A cold snap

We’ve had a heavy frost the last couple of nights – exactly the reason why gardeners know that the frost risk isn’t over until the end of May (in my particular part of the world) – but does that stop us from thinking it might have ended early?  Er, no.

Frost on grass and strawberry plant leaves

Frost on strawberry plant leaves

Frost on green leaves

I do have a greenhouse heater but I haven’t put it on, I’ve just been trusting that everything will be warm enough under the Papronet (ancient forefunner to garden fleece that I brought from my Dad’s greenhouse) and so far, the seedlings seem to be OK.

I saw a video on Instagram recently about making a terracotta heater from a plant pot and a large candle and that seemed much more environmentally friendly than leaving a heater on overnight, even if it was on a frost setting – but I haven’t quite got round to setting it up!  I’ll see if the weather is going to get colder still and if so, I might have to dig about for a plant pot.

Trays of seedlings underneath green mesh

I’ve had this year’s first snail-related gardening disaster and I’m very cross about it.  I actually remembered to order a new Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale) in the variety “Mrs Perry” – it amuses me no end to have one of those in the garden – and decided that to be on the safe side, I’d order two.  And then I ordered a third one in the variety “Patty’s Plum” which I used to have but which has long-since disappeared from the garden so I thought it would be nice to have both of them back.

Whilst I was at it, I ordered some Schizostylis (I’m now wondering if this was a good idea after our conversation about Crocosmia the other week!) and a Dierama pulcherrimum (Angel’s fishing rod) as I’ve tried to grow them a few times from seed and they’ve not really come to much so one more plant on the order was neither here nor there …

I thought I’d taken some better photos – this was a quick snap that I messaged to a gardening friend – but you can see my three poppies at the bottom.  The two on the right are “Mrs Perry” and “Patty’s Plum is on the left.

Two plastic containers containing three plants each. The top container has plants with sword-like leaves in it, the bottom container has plants with smaller leaves

I planted all three of them a week or so ago and “Patty’s Plum” is coming along really well.

This is what’s left of “Mrs Perry” …

Two very sad-looking plants in square plant pots on a window sill. The left hand plant still has leaves, the right hand one doesn't

Ooh, I am so cross!  Those blinking snails!  They clearly have some kind of code – “no leaf gets left behind” – and I think I was doing really well to be able to save the one on the left in time!  They’re both back in their pots, as you can see, and on the kitchen windowsill now to see if there’s any chance at all that they’re going to recover.  I think I may have lost the right hand one but you never know, it may grow back from the bottom at some point.  The snails haven’t touched any of the other poppies in the garden, but I think that maybe the leaves came up early enough for them to be less of a tasty morsel so that’s why they’ve been left alone.  I will keep my fingers crossed they survive!

And finally for today, the end is in sight for the Mermaid’s Tail sock!  I’m just about to start the toes and then I’ll have a new pair of socks to wear – hooray!

A nearly-finished blue speckled sock on a short circular needle lying on a stone paving slab next to an orange mug of tea

I’ll also get the gusset pooling tutorial written up and then if it’s useful for anyone you’ll be able to find it on the blog 🙂

Have a lovely day, I’ll catch up with you again soon! xx

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5 Responses

  1. happy hooker says:

    Ooooh, blimmin' snails! I have a similar problem with snake's head fritillary and lily beetles. I've stopped buying them now, because it's an expensive way to feed beetles! I hope Mrs Perry survives, it must be rather nice having a flower named after you (even if you're not THE Mrs Perry!) I hope the weather warms up a bit soon. I'm a fair weather gardener and it has to be just right for me to really enjoy being out there. xx

  2. Richard says:

    So sorry to hear about your Oriental Poppies! I haven't had a bad time with snails(yet) but, I have mostly had a very bad time with slugs – just snails without the shell – but I am in a different environment now (I bought my Grandparents estate in Southeastern North Carolina here in the States) and I haven't planted any of the plants that I containerized (sp) yet because I am still clearing and taming the jungle of this place. I hope your Mrs. Perry jumps back in the game!

  3. Lyanne says:

    Snails are so annoying! Last year was so dry that the only dampness in the garden was in my nice tender seedlings that were hardening off before going off to the allotment – not put there as a buffet for the slugs & snails! It was the first year I'd been organised & planted seeds & it was just so dispiriting to find.

  4. Susan Rayner says:

    So very sad about the Mrs Perry Poppies! We have had disaster after disaster with Oriental poppies over the years to the point where my husband won't have them any longer! Sad because they are so lovely! Very hard frosts here every morning this week so far and that despite glorious sunshine first thing! The latest we have had frost is 28th May in Surrey!! Enjoy a lovely weekend – the Mermaid's Tail sock is beautiful!

  5. Julie D. says:

    Ugh! Snails and slugs are the pits. We moved to the Pacific Northwest from Florida last year. I fought them all summer. And, now I’m starting to fight them this spring. There are all sort of anti-slug and snail cures, but none of them work very well. My best weapon was ground egg shells. I hope your baby plants bounce back. I’ve got some poppy starts — my first!

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