Monday, October 26, 2009


The Heather in the garden has regrown beautifully after its trim. There has been new growth all over the plant, and new yellow flower buds formed. It is a purple flowering heather..
I will be away untill Saturday in London. The blog will resume then..
Have a good gardening week wherever you are!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Autumn Magic

These were growing in the garden yesterday. The warm temperatures and rain has caused this mushroom to magically appear by the clothes line. Like a little fairy house...

This glassy structure has appeared in the grass beneath the wall, and in the border. Tall thin translucent hairs have sprouted upwards and held onto the rain that has fallen. I have no idea what this is, maybe some kind of fungus?
The damp warm conditions have caused the mushrooms and fungi to bloom in the damp earth. I am always amazed when they appear in the garden.
Its good to just walk around and look for the small things that you cannot see from the house. I have seen Bats, Hedgehogs, a swarm of flying Ants, and these mushrooms just by walking outside.
The garden is a rich place to spend time with every day where possible. I am going away next week to London, so this is an au revoir post.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mellow Yellow

The wind and rain have swept in overnight soaking the garden. The grass has grown a mushroom, and strange hair like strands that have collected the raindrops. It looks like a spider has gone mad and built a vertical web in the grass and border soil.
The flower is an unknown weed flower that sprung up in the raised border by the Ceanothus.
It has leaves like a Cabbage plant but has these delicate yellow flowers.
Its too wet to garden, so it will be a day for reading gardening books.
My latest book is called "Elizabeth and her German Garden", by Elizabeth Arnim. She was a noblemans wife in the late 1890's. She took herself off to his country house, and ensconsed herself in the large neglected garden.
She wrote a book about the changing seasons in the first years at the house. She liked to sit outside whatever the weather to take tea, read books, and commune with nature.
Its been 118 years since she wrote it, and I still feel the kinship that she did for the garden. She wants to buy her own tools and start digging the soil. But the times wont let her, she has to tell gardeners what she wants.
She would have appreciated this yellow wildflower in the garden..

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Autumn Days

Its been raining lots over the past few days so not much has happened in the garden. I have been reading gardening books, and occasionally venturing out to plant more Spring bulbs.
I love the magic of planting bulbs, untill they all dissapear under the cool soil. They are left to their own devices and by next Febuary and March they will have started to flower.
Bulbs were one of the first floral commodoties to start crossing continents, especially from Asia into Europe. Once they had finished flowering and the leaves had died back the plant retreats into its little home, the Bulb.
They are then easily dug up, and transported great distances. Most of my bulbs have probably come from Holland..
I went to Hampsons today and bought Crocuses in purples, whites, and tiger striped yellows. I bought some double flowering Snowdrop bulbs, some Red Hyacinths to force indoors for Xmas flowers, and three Ivory Coast Lily bulbs.
These are all in the ground now, with the Daffodils and the Aliums. I can walk out into the garden through the winter to look for signs of Spring.
A lot of the bulbs were planted around the greenhouse, where I sit most of the time. This gives me views of both halfs of the garden, and the raised border is visible from the bench.
The photo is of a hardy Calendula flowering away in the right hand raised border, under the fir trees. Its colour is pleasing where other plants are dying back in the Autumn days.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


These Dianthus Jazz Festival look like Japanese Egrets flying through the air.
I have been working nights, and then lost the laptop for a few days hence the gap in posting.
The Autumn weather is here, cool days with wind and rain.
The leaves have fallen onto the pavements, ready for me to kick my way through them. Sending showers of leaves into the air.
The birds have been flocking into the garden, and topping up the feeders is nearly every few days.
We had six pidgeons feeding on the floor, and maybe fifteen Goldfinches.
Its hard to count with the dynamic movement of birds between feeders to trees, and back.
I planted the new Daffodils and Aliums the other day. Ninety bulbs went into the borders, to add colour next spring. There is something magical burying a bulb, covering it with soil, and waiting for it to do its own thing.
By next march the garden will be full of Daffodils, Narcissus, and the Aliums..

