Saturday 13 April 2013

Unwrapping bananas, Dr Who aliens and optimism

Well I am braced for the tropical temperatures that we are forecast for tomorrow....double digits! 16 degrees? 21 degrees? gosh....shorts and vests are at the ready and this time tomorrow I could be asleep in my hammock.

I have continued my optimism by unwrapping all the banana trees, and setting out some of the plants that have been hiding in my sideway such as a large pot of Canna musifolia and Musa sikkimensis....I figured its probably a few weeks early but an experiment as I hope the sun and water will help them erupt. I also have a very short memory...what snow? what hail storms, what ice?

Lots of things to do, so a bit of a pictorial tour

Firstly I am loving this grape Hyacinth, put in last year, pushing up like some type of cloaked 80's Dr Who baddie, I think it is Muscari latifolium.

The big banana unwrap was particularly exciting to see what was still there...also unwrapped was this Echium...I figure that I have 4? that are properly ok to flower, and have given them a good dose of fertiliser to help them on their way. Here you can see the banana before.... the plastic on the top was to try and keep it a little dry.....

Half unwrapped you can see how I started by making a bit of a wig wham of sticks and general dry garden debris, this was to protect the stem and keep moisture away from it. I then put bags of autumn leaves around the edge to try and keep the cold away. All was then wrapped in fleece

Well it worked! and all look alive, even the small ones. hurrah!

Ok it looks like a tall dead stick, but the stem is firm and the top shoot greenish

There was lots of fleece to dry off
Next up were the Ensetes which have been drying out in my metre cupboard since November? I was a little apprehensive as a lot were small (Late summer sales get me every time, I think I got 6?!) however all apart from 1 small one appear to have survived as the stems were still firm (the dead one was squishy and the leaves fell away)

There are the small ones before I cleaned them up, they are about 40cm?

all done! following on line advice I put them into the smallest pots they would fit into, only just pushed into to the soil (rather than buried) so fingers crossed this warmth brings them out. Please note my semi tidy greenhouse!

My first seedlings have also emerged, a few Tithonia are just coming through
So other things.....this year is the first I am letting Celandine grow. I usually think of this as completely evil as it takes over and is very invasive, however I read that the bees can like it as a an early flower, so this year it stays and those bees better be happy!
I think the paeony wins the prize for best spring emergent growth

I also have a surprise colony of violets which have just appeared under the Tetrapanax, nature is fabulous!

These are still evil, nature is not all fabulousness!....Sycamore seedlings. The curse of the garden, I had thought we got them all but some escaped!

The bees are also really active, although terribly camera shy as when I am coming to take their picture they don't stay still and there is also only a fraction of those that were previously there! It is great to see some with pollen on them (bright yellow blobs on their legs on the bottom). This is a good sign as it shows that there are young bees, and the queen is alive and laying. phew.

Finally the current challenge....the big problem with the garden is how overlooked it is, and how on display you are to the other flats.... it is difficult as there are limited secret corners, however we will try and make it more appealing to other residents. I feel a trip to Columbia Road for some more bamboos coming up.



  1. Tell us about Sycamore seedlings! We have hundreds sprouting at the moment, shed by the big one at the bottom of the garden. Weeding them all is a yearly ritual.

    We might borrow your basjoo stem protection method, effective and doesn't take up too much space :)

  2. Those Sycamores are trouble! however a good indicator of things warming up and seeds sprouting...