Philobiblon: Spring has sprung

Monday, April 03, 2006

Spring has sprung

If you saw the standard bay tree and the Salix caprea walking up the stairs at Euston Square Tube this afternoon I hope you didn't get too much of a shock - it was just me spending the Homebase vouchers acquired during last year's DIY frenzy before they ran out.

Having got them out without home without too much damage to the skin of my hands (standard trees not being well-balanced for long-distance carrying), I decided before setting them in place on the balcony it really was time to clean the windows - which is pretty well what counts as spring cleaning as Chez Natalie.

So I guess you could say spring is sprung ...


Blogger clanger said...

The local pair of magpies, their backs shiny blue in the sunlight, have spent much of today collecting nest materials together in the garden. They are incredibly picky, taking ages to select only the bits they really want, before flying off up to the big tree with a beak-full.

The woodpigeons take a dim view of these lovely birds when they come too close, viewing them with suspicion.

The collared doves, despite being much smaller, think nothing of chasing the magpies off (I've seen a single collared dove chase off both magpies before, for no reason other than it seemed to be in a bad mood).

As soon as it dries out, a new bindweed-rich garden beckons. Turn your back and you can hear the weeds growing.

Bindweed. Its so brittle that the roots snap when you touch them. It can regrow from a half-inch piece, and it burrows down further than you can into the soil. Glyphosate? Nope. Glyphosate won't kill it, despite the promises. One day the human race will have destroyed itself, the planet will be a toxic, smouldering wasteland, and the first thing green to emerge? Bindweed.

Its too early but I stuck a giant pumpkin seed in a pot in the cold frame. Some tomato and pepper seeds went in a propagator.

Maybe this year a polytunnel...with a bindweed-proof floor.

The rowan finally has some buds bursting. The blackbirds are singing.

Spring arrived here too.

4/03/2006 11:14:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

I'm afraid my 3m x 1.5m balcony can't quite compete, although a bird that I think is a jay (big, with blue wings) does visit from Regent's Park occasionally. And in summer I get the odd bumblebee on the geraniums, although I can't imagine where they come from. And the Homebase trip also included the purchase of some seeds for quick-growing salads to go in pots. Luckily, on the 5th floor, bindweed isn't a problem...

4/04/2006 01:54:00 pm  
Blogger clanger said...

If it isn't too windy, a heavy pot, peat-free compost, and a banana palm would add a touch of tropicality. If windy, something with smaller leaves perhaps (citrus?). Add water-retaining gel to the compost as it will dry out, and wire the tub and stem to something so, in extreme conditions, it doesn't dent anyone passing below. Central London's microclimate should allow you a wide choice of scented, mediterranean gorgeousness between which you can sit in your own bit of floral paradise.

Hang a feeder up, and you should get small feathery visitors too!

For small plants, Clanger urges the purchase of organic strawberry plants for maximum loveliness. A mix of tiny, fragrant, wild ones, and luscious, juicy, enormous ones.

A world away from those hard, tasteless things the supermarkets ship in from Spanish greenhouses.

Not just patios, dear readers, if you have spaces in your garden, get some strawberry plants in them. You can never have too many.

Fresh, home grown, organic strawberries, picked from the plant and dipped in sugar, or in Green & Black organic plain choccy.

Gastronomically orgasmic.

4/04/2006 07:04:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Too windy unfortunately, and probably not enough sun - it faces pretty well due east, so only gets about half a day's sun, perhaps not enough for strawberries? (Although I like the idea.)

And I was only thinking today I might try a small bird feeder - will see how good bird communication is, since I don't see many birds out the window - except sea-gulls, and they'd probably rather a packet of drunkenly dropped chips at street level, or similar.

4/04/2006 10:47:00 pm  
Blogger clanger said...

I've found this company to be fast and reliable:

The sunflower hearts go down particularly well.

4/05/2006 09:44:00 am  

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