Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cat's Rose Plan

The Lady Emma Hamilton in flower. I love the David Austin roses. Cat has been sent a catalogue for 2009-10 and has decided we can grow a Rose hedge at the front garden to seperate next doors garden and ours.
A two feet high wall of yellow Scented Roses. We need to dig the border first, and then order the Roses from David Austin.
I love Roses. The Gardeners World magasine voted them the nations favourite flower, and the most hated flower too!
Its like marmite, loving or hating it.
A garden would be dull without the colours, shapes, and scents of Roses.
I love them.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Poppies And Plot

The new plot is double the size of the other one, but it is totally overgrown. Heres me photographed by Cat. The top layers have been scraped by a digger, but the weeds/grasses are growing back fast.

Fields of Poppie today on the way to Walton allotment. The sun was blazing, and it was dry all day. I love the hazy red lines across the horizon.

A good omen was seeing this Robin. He hopped around me eating uncovered worms, and sitting on my digging fork.

The end of day one. The Rhubarb's , and Globe Artichoke's were under all the thistles, nettles, and grasses. I need to clear one row for my Courgettes, and Squashes. It was hard going with sweat pouring off me, and the Nettles nipping my hands and legs.
Rome was not built in a day I kept reminding myself. I'm working two long days, so work has stopped untill Wednesday. They have forecast a heatwave over the next few days.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Simple Things

The Cornflowers are in full bloom in the pot by the backdoor fence. I love how the flowers seem to float ghost like above the pot.
After I had finished my nights I walked around the garden. I saw the Lady Emma Hamilton Rose in flower, the Iceberg climbing Rose blooming on the pergola, with the Clematis and the sweet fragrant Honeysuckle.
I ate a few Raspberrys, and Strawberrys from the garden. Fresh from the grow bags or soil. The Apples and Plums seem to get bigger daily on the fruit trees.
June seems to make everything grow strongly, and for the summer flowers to start blooming.
The temperatures are in the twentys, and the rain has not fallen. Wimbledon is back on the TV, my favourite tennis tournament of the year.
Simple things bring the most pleasure on a warm June day.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Kitchen Garden Vegetables

The Patio has the Runner Beans in pots, French Beans, Two bags of New Potatoes, Two pots with Tomatos, and the Alpine Strawberrys. The move made us put plants into pots because there was no soil to plant in! I will see what grows well in containers.

The raised beds at the back of the garden where the Ducks lived before. There are Strawberrys, Onions, Shallots, Carrots, Lettuces, Potatoes (free seed potatoes from Hampsons), Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbages, Beetroot, and Peas.
I liked the Veg we ate last year, so I have been trying to grow them this year.

Summer Fruit

This garden will be the most productive one I have been in. I moved my Strawberry planter bag and have eaten the first Strawberrys of the year. I love eating them off the plant. The raised beds at the back of the garden have more Strawberrys too.

There are Fruit trees in the garden that the Landlord had planted. Apple pie anyone? These are growing at the back of the garden by the raised beds. I have never grown Apples before. There is another bigger Apple tree with less fruit, a Peach tree that has not done anything, and the white Cherry blossom tree was actually a Plum tree.

The Raspberry canes I got from Walton allotment have started to fruit. This is the first Raspberry nearly ready to eat. I discovered last year how much I enjoyed eating them. It was a revelation, because before I had only eaten Raspberry Yoghurt if that was the last one left.

A Current Bush grows by the back fence under the side of the Butterfly Bush. I do not know what it is. They are very acidic in taste. Maybe a Red Current or Black Current?There was no label. What do you do with the Currents? Do people have recipies that use these berryies?
This year will be very productive. Lots of Jams, Crumbles, Pies, and maybe Country Wines.
The longest day of the year was on Sunday. the days are shortening now. Summer is here..

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cats Hostas

Growing in pots by the back gate are five large pots with Hostas in. Originally Cat dug them up from her old house and stored them in pots ready for the move. They started to flourish like never before. The damage previously terminal, caused by slugs and snails was reduced to almost no damage.

These Asian Herbaceous Perennials are named after an Austrian botanist called Nicholas Thomas Host. They were introduced first to the Jardin Des Plantes in Paris sometime in the 1780's. Later around 1820 a man called Siebold began sending shipments of Hostas back from Japan. More influxes of Hostas continue, and they have been extensively hybridised.

