Saturday, May 30, 2009

Plant Stall Eve

Tomorrow is the walton plant stall where we sell plants outside the walton village hall to raise funds for charitys and organisations in Walton.
Hils swore blind last year she would not do any more, and I cajoled her into it.
The sun is forecast to shine very brightly, and hopefully we can raise as much money as possible.
This will be my third year helping Hils out, with a few more helpers too...
The photo is of the Aquilegias in the garden, beautiful Ghost Orchid like flowers with trailing white tails..

Friday, May 29, 2009

Swan Song In The Sun

This gorgeous mute Swan was at Newmillerdam yesterday. A few months ago some vandals shot the original female dead. The forlorn male swan swam around and around the lake looking for his dead mate. This was reported in the local newspaper. Something had to be done..

They introduced a new female Swan, and yesterday we saw her sat on her nest in a bed of Flag Iris.
She is sitting on her eggs. The male Swan was swimming a little distance away.
Most people know that Swans usually form bonds with their mate, and stay together for a lifetime.
Its good that the widowed male Swan decided to take a chance on the new female. There should be Cygnets soon swimming around the lake.
The sun is shining today, the perfect weather for Harlow Carr.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


We (Cat and me) went to Newmillerdam today, a public park three miles from Wakefield, with its big lake and extensive woodland. Over two hundred acres. We walked two miles around the lake to the first of three bridges. This tree was in flower. It was the firstcolour we saw from the car park.

The lake has been around for hundreds of years, under a variety of landowners. The council acquired the land and turned it into a park.

The lake was bordered by mixed woodland, the flowers above were Queen Annes Lace, and Creeping Buttercups. The whites and yellows.

The most iconic building was this boathouse, built around 1832. Not much else is known about it. It is castle shaped, with a delipidated roof, and an archway at the front where the boats came out to take victorian gentlemen wildfowl shooting..both have long since gone.
The lake supports a selection of water birds now like Geese, Ducks, Swans, Coots, and even Herons.

Nestling on a log were these adorable Ducklings. they were so fluffy looking... overlooked by the mother duck.

Flag Iris were in flower around the edges, especially the path along the lakeside on the opposite side from the dense woodland.

The cloudy day slowly cleared upto blue skys and sunshine. I love the trees and Irises growing out of the water. This was superb habitat for the wildlife. The lake was full of life, in it, and alongside it.

My endearing memory of today will be of the birds and the Flag Iris. The old symbol of the anglo saxon Britain.

We saw these baby Coots being fed bread by the mother bird. They were so inventive, building nests on a variety of platforms. The best was a pram that had been dumped in the lake. The coots had constructed a nest around it untill only a wheel was visible.
Cat and Me then had to go to pick her son up. He had fallen off his bike and it turned out had broken his leg. Get better soon Tom!
Cat and me are going to Harlow Carr tomorrow, in Harrogate. More flower photos to come...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Spring Watch

Two Goldfinches on the feeders photographed by Cat when I was working last week..
The BBC's Springwatch has started since Monday. Bill Oddie has gone off sick, and the Really Wild Show guy Chris Packham is presenting it with Kate Humble. Simon King is broadcasting live from Wales hunting for the elusive Polecat.
It makes going outside more fun, looking for birds or animals in our immediate neighbourhood.
They follow the fortunes of nesting birds, and even broadcast live nests on webcams.
They are inspiring more people to take pride of our natural heritage, and to look for it. They say you do not have to travel across the world to see wild animals and birds.
For a small Island we have a rich diversity of animals and birds.
As i write this the rain is splattering on the backdoor glass windows.Its grey skys and windy.We want to buy some compost today, and a tray of French Marigolds.
I want to try Companion planting the FM's next to the Roses. The French Marigolds attract Ladybirds which will demolish the aphids that are clambering all over my Roses.
The Gertrude Jekyll is nearly in flower. The petals are starting to show out of its wrapping cover.
The other companion plant will be Nasturtiums to deflect the Cabbage white Butterfly from our raised bed Cabbages. They will lay eggs first in Nasturtiums. Sacrificial Flowers. The Aztecs will have approved!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Desperate Housewifes

