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slug destruction, not helped by Strulch

I planted these lupins, mulched with Strulch, with high hopes.

before

although the lupin on the left has already been seriously damaged I thought the pink on the right was ok

lupins

after

I found a slug on the flower, having worked its way up the stem destroying all in its path.

lupins with slug damage

on the positive side, the cats are loving the catnip (nepeta) which is in pots, I don't know if the slugs like it or not, will have to test it

before

I had this tray of seedlings on the patio and the slugs got to them. I was wondering if the ones with the seed leaves eaten could recover.

calendula seedlings

after

I took them off the ground and removed the slugs underneath the pots and the ones with the seed leaves eaten did recover and continued growing.

calendula seedlings

A delphinium surrounded by Strulch, completely stripped by slugs, looks like a skeleton. I think I have to call the Strulch a failure. I thought maybe they got to the lupins via surrounding plants but that is not the case here.

delphinium surrounded with Strulch

I should probably just stick to plants that the slugs don't bother like this cerinthe which is gorgeous, or leave vulnerable plants in pots.

cerinthe

in the hottest weather the calla lilies bloom

calla lily

the bees are loving the chive flowers

chive flowers

the pot at the bottom has all purple flowers: nepeta, viper's bugloss, sea holly, the last two are not in bloom yet, the pot at the top has nepeta

purple flowers

back garden

Comfrey in the back garden

comfrey flowers

comfrey

I have lots of green alkanet - the bees are loving it! and the comfrey

green alkanet

milk thistle with Strulch at the base - and no slug damage

strulch protecting milk thistle

lupins surrounded by Strulch at the base but too many plants around them to gain access to the lupins but at least they aren't completely destroyed

-update 15-5-2015-

it rained a lot yesterday and the snails seemed able to slosh around the mulch and attack the back lupin stem which had a flower spike developing, I removed some of the snails but I'm sure more came, I think it's completely destroyed now but will check it today

lupins with Strulch

iris in the front garden

iris

Lots of honesty this year (pink flower below with those distinctive seed pods) surrounded by green alkanet.

the hostas are growing like mad, this first one is amazing, I'll have to find the labels with each variety

hosta

hosta

hosta

the hosta below is the most damaged by slugs, it is also completely overwhelmed by the foxglove on top of it which I want to allow to flower first before removing it, the hosta will still be there and able to be the star of that pot

hosta and foxglove

on the other side of the garden opposite the hostas, I have a few centaurea montana which I love, there's the globe thistles starting and of course some pansies and nigella

Moving around to the left I have 3 pots with nepeta which the cats are loving - and me too, I love those purple flowers; one of those nepeta pots I also have viper's bugloss and sea holly so it can be an all-purple pot. I bought the viper's bugloss and sea holly as small "wildflower" plants at the garden centre so they weren't too expensive. I have tried them both with seed in past years. I got one plant from the viper's bugloss and nothing from the sea holly so maybe plants are the way to go.

hostas

Since putting the hostas in pots and using the Strulch (mineralised straw mulch) I have very little slug damage. It is early days yet but so far so good.

hosta

I love those purple shoots.

hosta

hosta3

hosta

This one does have some slug damage, even the foxglove (not normally bothered by slugs) in the same pot has some. I did find a tiny snail amongst the hosta leaves. Will keep a close watch.

hosta

the next two plastic pots have unknown hostas which my neighbour left in my care when she moved

hosta

hosta6

hosta

pansies and violas

I think these are my desert island flowers. So simple but so beautiful and exuberant.

violas

close-up of the violas

violas

pansies

and a close-up of the National Velvet red tulips in the background of the first pic

National Velvet red tulips

I didn't notice the buds until today when the shrub is suddenly in bloom.

lilac

the entire shrub with all the flowers, and to think this was slow to flower, it's caught up!

lilac

Socks in the garden

Socks out in the back garden on a sunny day this week

This pic of Socks shows some of the most numerous plants I have in the garden: green alkanet (with the small blue flowers) - I love it, the iris foetidissima behind the table, the snowberry to the right of that which is proving somewhat invasive and aquilegia to the right which may be easier to see in the pic above. Also more visible in the pic above is a raspberry.

