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Six-on-Saturday – Failure Is Part Of Success

During this prolonged lockdown, it’s very easy to see the glass half empty. Things are pretty difficult for so many people. I am aware of some for whom life is unbearable. In my case, no matter how difficult things become, I feel that looking at the glass half full will help me through. There have been times when I have been unable to think this way, but I’ve I’ve got a good handle on what I now allow myself to think. That’s a lot of thinking!

In a very small sense, my gardening during the week brought setback and success side by side. It was a week that allowed me to celebrate the successes and be philosophical about occasional setbacks.

With that said, here we go once again. It’s Saturday and that means Six-on-Saturday. Six things, in my garden, on this fourth January Saturday, hosted by Jon D. Propagator across the Irish Sea, active also on Twitter @cavershamjj if you still have an account in good standing.

A success

Most of the cuttings taken last year have rooted and I am very pleased. I had put three in each pot. In about half of them, all three have rooted, others have two and some have one. I have moved them from the cold frame to the glasshouse, where they will stay until I run out of shelving space. A few pots failed to produce even one cutting. I shook my head several times but refused to let it become more than a minor issue. No use crying over a half empty glass of milk. Shaking my head didn’t help at all.

Birdbath

We bought this about fifteen years ago, but never connected an electricity supply. A few years later it became impossible more difficult when our dog Jessie chewed through the cables. Now it’s just a three-storey bird-bath. I think I will move it between idir the Skimmia and the Camellia, and plant a shrub in its place. I will likely report on the situation on a future Saturday.

Setback

I wrote about a Sudden Shocking Seedling Setback during the week. I suppose it should hot have come as a shock because the Snow Lady warned of very severe sub-zero temperatures. But guess what? There’s a silver lining. My significant other bean chéile has granted me temporary use of the utility room to keep my next batch of seedlings alive. The contract runs until Valentine’s Day, at which point an extension may be granted. Terms and conditions apply. What have I learned from this sad setback? Never mind the milk. I’ve learned that the half-full glass has a silver lining.

Compost

Here’s another success. It’s a work in progress, but definitely well on the way. I took the lid off the compost heap yesterday to see what’s going on, and was thrilled with what I saw. There’s very active decomposition. As it were, from death comes new life. I allowed the heap to breathe for a few hours, gave the top a gentle mix with a hand hoe, and proceeded to add a layer of Amazon cardboard for insulation. It does its second job well, provided the bits of sellotape and gluey labels are removed.

Question for curious honours level students: Where are the glasshouse bits kept?

Begonias

Box of sand

It may look like a box of sand, and in fact it is a box of sand. However, underneath the sand are the Begonias I stored last autumn. Here they are, with sand removed…

All looking good.

I checked them to be sure that there’s no mould and there wasn’t. If there were, it could possibly spread to others nearby because there’s no plant distancing. Happy with my investigation, I replaced the sand and sealed the box again. This will remain sealed until mid March, whereupon the process of starting them into growth will commence. I shall report on this in a future Saturday update.

Favourites

As soon as the cold frame was emptied of 2020 cuttings, I put the pelargoniums in there to make more space in the glasshouse. They will remain there until my main crop potatoes need to be planted. The cold frame will be removed and stored somewhere out of sight until October, having done its job. You’ll notice that I cut a length of fleece and it remains at the ready for cold nights ahead. Very sensibly, if I may say so, I used the utility room to do the cutting. If the glass is half full, might as well fill it right up to the brim!

Sin a bhfuil uaimse don seachtain seo. I’ll be back again next week with another Six-on-Saturday. Thank you for reading; I hope you have a good week ahead and that your glass may be at the very least half full. Slán go fóill.

Pádraig

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  1. You have a great success rate with the cuttings. Well done! If I was more methodical with my cuttings I’d probably also have a higher success rate! I have a similar water feature, and very nearly sold it, but decided to install a solar water pump. It works well – when the sun shines!

    1. Pádraig

      The sound of flowing water is so lovely. I’m sure you’re glad you didn’t sell it.
      I’ll not need to do cuttings for another few years, save for any new plants I get.

  2. fredgardener

    Nice result for the cuttings; for the seedlings it’s unfortunately less good because the cold was not a good friend for you. The pelargoniums in the cold frame are healthy from what I see!

