Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The sun is shining and I need help!

We have had (whisper it) a couple of really quite nice spring days recently. With sunshine and a bit of warmth and everything. The garden is starting to sprout in all directions (hence the grass cutting which needs doing again already!) and the herbs I planted out are doing nicely, thank you. FB's primrose has settled well into our front garden and is providing some much needed colour (I don't really do flowers. The daffodils don't count because they moved in here before we did) and SB's sunflower seedling continues to grow.

But I need your help, internet, and I am particularly looking at you green-fingered types (Isabelle? Are you there?). Do you remember that I told you we bought a strawberry plant for SB when we went to the garden centre a while ago? Well, we have been looking after it quite well I think. It sits on a sunny windowsill, I have managed neither to drown nor to dessicate it and it has grown and grown. It now has three times as many leaves (big ones!) as it did when we bought it and today it grew a flower. A flower!! I could hardly contain my amazement excitement. Nothing, and I really mean NOTHING flowers under my care. I'm more used to things gradually drooping, turning brown and leaving the house in a bin bag.

Anyway, my question is this: do I keep the plant in its little pot on the windowsill for longer or do we take the plunge and plant it outside? Do you leave the flower to, well, flower? Or are you supposed to do something gardener-y like pinch it off to encourage fruit? (Hah! Fruit! I swear if we actually get a real honest-to-goodness strawberry on this thing I will be hospitalised with advanced astonishment.) All advice gratefully received.

And just to prove that we are genuinely in the throes of non-winter, look what happens when the temperature rises above frosty in Edinburgh:

This is FB. Sitting in our back garden with his feet in a bucket of cold water. Because any red-blooded Scottish male struggles to survive when the thermometer rises above 7 degrees.

And this is SB, hanging out on the back door step and communing with our increasingly mangy cat. Note FB's bucket in the background, ready for any overheating feet emergencies.

I love these photos because they are so typical of my boys, but the thing I love most of all is that in both photos the boy in question is reading a book. Every time I see them with books in their hands, it makes me go all warm and fuzzy inside. I hoped and hoped that I would have children who loved books like I did and whilst they may not quite approach the obsessive levels of reading that I used to indulge in as a child, they do read a lot and what's more, they do so voluntarily. I am so happy. I bet the first time I catch them trying to read under the bedclothes with a torch, I will be entirely unable to discipline them for it. I may in fact climb in and join them!


  1. Wonderful photos. I have two readers too, and I'm so happy. And should you be hospitalised for advanced astonishment (great line, btw) I'll be sure to send grapes and chocolate and trashy gossip mags.

  2. And toast, please Alison. You know how I like it!

  3. Touché. I shall also send toast. :-)

  4. Don't transplant it outside until you know you have had the last frost. For us that is usually June 1st. Then it is safe. Of course you can always place a basket over the wee plant if frost is forecast overnight to protect it.

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    The Pakistani Spectator

  6. A. Don't do the interview with the Pakistani Spectator.
    B. Pinch the blossoms off the strawberries. Also all the buds to let the nutrients go to the roots. Most varieties of strawberries don't produce fruit their 1st year anyway.
    C. Don't put them out until the last frost has passed. Or if you only have the one plant, just keep it in a hanging basket.
    D. If you want to put it outside make a raised bed in a spot that gets full sunshine and surround the plant with straw.
    E. They need lots of fertilizer.

    Bon Chance!

  7. Hello dear Loth! It was fabbo to meet you last night, especially in such progtastic settings. I feel like rushing out to buy me some red braces and a flute. Hope to catch up again soon :)

  8. You've met Shauna??? How exciting!!!

    I would personally leave the flowers on but then I've never grown strawberries intentionally. And unintentionally (I have ornamental strawberry plants which do produce some fruit) I do get quite small strawberries. So possibly this proves exurban's point. Certainly if you remove the flowers then you'll get no strawberries.