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Spider And Squirrel

Autumn brings the mad web building of the garden spiders. They seem to spin their webs from plant to plant, in the concentric web pattern.
He has groovy markings on his underbelly. He sat in the middle of the web waiting for the flys.
The squirrel has been down into the garden this morning. He did a good impression of mission impossible jumping over a wall, going up a small fence, leaping to the big fence, and running along to the back fence before dissapearing into a tree. His tail is so fluffy, and floats around counter balancing him.
I'm off work today before two more nights. I hope to plant some Alium bulbs today and buy some Daffodils in town.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lavender Bloom n Blogs

The Lavenders last flower that is still in bloom today. I love the smell of the plant itself and the purple flowers. The plants I bought have grown on a bit. Hopefully they will grow much larger next year, with more bee attracting flowers wafting their rich scent skywards.
I read on the BBC news site yesterday an article about ten years of blogger. I have been blogging for five years.
The ups and downs of my life have been recorded, along with the gardens I have had or helped on. the two different allotments I have had.
The photos get better across the years, and maybe my writing has improved.
The article asked is blogging still relevant, and why do people do it? The main answer was shared passions, and the feeling of community. American women took blogging to their hearts and now there are blogs on every aspect of modern life.
I enjoy how gardeners have used blogs to talk about their gardens, their plants, the problems they encounter. People are kind enough sometimes to leave comments, and often discussions rage on in the comments after an article.
The blog here is a mix of journal of the seasons, wildlife observation, storys, and occasional educational. I enjoy the mixture of pictures and prose.
Nobodys said for me to stop yet, so i'll keep on blogging about the things that I love. Blogs are part of the gardening world, and exist all over the world.
The link is a shared passion for growing things (flowers or veg, or both) and wanting to share the experience.
Like my love of the last Lavender bloom.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Books And Blooms

The Fuschia Royal Velvet has flowered on the kitchen windowsill. Large flowers with pink and purple colours, and so heavy that the pendulous flowers pull the plant over. The plant came from the Autumn flower show.
I spent yesterday weeding the borders, and putting my old compost on top of the dry soil. The black compost bin will supply more organic matter to keep the moisture in.
Some eager spring bulbs have begun to push up their strappy green leaves.
Now is the time to plant my Alium bulbs (gorgeous firework flowers in purple or white), and the Tulips at the end of this month.
The borders need some Daffodils and Narcissus. I'll go shopping after my night shift on Monday. As one season ends we plan for the next year.
I bought a book the other day called "The Lost Garden Of Heligan". A country estate with beautiful gardens lost all its gardeners during the first world war. The estate and garden fell into disrepair. They sank into brambles, and the structures fell apart. Untill a pair of men stumbled onto the jungle like gardens and decided to renovate them.
I have read a few chapters. The long dark nights are a good chance to relax with a good gardening book.
Monty Don has released a new book called "The Ivington Diaries" about his own garden over a period of fifteen years. Its on my wishlist..

Saturday, October 10, 2009

On The Maple

This baby Goldfinch has fluffy, downy feathers and was not frightened of my camera. We saw him eating spilt Nijer seeds off the patios. He flew up into the foxgloves and under the birdtable.
The garden birds were singing out in force this morning. Great Tits chattered around the Apple tree with its delicious red Apples and the seed feeder.
A winter flock of Goldfinches is forming. More arrive every day with their black and red faces, and yellow wing bars.
I watched Autumn Watch last night and saw a bat survey. The volunteers drove along roads at night, at fifteen miles per hour with a bat detector box that increases the Bats noises to human hearing. They could work out later what species they had heard on the Bat box.
I saw Bats in the garden at twilight one night madly circling and diving, like dark acrobats. They may have been the scouts sent out by the colony to see if it was dark enough to come out to avoid predators.
I have seen my two Hedgehogs almost every night snuffling in the garden, eating all the bugs and worms that they can find.
The garden is alive with the wildlife, and I only have to go outside to see it. Adding a few bird feeders and waterbowls, growing a wide selection of native plants and flowers. These simple steps can encourage Wildlife to visit your garden.
What wildlife is in your garden?

Friday, October 09, 2009

State Of Play

The allotment at the end of the day yesterday. Cat took the photos for me as I put away all the tools. You can see the enormous compost heap on the far right. I need some compost bins to start it up. The Globe Artichokes are closest to the bottom. Followed by the Leeks, then Courgettes, and Squashes.
I only had a few plants in pots to start growing this year. They were quite late going into the ground. I had to clear the grasses and weeds that you can see at the far left. A few years of growth has given them about a foots deep worth of thick roots, embedded in compacted clay soil.

