Found a knife

We found that knife in the end – when we arrived in the IoW, it was sitting on the draining board, all washed up.  I suppose our builders must have borrowed it – I hope for food purposes rather than opening cans of paint.

Here is the knife
Here is the knife

It’s funny but no one seems to make this kind of knife – about a four inch long blade which is rounded at the end.  During our search, my husband bought a set of three Wusthof knifes (they were very reduced) and the middle one was about the same size but had a longer, pointier blade.

At least we'll be able to do some marvellous pumpkin carving this year
At least we’ll be able to do some marvellous pumpkin carving this year

Not a whole lot else to report really.  I’ve done as you suggested, Kal, and split those chives in the front garden – I put some in the herb garden, left some where they were and put some others in another bed.  I’d never realised that chives were separate bulb plants but I suppose it makes sense.

I didn’t take any photos of the garden because it was raining rather hard.

I’ve also done some pruning of my herbs (English mace, oregano, rosemary, thyme and sage) and have put the clippings in the compost bin.  I had a go at turning the compost but I don’t know how effective I was.  There seems to be quite a lot of compost from the middle downwards and I have loads of worms.

My Mum says that she is quite worried about the worms in her compost bin.  She has one of those black dalek bins and the worms keep going up into the ridges of the lid.  She thinks it’s because they want a rest but I think that they are too hot.  In summer, they cook and then stink the whole bin out.

Herb garden

My herb garden (version 2) is looking okay, if not spectacular.  The chervil is Done, the coriander is Nearly Done and it all needed a bit of weeding.

I weeded after taking this picture
I weeded after taking this picture

The basil is in flower and is still in good nick, probably because I planted it right next to the drip line.  The mace has got rather leggy and I’ve threaded it between some railings next to the herb garden so it doesn’t block all light to the common thyme.  The parsley and oregano are in good shape (but oregano nearly always does) and the sage looks woeful (it doesn’t seem to like this spot).  The rosemary is pretty much at the stage where I can start taking sprigs for cooking.

In another spot, I have some lemon thyme which hasn’t been doing all that well.  I find this surprising – thyme is a mediterranean plant that doesn’t much like water and July was the driest month EVER in the Isle of Wight.

Lemon thyme after I cut back most of the brown stuff
Lemon thyme after I cut back most of the brown stuff

Herb haul

After a bit of umming and ahhing, I decided that, no, the rosemary was not going to survive.  Particularly as I am not in the IoW all the time and so don’t have time to tend it carefully.  I cut off what I could and put the springs in a freezer bag in the fridge.  I hope they don’t go mouldy.

An upside (as pointed out by Kal) is that I get to start again.  So here it is.

Herb haul
Herb haul

You are looking at:

  • Parsley (curly);
  • Garlic chives (sometimes called Chinese chives);
  • Coriander;
  • Rosemary;
  • Oregano (Aureum and Hot&Spicy);
  • Sage (Tricolor);
  • Thyme (Common – looks a bit messy – and Golden);
  • French tarragon;
  • Chervil;
  • English mace; and
  • Basil.

Some of these, I know what to do with.  Some I don’t.  I’ve never used chervil but it seems to be one of the few herbs that survives in shade.  And it has pretty leaves.  I’m a bit short of thyme generally so I really hope that the thyme survives in the herb garden.  English mace is a different thing from the outer husk of nutmeg – although the sign said it could be used instead of nutmeg – and is meant to be quite strong tasting.

New herb garden
New herb garden

At the same time, I bought some more rosemary to go in a sunny, dry bit at the back of the rose garden, hyssop to replace some that died in one of my flowerbeds and a lavender (Edelweiss) to go in the spot where the builders stood on my rosemary.

Will my rosemary survive?

Here is the only plant now in my herb garden.  The rest looked so terrible, I composted them all.  However, this didn’t look entirely dead so I am having a go at reviving it.  I’ve dug a 25kg bag of compost into the herb garden soil and have given it a nice spot and loads of water.

Do you think this will survive? Or should I just move on?
Do you think this will survive? Or should I just move on?

What makes me think it won’t survive is that the builders stood on one of my other rosemary plants (a much smaller one) and, when I pulled the remains up, it had a really long root.  This large, droopy rosemary had hardly any roots so it may be that they got chopped off by a spade.

So – should I keep going with this and hope it doesn’t turn brown and shrivel up?  Or do I just get a new one from the garden centre?  You decide.  I’m too bad tempered.

Plant haul

On Tuesday, my husband and I dropped the kids at the nursery in the IoW and drove to a garden centre called Thompson’s, which is near Amazon World.  I had a few things I wanted to get – some of my plants hadn’t survived from last year (perhaps I am overzealous with the pruning) and I wanted replacements.

Replacing plants tends to make me feel guilty.  I think it’s the act of digging up the rootball and bunging it on the compost heap.  I was a bit irritated that my pink lavender had died (except for a few green bits at the side) as all the others were looking super and it had been quite hard to find a Loddon Pink.

Plant haul!
Plant haul!

I found a white lupin, some sea holly, a globe thistle, some Miss Katherine lavender (pink flowers – replacement for the Loddon Pink), rosemary and a plant I can’t remember the name of (but is meant to be okay with some shade).

I do like garden centres.  Perhaps I am getting old.  A well stocked garden centre is a beautiful thing.  This one even had all the types of mint I’ve been eyeing up – chocolate, Apple, ginger.  Unfortunately, I haven’t convinced my husband that planting mint won’t colonise the lawn.

We had lunch there and I saw this handsome beast.

I gave him some of my tuna.  He was grateful
I gave him some of my tuna. He was grateful

My husband bought a dalek compost bin (he is unsatisfied with my compost bin’s slow progress), some compost accelerater, a hedge trimmer, some plant food and some extra parts for the garden hose.

My daughter helped me plant my plants and she was actually helpful.  I dug the hole, she put compost in, I put the plant in and we both filled the hole in with soil and compost.  It took about seven years but that is okay.

While I was about it, I watered a load of my plants, including the wildflower patch.  One of the foxgloves has a spire that is bending over sideways, making me thing it may lack water.  Of course, it may just not be that great a plant.

Compost bin and herbs from the garden

My compost bin is still ticking along nicely.  I ended up giving my marjoram a reasonably hard prune (it was getting very leggy) and put the cuttings in the compost bin.  Plus I had some lovely mouldy oranges that I hope will do very well in there.

Compost bin in February
Compost bin in February

One of my jobs was cutting back the rosemary – no one else is allowed to do this because I am immensely controlling and don’t trust my husband not to cut into the woody bit.  However, all my rosemary was about to become woody if I didn’t do it soon.  So I did.  I also cut back a load of bay leaves to take back to London.

Rosemary - washed and drying out
Rosemary – washed and drying out
Bay leaves
Bay leaves

One advantage of having an absolute shitload of rosemary is I can give some to people.  I have some little envelopes so it looks as though I am some sort of gardening goddess (ha! Not really).

We’re going on holiday (skiing) next week and I’ve started packing.  I am a horrible packer – if I were more sensible, I would just get it done (a bit like homework).  Instead I faff and faff and end up with galloping anxiety that I will forget some vital thing that the kids absolutely have to have or their heads will fall off.  You get the idea.