Thursday, September 30, 2010

Time Flys

The Geranium flower shows the raindrops that have been falling down for most of this week. It has been a baking week, and feeding the garden birds week.Not much gardening has been done with all the deluges.
I'm going back onto night shifts as well. The garden will have a few days without me.
I have started to visualise the future garden. Moving the play structure debris from the path into a skip. Digging more borders around the edge of the grass. Growing Fruit Trees between the Strawberry bed and pond. Laying down stepping stones to the washing line. Putting up my Greenhouse again.
I need to clear the weeds that have sprung up in the sunken border and think about moving some plants. This years spurt of growth has caused several plants to grow into each others space..
The Autumn flowering Crocus is nearly open. I hope it blooms tomorrow for the first of October.
The grass needs a final trim before it stops growing, and the Spring Bulbs need to be planted.
Once I have done these nights I will do all the tidying garden jobs. The Catalogues will hopefully start arriving soon to fill the dark winter days with mesmerising colourful flowers, and tasty vegetables.
How fast does time seem to go?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My First Apple

This is the first Apple that I have got from the Apple Tree I bought three years ago!
It tasted lovely and sweet. I had to cut off several black bits, but once cleaned it was delicious. There are about six Apples left on the dwarf tree in the pot by the fence.
I cannot remember where I got it from. At the Autumn Flower Show there was a collection of hundreds of unusual varieties of Apples.
I think I will have to go to farmers markets to sample unusual Apples. The Supermarkets only stock commercial varieties. When I looked they were all from South Africa.
The supermarkets like uniformity of size, and colour. I read that there are over 2000 varieties of Apple in Britain, but only 30 are grown commercially.
My Mallus Braeburn originated in New Zealand and has been grown all over Britain, and Europe, as a relatively easy apple to grow.
Luckily there are collections of Apple Trees around the UK, and there are people growing heirloom varieties.
Before the Romans came there were no Apple Trees or Orchards in Britain. They completely changed the landscape, helped wildlife, and started the British love of Apples.
Apple Pies and custard. Roast Pork on a Sunday with fresh Apple sauce. Cider. Apple Crumble..
The Apple has contributed a lot to Britain..

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall Views

I thought I would show a longer view of the garden from the backdoor at the moment. It is showing hints of Autumn hues and yellowing leaves. My statue is in the centre of the rows of Hostas. The purple Lupin is flowering away. The seed heads of the Teasel are drying to brown. I want to see if my regular flock of Goldfinches eat the seed over the coming winter.

The Anemone De Caen is flowering. It has an electric blue colour that swirls around the petals. The Stamen looks like a liquorice all sort sweet..

The Hostas have all flowered, and all the flowers have turned to seed heads. The leaves are turning yellow and brown. I have sorted them out ready for repotting over the winter. I think if I keep repotting in bigger pots that the Hosta clumps will grow year on year.
The garden birds are also visiting the garden in greater numbers as the daytime temperature falls, and the night comes earlier.
It was raining again today so I have been making Scones, and Chocolate Chip Muffins. The house smells of warm baking as I type this. The birds are busy feeding in the garden. I have seen a Baby Robin today. I hope he keeps coming to feed over the winter.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Organic Fire And Ice

Sometimes the garden throws up beautiful combinations of colour, form, or both. The White Delphiniums were nearly flowering when I took this photo against the Gallardia. The Red and Orange is the fire against the Delphiniums icy white.

When the rest of the garden is starting to flag these two plants inject some colour and wow into the garden. These Gallardias are called Blanket Flowers because they resemble the colours of native American made blankets. They are as tough as old nails. To deadhead you need sacateurs!
The white Delphiniums came from the Walton plant stall in June. My Delphinium Pacific Blue flowered months ago. I do not know if the white Delphinium is a late flowering one.
I have been off work today and it has poured with rain. I watched a program about Prince Charles and Highgrove House in the Cotwolds, presented by Alan Titchmarsh.
The estates gardens looks amazing, but visitors cannot take photos! I would not want to go without my Camera..
The gardens at Highgrove are gardened organically. The theory is the health of the plants comes from the goodness of the soil. There are no chemicals used at all across the estate. They have a gigantic compost heap that goes through four stages of decomposition and resting. After six months it gets dug back into the soil. It seemed to be thriving with a wildflower meadow, plentiful garden birds and wildlife, lush plants, and trees.
The allotment has a lot of people who use chemicals like weedkiller. I do not use any chemicals up at the allotment or in the garden. I think that if a garden is natural it will flourish.
My healthy flowers in the photo show that just adding compost to the soil can encourage masses of healthy plants. An organic garden will use natural selection to sort out the strong disease resistant plants from the weaker ones.
When we moved here the sunken borders soil was compressed, barren, and had very few insects on it or in it. The nectar rich garden has drawn in the wildlife in a short space of time.
The winter will be a good time to enrich the soil ready for next years growth. I planted mostly perennials so they should come back to flower next year.
I like the unexpected contrasts that work. It is always good to walk around the garden and look at everything that is happening. The changes are perceptible if you keep going out..

