Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Love Of Plants

These are some of the flowers in bloom in our garden now.This is the yellow daisy flower that is growing in the wildflower area around the pond.It likes to stand out from the crowd of White Daises.I love the Fibonacci inspired spiral within the centre of the flower.the Hover flys and Bees love this flower and keep landing on it.

A plant I rescued from wilting at the plant stall is this Achillea.I took it home and stood it in water.The whole plant was drooped.It took the water up and the ferny leaves started to revive.It has bloomed quietly at the back of the pond near to the fence.This is a perennial so it should grow back even stronger next year.The flowers have an ethereal quality to them with their red/salmon coloured dainty flowers.

I do not know what these flowers are called.They are part of the Wildflower mix.six or eight Little Star like flowers growing at the top of long green stems in an umbrella fashion.They are reminiscent of Gypsophila.The tiny individual flowers form a white bubbling cascade, like freshly popped Champagne.They smell faintly like melted butter.

I have tried this year to grow flowering and edible plants side by side.This is my Borage growing in the wildflower area.This blue flowered plant attracts pollinators for miles.A fully blooming Borage plant will have the buzzing sound of Bee's all summer long.

Growing in pots along the greenhouse is are two Courgette plants.They are spares that did not get planted at the allotment.My reserve vegetables include two Leeks, Four Broccoli Garnet,the Courgettes,Borage, and Eight Sage plants.I quite enjoy the craziness of planting vegetables amongst flowers.Some of the plants are very decorative.

There are not just flowers in the garden.There are ornamental grasses, and Heucheras. They have red bronzed foliage and little pink flowers.They look impressive grown together.The plantsmen have been trying to grow Heucheras in Oranges,Greens,Patterned Leaves,reds,and purples.When they are planted together they give a lovely patchwork quilt effect..My Heucheras are growing alongside Lupins,Geum Mrs Bradshaw, and a Bronzed Fennel.

This is a Geranium Grandifolium Alpinum.This is its first flower in the garden.After i planted it the plant looked quite sickly and wilted.The heavy rains revived it and it has grown impressive amounts of green leaves. These blue flowers are very cool coloured with the dark purple veins, and white centre.Blue is a very calming colour in the garden pallette.

The Foxglove is visible from the door.I love this plant.A garden needs foxgloves for their stature,the pretty throats of the flowers, and the buzzing Bee's.I saw a spider hiding in one of the flower cups today.He will give a small pollinator a surprise if they visit.

These are called Dalmatian Purple.I want to have more Foxgloves next year, in a variety of shades.Foxgloves always remind me of Mums garden in Cheltenham.

I looked at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show today.It is the 22nd annual flower show,and is running from the 5th to 10th July. There will be televised highlights on the BBC, so I can watch the programs.

I was reading about a garden designer called Fiona Stephenson who has designed the World Wildlife Funds(WWF)garden for their 50th anniversary.It is based around a Chalk Stream.She walked along a Hampshire Chalk stream to get inspiration.She built a small prototype in her own garden to get ready for the show.Its good that the WWF is doing work in Britain as well as far away places.The link is here:

The Copella plant and protect garden by Sadie May Stowell is at Hampton Court too.Doctor David Bellamy will be at their garden promoting plant and protect.He is one of my earliest memories of a TV presenter in exotic places.His love of plants must have impressed me.I have the love of the plants now.

At Hampton Court this year there is the Rose of the year 2011 competition,English Poet Gardens,Show Gardens,Small Gardens,Conceptual gardens,and the RHS Edible Garden.The last one will be the largest garden at Hampton court at 1850 square metres.The artists impressions make it look very impressive.

You can visit these shows and be impressed by the gardens, or the floral marquee displays.You take a little bit away with you.Ideas for your own small patch of earth.I love the way these flower shows have woven their way into the British summer, and become an annual event that you look forward to.The memories of these days out can help you get through the cold dark winters, when you sit reading seed catalogues making lists out for the next growing season.

Our garden has taken inspiration,plants,decorations,or bulbs from these wanderful creative,colourful summer flower shows.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday Post

The garden is so full of flowers in bloom it is hard to photograph them all.It is only a small garden but densely packed.The Monkshood has flowered with this electric blue flowers.They contrast magnificently with the green leaves of the surrounding plants and the black ferny leaves of the Sambuca.It survived being dug up and transplanted.This is the biggest it has ever grown with the most flowers on it.

