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The glory of gardening; hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature

“The glory of gardening; hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature.”

Alfred Austin (poet)

Rain at last, and most plants seem a lot happier after being refreshed. Although some plants and art in the garden are looking a bit bedraggled by the heavier downpours.

You may remember that one of the tomato plants in the hanging basket was damaged by heavy rain a couple of weeks ago. Well I had to cut the broken part of the plant off, leaving me with a lot of green tomatoes. And this week I found a use for them. I made some ‘chow chow’ which is described as a Chinese piccalilli. The ingredients include green tomatoes, cucumber and beans which we have a lot of in the veg garden. So it was an ideal way to use up some of our produce. I’ve adapted it a bit to use up some of the squash and courgettes too.

Our main job at the moment seems to be dead heading dying flowers. We have to do this most of the summer. And there’s enough to need to do this daily at the moment. By taking off the dead flowers this makes many of our plants produce more flowers to replace them. Especially the marigolds and geraniums that keep our garden full of colour all summer. I’ve become so obsessed with deadheading though, that I found myself doing it to the plants outside Lidl recently.

Another job has been making sure that our plants and veg are not damaged by the bugs that like to feed on them. We don’t use chemicals so we often have to use our imagination to find ways of doing this. One way of doing this has been to pick off bugs by hand, or wash them off. Our main preventative way has been to use companion planting. Did you know that some plants attract aphids away from vegetables so can be grown as companion plants? For example nasturtiums attract blackfly from your beans. However I don’t like nasturtiums as they always seem to be covered with blackfly. Now I know why.

I keep finding painted rocks in the garden. Apparently it’s to do with the ‘Runcorn Rocks’ project. People are painting pictures on one side, and writing ‘Runcorn Rocks’ on the underside. Then hiding them for others to find. This is happening all over the country, although of course they write their own town’s name on them. I’ve found a ‘Runcorn Rocks’ Facebook group where people can post clues as to where you can find them, along with lots of photos. What a great idea and everyone seems to be loving it.

Tonight I will be moon watching. You might think that full moon is the best time for this, but it’s actually best to view at the 1st or 3rd quarter. That’s the time when it’s only half in view, but the sun shines on it from one side. That way all the lunar landscape is shown up. You can even see this using binoculars on a clear night.

The Blooming Old Gardener

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