I love the grand sized leaves, and the flowers like the white and lilac ones photographed here. They are shade loving plants and grow year after year. They like cool damp conditions. The fence is shaded for much of the day. They have the most amazing waterproof leaves. They catch the rain water and direct it down the curved leaves to the stems that are like waterslides. I stood pouring water out just to see how the leaves funnelled the water to the base of the plant.
I read there is one called August Lilly that has scented flowers. I will look for it for Cat. There is a large clump of Hostas by the vegetable bed and it needs digging out after it has died back to be put into pots.
The expanse of Patio puts off the Slugs and snails. These Hostas are lovely to look at by the kitchen door.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I sowed a pot in March with a mixture of Corn Flowers, and California Poppies. The Cornflowers have flowered first, and elbowed out the California Poppies.
I love the electric blue, in past years when the UK was more agricultural ploughing fields used to unleash a sea of Blue.
It is upto gardeners now to keep this wildflower growing in our gardens.
Its like the more snappily dressed cousin of the Bachelors Button, which are also growing under the big Apple tree here.
I do like blue flowers, it is very calming. My basket above it is planted in blue and white coloured flowers.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mystery Plant

This plant has trailing green leaves, and these wanderfully scented yellow flowers. They are almost like water lilys with a cup like flower and the scent is like lemon grass. It is reminiscent of a Thai curry or Chicken soup.
What plant is it? It is growing in the raised border, like a ground cover plant but it is not successfull..
I am working nights again this week, so only time to walk around the garden before bed, and after I get up.
Can you identify this scented yellow flower for me?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Delph Blue

These are the first flowers on one of my Delphinium plants. The Blue colour is like the Pacific Ocean on a sunny day.
I have now been given my new plot at the Walton Allotment. It is bigger than the old one, but starts as overgrown, and bumpy. The ground is curved like a cup from left to right, with a higher ground at the end closest to the hedge.
I can have lots of people walking past and looking at my plot as a dirt track runs along the hedge.
I have been formulating a plan about how to tackle such a big allotment, quite late in the growing season.
I have Leeks, Cabbages, Courgettes, Squash, and Pumpkin that need somewhere to call home. I might just dig enough room for them, then leisurely clear it.
There are masses of Gooseberrys on a huge bush, Globe Artichokes, and three Rhubarb crowns left over from a previous plot holder, before it went totally wild.
Back in the garden the birds have demolished so much of the bird food. Sunflower hearts, seed mix, Niger seed, and Fatballs are going down or have been totally eaten.
Its like a garden birds buffett with all the feeders. There is serenity in the garden watching them fly over the Delphinium Blue to eat the food, and drink from the water bowl. I love the connecting with them..

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Baskets And Blooms

This is the Blue and White Basket. Blue Sunriver Daisys and White Pansys with Blue painted faces.
Its the coolest basket of the garden with the two tones only, contrasting to the Reds, oranges, and yellows of the other baskets.
I do love baskets for the colour, and movement of the foliage and flowers.
You just need to remember to keep watering them.
The Tomatos are growing nicely, the tumbling Toms and the Matsoka.
I cannot wait to pick them off the plant and eat them in situ.
We had the house Landlord visit and he told us we have two Apple Trees, one Plum Tree, and a Peach Tree (which did not flower at all this year). The Quince looking fruit is a Japanese Japonica
With the Veg growing in the raised borders it will be a productive summer.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Flower Faces

A gorgeous Pansy grown from seed. I love the Blue and Black colour, with the furry white lip. It has a yellow eye.
I have an excess of plants around the greenhouse that have not found a home yet.
Busy Lizzies, Mimulus, Pansys, and Everlasting flowers.
I thought I was going to be making more hanging baskets than I actually did.
This flower actually has a face, looking out at me, a happy garden spirit.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bird's And Bee's

I was reading the RSPB's magazine called Birds. I liked the pictures, writing, and stories that people write in. They are collecting stories where people have encounters with nature. Whether it is animals, birds, bee's, or insects. Whenever they have felt a connection, or a sense of awe.

I love watching Bee's flying into flowers hence the first photo. The second photo is the female Blackbird hopping along the raised beds.
I read that eighty percent of the RSPB members never visit the reserves, and do not know how to identify species.
The eighty percent that do not know difference between bird species knows they are important, and are worth saving (by paying for membership of the RSPB).
The garden is a perfect place to observe nature, to watch wildlife, and to feel more calm. One man took his family to the local RSPB reserve and payed for membership despite being layed off in the morning.
Its good that people are appreciative about nature. and feel it is worth protecting. We are connected to the natural world.
The Birds and Bee's are alive in our garden.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Strawberries And Cream