These are pretty but deadly.All parts of the plant are toxic to touch or taste.The old fashioned name is Wolfs bane.They thought the plant could kill wild Wolves.The flowers are reminiscent of the old monks cowls, as they walk silently to prayer.

The hanging baskets are growing on now, and the soil is holding onto the moisture.My gel crystals and plant food mix have done a good job.This Pansy has a face and seems to be smiling at me.The purple and violet patterns give the face its structure.

The Rose Dark Lady has one branch that was leaning over the path.The burgundy Rose smells lovely, and it looks sumptuous.I could put this Rose on cups,plates, or tea towels!The Roses are loving the sunshine, with occasional showers.The House Sparrows seem to be eating most of the Aphids.There is not too much black spot on the Roses.The only one I am worried about is the Rose RHS Wisley which is all leaves but not a Rose bud yet.Every other Rose has bloomed.The Wisley was great last year,so i don't know why its having an off year.

Blooming at last three weeks after the Big Lunch is one of my Asiatic Lily's.I have three large pots growing outside the front door.The Red Lily is the first to flower.There are three blooms at the moment.I think there were five different varieties I won registering with The Big Bulb Plant.

This is the Red Asiatic Lily in all its glory.The three pots should provide colour in abundance for the summer.I have Casa Blanca Lily, Tiger Lily's, and Oriental Stargazer Lily's growing in the back garden pots.

I like this photo showing the Potatoes growing on the left, next to the Harlow Carr Rose,Hostas, and Dianthus.The greens and colours show the energy of a garden in late June.Everything has got glossy green leaves, fresh looking flowers, and no signs of ageing.Almost everyday something new has flowered.The late bloomers include my Bishop of Llanduff Dahlias,Blue Echinops,the two Honeysuckles,Sweetpeas Spencer, and the Buddleja Butterfly Bush.I am glad that flowering is staggered across the summer.

The view from the backdoor.I write most of the posts from the dining room table and this is what I look out on.I love watching the Birds.I have observed my plants growing, and flowering over the growing season with my nurturing and watering.

I have looked at the RHS Tatton Park flower show web page today.Cat and me are taking my Mum to the show this year.She is having a mini break traveling to us, and going on the 23rd July to see the show.The Chelsea of the north has show gardens,and much more beside.

Tomorrow is an allotment day.Some weeding and watering.The garden is so tempting to spend time in it.The photos show why it is drawing me in.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

June Garden

I finally had a day off to chill out after three days at the hospital.I went shopping with Cat and bought some bird food.The birds have been eating the peanuts, and the seed feeder because I have had no more fat balls to hang up.They had to eat the remaining food.
The Clematis Angelique is flowering beautifully but it appears to be vertically challenged.The Honeysuckles have climbed six feet up their trellis already entwining themselves around it.I hope they flower as well as Angelique.I wander if this Clematis needs a deeper pot to encourage more vertical growth?The plant dies back to the ground over the winter so at the end of the growing season it will be cut back.

The Pelagonium on the table outside the Backdoor is still flowering away.It has deep burgundy flowers and seems set to flower all summer long.It does not have scented leaves like its sherbet scented pot mate.I bought both of these from the Harrogate Spring Flower show.

The pot bound Molineux continues to flower with the most exquisite yellow cup flowers.These need planting in the winter in the front garden.I have left them in the deep pots that David Austin sells them in.They look lovely together and will form a low three feet hedge with masses of yellow blooms.

The pond continues to look better.The water has now cleared so I can see down into the water. There are still Newts swimming about.At least two varieties of Newts that i can see.The Water Lily has now been moved into the deepest part of the pond.The wild flowers growing around the pond cover the edges and provide perfect shelter for the wild inhabitants.I love the reflective qualitys of the water reflecting the sky.

This frog was sat in the corner looking up at his pond mate, a much bigger frog who was sat under the covering daisy flowers.He blended into the soil and sat sun bathing.I can sit and just watch the still waters which are teeming with life.Small pond beasties,fly's, and the dragon like Black Newts with their spotted orange bellys, and around four Frogs at least.