The camera shortens the length. Its about thirty five feet across and takes hours to clear a one foot length of soil. The square near the top is the onion bed. One hundred white ball onions went in yesterday to grow over the winter.
There remains about ten feet off the grass/weed mix to dig over and clear.I will be happy when that is done. The marking out can be done and plans made for the growing season next year.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Royal Velvet Teaser

The Giant Fuschia Royal Velvet has these large blooms on it now. I bought it at the Autumn Flower Show, and it has sat on the kitchen windowsill since then.
I did not think it would grow on well after it got battered in a plastic bag and carried all around the Yorkshire show ground.
I spent four and a half hours at the allotment today. We planted the Winter Onions today, 100 of them next to the Courgette bed.
The sun was shining, and the birds were in full song. A lone Robin sat at the top of the tree singing for his territory.
There was a chill in the air. Autumn is in full swing..

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Chilli Magic

Its the seventh of October and my greenhouse Chilli plants are growing a little selection of fruit. These plants have cast a spell on me, and the growing year is not complete without sowing some Chilli seeds. This year I tried Jalapeno, Habanero, Tabasco, Cayenne, and an unknown variety..
This first photo is from a mystery Chilli. I bought a one pound grow pot with a packet of unnamed Chilli seeds. Four plants grew and they are all growing this short cylindrical fruits. I do not know how hot they are, or the variety.

Resting on a shelf are these Cayenne Chilli's ripening to red, and two Jalapenos that fell off. I grew Jalapenos last year and made chicken breasts stuffed with Jalapenos and cheese. I love these Chilli's. I hope that the plant survives over wintering and fruits earlier next year. I bought more Jalapeno seeds from the Autumn flower show just in case.

The last photo is of a small Habanero Chilli. These have a few of these fruits forming on the plants.
I enjoy growing these plants from seeds. There are so many varieties, and different levels of heat. I want to buy a heated seed tray propogator as most chilli's need a soil temperature of about 18 degrees centigrade. I grew one Jalapeno plant from ten seeds.
The Cayenne Chilli's seem easy to germinate at temperatures below the magic 18. I need to find some Recipies to use up my Chilli's.
Growing Chilli plants is addictive. Continuing the 6500 years of Chilli growing. They have travelled around the world throughtout history, and been absorbed into many cultures, and foods.
Their fiery taste lights up the mouths of cooks, and the green fingers of Gardeners. I cant wait to taste this years Chilli harvest, and plan for next years plants.
I have got a Levi Roots Caribbean cookery book and I need some Scotch Bonnet Chilli seeds for his recipes.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Xmas Amaryllis

This is the Amaryllis bulb i bought from the Autumn flower show. It will have multiple red flowers between the green strappy leaves.
Most of the Amaryllis I have grown have been giant single flowers.
The over sized bulb has been planted in a ten inch pot with the bulb sticking out of the soil. This stops it from rotting if it gets too wet.
I'm hoping the flowers bloom by Xmas. Once it has grown on a bit I will bring it indoors. The Streptocarpus will return to the greenhouse to over winter ready for next years flowering extravaganza.
I bought one new Streptocarpus this year, bringing my collection to ten plants with all different colours.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Writers Block And Wind

Its sunday today and I am off work. This is my 161st post this year! I have found it hard to think of something to write about, some Bloggers writers block.
I went to the plot yesterday, walking the three miles to it. I was blown about by gusting winds.
I noticed the leaves flying around in the air, twirling around and around as they plummeted down to the ground.
The hedgerows were laden with masses of red and orange berrys, Black Elderberrys pull the branches down with the weight of them.
The day was cloudy, but occasionally the sunshine shone through gaps in the cloud.
I saw tree branches snapped, a shed on the allotment was blown over onto its side.
Hils glass was blown over and smashed into hundreds of pieces at the side of her plot.
Here in the garden the bird table was blown over, as well as numerous pots. The plastic bird water bowl was blown out of the feeding station onto the patio. The greenhouse cover was ripped in a few places, and the curtain covering blew into the garden. The wind caused chaos yesterday, but I spent four and a half hours in the allotment continuing my clearance, and weeding a bit.
The sunshine is back, and the wind has abated a bit. The photo shows a gladiolus that I found in the border from the previous owners. I planted it and it was overgrown by bird drop Sunflowers.
It has beautiful pink tinged flowers. A suprise for me as I did not know what the bulb was going to turn into.
The walk yesterday was good for observing the signs of Autumn, and thinking how to write about them. There are so many things to write about, we sometimes need a break from it to recharge our batterys.