Wednesday, 3 December 2014

First frosts

First frosts have struck. Nothing has reached the ground yet, but soft plants that keep their heads up (New Guinea Busy Lizzies, Morning Glory, Nasturtiums and Begonias) are turning to mush. So this weekend, into the compost they went. I have the bog standard municipally discounted compost bin, which makes me (according to the Alys Fowler system of compost makers) too boring even to mention. Nevertheless, the £20 bin is tiny enough to cram into the sunniest corner of my yard (meaning it gets grazed by sun once a day at this time of year) and big enough to give me two top-dressings of compost a year and fast enough that I'm never stuck for space for my potato peelings or hedge clippings. You're not really supposed to put diseased leaves, pests and perennial weeds in it, but I do. Everything goes in there, especially slugs. They eat the leaves, the worms finish the job, and the potatoes enjoy the fertile seep around the compost bin.

the nasturtium are over First hoar frost

I shook out as many seeds as I could, but it looked like the frost caught them fat with water - they were swollen and popped. Not to worry, though, I have stockpiles of back garden easy seeds (nasturtium, morning glory, nigella, wallflower, marigold, nicotiana, opium poppy, etc.) from more congenial years.

Then I found the tender pelargoniums. I bought two of them for £1.99 in a parlous state from a houseplant sale, snapped off their faded blooms, and popped them in a pot by the backdoor. They have flowered gloriously all summer, but they were never supposed to even live outdoors, let alone spend winter out there. Part of me wants to rush to their rescue, pot them up and pop the into one of my coddle-zones.

The other part is watching in fascination to see how long they'll last.

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