Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Let It Be

Be smart, indulge yourself and click the vid, you know you want to!

Autumn is upon us and although I'm hardly Mother Mary I do have some words of wisdom on the subject of your garden and what is to be done with it at this time of year. Many gardeners feel compelled to clean up their garden and make everything look neat and tidy. Well don't, get a grip and Let It Be!
Sure you can remove the fallen leaves from your paths as they get slippery when wet as we certainly don't want you to break your neck. But put those leaves in your borders or in big plastic bags to make leaf mold. Do not throw them away or even worse blow them away with that most stupid and totally unnecessary of garden gadgets the leaf blower. Just get yourself a broom which is far less noisy, cheap, doesn't waste fuel and a spot of brushing away the leaves will give you a free work out too.
Any branches that will blow about in the wind and would perhaps poke out your eye in the process, well give those a good trim. Remove pots that are not frost proof and put them somewhere save, this also applies to plants that cannot stand frost. Put out food and water for the birds and that's pretty much all you have to do in your garden.
Do not start a scorched earth policy in your garden. Most plants do not require to be cut back to the ground so Let It Be. All those fallen leaves in your borders? Ditto!
If you do have an autumn clean in your garden you will also be cleaning away hiding places for beneficial insects that overwinter in the garden debris. You'll be chucking out pure black gold aka leaf mold that will feed your plants next year. You'll also be removing food for the birds and places for hedgehogs, toads and many other garden friends to hibernate in.
Fallen leaves provide many plants and bulbs with a nice warm blanket when its cold outside, bitterly cold. Remove said blanket and you'll have a good chance of losing more plants and bulbs than when you had just Let It Be.
If your fingers are itching to clean something up, go give your kitchen cupboards a good clean, they could probably do with one. And, which is even better, give mine a good scrub while you're at it. But your garden? Let It Be!
Because next spring you will most certainly need your garden friends to help you get rid of many pests and diseases but if you've destroyed many or most of them, well ....... you do the maths.
And there's another good reason to Let It Be. Do you think that the above garden would have looked half as good if some overzealous person had cut the grasses and plants down to the ground? Frankly, tidy is overrated!
Do you really want to rob yourself of pure winter magic as shown in the pic above? Of course not, so Let It Be.
But Mother Ma.... er YE I hear you mumble, don't you never ever clean up the garden then? Well yes, come Spring you will brush away the leaves in your border which will be fun, not a chore as the brushing is very much like unwrapping presents. You will come upon so many unexpected treasures that you will be grinning from ear to ear for most of the time spent giving your garden a light Spring clean.
Come Spring there Will Be No Garden Sorrows as you garden friends will be ready, willing and able to give you a hand. Or a wing, or a tentacle, or a beak as the case may be.

These whispered words of wisdom were brought to you by the Beatles and yours truly.

copyright 2009 Y.E.W. Heuzen

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Your Writing, How Has It Made a Difference?

That's quite a question, isn't it? And what, fellow blogger, would be your answer? I'd really like to know and you can tell me all about it on your blog if you decide to join in the fun that is this meme about writing. But it's rather up to you to decide whether you want to do this meme or not. If yes, consider yourself tagged.
Yours truly was tagged by the Hatman, well sort of, and he's got a lot to answer for as I'm sure you will agree after reading this post. ;-)
Without further ado, let's get cracking:

Which words do you use too much in your writing?

Beautiful, scrumptious and dus (= so, ergo).

Which words do you consider overused in the stuff that you read?

Undead, gorgeous, homicidal maniac, ethical or sustainable garden(ing), hat.
What's your favourite piece of writing by you?

All of it. ;-) But if I have to make a choice I'd go for something I wrote fairly recently like this, this and this.

What blog post do you wish you'd written?

Take a good hard look at my blog rolls on the right. Most of what those bloggers have written is what I'd wish I'd written myself. (Phew, I hope I got away with that.)
Regrets, do you have a few?

Yes I have, I wish I hadn't be born so pretty and so highly intelligent too, not to mention modest. But we all have our crosses to bear I suppose.

Is there anything you wish you hadn't written?

The answers to the 3 previous questions, probably.

How has your writing made a difference?

I used to write about such riveting subjects as genetics, cattery management, genetics, the socialisation of kittens and cats, animal health and welfare, genetics, inherited defects, and did I mention genetics? I'm quite sure that I managed to give many of the readers of those articles nightmares in technicolor and with surround sound. But, on the other hand, I've also managed to improve the quality of life for many a cat or kitten and have probably saved some lives here and there too. About the latter I'm frightfully chuffed. Come to think of it, about the former too.

And as far as blogging is concerned: quite a few commenters write about the pleasure my blogs give them, how they make them smile, giggle or guffaw, that they inspire them to take up gardening, create nice floral arrangements, start a veggie garden or throw a hissyfit. All of which are differences my writings have made to their lives. Small ones, but still, it's a result. Of sorts. ;-)
Name 3 favourite words.

Sunshine, bliss, cats, books, nature. OK that's five, but it's my blog so there.

Name 3 words you're not so keen on.

Dead, meat, credit crunch.
Do you have a writing mentor, role model or inspiration?