One of the plants growing along the fence is a lovely Wisteria, with the scented Blue flowers. It has flowers on both sides of the fence. some people wait years for their Wisteria to flower..
We are lucky in that we have been here for a few weeks. The sun continues to shine, and the flowers are growing beautifully..
I helped Hil's weed her allotment yesterday, and saw the men clearing the waste area behind hers. I will have a new allotment soon.
Their will be Courgettes, Squash, and Leeks up there. I will be starting from an untended plot, covered in grasses and weeds!
I have been tanned over the past few days. I love being outside when its sunny.
Looking over all our plants and flowers. The wind has been knocking them over today.
Cat is out cutting the grass in the warm sunshine.
I will goto Hampsons tomorrow to buy more compost. The new Potato bag has used up all the compost i had left.
I have Nasturtiums to plant, and Verbena Bonarensis to repot. Time now to go outside and walk around the garden.
Was there Wisteria in Wisteria Lane?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Royal Blue Sunday

The good thing about a new garden is discovering what has been left behind. This Aquilegia is growing beneath the pergola. It is a sumptuous Royal Blue and White colour.
One of the many Aliums is out of focus behind it.
Its a sunny day today with no clouds or rain. It is actually too hot at the moment to do border digging.
I repotted the Fuschias, made another hanging basket, cleared the weeds between the patio slabs, replanted the window box planters, and swept up...
The climbing Roses are now planted on the right side of the pergola, alongside the Clematis. I trimmed the Honeysuckle that grows up the left side and across the top. It has many flower buds forming on it.
I have just sat under it enjoying its shade. Once the fragrant flowers bloom it will be perfumed and cool from the afternoon sun.
The sun brings out the many colours and forms of the garden. I have actually sat down as well for some quiet moments, between being busy.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Three Ladys

The first lady is this Geum Mrs Bradshaw. It had an orange tone to it a few days ago. the flower buds start off yellow and then develop this red tinge to the slowly unfolding flower.
I am off work now for over a week.The garden is calling me.
We finally planted the new Potatoes into the grow bags from last year. They grow the foliage and get covered up untill the bag is full. They were great last year the potato leaves for butterflys, hoverflys, and flys to land on to sun themselves. I bought two bags of seed Potatoes. Five or six seed potatoes in each small bag, of Charlotte and Nichola, two ladys names.
The Runner beans have been put into pots and are growing away nicely beneath the wig wam arrangement of canes. There will be two six foot wigwams covered in the scarlet flowers then the beans. Moving has stopped me using the allotment, untill we can get to Walton in June sometime.
My Courgettes, Squash Scallopini, and Squash Lightning will be grown up there once we have cleared a bed for them.
I want to plant my six rectangular planters today, move the climbing Roses to the Pergola, and repot the Tomato plants in the greenhouse.
The weather is typical of a UK bank holiday. Its overcast and threatening to rain. There are a lot of plants growing well. the new border needs digging to rehome the homeless pot bound plants.
I also will try to watch all the RHS Chelsea programs that I missed as I worked. Its good that the BBC champions it, and shows a lot of what is shown. They interview the garden designers, the plantsman from the nurserys, and also the celebritys who go to it.
You know Summer is getting close when the Chelsea flower show comes around. It has been running now for 87 years!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Violas And Chelsea

Viola Molly Sanderson growing in the pot. They are waiting for the new border to be planted.
I have been watching the RHS Chelsea flower show coverage on the BBC.
Its as English as Wimbledon, cricket, queues, drinking tea, and Strawberrys and Cream.
The show gardens, city and urban gardens, and floral displays are the work of a year or two years of design, and being executed perfectly.
Average gardeners walk around taking it all in, and hopefully bringing some ideas back to their own gardens. We really are a nation of gardeners.
Back in the new garden Cat helped me plant our runner beans today in two large pots with wig wams of canes for the plants to grow up.
The Peas are now in the second raised border, as they were outgrowing the drainpipes they were grown in.
I'm back to work tomorrow, so no gardening for two days. The rain has been falling for days now, even today. The water butts are catching some of it.
The greenhouse plants are continuing to grow beautifully. My plastic covered greenhouse is a plant nursery. The future border plants and veg plants are all started off there, before being moved outside.
I will write more about Chelsea when im off, about what I liked.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Amphibian Welcome

