9 JUNE 2020
Whilst watering in the cold frames this morning I noticed that a very pretty, new, bright blue bedding plant, Anagallis Monellii 'Skylover' also known as Blue Pimpernel, was becoming unmanageably tall. It was obviously desperate to be planted out. I am in that impossible position of having hundreds of plants that are requiring planting out as soon as possible, all I can do is try to deal with he most urgent first. I had intended to plant my marigolds and tagetes around the brassicas today, because the cabbages, sprouts and swede need help to put off aphids at the moment. I have to delay this plan to plant the Anagallis.
I decide they can go in the terracotta containers around the pond. First I have to remove what remains in the containers, this has been Cinerana for several years and it's roots have completely filled the pots with an impenetrable mat, no wonder watering them had made little impression. I take everything out of the pots and fill with new compost. I then plant one geranium/pelargonium, three anagallis & three petunias in each of the five terracotta tubs and three ivy leaved geraniums, two anagallis & three petunias in the old terracotta pot in a stand. It is whilst I am doing this job that I have a look at the wild flower meadow and notice something astonishing.
The wild flower meadow is also home to the mini orchard which has a variety of fruit trees - quince, medlar, pluot, pear, a range of crabapples, 3 figs against the wall and... a very small pomegranate bush. Much to my amazement I see at least six tiny red/orange bead sized fruit amongst its leaves, presumably tiny pomegranates! I am stunned, the only fruiting pomegranate that I am aware of is in Chelsea Physic Garden, even if these minute fruit don't get much bigger I am still delighted.
Prior to this exciting discovery, I heard a programme on Radio 4, interviewing people who have found themselves working as carers during lockdown, apparently there are 4 million extra people caring for loved ones than normal. I'm not sure if this made me feel better or not, it was sobering to listen to the different stories particularly those dealing with dementia sufferers. One man was looking after his wife with dementia and had brought his mother to live with them (also with dementia) during lockdown... I could certainly relate to him. I am feeling very conflicted at the moment because although it is wonderful to have some respite from caring for Jean whilst she is in hospital, at the same time I feel great anxiety about her welfare.
Very late in the day I get to the brassica corner. I manage to weed the entire red cabbage bed, plant marigolds around the edge and sweep the surrounding path. I almost manage to weed all of the green cabbage bed and plant some marigolds before coming inside. I am concerned to see that almost all of the new brassicas, cabbage, sprouts and swedes have distorted leaves caused by an infestation of aphids.
I attempt remove some with my fingers, however I am pleased to see the juvenile form of ladybirds sitting on practically every brassica. These interesting creatures that look nothing like the ladybirds that they will eventually become, are voracious consumers of aphids. One of the advantages of organic gardening is hopefully you do not kill the predators of pests.