Monday, 17 July 2017

more gravel gardening

Metric measurements have not really entered the English language.  I was about to type that inch by inch I am working my way up the railway garden, weeding, adding shovelfuls of fresh gravel, trimming the overgrown ivy hedge and picking dead ivy leaves out from its base, and it occurred to me that nobody would say centimetre by centimetre they were making progress, or Give him a centimetre, he'll take a kilometre.  Inching is a verb, but centimetreing is most definitely not.

I am slightly nervous about planting anything at this time of year.  Who is to say how hot it will be between now and mid September, or if we will get any more meaningful rain?  Especially when you are filling in odd gaps in a mature garden it can be difficult to remember where you put new plants, and if it doesn't rain and they need watering it is hard work trudging round with cans or laboriously hauling the hose across lawns and round corners without scything across the edges of any of the beds.

I might make an exception for my seed raised new plants for the gravel.  It would make sense to plant them before using up any of my stock of clean gravel top dressing the area, and they were chosen to be drought tolerant so will be better off in the free drainage of the gravel garden over the winter than sitting rotting in plastic pots.  One is a spring flowering member of the cabbage family called Aethionema schistosum and the other a close relative of thyme called Acinos alpinus.  The latter are flowering now in their little seven centimetre pots*, and are supposed to go on until September.  If they do that would extend the flowering season usefully after the thyme had finished.  Seeds of both came from Chiltern Seeds, who are a good source of unusual things.

I also have a tray of prostrate sedum cuttings to go in, a very good red leaved form whose name I have unfortunately lost.  It is almost idiotically easy to propagate, nip the ends of twenty-four shoots and poke them into a divided tray and in due course you will have twenty-four new sedum plants.  A friend who is not a keen gardener once admired it growing in a shallow pot on the low wall by the terrace, and I gave her half a dozen cuttings in a plastic bag and promised her that they were terribly easy to make grow, but I am not sure she had the confidence to try.

*Having said that English was still not really metric, seven centimetre pot sounds fine and less pedantic than two and three quarter inches.

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