A photo from the new house of the three wise frogs brought back from the Spring Flower Show a few weeks back. They are sat under the Eucalyptus, with Viola Cornuta flowering away beneath them.
I have moved with Cats Dads help the enormous two metre Lilac Tree in the pot, and the Apple tree which is as tall as me.
We lifted the plants, loosened the excess soil, and wrapped the rootball ready for transporting them.
Once they had made the five mile trip to Crigglestone (where I am living now) they were repotted.They are waiting for me to plant them in the ground in the future.They can live in Pots for this year.
It has rained for the past two days heavily. Good for the grass, and the plants in the dug borders, but bad for me gardening!
I want to repot my Tomatos and Chillis today, and plant my Potatoes in the grow bags, a little late...
The next border needs marking out and digging over along a retaining wall that seperates the two levels of the garden. I have lots of plants itching to get into the soil to grow away freely.
I hope all your weekends are good, and that the sunshine smiles on you.Its two days untill the RHS Chelsea Flower Show opens its doors. I will have plenty to blog about...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Star Of Geum

The Geum in the garden has developed some red colouring in the petals on the first flower. I first saw these plants growing at Harlow Carr a few years ago, in the main borders, and Jekyll-Lutens garden . Beautiful big red poppy like flowers.
I am off work today, but it has been raining, with grey overcast skys.
I was watching the birds this morning. Two Magpies were feeding in the garden, along with some Blackbirds, Collared Doves, and House Sparrows.
The feeders are attracting the birds in...
I will hopefully have a new allotment by the end of June. I can leave Barretts Road, and join the Walton Allotments which is closer to here.
The raised beds at the back of the garden are filling up with healthy growing veg now. The birds have been eating all the pests. I hope to have a good harvest, and plenty of fresh fruit and veg from the kitchen garden.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A New Colour

An unusual Welsh Poppie in the garden has grown an orange colour. All the other Poppies are yellow. I will mark the stem with a ribbon to remind me to collect the seeds from this one ready for sowing along the fence border later this year.
I think a mixture of Orange and Yellow Poppies will be lovely. They will self seed for years to come too. A good plant for when money is tough...
I am off work today, so I can start weeding the two raised beds where the bird feeders are.
The greenhouse door needs opening and all the dry plants watered. I have a collection of pots by the kitchen door that need planting into the (as yet un-dug) border along the wall that divides the garden into two.
The good thing about here is that the owners have put a lot of shrubs, fruit tree's, and a few plants into the garden, and divided the garden up with brick walls, paving slabs, and wooden fencing to keep the ducks in (They have moved to new gardens the Ducks). I have a basic garden shape to start with, ready for me to evolve it with Cats help.
My ideas and dreams involve removing the parts that do not work, adding many many more flowers and plants to attract the Bee's and Butterflys, and to extend the kitchen garden down.
Four eight foot by four foot raised beds should grow enough Vegetables for all the meals we want to cook. Gardeners World magasine showed thrift tips, and growing your own Courgettes, Mixed Salad Leaves, Pak Choi, and Raspberrys were much cheaper to grow your own, compared to current supermarket prices. And the fact that they taste so lovely when picked,washed, and eaten almost immediately. Not a chemical in sight.
There are Aquilegias in the garden, and Aliums that are nearly flowering now. They will stay in the garden, along with the not flowering yet Foxgloves, and Snapdragons. These are concentrated within the raised beds that need weeding!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Colour From My Greenhouse

The groovy Mimulus in flower in the greenhouse. These were bought as plug plants from Swillington, and grown on untill they have flowered.
Busy Lizzies, Verbenas, and Geraniums are also developing well within the plastic covered greenhouse.
It is also a lovely place to shelter if it is pouring down with rain. the raindrops splattering off the plastic cover remind me of being in a tent camping..
The wind has done its best to rock the greenhouse, but it is well weighted with lots of plants and pots.
I love the colours on this plants throat leading to the pollen and nectar within. A kaleidoscope effect inside an orange tube.
I watched Gardeners World from the Malvern Spring Flower show. Its the RHS Chelsea flower show in 9 days time. I will spend ages perusing all the gardens then watch the BBC's coverage of it..
I wander whether there will be colour this year. Last years Chelsea show gardens were dominated with green. Hundreds of shades of it, but not enough colour for my taste..
I like the gaudy colours of the Mimulus, and the pastel shades of my Busy Lizzies. Green is good, but colour is what wows the crowds.
I normally dream about designing a show garden around this time of the year. I have the greenhouse to grow the plants :)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Mad Weather and Bluebells

