Friday, April 29, 2016

Rose Report

 The Prince

While I´m digging beds, I thought I´d give an update on the bare root rose order from Tuincentrum Lottum that arrived earlier this year.  I find helpmefind.com/roses/ helpful for pictures and descriptions of roses if you´d like further information.

All have leafed out and seem to be settling in. I think the cool, wet spring helped.  We´ll see if the warmer sunnier weather brings up the stragglers.

The winner is The Prince with the first bud.  Can´t wait to see it open.  Followed closely by 2 Don Juans who will be climbing the wall.

Don Juan

Sharing a bed with DJ and the Prince are Sweet Blondie and Ilsa Krohn, who looks a little peaked, so I´ve been giving her coffee grounds and eggshell.

Sweet Blondie

Ilsa Krohn

In the bed along the fence are 2 Munstead Wood bushes, on either side of the camelia, who are lagging a little, which is odd because it´s supposed to be quite a vigorous shrub.  We´ll see.



In the pot ghetto are Falstaff, Darcy Bussell and Polar Star.  They´ll find places in the landscape, eventually.


Sharifa Asma, my favorite, is also doing well.  I hacked back the encroaching grass and weeds that have invaded all of my carefully constructed raised beds from last year.  Sigh.  Starting over digging again.  I need yoga for gardeners.

Sharifa Asma

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Another walk


Had a guest over the weekend so didn´t get anything done.  The place was cleaner than it has been in a while, that´s true.

So here are some shots from a new walk with Breo.  One of those things where you go left instead of right and discover a whole new source of beauty.







Hope it´s lovely wherever you are.  Back to work.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Onward


Between downpours and the dog ¨helping¨, I try to continue on with the garden.

I shifted the plastic over to start a new patch.  It´s done a pretty good job since it was placed in late November.  I put down two tarps to cover what  haven´t turned yet and threw down some cut grass on the rest.  I keep thinking there must be an easier, faster way, but even renting a tiller, the ground is too wet to work.

Next, I dug a trench from the edge of the plot to the ruts leading to the pasture.  The elevation is slightly against water flow, but with the quantity of rain that´s falling, it can´t hurt.


The back of the shed is an eyesore, but I have designs on putting some kind of water tank at the back to take advantage of the roof run off.  In the meantime, last year I hacked back the shrubbery, cleared out 3 bags of broken bottles and other trash and then abandoned the effort after realizing that the roots of the shrubs and the stones of the bed had all intermingled into a nightmare.  Now the shrubs are bouncing back.

Can anyone tell me if this is Cherry Laurel?  Supposed to be highly poisonous, especially to animals.  Obviously, hard to kill and growing all over.

On to the wall, which the neighbor had to take down in order to yank out a bunch of weedy evergreens that had been planted on top.  The stones just got stacked randomly back into place and some day will need to be rebuilt, but in the meantime is sporting a green mass of weeds.  If anyone knows what any of these are and can recommend yanking them or letting them be, speak up.


And a new pasture weed which is spreading rapidly. With small, pretty blue flowers, it´s similar to a weed we had in Chicago, Creeping Charlie or Glechoma hederacea.  That was a nightmare to get rid of.  Any thoughts?

Thanks for your help and I hope you are all accomplishing more.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Springing?


Spring continues to be rainy and brisk in Galicia.  There is the occasional sunny day, which I used to cut some grass for eventual mulch, but mostly it´s cloudy with rainbursts every 30 minutes or so, or raining all bloody day and night.

Still plugging holes in the hedge. I need to collect all the trimmings from the surround and burn them, but since they´re continually rained on, it´s hard to schedule.  I´ve applied online for 3 burn permits and not used  a single one so far.


Bulbs coming up.  For some reason a set of tulips leaped ahead of everything else and bloomed alongside the garlic.  They´re next to the wall, which may have created a micro climate.  I appreciate the blooms, now that the hyacinths are finished.


I tried turning over some of the new veg plot, but there´s standing water at the low end, so I abandoned the effort for the time being.   Used the traditional lasagna method layering cardboard, grass cuttings, compost, manure, etc to kill the pasture weeds and grass.  That actually worked pretty well, but there´s still a layer of matted weed roots which I´m not sure whether to compost, discard or turn over.    I believe they´re mostly nettles, of which there are many in other spots on the property, with the occasional wild blackberry.  And of course the rocks 3 or 4 inches down. On the positive side, there are earthworms!  Lots and lots and some are huge.  When I dug out the first plot last year I didn´t find any.

There´s another section where I´m trying silage plastic to kill the pasture weeds.  I need to move it over to start on the next section, but I´m afraid that with sun and rain, it will all just re-sprout unless I can cultivate, weed and plant.  A dilemma, since although it´s the highest elevation on or property, it´s got standing water a couple of inches deep.  Some trenching is in order so the water can escape down the slope to the pasture on the other side of the barn, hopefully to be absorbed there.  I´d like to take advantage of the tractor ruts that are already there from the clearing years ago.  We´ll see.



So until the weather gives me a dry spell, I´ll be on the lookout for seed potatoes and onion starts and seed starting substrate for tomatoes and beans.  In the meantime, the flowers are enjoying the damp.  I planted several mixed batches of crocus, but have only seen the yellow ones.  The roses are all leafing out.  The azaleas are flowering ahead of schedule and the camelia keeps putting out blooms.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Main Bath

We had guests for Easter, so it seemed like a good time to get the lav functional in the main bath.  We got the base and marble top at an antiques place outside Madrid, but then dithered about the bowl.  V was bored with the off white so we got out what was left of the bedroom pant and he went to town!  Lights, faucet, drainage. We got the whole thing put together, and then discovered a leak where the drain meets the wall.  Had to take it apart and redo - note to self, check everything.


It´s a tad steampunk-bordello, which I like.


Hope everyone had a lovely Easter!

Monday, March 21, 2016

More storage

More places to put things.  We waited almost 3 months for the second hand shop to put new hinges on the doors.  V was about to tell them to keep it.  But now that it´s here, we like it.  It´s holding canned and boxed food and condiments, milk, and oil.


Casa de maior riqueza
Tolo e quem a deseja
Nenhuma tem mais beleza
Que a nossa pobre que seja

The little cabinet was an Ebay find in the US. Unfortunately, the seller put it in a box with about 3 sheets of crumpled newspaper and the Portuguese tile was broken in two when it arrived.  That´s a shame because I think it´s quite old.  It now holds the most used spices and tea. 


Note to self - get pretty bottles for the oil.  Back to cleaning.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Of Hedging and Bets

The sun finally came out so I´ve been tackling the hedging in an effort to keep Breo on the property and tame the brush.  Wandering dogs are a problem here, they get poisoned or shot or worse.



Someone in the distant past had already started weaving the brushy undergrowth into an informal fence, so I decided that with more time than money, I´d do the same.  We have some oak saplings I´d like to transplant.



We´re also expecting family from Madrid for Semana Santa, so we´ve got projects on the way.  Ah, the smell of plaster dust.  Fingers crossed we´re finished in time.