I’m a Daffodil

I have been having many sleepless nights and anxious days thinking along the lines of, “If I were a flower, which one would I be?” You can laugh, but it has caused me no end of distress. What if people thought I were a petunia, or worse, a pansy?

And then, lo and behold, as I’m traversing the gardening blogosphere I come across this wonderful quiz at This Garden is Illegal and all my concerns are finally laid to rest. I completed the quiz as quick and honestly as I could and here’ how I scored…

You Are a Daffodil
You have a sunny disposition and are normally one of the first to show up for the party. You don’t need too much attention from the host once you get there as you are more than capable of making yourself seen and heard.

I am a
Daffodil

What Flower
Are You?

I don’t know where this quiz originated from but I found it here. My life will be forever more meaningful and full of purpose as I’m now assured that I’m a Daffodil. Could be worse – I could have been one of those stinky things over at Albert’s Greenhouse.

As an aside, head over to This Garden is Illegal and check it out. I’ve been catching up with what Hanna’s been doing there in Cleveland for a little while and I always love reading her posts.

Sedum “Autumn Joy”

When a plant has as it’s title “Autumn Joy” it predicates the season for which we should be able to expect it’s flowers. Well, this sedum has not let the side down, only 4 days premature of our version of Fall.sdmaj

I must confess that this is not actually a picture of our sedum as all the batteries for the digital camera are flat. However, this photo does bear much resemblance to the plant I was about to take a photo of – mayble a little less magenta and more pink in the flower – but very similar.

We bought this from a nursery last year, as it was flowering. After it’s flowering period its leaves begin to turn a brown colour and it withers up. We cut the stems back to ground level and from then until it flowers again it begins its travail upwards. The lime grean leaves would accent any foliage planting and the flower colour is very trendy at the moment.

They don’t need a lot of sun but require regular watering. They grow to about 70-80cm and look better mass planted than if they were grown as a focal plant or individually.

Garden Gnomes are out!

I have a renewed appreciation for the world after reading a point in thisgarden-gnome-pipe-9r article which advised people selling their homes not to have gnomes in their garden Рor at least hide them behind the begonias until the house is sold.

The Chelsea Flower Show has banned garden gnomes in their displays and I think they should also be banned in gardens. These hideous little ornaments do nothing for a garden apart from tell people that you’re cheap and nasty and couldn’t be bothered finding anything else to add interest to your landscape.

I shouldn’t be so dogmatic about these but I detest them more than stepping in dog poo. I wrote a previous article over at my Lawn Mower Review site that listed a few options for them namely creating an obstacle course for your riding lawn mower.

I feel justified now that others have a similar opinion.

How to grow and prune grape vines

Let me ask you a question before we start. Why do you want to grow grapes? Are you after a good eating grape that you can pluck straight grapes_champagnefrom the vine? Or, are you hoping to grow grapes to make wine from the juice? Or, are you hoping to cover an arbor, pergola or patio with a climbing vine that produces a fruit as well? Maybe, it’s all three.

Is it possible to have all three? Yes, but it’s no easy task and you may have to compromise on one of the choices to better appreciate one of the others. For instance, most good wine growing grapes aren’t great tasting. They’re usually very acidic and can taste tart or sour. Good table grapes, on the other hand, usually make poor wine and if you’re primarily after a climber that will cover your pergola quickly then you may need to compromise again on the other two.

Wikipedia host a great list of grape varieties for your specific requirements. Take some time to peruse the list sorting the ones that you like from the ones you don’t.

The beauty of growing a grape vine is that they take only a small amount of space to grow and can still produce more than enough for your family needs. Here’s agreat illustration of what a grape vine can produce for you,

If you want an example of how useful a vine can be, visit the U.S. Botanic Garden’s Bartholdi Park at Independence Avenue and First Street SW. On a 5-by-12-foot arbor, gardener Robert Pritchard has grown a single plant of the Mars variety. It covered the arbor after two years, he said, and now, after eight seasons, sports a handsome, silver flaking trunk.

HOW DO YOU GROW A GRAPE VINE?

If you’ve picked up a potted vine from a nursery or from a friend’s collection then it’s a simple process but may require some physical labour. Here are the steps involved;

    1. Find an appropriate site to plant your vine. Grape vines appreciate full-sun and a loamy, even gravelly, rich soil.
    1. Construct a support that will be able to hold the weight of a mature vine and it’s fruit in season. This may be a trellis growing alongside a wall or self-standing as you would see in a vineyard. You may decide to grow it over an arbor or even a pergola. Whatever the structure, it’s important that it will last the distance of supporting the vine for many years.
    1. Once you’ve found the site and you have an appropriate structure in place it’s time to plant the vine. This is no different to planting many plants but you may like to further enrich the soil with more compost and slow-release fertilisers.
    1. Grapes rely heavily on water so ensure that some reticulation is available or keep the water up to the vine especially when you’ve first planted it and also while it’s fruiting.

HOW DO YOU PRUNE A GRAPE VINE?

Once your grape vine is under way, it’s time to think about pruning it. Firstly, to keep it under control and secondly so that you may produce the maximum amount of good quality fruit.

The best time to prune is mid-winter when the sap is still low and all the canes have hardened.

There are many pruning methods but the best for home gardeners are Spur Pruning and the Four-Armed Kniffin system which are both explained in depthhere.

HOW DO YOU PROPAGATE A GRAPE VINE?

Propagating grape vines is very easy. As you are pruning your vine in the middle of winter cut some of the hardwood canes in lengths that include 2 bud nodes (one at either end). It is a good technique for remembering which way is up and which down by cutting the vine below a base node (the one closest to the trunk) horizontally and the cut above the second node (the one closest to the tip of the vine cane) at an angle.

In a 200mm pot, or you can plant directly into soil in a sheltered spot, place a few canes in some good quality potting mix. Water well and then cover with some plastic and wait for the top bud to burst open. Once this has happened you might need to wait a month or two before planting each cane out in its own pot. They should have grown their own root ball by this stage and showing signs of vigorous vine growth.