The first bowl of Strawberries from the gardens grow bag. They were smaller than the shop bought ones, but the taste was so much sweeter.
I have a new allotment now, but need to go up and see what I have been given. There are Courgettes, Squash, and Pumpkin plants here that need planting in the ground!
We need to visit the old allotment to reclaim the tools (which will be rusting or be overgrown in grass), and take the Strawberries and Rhubarb.
Everything else will be left for Angie....
It has been a strange weather day with sunshine but heavy showers too. The garden is looking lovely, with lots of flowers. More flowers are growing on too, yet to bloom.
These Strawberries were ready four days before Wimbledon. Thats how I time the start of the British Strawberry season..
We had them with single cream.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Midnight Flame

The photo is the Streptocarpus Midnight Flame. I bought the plug plant last year at one of the flower shows, and it has flowered beautifully.
The other plant called Chorus Line has not flowered yet.I have seven other Streptocarpus in the greenhouse, waiting to flower.
I finished my nights and have had a quick walk around the garden before bed.
The Delphiniums are in flower...need to take photos once I wake up.
I did the bird count yesterday morning. I saw Starlings (they found their way into our garden for the first time), Goldfinches, Collared Doves, Blackbirds, a Magpie, and some House Sparrows all appeared within the hour.
It is just a snapshot. We have had Wood Pidgeons, Robins, Blue tits, Coal Tits, a Greenfinch, and even a beautiful Chaffinch.
I do like the Streptocarpus plants. I buy a few more every time I visit a flower show with a Dibleys stand.
More posts soon.....

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I left this growing in the fence border, but I think it is a weed. It is pretty, with small blue flowers going up flower spikes.
I cannot find my wildflower book to tell me what it is that I have left growing.
Two more nights to go for me before gardening...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bees Knees

One of the most healthy sounds you can hear in the garden is the buzzing of Bee's. I photographed this one climbing up into the soft flower of the Foxglove.
I wish I knew all the different types of Bee's, but im glad when I see them. All with different looking bands of yellow or orange with the black.
They loved the Ceonothus, the Foxgloves, the Red flowering Rhodie, and the Snapdragons.
I want more pollen rich flowers for the Bee's to seek out.
The greenhouse seems to draw them in too, but the soaring temperatures can be deathly.
Both Cat and me have gone in with a glass jar, and a piece of yellow fly paper to cover the end, to capture then release the errant Bee's.
I even got stung by one on the leg after he dropped onto me in greenhouse. I picked him up off the kitchen floor and placed him on the lilac!
My thought was that he was stressed and disorientated. He used a fight or flight response.My love of Bee's continues despite being stung.
I can happily sit in Lavender and photograph the Bees flying in and out..

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Golden eye

The first Pansy of the year flowering.I have grown this from Seeds. The seedlings have been nurtured in the greenhouse.
I love the purple and black colouring, next to the yellow eye.
Its been a sunny day today, with lots of birds in the garden. We will do a wildlife count tomorrow for the RSPB, counting how many of each type of bird fly in over an hour.
There is such satisfaction from seeing plants you have raised flower. A packet of seeds is only a few pound, but the joy of them flowering is priceless.
The garden is full of Bee's and I saw a few Butterflys today. The Cabbage Whites have found my Brassicas!I keep picking Caterpillars off!
My Nasturtiums will be too late to stop the egg laying! Maybe I'll be organised next year.I found a Sweet Pea today growing under the swings. The birds must have dropped a seed or it blew down from the Duck end of the garden.
I love a garden full of wild life, and colours.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Birds And Baskets

The back garden fence that runs along the garage has the Wisteria growing along the top, and four hanging baskets below it. There are Verbenas, Mimulus, Busy Lizzies, Petunias, and the Lotus flower. The colours are starting to show on Individual plants.

I enjoy making hanging baskets up. I start with a fake moss lining, add compost, plant food granules, and water retaining gel. I plant them up with my greenhouse tended plants, and water them in. Not shown is my two baskets with trailing Tomato plants, the Tumbling Toms, and the Matsoka Tomatos. They were both grown from seeds.
The basket plants were bought as plug plants and grown on.

In one of the hanging baskets is this beautiful double flowered Petunia called Priscilla. It has such gorgeous colours , and smells beautiful.

Yesterday I saw six Goldfinches (a charm) on the feeders, four Magpies in the garden and on the bird table. The other unexpected visitor was this Pidgeon eating the Fatballs that are held onto the Narnia light. He can get a good grip and sit comfortably on the red metal cage to dine in style. I did not think the Pidgeons and Collared Doves liked fatballs.
Its amazing to see how many birds visit the garden daily, and how they bring back more of their family or friends. From two Goldfinches to Six adults, and their fledglings.
I planted a green veg bag up with the French Beans. Last year the African grow bags grew lovely plants before they were crushed after the bag collapsed. The allotment French Beans were chewed by Slugs and Snails before they got out of the ground.
I have on the patio two pots of Runner Beans, two bags of New Potatoes, one pot of Alpine Strawberrys, the Herb Planter full of Strawberrys, and finally two pots of Tomato Plants (gardeners delight, and Sunrise? yellow ones).
I like sitting on the bench looking at the new border, and all the edible plants growing. There are a lot more plants on the outside table waiting to be planted, or given away.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

In Bloom Today

Its Sunday afternoon and the sky is overcast, with thick rain laden clouds. I went outside to take photos of some of the flowers in bloom today. Starting with the quintessentially cottage garden favourite, Foxgloves. These have had bee's buzzing into the spotted cup like flowers already. Hopefully these will self seed freely! I want lots more Foxgloves.

