I should amend the title to say, Clematis ‘Vienetta’, Or, Err, At Least I Think.
The genus clematis is certainly not my area by any stretch. I fall into the category of How do you pronounce it? and please don’t hurt me if I’m wrong. Basically the whole culture around clematis kind of freaks me out so I stay away from the plants with a ten foot pole. Please, there’s already enough drama in food gardening.
Mind, I used to be like that about roses too, so I suppose there is hope for me yet.
But my neighbour garden pal Barry, who is very close to needing his own category on this site given how many recent photos were taken in his garden, is a very friendly clematis aficionado who does not jump on your back for your terrible pedestrian ignorance. He almost makes it seem possible. Almost. And the plants he grows very nearly make you want to risk it. But you really don’t have the space anyways, so don’t even go there. And by you, I mean me. Carry on.
We’ve been experiencing an interesting mix of cool days and nights mixed in with warm days this spring, conditions that have not boded well with the basil but has given a boost to my pea crops, especially those up on the roof. I think I’m growing my happiest and healthiest crop ever. I also happen to be growing my largest on the roof where I happily sowed very heavily for no reason other than that I was very eager back in March when winter was just ending its reign of torment for another eight or so months.
This variety, ‘Blue Podded Shelling’ is so beautiful I can’t imagine spring without its cheerful flowers and delicious, tender shoots. I’m extra grateful for these this year since I’m not growing any inedible sweet pea flowers.
Here’s a little trick I employ when the holes in the bottom of a container are too big to hold the soil in at planting time.
I just rip a single sheet of newspaper to the approximate size of the bottom of the pot and place it in the bottom before adding soil. In the case of single hole pots, I rip a piece that is only a few inches larger than the hole; no need to cover the entire pot bottom.
Years back, I used to search high and low for shards of broken pot to cover over the hole, but newspaper is abundant and will eventually decompose. Drainage is not obstructed if you used a single sheet and you’ll never have to think about it again.
It’s like the wild animal kingdom around here lately. We discovered dozens of these newly hatched garden spiders (Argiope aurantia) crawling all over the sides of the compost bin at the community garden the other day. I’m glad I brought this little digital camera with me, even if it’s a crappy one. I wasn’t going to take pictures, but changed my mind at the last second, thinking that I’d be bummed if something exciting occurred. And it did!
These little guys and gals are a welcome sight in the garden. They keep the bug population down, and we need it at that garden. It’s nearly impossible to be there at dusk for all the biting bugs that come out. Some gardeners complain about spiders since they’ll eat both the beneficial insects and the harmful ones. But I like them regardless and have never felt that the beneficial insect balance was off despite a healthy spider population. The more the merrier as far as I’m concerned. We’ve caught the emergence of these little spiders one time before. It was hard to miss since they were crawling all over the watering can!
I sometimes see the adults too. They seem to prefer to make their home among the calendula and borage best.
I was a little freaked the first time I found one — look at those fangs! But I’ve never been bitten. They’re harmless to us. The saying that they are more afraid of you is true. My only request is that they stay out of my hair.
Here’s a video of the little critters running around. Don’t watch if you’re squeamish about spiders.