The hanging baskets have been watered.I watered the Strawberry bed as well.I picked one pound of fresh Strawberries today which we had for pudding (with cold single cream).I love the freshness of picking them from the garden, washing, and eating them.They are delicious.

Its forecast to be really hot tomorrow but I'm working all day.There is so much going on in the June garden to enjoy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gardening And Blues

I read the other day that an NHS trust in Southampton is using gardening as a treatment for people with mental health problems, or depression.They are doing eight week courses in aspects of gardening like types of plants,soil, and growing things.I love gardening, and growing things from seed.Nurturing plants is a good way of getting in contact with the earth.My favourite flowers to grow include Roses, like this Arthur Bell.A scented Yellow Rose.

I loved watching the Rose regrow from bare stems to being covered in glossy green leaves, and developing its flower buds.I watched patiently as they swell before finally opening into the fragrant blooms.There are only two at the moment but there opening up is exquisite.It is two years old now, so it should only get better with age with some tender loving care.

Growing flowers or vegetables from seeds you have sown is like magic.The pleasure you get makes you immeasurably happy.This Pansy has the most vivid Purple Face like a smiling,mischievous face grinning at you.It was grown from Cats mail order plug plants.

I bought this Bug House from the Gardeners World Live show.I hope that eventually insects will make their home in it.It is hung onto a nail on the fence.There are definitely lots of pollen rich flowers for the insects to feed on.I will watch with interest as to whether any bugs move into their green home.

Growing for wildlife means you can focus on looking after another sentient living thing whether it is a bee,butterfly,hedgehog,frog or garden birds.When they come to your garden you are always excited and pleased.You then start to look to see what your gardening has attracted.

The garden is always a rich place for plants and flowers.I bought this metal frog too from the GWL show.He is hung up on the willow wigwams.I have a lot of ornaments in the garden including Frogs and Gnomes.These ornaments make a garden whimsical, and are nice to look at between masses of flowers or plants.This year I have also bought a metal Peacock ornament, which sits by the greenhouse looking down to the back door.

The garden is a natural tonic to the stresses of working long hours, and a gentle place to unwind and to lose yourself.Once you get hooked into looking everyday at the garden you soon forget the problems.It can be a social activity as well once you meet people with the same passion as you have.

I can see how it could be used to help people with all manner of mental or physical problems. Green fingers can definitely help beat the blues.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Crimson Cavemen And New Blooms

Where does time go?It has been five days since I last did a blog post.I went to Gardeners World Live/BBC Good Food Show last Thursday/Friday.I had to work nights over the weekend and finished on Monday morning.I was exhausted by yesterday.
I potted up this Petunias plug plants in a pot on the outside table before we went to Birmingham.They are flowering in pastel colours, and smell fragrant.Of all the plug plants we grew on these Petunias were the most vigorous.

The Red Dianthus I bought from Hampsons have started to flower.The red colouration is in the inner part of the petals.the plant label showed a bright Crimson red colour, so I will wait to see if these change colour.They are growing besides my Dianthus Jazz in pink and electric purple.I hope that this is a perennial like the Dianthus Jazz.

One of my new favourite flowers is the humble Corn Flower Blue.It is growing besides the pond in the wild flower area.It is a vivid blue colour.The flower buds always remind me of little hand grenades.I hope this self seeds as I would like lots more of the them.

The Marguerite in the planter box continues to bloom impressively.These large Daisy's are beautiful grown over ferny green foliage.I have planted some summer bulbs behind these but I cant remember what they were.I bought three of the bulbs at the Autumn Flower Show.It will be good once they flower so I can remember their name!

It is the Summer Solstice today.The Druids of Britain have descended on Stonehenge this morning to celebrate it.I have my Geum Mrs Bradshaw to marvel over.The red flowers seem to float over the garden, blowing in the breeze.They give a red haze above the green leaves of the other plants.

The Seed heads look like crimson Cavemen.They are like red conkers.I like the green of the garden behind the Geum flowers.

It rained extremely heavily last night.I found one of my baskets up ended and all the plants on the path this morning.I have done some running repairs on it.Luckily The plug plants have grown on even in the few days that they have been planted.

I need to go to the allotment.I have Runner Bean Scarlet Emperor to plant, and to see what has been growing well in my absence.It is forecast for light rain so I may have to dodge the showers.