Friday, September 24, 2010

Three G's

I was off today but the weather was very inclement. It was raining heavily throughout the night, and blowing a gale! Our skylights nearly opened themselves with the strength of the wind.
When i got up and ventured out into the garden the wind had blown my bird feeder station over unfortunately killing a Goldfinch. I can only assume he was feeding when the strong wind toppled over the station. The base is a 15 kilo granite stone so its not light.
The Goldfinch was even more beautiful at close range with hundreds of feathers covering his little body. The yellows were so vibrant on the wing bars.
The other day we had a Bird of Prey cause chaos at the bird feeders. He flew in over the house and around the old conifers that grow beyond the back of our garden. He swooped into the fleeing birds and then back across the road.
The flight was so quick I dont know if he caught his dinner. I still do not know what kind of bird of prey it was. He was like a black shadow in the sky, but the garden birds put out their alarm call and scattered like the anthill mob!
You feel a strange feeling when a raptor is dive bombing your favourite Goldfinches and House Sparrows. I love the Raptors as a group so i was torn between my loyalties. Nature can be pretty unforgiving sometimes..
I rescued this pretty Geranium out of my sickly hanging baskets. I love the pink flowers and khaki green leaves. It is good to have colour on a windy, grey day.
It felt like an autumnal day. The leaves are rapidly changing colour, and the first few leaves have dropped. It was cold today with a bitter north wind.
I moved the feeders to the static feeding station, and pretty soon the garden birds had worked out where the food had gone to. I did not want any more casualties of the wind.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Autumn Flower Show 2010

This is my blogs 3000th post! I cannot believe I am up to that many already. I have seen a company that prints peoples blogs. Mine will be a very thick book indeed.
This is the highlights from the Autumn Flower show at Harrogate. This is the 99th year that there has been a flower show. They are celebrating 100 years next year at both the Spring and Autumn flower show.
The stars of this years show were the amazing floral displays in the two flower halls. This Alpine Gentian was fluorescent under the halls strip lights. I love the colour of it so it opens the blog post.

This is a beautiful Anemone called Honourine Joubert. Toby Buckland mentioned it in his Gardeners World program last Friday. It is very pretty flower with a striking yellow centre, almost like a stamen crown.

I loved the contrasting colours of the Helenium and the Delphinium here. Blue and Yellow can work together, even though they are on opposite sides of the colour wheel. I tried planting Cornflowers, and California Poppies to get this mixture in a pot unsuccessfully.

We bought two new Hosta plants to join our garden collection. There are five large containers in the garden already, and this year I have got more smaller pots of Hostas from the Walton Plant Stall, and one volunteer plant that I have grown on.
I bought the excellently named Fire and Ice, and Great Expectations. Planted in containers it lines our concrete path and softens the hardness of the concrete path.
The slug damage is minimal, versus a ground planted specimen of Hosta. They have a gorgeous look with their waxy leaves that can funnel water into the base of the plant via the stem.

Autumn is here and there is no better display than the changing leave colours of these Acers. Japanese Maples. I would love one in the garden but the Yorkshire weather is not good for them. They need some shelter from the wind and rain that they are exposed in the north of Britain.

The flower displays at the show are magnificent. Hundreds of perfectly shaped flowers displayed together. Side by side it is a colour fix for the end of the year.

This is the Rose called Eyes For You. The colours are amazing, and it had the full scent of an old English Rose. I could have smelled this all day.