    1. Pádraig

      Thank you, Fred. I love the Vancouver pelargonium mostly. The do neet minding when inside as they are prone to mould.
      The seedling replacements are on the way! Hurrah.

  3. That’s a lot of cuttings! My success rate is very mixed with such things, not helped by my neglect of those in the mini greenhouse/glasshouse – it seems they could have done with a bit of watering from time to time. Ah well. Good news regarding the utility room/plant nursery.

    1. Pádraig

      Mixed success ain’t too bad, OneMan.
      I’ll grow mine on until autumn, then give them away. Just keep one of each for safety.

  4. Paddy Tobin

    When the wineglass becomes half-full it is time to open another bottle!

    1. Pádraig

      Such wisdom is rare, Paddy. Learned from long experience?

  5. grannysgarden

    The successes easily beat the failures here. That bird bath/water feature is stunning. Always an interesting Six-on-Saturday.

    1. Pádraig

      You said it, a chara! Never a truer word.

  6. That sounds like a pretty good success rate with the cuttings – well done, sir!

    I’m afraid my glass never remains at the half way stage long enough to contemplate it. On a more serious note, failure is the best way to learn as far as I’m concerned!

    1. Pádraig

      Thank you, KHC. Let’s continue to fail!

  7. theshrubqueen

    Things are looking good in your glasshouse. Seedlings can be a trial. I got one out of twelve to sprout in a supposedly easy plant to grow. I have to learn everything the hard way. The cuttings and Begonias look wonderful. Well done at half full.

    1. Pádraig

      Yes, I’m v pleased with progress. It certainly shortened a very long January.

  8. Sel Calderbank

    I like your outlook Padraig, positive thinking can be an effort but worth it! As others have already said, your cuttings success rate is impressive. I fear mine is less so, am not sure what’s dead and what’s alive. I had better pay more attention to them.

    1. Pádraig

      Cheers, Sel. I think I can safely skip cuttings this coming Autumn. I’ll be in a position to give away surplus plants, just keeping one for myself as a spare!

  9. Lovely looking compost, that is enough to make a gardener feel happy with their lot!

  10. Katharine

    I love reading about your processes how you move things around. I’m also very impressed with all the cuttings – a brilliant success I’d say.

    1. Pádraig

      Story of my life, moving things around. It’s what happens in a town garden when I have too many plans. And BTW, I’m impressed that you’re impressed.

  11. CadyLuck Leedy

    I think everything is coming along very well in your garden……I didn’t get the bonus question about the glasshouse bits…..I may not be thinking clearly this morning! AND I too though that shadow looked like a fish! Are you going to try to hook up the fountain this time?

    1. Pádraig

      Yes, I’m v pleased with where things are at.
      We bought a water feature last year that’s running, so I think this one shall remain ornamental.

  12. Roguegarden

    Your success with the cuttings has encouraged me to try the same in an as of yet unbuilt and, let’s be honest, not yet fully planned cold frame. I have, however, identified a site, which is a step in the right direction. Do you ever start seeds in the cold frame? As I have no greenhouse, I am seeking alternatives.

    1. Pádraig

      Wishing you many happy hours figuring it out, my friend.
      I have a thermometer in the cold frame. It gets to 10-15°C during the day at this time of year but down to almost zero at noght. But from early March it would be OK…. And of course would need to be opened every day to avoid getting too hot. As a suggestion, generally the top is sloped… If you can face it south or west it should be warmer inside.

      1. Roguegarden

        Thank you. These guidelines are very helpful. Perhaps I’ll even have it built by March!

    2. Pádraig

      Indoors on a windowsill would also be a good option.

  13. Hortus Baileyana

    Your pelargoniums are looking wonderfully healthy. Do they do better in the cold frame than the greenhouse?

    1. Pádraig

      They develop mould in glasshouse even with door and vent open by day, so best in cold frame in my opinion. Unfortunately I just didn’t have space there until now.
      I was diligent in giving them a good clean every three or four weeks.

  14. n20gardener

    A post full of success and lovely to see. Especially all those cuttings. I didn’t have sand to hand when I stored my dahlias so I wrapped them in newspaper and I have my fingers crossed. I have scented leaf pellies in the gh and temperatures there have been in the minus several nights. So far so good, more finger crossing!

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