Sunday, 10 October 2010

Sweetcorn fungus?

Back to the allotment yesterday - my first visit for weeks and weeks - and after all the recent rain, everything looking lush and green. Alas, most of it is weeds, one bed in particular which I planted up with beans at the end of August was also covered with flowering chickweed and speedwell (delicately pretty) to nearly a foot high., Fortunately these were also interspersed with self seeded sorrel and rocket, which will be lovely in autumn salads until the first frosts. Every cloud...

P picked runner beans and sweetcorn on Monday - the beans looked promising but as they'd been on the vine so long, were very stringy, so we'll eat the rest in soups and stews without the sweet pods.

All the sunflowers are now well past their best; one had spread over a whole bed, I've never seen so many flowerheads on one plant before. The rest have gone to seed, which I've left in hope of feeding some goldfinches once they arrive here in the south later this month on their winter migration from northern Scandinavia.

Now here's a puzzle for you - what on earth happened to this sweetcorn cob? I've looked for similar pics of sweetcorn diseases but not been able to find any free information on a quick trawl of websites. The growths appear to be full of soil or compost, it doesn't smell, it just looks gross close up. I couldn't see any bugs in it either, so assume it must be a fungus. Any ideas anyone?

Doorstep gravel garden

Unless you're excited by shrubs, cyclamen or early Christmas shopping, UK garden centres can be less than inspiring at this time of year. So it was great to visit RHS Wisley the other week and find some small but delightful plants to create a small gravel garden for our front doorstep.
From centre back clockwise, we found: Helleborus x Sternii; Iris Setosa; Cyclamen Coum; Oxalis Lobata; and Gentiana (which looks a
little like rosemary in this picture). Alas, I've lost the label for the last pf these plants, so not sure what variety; since planting up, it has developed the deepest blue flowers, quite heavenly in contrast to the golden oxalis.
There should be something of interest in the pot in every season as it matures, though it is quite hard to judge at this stage... I'm hoping that there will be at least three plants either in leaf or flower at any one time.
I may have missed a trick by not including a small mirror as a "pond " next to the iris... but perhaps it would have looked too much like something off Blue Peter!
Isn't the yellow rose lovely? It's been flowering vigorously on our west facing patio since late August, when my mother brought it home for us.