I have to decide which photos (there were 200) to blog for the Gardeners World Live Show.I will do maybe a two part post to recap the best bits.

Apart from the new flowers in the photos Wimbledon also started yesterday.It is the 125Th year that it has been played.

I am a massive tennis fan, and was pleased to see wins for Andy Murray, and my favourite player Raphael Nadal.I have Strawberries in the raised sleeper bed ready to pick too.It is British Summer at its best.Two weeks of Tennis,Strawberrys n cream, lots of flowers in bloom,and hopefully sunshine.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Plant and Protect

The Braeburn Apple Tree growing in a pot has three Apples growing on it.I love the red and green colouration of the fruit.This is the third year I think that I have had the Tree.This winter I will plant it into the garden, as it is growing in a pot.It started off as a mail order tree that looked like a stick.I wander if the cold winter froze all the fruiting spurs off the tree?It was covered in Blossom last year but we still only ended up with three Apples.

This is the Apple Tree today growing in the pot by the raised Strawberry bed.Apples have been a traditional British Fruit grown for centurys.We have many varieties, but unfortunately commercial growers only concentrate on a few select varieties.

The Autumn Flower Show at Harrogate has an Apple competition and showcases many rare varieties.

At Hampton Court RHS flower show this July garden designer Sadie May Stowell will enter the Copella"Plant And Protect"garden, with support from Doctor David Bellamy, a botanical legend.

It will celebrate the diversity of British Apples, and encourage people to plant their own Apple Trees.The traditional Apple orchard is part of the British countryside, but these have been declined greatly over the past few years, and need preserving if future generations are going to be able to see them.

Copella is a family run farm that produces Apple Juices from hand picked locally grown Apples, and has done for forty years.I have bought a bottle of their Apple Juice today for the train down to Birmingham.

I hope it does well, and that the campaign continues to prevent the decline of traditional British Apple varieties.It is a campaign close to my heart.I hope that my apple tree will produce more fruit in future years.I will enjoy the three Apples we will have.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Foxglove

One of the new plants that I have bought is this purple Foxglove.I love these plants dearly, they are as archetypal of an English summer as Strawberries and Cream, and cricket.These Cottage garden plants have entranced Bees and gardeners alike.I could only find one type at Hampsons. The Purple Dalmations?

The speckled flowers draw Bee's into the Foxes Glove.I want to see if there are some more varieties of different Foxgloves at the Birmingham NEC on Fridays BBC gardeners world show.

I worked today and watched the heavy rain falling this afternoon.After a dry spell I welcome the rain for the allotment and garden.

I have tomorrow morning to do some gardening before we get an afternoon train to Birmingham New Street.It will be gardening/food heaven on Friday.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blooms And Baskets

I spent the whole day today in the garden tidying up,cleaning the greenhouse up,planting my baskets, and taking photos.It was twenty degrees centigrade in the shade.The mystery Poppy in the planter box finally opened its crimson and black petals.It is very silky on the outside,and only opened in the sunshine.When it got cooler the flower was shut back up again.

There are about six smaller Poppy's with single flowers.This is a double flower, and is twice the size of the others.Is it a genetic cross between two Poppies?This is what they bred, but the other flowers are smaller and less showy.Maybe they lose vigour as they self seed and revert back to their parent plants.

The Lady Emma Hamilton is not blooming spectacularly like Harlow Carr, or Darcey Bussell. The LEH blooms are perfectly formed and scented so sweetly.The Apricot flowers seemed to glow today in the bright sunshine.She may not be performing as well as usual, but her blooms are perfection.

The pond has its edges softened now by planting around the pond liner.The pond plants have established themselves in the water, and have started to oxygenate the pond.The water is finally clearing after it became a green watery mess.It has now only been topped up by rainwater.My Norfolk Reed is also acting as a water filter.The pond is bordered by my Wildflower mix.This is a draw for many flying insects.Its busy air space around the pond.I have not seen any Dragonfly's yet this year.