A Bee's eye view looking up the Foxglove flower. I have four plants growing, in both light and dark pink. I bought four baby Foxgloves from the plant stall. They are growing on in pots, but will not flower untill next year. Most Foxgloves are biennial, in that they grow for the first year, before flowering in the second year. They will set seed then die back.

The Gertrude Jekyll Rose in bloom. These Roses smell of sweet rose scent. They are pretty pink colours. The scent is old english Rose, crossed with more prolific flowering modern Roses.
It is healthy and got more Rose Buds than all the other shrub Roses. It was voted the UK's most popular Rose for its looks, scent, and free flowering Habit.

Another cottage garden favourite is this Aquilegia. I have them in White, this Purple and White, a pink and white, and the Blue and White. The flowers are huge and the spurs trailing behind are very long. These self seed freely too in the garden. I like the variety of colours that letting self seeded ones flower. You need to buy new ones if you want to keep the original flower colours.

Across the side of the garage I have these five window box planters full of Verbenas, Mimulus, Sea Hollys, St James Wort, Busy Lizzies, and a Heuchera. The Eryngiums are finally forming their spiky flower bracts. This year after they have finished Flowering I will put them in the garden borders. with a label saying this is a plant not a weed!

There are Two clumps of Snapdragons growing in the raised borders. These beautiful White flowers with a hint of yelllow in the centre. They smell like candy sticks, yum yum. I have a greenhouse full of Snapdragons grown from seeds my mum sent me.
They will grow away this year, for flowering next year. They need to gain in Size, and sturdiness.

Growing up the right side of the pergola was the sickly looking Clematis. After I cleared the weeds around it its regained vigour. The furry flower bud has opened to reveal this Purple/Lilac coloured flower..

The Clematis has two climbing Roses growing now alongside it on the right side of the Pergola. The left hand side and top is covered in Honeysuckle. The pink Rose is so sweet smelling, Zephrine Drouhain. I love stopping to smell the Roses. Especially when it is as strongly fragrant as this one.

The final photo on my whirlwind flower tour is the Butterfly Flower. I saved the seeds from last year and sowed them in a pot. Schizostylis I think there latin name is. There appear to be a variety of colours and faces on these Orchid like flowers. I think they are called poor mans orchid too.
I have them in Lilac, Purple, and White. The spotted colouring is different on every flower. Like an organic Rorsasch test!
Sundays are perfect for walking around your garden and seeing whats flowering, and whats growing.

Butterfly Night

I have finished four nights now, and have slept most of today. I have had problems getting on the internet this last week too.
This is a Butterfly on the Lilac a month ago. It has been raining hard since yesterday. The water buts are full to bursting now again, after we emptied one during the week of scorching sunshine.
I need to photograph the garden tomorrow, to show the flowers that are blooming in the borders and baskets. Baby Goldfinches have been in the garden at the feeders, watched by their attentive parents.
My Roses have bloomed, and the mystery Clematis on the Pergola has opened up today. There is so much to blog about!
June brings us the start of the summer, with Roses in bloom in many gardens that I have walked past.
Its good to be online again!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Four B's

The new border is finally been dug, along the edge of the retaining wall. I have planted two Rose bushes, some Grasses, Verbenas, Geraniums, and Cerinthes. It has been hot for about five days now. Not a drop of rain in sight.

The mystery plant growing under the Apple Tree is this Bachelors Button, or Centauri. The flower buds look like scaly hand grenades, before the Blue petals burst outwards, like a firework.

A baby Blackbird chick found its way into the flower border by the fence. It chirped away, and the parents continued to fly into the flowers and feed him. We helped him back into the Fir Trees to stop him being eaten by any predators. When he fell he damaged his leg so I dont know if he will survive to adulthood.

Bargains is the final B. The plant stall at Walton Village hall made a whopping £600 during a boiling hot sunday. Luckily the tables were underneath the tall shady trees. We sold for five hours and sold the majority of the plants.
I'm going back to work nights later. My week off has been full of colour, flowers, and sunshine.