In June 2019 my blog was entitled “Help – I think I’ve got thrips!” – only now I know I hadn’t – because now I know what I had and have got again – and it’s fungus gnats (sciarid flies). Just to be clear I’m not personally afflicted, it’s my seedlings. The adults are tiny flies and are very annoying when they fly around indoors and you can see them scurrying about on the surface of the compost. The flies don’t damage established plants but the larvae feed mainly on dead roots and other decaying plant material and can damage seedlings – THEY CERTAINLY CAN! I had 5 Cosmos seedlings germinate in my mini propagator – I was so excited – but today I found they had all collapsed and withered. I also have several robust looking cerinthe seedlings which might be heading for the same fate if I’m not careful. This called for emergency action! I have read that using old compost can be the culprit. I used compost from an opened but sealed bag I had last summer, so that could be the problem. I headed straight for the garden centre for new compost and have planted some more cosmos seeds. I’ve also set some more cerinthe seeds off as I have potted on the (so far) successful seedlings into individual pots. Let’s hope I’ve seen the end of those pesky gnats and their life-sapping larvae.
Grumbling Rose and I met on Valentine’s Day – 45 years ago. I had been having trouble thinking of ideas for a gift this year. On 2 February we heard the very sad news of the death of Captain Sir Tom Moore. He touched the hearts of so many and Grumbling Rose is no exception. He particularly identified with Captain Sir Tom as they both went through the ranks in the army and were ultimately commissioned, ending their army careers as Captains. Last week I happened to be leafing through a gardening magazine Victoria lent me, when an advert jumped out at me – the Captain Sir Tom Moore Rose – perfect – and it’s a red rose – I ordered it straight away, along with his book “Tomorrow Will Be a Good Day” – these will be my gifts to my beloved on Valentine’s Day. He will have to use a bit of imagination with the rose – it arrived in “bare root” form, so looks like a few thorny twigs at the moment. However I have a photo to show him of how it will look once I have potted it up and it begins to sprout some leaves as the days get warmer.
In case you’re wondering, the verbena bonariensis have failed to make an appearance again – after 3 attempts I can only conclude that the seeds I collected are sterile. However, I now have two amaryllis bulbs flowering spectacularly – this is the one my schoolfriend gave me – she’s very miffed as the one I gave her only has one flower bud.
Earlier today I received a text from Victoria – “I have made 3 fat coconut things – would you like one?” I was feeling quite hungry and instantly imagined a generous slab of cake, coated in butter icing, covered with desiccated coconut. “Ooh yes please!” I replied. We met at the natter hatch a few minutes later – I was in for a disappointment – it turned out to be half a coconut shell filled with fat and bird seed – the birds will love it though!