Monday, August 30, 2010

Retro Blue

This Globe Thistle has taken two years to grow before it is flowering. I love the Japanese manga look of the blue Thistle. The Flowers are little Blue Stars growing at the end of the Globe. It has nice spiky architectural leaves.
This plant was bought from Wilkos for a pound, but has taken two more seasons to grow its first flower.
It is perennial and is much loved by Bee's.
I topped up all the birds food today. Replenishing the Nijer seed, Sunflower hearts, bird seed mix, fatballs, and Suet treat in a new rectangular cage.
The cool grey days are getting shorter again. The Sun is rising later, and setting earlier. The Garden looks raggedy and needs my green fingers when im off work to tidy up.
The Pond and the Bird feeding station are still attracting lots of wildlife. I spend a lot of time just watching the comings and goings.
The first bags of Spring Bulbs have been bought and are sat in the Shed outside waiting for the garden to be cleared so I can work out where to plant the bulbs.
I hope this Echinops has more growth over the winter and that it flowers even more beautifully next year. The virgin garden has been planted with lots of perennials. They should increase in size and vigour. I have some compost in the bin which will hopefully be ready soon. This will be dug into the sunken border, and will hopefully increase the soils fertility.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rain Drops And Pies

When it rains there is not a lot of gardening to be done. You retreat indoors and either read books or seed catalogues. This is the late Summer when you can begin to harvest edible produce and turn it into something else. Jams, Chutneys, or in my case Apple and Apple/Blackberry Pies.

The first Apple pie smelt so lovely that it was rapidly sliced into pieces and eaten with custard. I made Three Apple Pies with Tom, and one Apple And Blackberry Pie with my home made Shortcrust pastry. These will be frozen and eaten across the winter.
I went to buy the Birds more food. They are eating me out of house and home. I love watching them so I do not mind the cost. Fat Balls, Sunflower hearts, and bird seed mix.
I can eat some Apple pie and custard as I watch the birds. The rain is forecast to continue falling over this bank holiday weekend.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pond Reflections

The Sun is shining outside for once after weeks of rain and grey sky's. The only benefit is the garden looks very luscious and green. The Wildflower area around the pond has bloomed magnificently. The pastel colours of the Snapdragons are like sweets in a sea of green. The Bees and Hoverflys are swarming from nectar rich flower to flower.

My idea was to plant around the edge of the mini pond to soften the harsh green edges, and to produce some shaded water within the pond. It has worked successfully. From a distance you can see the grasses and pond plant Norfolk reed sticking up. The water is shaded.

One of the sights of the summer for me is seeing this Frog chilling in the water. He is one of two. He blends in remarkably well with the rocks and the dark water. If you are not looking he is very well camouflaged. The Frogs were drawn to the water by their natural instinct for finding bodies of water across land!
Maybe they have water magnets inside their brain for finding their way to it. I think USA Alligators show the same skill of walking miles to find a source of water..
I hope that the sun continues to shine to help my Tomatoes ripen. There are a handful of Chilli's only, they probably need a nice greenhouse to do really well.
The pond has been one of the successes of this growing season. I want to buy some more grasses or reeds to plant along the edge near the fence. Landing places for winged insects.I am already planning for next year.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer Harvest

Today I picked and ate the first Tomatoes of the year. This sweet Italian Plum was juicy and tasted great with a sprinkle of salt..
Another Gardeners Delight Tomato was also ready. I still have not put up the greenhouse since we moved, so these Tomato plants are growing up against a fence outside to the elements.
I had some from Cats Dad, and some more from the Plant Stall.
If I could only grow two edible plants then it would be Tomato's, and Chilli's.
I will grow the Sweet Italian Plum Tomato's again, as the one I had was very savory and pleasant to eat.
I love eating Tomatoes just plucked off the plant, sliced, and sprinkled with a little salt.
You almost need double the amount so you can harvest some, and eat some at the plant.
It has been raining heavily today, intermittant showers. I have to go back to work tomorrow after a weekend there..
I have Wednesday and Thursday to tidy the garden, and do some more harvesting of my food crops in the garden and allotment. I will have to dodge between showers.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sunflower Dial

Every year I seem to have at least one plant that flowers that I had no hand in. The American readers would call them Volunteer plants. The birds have a hand (or beak) in the garden dropping a seed which germinates and grows. Plants have developed all these extra ways to continue their genetic line, by seed dispersal.

The photos are of my Bird dropped Sunflower seed. Only one has grown tall and flowered over the past few days. The birds are regularly flocking into the garden now for the variety of bird food on my feeding station.
The pond has become a bird bath central for washing and preening feathers. The Sunflower is like a token of thanks from the birds.
The weather has been very wet and windy recently, so the garden is looking even more wild. But still beautiful.
I still have Sunflower seeds from Giverny (Monets garden with the bridges and water lilys) brought back by Cats mum. I hope to grow them next year. Sunflowers are such a symbolic flower, loved by children, artists, and gardeners all over the world. They always make me smile!
The concentric arrangement of the seeds in the centre is a wander of nature, admire the spiralling structure in the top photo..

