Simply …

Simply November sunshine

November sunshine

It’s been a challenging week. I’ve not felt well, work has been hectic, and the rain and wind have been battering the garden in equal measure. But this morning ‘the sun came out and dried up all the rain, and incy wincy spider’ … well, there are plenty of those about. So my 15 minutes of green today didn’t involve weeding or pruning, walking or cycling, it was simply … 15 minutes of green.

15 minutes of green, revelling in the mirror stillness of the pond, the warmth of the sunshine, the vibrant hues of leaves of varying shapes and shades, melodious birdsong, a small tortoiseshell on the wing, blue tits flitting between bird table and nuts.

Wendy the wren


And then, an added bonus, the distinctive secretive scurrying of a wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) as it searched among the rocks around the pond for insects and spiders. What a fabulous little bird. Dumpy yet delicate.

So, for 15 minutes, forget the head cold, and the mountain of work waiting for me on my PC … what a perfect morning.


First-time leaf cuttings

According to those in the know, the best time to take leaf cuttings from marguerites (argyranthemum) is mid-spring to summer … so, I’m a bit late! But seeing as there are still some decent-looking shoots on my one patio specimen I thought I’d give it a go before the first frosts hit. Here’s how I got on …

Argyranthemum leaf cutting - select a strong shoot

Select a strong shoot, and cut straight below the leaf joint

Argyranthemum leaf cutting remove lower leaves

Remove leaves from the lower third of the cutting

Argyranthemum leaf cutting - dip in rooting powder

Dip in water, then into rooting powder

Argyranthemum leaf cuttings

Plant immediately, spacing the cuttings so the leaves do not touch

The cuttings are now residing in my mini-greenhouse, so there should be enough humidity to stop the leaves drying up too quickly … watch this blog for updates on their progress.

I’ve never taken leaf cuttings before, so this is a bit of an experiment for me. Please feel free to leave your comments – all constructive advice is most welcome!

Mahonia on the move


Yellow flowers of Mahonia japonica provide winter colour

This weekend we moved our Mahonia japonica. Established trees and shrubs should only be moved if absolutely necessary, as there will undoubtedly be some degree of stress when the plant is uprooted. Unfortunately, this beautiful specimen (currently in full bloom and providing some much-needed late pollen for the bees) had started to grow out at an angle away from the large coniferous hedge behind it. So, although it’s been flourishing in this dry shady spot, the time had come to move it.

It wasn’t a job we were particularly looking forward to (I say ‘we’, as I enlisted the brute strength of my husband on this occasion), as the Mahonia’s spine-toothed leathery leaves don’t make it an easy specimen to get to grips with.

All I can say is … ouch! But in 15 minutes the deed was done (we’d pre-dug the hole), and my Mahonia now has the room to grow tall and straight.


… and after

Mahonia japonica

Before …











Tips for minimizing the trauma of transplantation:

  • Water the soil well the day before moving
  • Prune lightly if possible
  • Lift the plant with as much rootball intact as possible
  • Prepare the new hole in advance and lift and replant in one operation
  • Mix some fresh compost in with the existing earth
  • On transplanting, firm around the base of the plant carefully
  • Water thoroughly after planting, and keep watering if the weather is dry until it’s established






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