Six on Saturday: 12 Feb 2022: too many children

The thermal baths, Spa

I’m back after a lovely trip to Spa last weekend, where, like Victorians of old, we took the waters. A genteel town nestled in a wooded valley in the Ardennes, with thermal baths housed in a beautiful building among the trees. Like a mix of Japanese forest bathing, and actual bathing; inspired. But onto more practical matters for this week’s Six on Saturday:

1 Houseplant maintenance. Before things get too busy outdoors, I turn my attention to getting my houseplants in good shape for the coming season. This sounds virtuous, but as you can see from the state of my Calathea triostar with its escaping roots, I’ve been somewhat neglectful. The tips of its leaves were dying off, a sign of water shortage (many of the roots weren’t getting any water as they weren’t in the compost) so I decided I had to repot, and repot fast. Which brings me to a burning question: how often do you repot your houseplants? Mine seem to outgrow their pots every year, and clamour like a tribe of noisy and annoying children for my attention. And like children, they get big, and need more space, and want new toys (well, pretty new outer pots which get more expensive the bigger they get). They wear me out, I tell you.

2 Grapevine. Pruned, waiting in anticipation of a better season than last year, so less humidity please, Yee Weather Gods, if you are listening.

3 Bamboo boo-hoo. A job I’m dreading but really can’t put off much longer. Like Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, next door’s bamboo is threatening to invade sovereign territory. I dig the spreading rhizomes up as best I can, trying not to damage neighbouring plants.

4 Sedum, the old and the new. Hylotelephium spectabile if you keep up with new names or are an RHS examiner. The old seed heads have kept their form nicely, they add some great structure to the front path planting, and it’s cheering to see the new growth peeping through already.

5 Bergenia ‘Flirt’. These miniature bergenias have never really bowled me over in flower, they have been moved to a less shady part of the front path border so hopefully they’ll do better. Nice burgundy foliage in any case.

6 Egg-laying. You know spring isn’t far off when the chickens start laying in earnest again. We’ve had five eggs this week. On Friday, one was rather oddly laid right at the entrance to their coop, while another was where it should be, in the nest box. Time for an omelette, me thinks.

Well, this weekend I really should get round to washing the seed trays and modules, possibly my least favourite gardening job as it reminds me of housework. But if I want to get my chilli and tomato seeds sown, it’s gotta get done. That’s all for now, thanks to The Propagator for unfailingly hosting Six on Saturday every week, and thanks for reading.

31 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 12 Feb 2022: too many children

  1. I hope you had a pleasant stay in Spa. Your house plants look great and also in your garden there are signs of new life. We are all hoping for a gentle spring and a warm and sunny summer.
    Enjoy the omelettes 😉

  2. I repot indoor plants once a year for small leafy plants, more rarely for large ones ( I only add new potting soil on the top). Succulents like crassula, aloe vera…every 2 or 3 years.
    it’s great to have add eggs ! An omelette? crepes? cake? 😋

  3. Lucky you, having some relaxing time at the Spa! I’m envious! I repot my indoor plants about once a year too. By the the soil level has dropped considerably and I evict any earthworms from the pot and put it into fresh potting soil. Bamboo that keeps invading your garden is terrible! It is extremely difficult to eradicate. That will be an ongoing saga for you, I think. Lovely that your hens are laying again.

    1. Just curious, how do the earthworms get in, do you put your indoor plants outside for a while? Yes the bamboo was a real mistake on the part of whoever foolishly planted it!

      1. Your reply got me thinking. I’m pretty sure I had heard that the potting mixes had worm castings in them, so I decided to check! Do you know that I have not been able to find one reference to that? So I’ll bow down and say my statement is incorrect and you are correct!

      2. Well if they don’t exist maybe you are onto something and should go into business! I imagine it’s possible with a wormery, easier to collect than scooping them off the grass 😉

      3. I remember watching a gardening program (a couple of years ago) where they said the potting mix with worm casts was good for the soil health. I remember thinking it was not a great idea as we noticed that when our potted plants start looking sad, we found far too many worms in the pot. I never bothered to read up on the subject……until now. I’m pretty sure I didn’t dream it up! Could be old age? 😉

  4. Wow the spa sounds wonderful! How lovely. Things are beginning to look up, aren’t they? Except for WWIII of course. Love it when the sedum (yes) bud up at the bottom and they catch the dew. Hope your bergenia is happier in its new home. Fresh egg omelette, what could be finer? Enjoy your week.

  5. Glad you have fresh eggs, they should give you strength to hold the invaders back. In our last house we had a bamboo from a neighbour which tried to invade.

  6. I used to love my bantams and looking forward to their first eggs. House plants well that is a topic, which obviously you are well versed in, since your plants have been surviving from year to year.

  7. I feel the same about houseplants. I don’t buy them myself but get them as gifts. I may put them out for the Summer and ‘forget’ to bring them in, but I’m not sure I can be so cold hearted.
    I love the sound of your visit to Spa. Very civilised!

  8. Your comparison of your houseplants with children has made me feel incredibly guilty of my mistreatment of mine! Yes, they need repotting every year, but I expel some to the compost after neglecting them long enough to justify their demise! (Good thing I never had kids! LOL!)

  9. Hi selwa lovely to get your cheerful blog anticipating good spring and glorious summer. I was walking by Hythe famous canals and thought it would be great to have a dip…your spa is better to say the least. Houseplants you could cut a bit of the root like bonsai. And keep them in their pots with addition of top soil. Keep your teenage away from screens and get them out and about….Good luck withall

  10. I’m getting a serious yen for chickens after reading your posts! 🙂 We have a coop we used to use for Khaki Campbell ducks, but I just don’t want to have to protect them from foxes, badgers, weasels and whatnot. Maybe I’ll try to persuade my spouse to do it. haha. Your houseplants look happy to me!

    1. Having the chickens is such fun and the eggs are a real bonus. If you invest the time and energy in building a really safe run and coop, then you can be more relaxed afterwards. We are always a little worried though as foxes live next door!

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