Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Rooting around

Picture the scene.. the sun is shining the Sock is happy because she has seen some longtailed-tits in the garden.. and so decides to take advantage of a day with some colour in it to just do a bit in the garden.

As all gardeners know there is never "just a bit to be done" - one job invariably leads to another and before you know it you are stuck out there tired and cold but unable to come in for a cup of tea until all the emergency work has been carried out. Last time the Sock went out "just" to check her pots in the back passageway she was confronted with an overflowing drain. This necessitated a change into old clothes, a trip up to the attic room to find various useless plumbing devices and finally the indignity of stretching out on the slime green pathway with her arm up to the shoulder in greasy grey freezing water scooping out the dead leaves and decaying frogs that were clogging up the drain. Oh.. and then half an hour in the shower scrubbing the smelly gunk off - luckily it was kitchen gunk not anything worse.. hopefully.

Today's foray proved equally traumatic. After probably losing the aeonium to frost (all the flowering heads have now been cut off as they were rotting) the Sock felt that at least the other side of the cold coin was that it would kill off some of the nasties lurking in the borders. So imagine her distress when gently lifting the 'chocolate ruffles' heuchera leaves to clear underneath the whole bloody lot came away in her hand!!!!! The Sock knows the drill as it is not the first time it has happened. Shake off as much soil as possible from the roots and then wash them carefully to ensure you get all the little vine-weevil maggots out taking malicious pleasure in squishing the little wrigglers until they pop! Yeuch! Then hopefully you have enough roots left to repot and give lots of TLC until said heuchera recovers. Test every single other heuchera in the garden by giving it a gentle tug taking care not to pull too hard or you will fall over backwards when it suddenly comes away.

Luckily this would seem to be the only casualty today but the Sock knows they are out there and vigilance will be needed for the battle ahead.


Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

Crikey - the vine weevels are out and about early, dont they know it is winter. They do love a good heuchera.
Sorry about the gunk.

VP said...

I'm dreading the day that happens to mine have you tried the nematode stuff?

WV's saying aphsoche - a relative of yours perhaps?

Arabella Sock said...

I've found them in my garden as early as this before. I'm afraid I drench all my vulnerable pot plants with chemical killer twice a year. The borders have had more nematodes than you can shake a stick at chucked in them to no avail. Expensive too and I have never been convinced they work. I wonder if this is because the weevil maggots start early in the year and the nematodes are pretty fussy about being used at a certain temperature as I remember.

Luckily chocolate ruffles is my least favourite and in any event had enough of a root system left to survive but it is still pretty annoying. Also on closer inspection of my front gravel garden several more succulents look like they've had it. I got complacent with having such mild winters for so long but my weather thingy (can't remember what they are called) recorded -8 as the lowest temperature recently. Boo hoo!

Arabella Sock said...

PS Alphonse Aphsoche - part of the German sock contingent - we try not to talk about him.

VP said...

Vine weevils in the borders are notoriously tricky and as you say, nematodes like it a tad warmer than it is at the moment.

Ooooh what's your weather thingy? I've been contemplating something like that, but don't know what to get.

Why don't you talk about Alphonse, poor thing?

WV's now dishing out gardening advice - you need to get your edger out.

I had apple on mine yesterday apparently - a timely reminder that I haven't done the winter pruning yet.

PS So glad you and Juliet found yesterday's advice helpful :)

Arabella Sock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arabella Sock said...

Weather station! Senior moment there - I couldn't remember the word.

Mine is very similar to this one
clic for link

It gives indoor and outdoor temperatures and humidity and records the highest/lowest temperatures over a period of time as well as having a clock. I was obsessed with checking it when I first had it! I don't know how you have lived without one - they are as necessary to life as klippets!