This is a rare daytime photo of one of the Newts that is living in the pond.Tonight by torchlight I counted three frogs and two newts.Earlier I saw some lightning fast dark coloured Newts.They were extremely jumpy.This olive coloured Newt moves slowly through the water and between the oxygenating pond plants.I wander if the Black crested Newts are males looking to mate? They were so quick darting to the surface, before diving back into the deep water of the pond.It is so nice to sit by the side of the pond and look to see whats swimming, or chilling.My water Lily has made itself at home and is widely spreading its kidney shaped leaves.I saw a big frog tonight resting against the edge of a leaf.

Injecting some colour in the sun is the Armeria.It is a small clump of grass, that looks like Chives.It has these lovely pink football type flowers hoisted aloft over the grasses.I put this plant with my other Grasses for contrast to the airy light grasses.

The Rose Margaret Merrill has finally opened a bloom.It is the purest white with a lovely old rose scent.I watered all the Roses tonight with some Rose food.I want to try to keep feeding the Roses so they bloom all summer long.The Rose Flowers are for the eyes, and the scents for memorys and dreams.

The Starlings continue to brawl over the fat balls.There are three fat ball feeders around the garden.The Starlings shriek loudly and fly up to each other in aerial combat.They intimidate each other and eventually one retreats for a while.These are all fledglings I think that are arguing all the time.They are like the Keystone Cops waddling around the garden and pecking each other over the food.

I made the hanging baskets up today.Eight baskets and one wall mounted box.I used up five trays of plants but that did not even dent all the plants I have been growing on Petunia's, Pansy's,and Busy Lizzie's.I planted the Fuchsias and some French Marigolds as the centre plant in some of the baskets, and used different combinations of the three types of plu plants that were growing in the greenhouse.I added the granule food and water crystal mix.My baskets always end up drying out and dying.I hope the water is held in the jelly.

The pathway is lined with pots and planters.I added two brackets onto the old fence,I never realised that I had put these brackets one way, and on the opposite fence fixed the brackets on the other way.Cat told me before she went to work.

Two of the new Baskets are cone shaped.I love the rustic feel off the woven Rattan and black cord that makes the basket up.This was put up near to the Clematis Angelique.

I spent all of my day off in the garden.I have to work tomorrow before going to Birmingham on Thursday night.We have passes for Gardeners World Live/BBC Good Food Show on Friday.I have sorted my camera out.I just need to charge the battery's up ready for the NEC show.

I may well buy a few things to bring back.

The garden is looking lovely now.I just need to try to learn how to sit still.But there is always something to deadhead/trim/water/re pot.A garden is best when its not fully done.

I loved working outside in the sun with the sound of birds singing (and fighting), and the wind blowing through the tree tops.It was a blissful day off.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Night Garden Post

I have had a productive day in the garden today.I went to see Hils this morning and her new puppy called George.I walked back and started to tidy and reorganise the garden.I took this photo today.The Rose is called The Dark Lady and is one of my new David Austin Roses bought this year.It fits well with my night garden theme.Dark Crimson Roses with a slight scent.

The moon looks full tonight.It was shining brightly behind some trees.I have read that some people actually plant Vegetables according to the Lunar cycle.I love how mysterious and mystical the moon looks behind the trees.Does anyone do Lunar Planting?

My solar light is of the moon too beaming down onto a blue/green glass globe.At night the LEDs change colour and illuminate the silvery moon face.

The camera picked out the white of the Hosta flowers and the classical Statue.They are ghost like in the darkness.Green and white.

Earlier I planted the remaining Tomato's into the two greenhouse grow bags, and tied the established ones to sticks.I planted my two Barrell containers,one big pot, and three planter boxes with a mixture of Asters,Sunflowers,Pansy's, and Straw Flowers.

I trimmed the Teasel back in the sunken border and planted three Verbena Bonarensis.I potted up my two Milk Thistles and placed them on either side of my metal peacock by the greenhouse.I planted a Hellebore by the mystery Poppy, and a Pink Phlox in a big pot by the backdoor.

As the light faded and night was arriving I saw Bats flying over the house high in the air.I used my torch for looking into the pond.Tonight I saw two Frogs, and two Newts.One Newt was plain olive coloured, the second was much more speckled like leopard skin.

The solar lights add some magic into the garden, and make it fun to look at at night.I have sowed some Scented Night Stock for evening scents.I love the idea of plants that smell in the evening.A perfect time to sit in the garden and just relax with a drink.