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wildflower Bloom

This is the first flower in bloom from the Wildflower mix that we sowed around the edge of the pond. The seeds were initially eaten by the birds, then tended by me as it was a dry spell.
These Daisy type flowers have come on leaps and bounds, with their ferny foliage. corn Chamomile?
I'm hoping that all the Wildflowers bloom, and set seed. Hopefully year on year they should all return. I wanted a pollen rich set of flowers to encourage wildlife into the garden.
The pond is already an Oasis for Frogs, and Birds who have been drawn to it. The wildflowers will surround the area between the pond and the corner of the garden. It will be pretty much left to run wild..
The Wildflowers were not labelled what was in them so I am going to have to identify flowers as they bloom!
The garden looks lovely but just a bit raggedy around the edges. I need to get the strimmer out to tidy up the edges.
I am expectantly waiting for the Tomatoes that are growing on the fence to ripen. There are about four varieties growing. The Chilli's have not done as well, only the Cayenne Chilli's and the Jalapenos are growing fruits.
Today we walked around Pugneys, our local Nature Reserve. We saw Dragonflies, Jumping Fish, a Heron, and masses of Canadian Geese.
The Oak trees were making Acorns, and the other trees were making Berries. It was a sign of it being late Summer.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back To Days

I have just finished my four night shifts. The sun seems to have been shining on the days when I have been asleep during the day.
These Tansy flowers have flowered in the middle of the back garden in the grass. The Hoverfly has flown into the photo.
The garden is looking a bit wild in places. Holidays and nightshifts give it the urge to run amok sometimes!
I have bought some of next years Spring bulbs already. Tulips, Crocus, and little Iris Reticulata's.
They need planting in a few months.
The summer flowers are in full bloom now attracting all kinds of insects, Bee's, and Butterflies.
On my days off I want to cut the back garden grass, tidy up the messy parts of the garden, and continue the harvesting up at the allotment.
the King Edward Potatoes need digging up and storing in the newly bought Jute bags..

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Butterfly And Bee Dance

The Teasel I grew from seed has been attracting Butterflies and Bee's into the garden. The plants are very spiky and have a tendency to lean over. All this pollination will make seed heads bursting with Teasel seeds which I hope that the resident Goldfinches will enjoy.
I have been letting the grass grow a bit wild in the corner and it seems to attract lots of insects.I think sharing your garden with wildlife makes it even more special place to spend your time and money on.
We went to Carr Gate nursery today and bought some Jute sacks. I have been growing loads of Potato's in the garden and up at the allotment. I had not worked out how I was going to store all these spuds!
We have harvested the Charlotte New Potatoes, and the first early Rocket Potatoes. There still are King Edwards, Pink Fir's, Nichola, and Catriona Potatoes...
Late summer means you can enjoy your home grown produce and watch the Butterflies dancing around the air.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Agapanthus Blue And Blackdog

This is my Agapanthus in flower at last. I bought a small plant in a box from Wilkos two years ago. The first year it grew leaves but not much else. It died back over the winter then regrew in the Spring. It has grown thicker leaves and has sent up a flower spike. The Blue flowers are electric in colour.

It is another plant brought back from South Africa. It is loved at Flower shows for its fireworks in white or blue. The flowers explode outwards from the central stem. It was worth waiting for to see it bloom.

I got a copy of this book "Recycling The Essential Guide" from a nice lady at Blackdog Publishing to review. It is a very thorough overview of recycling, from how each type of waste is recycled, to case studies from Green countries around the world. It is a very in depth look and a good snapshot of how recycling is done around the globe.
They have offered a 40 percent discount for readers of the blog, if you want to buy this very interesting book.
Give Jess an email at
I think its funny how gardening has made me more aware of the natural world as I photograph the flowers, insects, and all the wildlife. I want to garden organically, and we do recycle what we can.
Summer is finally here. Bees are buzzing and the Dahlias and Larkspurs are flowering at last.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Two Fair Lilys

When we were away two of my favourite plants bloomed. They are both from the Lily family. The first is a mad mixture of pink petals, edged with white, and splattered in Strawberry jam pattern. The Oriental Stargazer Lily. It has a deep scent to it which I find very heady. I can imagine an Arabian Tent full of these perfumed flowers in a desert. Like the old Turkish Delight adverts for those who can remember them.

The second Lily to bloom was my Casa Blanca. It is pure white coloured with a lovely sweet perfume. This is the third year that both plants have flowered. They were bought three years ago as bulbs from various places. The thrill I get when they are both blooming away and surrounded by swarms of drunken Hover flys is amazing. They are such spectacular flowers, and they are scented.
For me they make the garden a place of romance, and beauty, as they perfume the warm August air.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Delicious Dahlia

This Dahlia was in full bloom when we returned from our week camping in the Forest Of Dean.
I have just uploaded the photos onto the laptop. We had great weather for the seven days. It only rained on one of those days.
In Yorkshire it has been raining lots. Our garden is damp from the rain, and the grass growing in our abscence.
I lost the Dahlias name but it is a lovely pink/white bloom with yellow centre.
My Lilys also flowered for my return. I enjoyed the wildness of the Forest, but it is nice to be back in Yorkshire despite the rain.
I need to go to the allotment when its not pouring with rain to harvest more Vegetables and Potatoes. The garden needs tidying as well. Even a week away has seen the garden become more wild..