the comfrey has buds almost ready to open

this was one of my unknown seedlings but now looks quite like a hardy geranium

Moving to the front garden, some Little Beauty tulips in bloom

little beauty tulip

little beauty tulip

experiments with Strulch mineralised straw mulch and bees on muscari

the bees have been going mad for the muscari

bee on muscari

bee on muscari

the bees are also loving the snakeshead fritilaries, they go right up into the flower and seemed to be there for ages, there must be a lot of nectar and pollen in there

snakeshead fritilary

below, nigella and pansy have been self-seeding in the cracks between paving stones on the patio next door

I heard about mineralised straw mulch on Gardeners' Question Time a few weeks ago and decided I must try it. By googling I found there was one called Strulch that was available at a nursery in Sandridge, near St Albans, Carpenters Nursery.

3 milk thistles surrounded by Strulch

I bought these milk thistles recently and already the slugs had attacked them so thought surrounding them with Strulch would be the first test. I still don't understand how a thistle could be so attractive to slugs, but it is.

milk thistle with Strulch

two lupins surrounded by Strulch

I grew the one on the left from seed and had been keeping it in a pot to keep it away from the slugs. The one on the right I bought at the nursery with the Strulch.

lupins with Strulch

another auricula in bloom, a more attractive colour, lots of farination

auricula

and another auricula

violas

anemone

the next 3 pics might not look like much but I'm happy to have 3 hostas coming up this spring - planting them in pots have prevented the slugs from making a meal of them

garden beginning of April

Front Garden

Nothing says spring like a pink hyacinth in full bloom and the tulips in bud and ready to burst into flower.

pink hyacinth

in the same pot, a small exquisite viola

viola

snake's head fritillary

snakeshead fritilary

snakeshead fritilary

I bought two packs of the snake's head fritillary bulbs and put 1 pack in each pot below. Unfortunately I'm not sure which was in each but judging by the questionable quality of other Taylor bulbs I presume that is the pot of only 3  (on the right below) growing out of 10 or 12 that were in the pack. I assume the pot on the left with 10 or 12 bulbs growing is the one from Sainsburys.

snakeshead fritillary

some cheerful pink anemones, an impulse buy at the garden centre recently, one of my many outstanding garden tasks are to dig in those pieces of edging

anemone

Back Garden

the green alkanet bloomed today for the first time this spring

green alkanet

the bergenia's been in bloom for a while, Polly Pocket on the table

This is the first auricula in bloom and also the first one I've identified to cull. What a boring colour. If I had more room I would be inclined to keep it but with very limited space I have to keep the colours I love only.

auricula

I dug up all the bluebells from this flowerbed last summer. They are not erradicated that easily! All those bulb sprouts below are bluebells I missed.

I was weeding my flower bed near the pond (below), a pre-formed one so it's not very big, when I stood up to removed the pile of weeds and look in the pond hopefully for frogspawn (I've never had any) I was horrified to see a giant worm, about a foot long, slither over the muddy part (to the right of my trowel sticking up from the soil) and into the pond. I've never seen anything like it.

time for auriculas

I went from not having any auriculas to having too many. They are spilling from the shelves on the left to the shelves on the right. All seem to have offshoots that could become new plants, see pics below. I'm no expert on auriculas but I did read online yesterday about removing offshoots. I'm going to be hard though and discard any plants that have flower colours I don't like so I'm awaiting them flowering before doing anything.

auricula bud

in the pic above and below you can just see the buds coming out

I think these stems on the left below are what's called offshoots.

auricula offshoots

This plant has even more.

auricula offshoots

even more muscari

the muscari, end of March

muscari

new cat in the neighbourhood

Focus on the pot above filled with self-seeders: in the middle a poppy, silver grey ???, bright green very puckered/textured plant top-half that looks similar to teasel but without any roughness and muscari, of course.

muscari in the sun

muscari

muscari looking better every day

I can't stop taking photos of the muscari which seem to be looking better every day. At least *something* is happening this morning as the solar eclipse was a non-event - thick cloud obliterating any solar activity.

muscari

I feel like I should know these upright self-seeders but right now I don't. Weeds or desirable plants? I don't know so far.

another plant I don't know (nigella at the bottom, hyacinth bulblets to the left and back)

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