this would be appropriate for a hospital? No. Neither did we. Lacking any other options the end came for Spike on Saturday. It took a saw to get the bigger sharper leaves off, then a lump hammer to remove the pot, then another saw to extract another shoot (deja vu?).

So this is spike before, with Helen stood behind for context:




And this is son of Spike:



You get the idea. Anyway having reclaimed our conservatory, we now have room for more lovely chillies! Like this chocolate habanero, the hottest one we are currently producing:




Outside the garden is in summer bloom:









Work on the vegetable patch/flower border is slower than hoped for, due to the rubble, glass, tiles, plastic, etc., that forms a good 70% of what is under the top soil. You can see the work in progress here (together with some space we managed to create over-Winter, before Spring this year):



And the spoil heap behind - the biggest bricks and stones are in another heap by the back gate waiting to be large enough for another (the third) skip:






Once fully excavated it'll take just a few hours to fill with mulch, sifted soil, shredded paper and a fresh delivery of horse poo. Probably in August if all goes well. Then we'll mulch it all over ahead of the coming winter. The spoil heap will then be sifted for fresh soil for a new top layer, with added horse poo ahead of Spring next year. Then it's back to the pond project...

You can see the wildlife is enjoying the change. A Cabbage White has laid its eggs here:



As well as gardening we have made some birding trips out, including completing our voluntary work for the BTO Bird Atlas. On the last tetrad we were surprised by a singing male Yellowhammer, sat proud in the road:






A visit to a new nature reserve near Tring was pleasant, and as well as the Common Terns over the former quarry pits, we enjoyed a close view of a Garden Warbler:



We've had a few odd birds over our garden including a Willow Warbler and this Vulcan Bomber (I believe?):





As Autumn approaches and the movement of birds resumes, we're looking forward to what we might see in the garden and beyond!

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