Well, it took a little longer than I expected but here we are at the one thousandth post – just a little more than three years after I started. It also almost coincides with the one hundredth follower too. I would like to thank everyone that follows and I apologise again for the break in transmission last month! Statistics are likely to be of interest only to myself but just for those that may be interested, apart from the home page, this year the most visited post of all was about Albuca spiralis * (the same as last year). It seems odd that a relatively uncommon plant has so many hits but I guess it is because there is not a lot written about it, the post is high up in Google searches. Coloured bidens, primulas and poplars are the next most popular. **
So a more normal post for today, dealing with a few things I have been doing in the garden. This post is a bit late and it was jobs I was doing last month. I am clearing/rationalising the garden and have been potting up some of the best cyclamen in case I move. Over the years I have collected lots of forms of the common Cyclamen hederifolium and the ones I like best are those with silver leaves (though I enjoy looking through all of them to study the infinite variation in the leaf colours and shapes). I particularly like those with silver leaves and white flowers. A few are distinctly fragrant and those have been picked out too.
These cyclamen self seed but the seed pods curl into a tight spiral so there is a tendency for the seeds to germinate on top of the old tubers. In theory ants carry the seeds further afield but this is not always the case and in autumn the seeds germinate and you can carefully lift them and pot them or replant them where you want them.
You can see germinating seeds with a tiny tuber among the dead leaves where I have pulled the cyclamen leaves apart.
I potted up all the seedlings from around one clump in one container. The first leaves of the seedlings often have a green edge but should mature to pure silver. A few seedlings have a reddish flush under the leaves. I need to increase my ‘sapstock’ of these because there is still more variation and plants with much more red colouration available. I do not have as much variation among Cyclamen coum.
The centre of the back garden was originally laid out with lawn but then I replaced that with plants and some gravel but it is back to lawn now (or will be). Under the gravel, under the membrane, I discovered just how far the roots of the wisteria had grown! One long root had traveled many metres from where it was planted towards the house. It was not a structural problem but made digging the bed over more difficult. I hope I saved anything valuable, including snowdrops!
And from the future to the past. My early years were spent in Lowestoft (Suffolk), the most easterly town in the UK, and one set of grandparents lived in Oulton Broad. Since my parents have moved back to the area and I now have a reason to visit I go back fairly often but never have time to stop and see what it is like now. But this week I did make a quick detour to have a look.
Oulton Broad is (famously) ‘where the Broads meet the sea’, referring to the Norfolk Broads, an inland waterway, not a colloquial term for females! The Yacht basin is well known for the speedboats on a Thursday night (well it used to be) and the Regatta in August when there were fireworks and a replica Wherry (local type of boat) was set alight on the water. The Nicholas Everitt park was the centre of attention and it still remains though the outdoor swimming pool is no longer used for swimming.
Although I was too young to go in often I do remember the ‘Lady of the Lake’ and being given some change to put in the ‘machines’ and the ‘Waveney’ and this shop for ice creams (below). To the left of the ‘Lady of the Lake’ was the restaurant and bakery – ‘Wallers’ (still a restaurant) where I was sent to get bread and rolls and nearby was a standalone vending machine that sold cartons of plain or flavoured milk (about half a pint?). In these days of concern about health why don’t machines sell milk any more?
The playground looks rather dull, even taking the season into account and the pond, where I used to sail model boats, is now fenced off and is more fun for wildfowl than people (ecological reasons maybe, even though the place is surrounded by water and waterfowl!) And the play equipment is, no doubt, designed with safety in mind.
In ‘my day’ there was a huge slide that always terrified me and the highlight of a visit was the Witch’s Hat and the Spider’s web.
The witch’s hat was a lethal contraption that spun round at speed, if you made the effort, and if you swung it back and forward it would jolt and give you a good ‘kick’. It was OK if you were in a small, sane, group but trying to get on or off in a crowd always presented the risk of falling over or getting hit in the back! Worse, in a way, was the spider’s web that was a horizontal disc of curved bars that you could climb over and dangle your legs through. As it spun you were flung towards the edge and had to hang on. Make a wrong move and you would fall through and get your shoes worn away if you were lucky – or end up six inches shorter if you were not!
From the park there is now a ‘Celebrity tour route’ which seems a bit of an exaggeration since the ‘best’ part is possibly along Caldecot Road where Justin Hawkins of the Darkness used to live. Part of the walk is along Bridge Road which is not what it was and some of the shops ought to be forced to do repairs before they fall on unsuspecting pedestrians. In my youth the highlight of the road was going up a few houses to Mrs Webstale’s (not sure about spelling) sweetshop (that was in her front room) to get sweets. She would always give me a free sweet but they were inevitably American hardgums which put me off them for life and were probably the reason for my life of battling with tooth decay!
Anyway, last week I walked past this garden by the park – they must hate it when they have to mow and move their plastic menagerie.
If you are very interested in Oulton Broad, (or want a vintage chuckle) then this video from 1959 says more than I possibly could. Of note is that the cruisers are stocked with provisions from Wallers which helps confirm that I am not going mad!