Saturday, May 05, 2012

Bishop's Children and other visitors

This is the fourth year in a row that I've invested in a packet of Dahlia Bishop's Children to grow from seed and provide some colour later in the year. Here are some that were pricked out, grown on for a little in cells, and are just now into their own pots. I must try and take some photos if they do OK in the garden this year. With the winter past being so mild, perhaps some from last year might have overwintered in the ground. I don't usually bother to lift the tubers.

One problem I have is lack of room, not having a greenhouse, and hardening things off is not easy. Mind you there was frost last night (May 4) and the forecast is for another cold night tonight. So I'm not rushing to get things outside just yet!

Late last year, a good friend asked if I had any use for this unwanted gift. "Just what I needed," I said, and it's been waiting in the woodshed for the right day for me to get it assembled. That day came on Friday. The box got emptied, and the instructions laid out. I would just put it all together in the thirty minutes or so before lunch.

Optimistic, or what?

The disclaimers on the instructions are written in ten languages: English, Czech, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Swedish, Finnish, Dutch and Danish. I can now say in all these languages, "You must read these instructions carefully before you start to assemble this greenhouse."

The instructions are in pictures!

But where it says that the use of work gloves is recommended, do as it says. I would also emphasize the instruction, "Always wear shoes and safety goggles." In fact, I would go further. Forget shoes. Steel capped boots are in order, so when you start kicking your house wall in frustration, it doesn't hurt so much.

I rather liked the instruction, "Do not attempt to assemble the Cold Frame if you are tired, have taken drugs or alcohol or if you are prone to dizzy spells." Taking alcohol AFTER you've tried to assemble this thing is likely to be required.

The 'Tools and Equipment' needed are work gloves, lubricantt (sic) and a Phillips head screw driver. I never did discover where the lubricant was to be used. I would suggest drinking it, had it not been for the 'don't drink and assemble' instruction above.

Also needed are patience, perseverance, manual dexterity, map reading skills, the ability to work whilst standing on your head, and the skill to swear in ten languages. Don't forget to set out the Elastoplasts and antiseptic cream.

And I thought that, as a graduate of the IKEA school of self assembly, this would be a piece of cake. Maybe I'm just getting old! Never again.

Here's the final result - only a couple of breakages (thank goodness for duct tape), a couple of bits left over, some blood, a lot of sweat and tears. It is pegged into the ground, but when the next storm comes expect to see a large plastic kite flying towards Moffat! Still, hopefully it will get some use this month (as a cold frame, not as a kite).

Such was the time spent on my 'cold frame challenge' there was little time left in the day to do anything major, so a 'small' job got tackled, tidying up the alpine troughs, and replacing those plants that had failed to survive the winter. This container is just an old polystyrene fish box that had been discarded.

And of course, Skip is the home for old and unwanted curling stones, so they can spend the rest of their retirement in a safe loving environment! That's just a few of the current residents above.

This trough was an old sink, with a coating of cement/peat mix, and with a bit of age, now looks the part.

Here's another old sink, again pretending to be a stone trough! This one really needs to be completely replanted.

I watched this little fellow through the patio doors for a good while - he was having a good scratch! It was only when I got the camera that he stopped scratching. I wondered where he overwintered? A good reason for not keeping the garden too tidy. At least that's my reason and I'm sticking to it!

Photos © Skip Cottage

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