Often you don’t know

Last night there were two squares of moonlight on my bedroom carpet. I got up to see the moon which was almost full, and thought it was bound to be a sunny day today. Wrong!

It has been raining, but does show signs of clearing, so maybe by this afternoon it may be sunny enough to go for a walk to see what is in bloom, in bud, or just peeking through the soil surface.

I am nursing something of a disaster here … I soaked crocus and 20 allium bulbs (a yellow one called Moly Luteum) until they had rooted and then planted them (five in each four-inch pot). That was 10 days ago and absolutely nothing has shown up. I have them in a container on a small chest in the bedroom over the electric heat, and this morning in disgust I pried one bulb up to see what was going on. It was still firm, but although there was a tiny bit of green growth, there certainly wasn’t any hurry as far as the bulbs were concerned. I think I’ll move them all outside onto the balcony and see what happens. Probably they should have been put outside when first planted. This has been an experiment, and not one I’ll repeat. You’d think I’d know better by this age and stage, but I guess it’s never too late to learn from your mistakes, but a disappointment nonetheless.

I received a phone call this week following up on the mention of poin settias: Last year Joan N. had a tiny poinsettia in a small pot. After Christmas she repotted it into a larger container and by this Christmas it had grown to more 12 inches in height and 24 inches across, and every bract is red. I want her recipe.

Doreen called to ask what could be troubling her pansies which are developing black areas on their leaves. I hate it when these things happen, because there is no apparent answer.

When Himself answered the phone and there was a garden enquiry, he would first plead ignorance, but the callers would often say, “Well you have been living with Helen long enough to have picked up some hints.” He would take a wild guess, and say, “Either you aren’t watering it enough or you are over-watering.” And he had such a pleasant manner that the caller would thank him and hang up, wondering what on earth he meant. Actually he may be right that her pansy plants are getting more water than they can reasonably use, and the roots are slowly rotting, but I think it is more likely a fungal disease or some miserable virus. You could spray with a sulphur and water solution (read the directions carefully). In the meanwhile keep pinching off affected leaves, being careful not to touch healthy leaves in the process, for fear of spreading the problem.

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