Latest posts by Tomsk

New Moth

Posted: 06/04/2016 at 16:11

I found a chrysalis in a rather dangerous location last November so brought it inside. Yesterday, it started changing colour and this morning I got up to find an empty chrysalis and a new moth nearby.

Its wings were very green and soft, and it was very lethargic. A few hours later, it's already changed colour a bit and is more lively, though it still wants to just stay still and upright.

How long until I should take it outside? Tomorrow is supposed to rain, so I was hoping it would fly off on a dry, sunny day. Also, is it normal for things to have taken so long? I've no idea how long the chrysalis was there before November, but that's still at least five months.



Short tulip flowers

Posted: 29/03/2016 at 16:05

I have the opposite problem, the tulips in my beds grow to at least 18" before they open up, but then they flop over under their own weight.

However, I do have this problem with hyacinths. They flower the moment they see light, but then continue to grow as they flower. I have some hyacinths in pots mixed with tulips and daffodils, and the they usually flower whilst completely hidden under the foliage. By the time they've poked up above the leaves, they're starting to wither.

They didn't do this the first year they flowered.

Tulips in cold weather

Posted: 29/03/2016 at 15:28

Well to answer my own question, a few days ago the first few petals began falling off before the flowers had opened (they still haven't!) and then there was the big storm that blew a lot more off and blew over some tulips.

I have some separate tulips in pots that are still only growing and luckily the storm only snapped two of them.

One question I do have, though, is why the colour of the tulips in the pots has changed over time. I planted 'Helmar' tulips and in the first year they flowered in a beautiful yellow and red, just like the packaging depicted. But the next year the heads were mostly red with a splash of yellow. Last year they were completely red and the early flowers that are now forming in those pots appear completely red again, without so much as a hint of yellow.

Is this a problem with multi-coloured flowers or a feeding issue?

The ones I planted in the ground (as seen in the photo further up) were supposed to be just red and have stayed like that. But I paid extra for 'Helmar' and now they look just like the cheaper red ones.

Tulips in cold weather

Posted: 15/03/2016 at 08:54

Well my tulips still haven't opened, and the petals are starting to look a little past their prime with the deep red colour fading slightly. Many of the plants are 18" tall and leaning over but really don't want to open!

There's still a few younger plants growing, so hopefully they'll be ready to bloom when it's a bit warmer in another week or two.

Found a stray frog

Posted: 11/03/2016 at 00:42

Unfortunately, my garden is too small for any pond. I'd love to have one because they definitely help with the slugs and snails. There used to be lots of them living in the ivy on a fence, but the last neighbours managed to kill it all off before moving out, so now there's nowhere for the frogs to live. The first year I heard weird noises coming from the ivy was an unnerving experience. It sounded like a growling animal, and I was half expecting a mad pack of attack-rats to come running out at me before realising it was mere frogs!

As for the bucket, the frog chose to live there itself. I only discovered there was one when I picked up the bucket a few weeks ago to empty the rainwater down the drain, and a rather startled frog suddenly popped up to the surface wondering what was going on! So I put the bucket back and left it alone. I also stacked some old lumps of wood in front of it to act as a set of stairs so that the frog can easily get in and out.

If it managed to get itself in the bucket and is happy to be living there (it disappeared back down to the bottom of the bucket soon after I put it back), I'm sure the new frog could cope there too. I just wasn't sure whether frogs are territorial at all, or if they'd be happy to share and spawn in the same smallish bucket with a set of stairs to get in and out.

I know it's OK in the plants, but if it is wanting to spawn, it'll need water and go looking for it. I don't know if it'll somehow instinctively find the small pond a few gardens away.

Found a stray frog

Posted: 10/03/2016 at 23:11

I was walking down a road this evening and saw a frog on the pavement of a very urban area. I've no idea how it got there, but I am certain it would have ended up being stepped on, cycled on or eaten by a fox. It's torso also seemed quite bulged on the sides, so I wondered if it was a female looking for somewhere to spawn.

I get frogs in my garden in the summer and autumn (I think a nearby garden has a small pond), and recently found out that there's a frog living in a bucket of cloudy rain water in my own garden. So I picked up the 'stray' frog and put it in my garden in some dense plant foliage.

Should I put it in the bucket instead, or would two potentially spawning frogs in one builders bucket cause them to fight or something? I'm sure it's safe in the foliage now, but it may be looking for water.

Tulips in cold weather

Posted: 07/03/2016 at 15:06

Many of mine (I'm in London) have grown to full height and developed full-sized heads already. When they've got to this stage in previous years (which is usually later than this), the flowers have opened within a few days. But these have been like this for over a week now:

 I was really expecting the first few to open over the weekend, but when nothing happened I thought about the cold weather. It was warmer than this when they were growing.

Tulips in cold weather

Posted: 07/03/2016 at 13:45

I have lots of tulips that have grown to full size, with more that are still growing, but they're refusing to open up and bloom. I think this is because we're still in this cold spell, which is set to last for another week or more.

Is this likely to shorten the amount of time I'll see flowers for when the temperature finally rises? It'd be a shame if I get two days of open flowers and then the petals fall off!

Growing garlic

Posted: 03/03/2016 at 19:25

A few days ago, I found some unused garlic that had been bought in a supermarket in November. It was a bit shrunk, but seemed perfectly edible, and there was one small green shoot tip visible at the top of the bulb.

On a whim, I broke off a few cloves and stuck them in a cheap plastic propagator. To my surprise, green shoots are already an inch or two high and upon pulling one out, there was a very good one inch root network developing in the soil! Incrediblw work for just a few days.

Anyway, I searched Google for information about growing garlic and it seems it's very late to be planting it and supermarket garlic is a bad choice to use for growing. So what am I likely to get in the end? I'm expecting the need to move the cloves to a proper pot by the end of the month at this rate.

Should I semi-starve them of water, like herbs, to improve flavour?

Daffodils Disappeared

Posted: 03/03/2016 at 19:05

Thanks for the replies!

Yes, I always leave bulb leaves alone until they go brown and detach themselves from the bulb. It is a mystery as they're all planted alongside the tulips, which are fine.

There must have been 40-50 daffodils and just as many tulips in a grid, and the soil wasn't disturbed by cats or foxes over the winter. The only other thing that occurred to me was that a few sweetpea bulbs are also in the same soil, but buried much more shallow. These grow after the daffs and tulips finish blooming. Is it possible the sweatpea roots somehow killed the daffs but not the tulips? The tulips heads are now on the cusp of opening. I think I'll have the first few flowers by the weekend.

The soil is very dense, but contains a lot of home-made compost and gets watered with plant feeds, so I doubt it's a problem with nutrients. I can only assume they all rotted or were eaten by particularly fussy grubs.

On an unrelated note, I've already had honey and small bumble bees flying around the garden looking for flowers for the last couple of weeks. So far, they've had to make do with one or two crocuses. It's a shame they won't have the daffs this year.

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