Shrinking Violet

Latest posts by Shrinking Violet

Plant ID please

Posted: 23/05/2015 at 19:39

Oh, yes - googled it, and I think HCA is spot on!  (Note to self:  get a better and more up-to-date wildflower book - mine is over 30 years old!)

Plant ID please

Posted: 21/05/2015 at 22:18

The closest I can get is Helleborine (family Orchidaceae). There are several varieties, many of which are quite rare.   But I can't find a picture in my wildflower book that is clear enough.  So it's only a guess, I'm afraid.

Any one planted out their runners?

Posted: 10/05/2015 at 22:43

I sowed both runner beans and climbing French beans on 16th April.  They germinated quickly in a cool greenhouse, and I have hardened them off over the past week.  I planted them out today.  If the weather should turn colder at night I shall cover them with fleece (I had to do this for a couple of nights last year) but otherwise they should be OK.

I'm in Somerset near the Bristol Channel, so our climate is warmer than average.  If I was in a cooler area I think I would have waited a couple of weeks.

Pre-soaking Seeds?

Posted: 11/04/2015 at 18:16

Sorry for the delay in answering your question Gemma - I tried to reply on my tablet, but it wouldn't do it for some reason!

Anyway - it was rainwater that I used as I have in the past.  I put a saucer of water in a heated propagator, then added the seed into the warm water, left overnight, and planted the germinated seed.  But this year it didn't work

I think that in future I shall try the damp kitchen paper method as indicated by Welshonion - though I would be interested to know which companies were dismal failures, so I could avoid them, too.  (For the record, I have found T & M unreliable with both seeds and bulbs).

Pre-soaking Seeds?

Posted: 08/04/2015 at 21:41

I have done this successfully in the past with Morning Glory.  This year, however, only one of the soaked and initially-germinated seeds has actually germinated properly.  No idea why - but where I had thought it almost fail-safe for some seeds (Morning Glory in particular), I am now re-appraising the method for the future!


Posted: 25/03/2015 at 16:41

I have them self-seeded all over the place, and I love them.  I pull up anything that's in the wrong place, and pop them into a spare piece of garden, and this can sometimes bring its own surprise.

We have a leat at the end of the garden, and I put a lot of seedlings on the bank - perfect.  And then I forgot about them.  The other day, working at the end of the garden, a sweet violet scent made me stop what I was doing and hunt around for the source - and lo and behold, the forgotten seedlings had clumped up and were in flower, perfuming the air.  What a lovely moment!

And yes, I do remember the florist selling bunches of violets.  They were 6d a bunch, and on my limited pocket money, I could only afford 3d.  The florist would kindly sell me half a bunch for my mum - and I was so proud to give them to her.  Ah, such simple times.  And the scent of violets brings back happy memories of her.

water lily

Posted: 24/03/2015 at 19:53

I agree with the advice with the waterlily - a pot with aquatic soil will be fine, gravel on the top  and the basket lined with hessian will do the trick.

I would be a bit worried about the "bulrush type grass" that you also have.  If it is a Typha, beware that it isn't too vigorous.  Some of them (though, admittedly, not all) have root systems that can force their way out of a pot and even pierce a pond liner.  If in doubt, I would leave it out!  I prefer to leave such plants for the wild, and concentrate on less invasive/damaging species.

The best multi purpose compost this year

Posted: 22/03/2015 at 22:31

I've tried and tried to get on with non-peat compost - but I just cannot waste a whole growing season to experimentation!  Last year I bought Levington mpc.  Disaster.  Full of glass, pebbles, twine and woody bits.  I sent samples back to the company, and to their credit, they responded (and gave me a voucher) promising me that they were trying to overcome the problems.

I have no faith in this - bags of mpc are all pretty much rubbish, and it's jolly hard work sieving out all the detritus.  So I have gone back to a peat-enriched formula that is far better, with far better results, as well.  It goes against the grain to use peat (although Ireland burns far more than my paltry few bags per year) but if it works, and if the alternative is no good, then I, for one, will not prop up the market for sub-standard produce.

Scout project.

Posted: 21/03/2015 at 19:05

Thanks pansyface - I hope there is some merit in it. 

btw Ricky - I do know that it's an arrowhead not a spearhead - but I slipped into local in-joke mode without thinking!  ooops!

Oh, and re the raising funds from selling the produce - rarely successful in my experience.  But you could get local businesses/parents/politicians (LOL) to sponsor you.  Just a thought.

Scout project.

Posted: 21/03/2015 at 17:14

I've been giving your query some thought, and I wonder if it is a truly viable project.  Sorry if that sounds so negative, and I really hate to pour cold water on your enthusiasm, but you say you have a decent bit of land for the project - but don't say where.  Is it by, say, the Scout Hut?  Or at the local allotment site?

You see, the location could make a lot of difference:  you will only have the Beavers for an hour per week, and they won't want to be gardening every week through the summer term.  They may start off as being enthusiastic - but you may very well find that you and your assistant leaders end up doing most of the work.

So here's my two penn'orth:  why not aim for simple salad crops that will mostly look after themselves (well, with just a bit of TLC from you  and the kids!).  You could work mainly with lettuce (and I know you would end up with a lot) but you could mark out a circle for the World Membership badge i.e. a circle with the Scout spearhead in the middle.  The normally purple background could be red lettuce, such as red salad bowl or lollo rosso, and the spearhead itself could be green lettuce bowl or similar.  The stars could me picked out in red lettuce.  The edging?  Well, if you're feeling brave, you could try to do a fancy reef knot at the top, but simple edging would probably be simplest.  Perhaps simple annual flowers, low-growing like Alyssum?

Obviously there will be some need for watering and weeding, but the results will be pretty rapid (which is what you want) and if you take a series of photos, ending with what would hopefully be an eye-catching Scout badge, you could gain extra publicity in the local paper, Scouting magazine etc etc.  Result!

Other people are welcome to pick holes in my suggestion - but it was the best I could think of given the constraints of time (both from sowing to cropping and maintaining weekly interest of youngsters). 

PS I used to run both Beavers and Cubs.  Lovely little cherubs (!) not all of whom could always be relied on to co-operate to the full on a long-term project.  Even the older Cubs were unlikely to keep up their full interest for a whole term - especially the Summer Term when they wanted to get out and about, build bivvies and camp etc. 




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