There are quite a few fellow bloggers who, little do they know, are my writing mentors. It can't have escaped your notice that yours truly is Dutch, and English therefore, is my second language. A language that I will never be as proficient in as my mother tongue. So reading blogs by native speakers is teaching me a lot about the English language. Or, the shorter version: if you're a blogger and British, American, Canadian, Australian or a New Zealander, it's you!

My role model is J.K. Rowling as I live in hope to one day make about as much dosh as her with my writings.

Inspiration I find everywhere. No surprises there, if you're a regular visitor here.
What's your writing ambition?

See role model.

Plug alert! List any work you would like to tell your readers about.

I recently finished The Skiver's Guide by Diana Wynne Jones. It's a must read IMO. Frankly, you should read all of her books as they are so much fun, and much, much better than those of J.K. Rowling IMHAVAO.
While reading this post you have been looking at pics of a scrumptious garden I've taken earlier this year when I went with my gardening club to visit the charming Vlacke garden in the province of Zeeland.

Some useless trivia: New Zealand was named after this Dutch province and Zeeland means sea and land, a very apt name for both the province and the country.

copyright 2009 Y.E.W. Heuzen

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Potager Potterings

September, and a lot of pottering gets done both in the garden and potager.
There is the daily picking and savouring of woodland strawberries,
these strawberries may be tiny but their taste is great, not to mention scrumptious.
At this time of year there are blackberries, oodles of them and the picking is great,
and so is stuffing your face with them, or making jam, but they do have one slight drawback ...
September is also the month when I start harvesting grapes,
and having to munch my way through mountains of them. Quite a job, especially as it's not the only chore eating-wise, as is shown here
and here.
Lurking in the potager there is still more food waiting to be eaten,
a lot more.
Watch it vegs, from above you it devours.

In between all that masticating I manage to cram in the odd spot of weeding from time to time, with the charming assistance of Maine Coon Vita,
who enjoys weeding tremendously.Yours truly less so.
Pottering is frankly not what it's cracked up to be as I am daily ambushed by vast amounts of flowers demanding to be picked and artistically arranged in various containers.
So, what is a poor gardener to do?
Fortunately I have help with all the flower arranging that needs to be done.
Russian Blue Merlin, never afraid to lend a paw when it's needed, is a true artist when it comes to flower arranging, bless him.
And here he's resting after a strenuous job well done.
Things are spinning out of control in the garden. Regular visitors have already seen my corn that was high as a giraffe's eye, the ginormous Gaura in the new border and now this, shoulder high Zinnias on the rampage.
Really, what is that all about? Are we in for a spot of Attack From the Giant Zinnias, lurking in a garden near you? There is definite need of some control in the garden and luckily there is sister Spider
and doggy Tara to lend a paw/whatsit with keeping the wildlife in check
But between you, me and that clambering clematis over there, it's a mug's game as the Bliss garden is simply teeming with wildlife.
All of the above explains quite well why lately I haven't been blogging as often as I used to, as there is so much, too much in fact, on my plate.

copyright 2009 Y.E.W. Heuzen

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Do You Have One Too?

A showstopper in your garden? I do, and it's a real winner in my eyes. It even flowers in August, the month when most gardeners complain that not a lot is going on, flower wise. Well this little gem does and how, so yours truly hasn't been complaining about August being dull and bloom less, not a bit of it.
This wonderful plant started flowering in June, it's still going strong in September and it will be flowering till the first frosts. This little gem flowers not only over a long period but with gay abandon too. It's delicate flowers are set on green magic wands and look like little white butterflies fluttering in the breeze. Here my charming assistant Dolly Daisy is showing just how big this plant actually is.
And it's just one single plant and, although I hate to brag (who am I kidding, I love to brag about all things horticultural), I've sown it myself earlier last year and it was easy, very easy indeed.
It's said not to be quite hardy but as it has survived last Winter's frost of minus 15 C it looks like it's tough as the proverbial pair of old boots IMO.

Although its flowers are white, there is a bit of pink at the back of the flower and its buds are pink too. The name of this super star? Well, Gaura lindheimeri of course.
There are pink versions of it as well, above Gaura lindheimeri Siskiyou Pink is shown but there's also Pretty in Pink. Don't expect your Gaura to become quite as big as mine, as mine is grown in heavy clay. The advice is to bung in 5 to 7 plants per square meter, that mine is on its own filling up almost 2 square meters, is the exception rather than the rule. But what else could you expect from a garden called Bliss? ;-)
Gaura lindheimeri Cherry Brandy

But for all of you poor souls who don't garden at Bliss; Gaura's are quite drought and heat tolerant and do well in sunny spots and in partial shade too. (For my American garden friends, this plant does well in USDA zones 5 to 10.)

So if you haven't already got one or two of these wonderful plants growing away like there is no tomorrow in your garden, I expect your face does look quite red now. ;-) Never mind, go buy a few, or buy a packet of seeds or get a few cuttings/seedlings from your far more knowledgeable garden buddies.

But before I sign off, tell me, do you have a September showstopper in your garden too?

copyright 2009 Y.E.W. Heuzen