What a strange day the weather is having. It was blowing a gale this morning knocking over the pots, and flinging a grey plastic chair down the garden at me. Next doors fence has been ripped from the vertical supports and is flapping now in the wind.
We went to a diner for dinner and got soaked as it poured down with rain..
Now as I write this by the back door it is blazing sunshine. Three weathers in a day...
I have put some Sweet Pea seeds to soak overnight, and planted some Sweet William seeds.
I finally planted my Black Grasses, Sedum, and my Geum Mrs Bradshaw..
The flower bud on the Geum looks suspiciously yellow, not the red on the label. Has somebody switched the label?
The photo is of some Bluebells. The top flower was facing upwards, probably blown up by the wind. I love the steel Blue colour, and it contrasts with the yellows of the Violas, Pansys, and Welsh Poppies..
I am working all weekend so am trying to enjoy the sunshine now before the weather turns again.
I hope you all have nice productive weekends.I am looking forward to Gardeners World tonight on BBC 2 for those in the UK.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

New Post

A new post from the new house. The Goldfinches are regular visitors along with the Greenfinch, A Blue Tit, Blackbirds, Collared Doves, Pidgeons, House Sparrows, and today a female Chaffinch..
The flowers are blooming nicely in the sunshine.I have spent a lot of time packing boxes at the old house over the weekend, and started to move them today.
A handfull of plants remain to be moved, and my large collection of pots from the outhouse!
The rain has been falling for days and the water butt here is totally full, and over flowing.We need a second rain butt and stand to collect the excess.
The raised beds are looking productive. Onions, Garlic, Shallots, and Carrots are growing on. The over wintered Strawberry plants have a few flowers growing on them.
The Strawberrys from the planter are growing masses of flowers. They should be very productive this year.
The greenhouse is full of bedding plants, and vegetable plants growing on. Two venus flytraps stand guard to keep the flys down.
The new garden is waiting to be developed, with the first border done, and the raised beds at the back. The fruit trees are all developing their fruits. I hope we can identify what is growing soon!
Its a lovely sunny day, with the smell of cut grass from the front of the house (Cat is in charge of the lawns).

Monday, May 04, 2009

Three On The Tree

The Lilac tree is a butterfly magnet. They have been flying around it, dog fighting across the gardens in the row, and occasionally landing on the leaves or flowers.
The Lilac has such a delicious scent, I do like to stand and inhale the flowers perfume. On a good windy day you can smell it from a distance.
There are three Butterflys in the photograph. It was worth waiting a year for the tree to flower.I hope it has many more years to come, and that the Butterflys keep returning to it.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


The Tulips I planted in October are all starting to flower now in the old garden. A swan song before I move onto the new garden. I went to Swillington nursery yesterday to buy pots. I came back with two Sunriver Daisys, a new Fuschia, and two white Surfinias plug plants for baskets, and for the new border two Delphiniums, and two Poppies called Pizzicatto.
The Pink/white Tinged ones are called Angelique, and they are pretty, contrasting to the pale Daffodils that are blooming alongside them.

Some unknown white Tulips that I bought from Wilkos. These have a hint of pink in the petals..

I love the lime green splashes on this Tulips, again it was from Wilkos and I cannot remember the name. I have spent since Friday packing boxes, and trying to clean rooms ready to move. I did not know how much stuff I have accumulated over the past few years!
The last job will be to rescue the plants I want to take with me, then tidy the garden up ready for the new tenants. I hope they like the garden, and enjoy sitting in it as much as I do.
As the saying goes as one door closes, another one opens. As this garden flowers away it will stay in my memory when i have finally left and handed the keys back in.