I loved this display of my favourite flower Astrantia, growing against the background red leaved Euonymus. This had beetroot red leaves that turned downward in a spectacular Autumn display. The contrast between the pin cushion flower and the scarlet leaves is great.

This Nasturtium was so vibrant I photographed it. It is an ordinary Nasturtium.I love the flower colour here..

W.Robinson and son are celebrating one hundred and fifty years of selling Vegetable seeds and plants. Their displays are always amazing. It reminds me of a Parisian shop front. The Parisians display their fresh Vegetables outside in amazing displays. These shows show how the vibrant colours and shapes can be displayed artistically. These represent what you can achieve if you want to grow your own vegetables. I bought some Chili seeds and looked wistfully at theirs in the display. Maybe next year mine will be as big.

This Aster was actually a Royal Blue colour, but the camera has made it go lilac. I love the fluffiness of the flowers in the photo.

I always admire the Oriental Lily displays. Cat cannot go near them with her Asthma. The air around this stand is so heavily scented. I liken the smell to from Arabian nights in a bedouin tent..

Every year there are two separate Vegetable growing competitions sharing the second flower hall. Monster sized Vegetables from all over the country competing. They have been nurtured, cossetted, and tended untill showing day. Its like Wallace and Gromit Curse Of The Were Rabbit. These were the Tomatoes.

There were Carrots, Onions, Leeks, Cabbages, Cauliflowers, Runner Beans, and so on. I wander if these giant veg were actually edible? I saw on the news a Grandmother has grown the two longest Cucumbers in the world ever. She is going into the Guiness book of records. She used old seeds that had past their expiry date! She just wanted to grow Cucumbers, not record breaking ones.
The record for the heaviest onion was not broken this year. There is always next year.

There were displays from the specialist groups like these Fuschias. The Carnations, Chrysanthenums, Streptocarpus, Dahlia, Bonsai, and Bee Keepers were there. They are the experts for those types of plants. They must enjoy coming to the flower shows twice a year to meet the public, and answer their questions.

Alongside that was the Floristry competition. It was amazing the ingenuity that goes into some of the designs. The judges had walked around and left notes for the entrants. I like the growing the flowers before they end up cut and placed into a display.

The last photo of my 3000th post is of a bowl of Roses. I took this photo because it showed the variety of colours of Roses.They are my most favourite flowering plant. Scented Roses are heavenly in a garden.
There were craft stalls, food stalls, live music at the entrance and the bandstand. There were fruit growing competitions too with a vast display of British Apples (note to Asda)..
It rained on and off when we were there. It was a grey day, but i loved it. The Harrogate Autumn Flower show is like a finale to the growing season.
The next flower show is not untill April 2011. These photos have captured some of the essence of the Autumn Flower Show.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Apples And Asda

This is the Mallus Braeburn in our garden. It has six Apples growing on the mini tree. It is the third year i have had it, but the first year that it has actually grown any fruit! I'm excited waiting for the first taste of my home grown Apples.
I walked around Asda yesterday and noticed that most of the Apples were from South Africa. Britain is famous for its Apples, because of our Hot Summers and frequent rain.
I wandered what has happened to the British Apple industry. I would like to have seen English Apples in the supermarket.
The variety that Asda had were Braeburn and Pink Ladys from South Africa, the first is the same variety growing on my Apple tree.
That is the one benefit of growing your own is that you know how fresh it is, and that you can grow traditional varietys that Supermarkets will not stock.
Tomorrow we are going to the Autumn Flower Show at Harrogate. The camera will be coming with me to take photos of ther last flower show of the year..
I want to buy more fruit trees once it is winter, and plant them dormant in the garden ready for growth next year. I hope to get some plants and bulbs tomorrow from the Yorkshire Showground. I think there is exhibits of Fruit and Vegetables, as well as flowers.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Star Wars (Fuschia)

This is Fuschia Star Wars which we bought from Tatton Park RHS show. It was taken yesterday under a rare sky with the sun shining.I love the purple of the corolla and the pink stamen, with the white petals.
Original names must help sell plants and make people want to buy them. Fuschias and Roses are extremely well marketed in that way.
Cat helped me today cut the grass in the front and back garden. It was so long the grass that it was resistant to strimming and mowing!
The garden looks much tidier now and the edges look neater. The sun was shining intermittantly between rain showers.
I hope to buy some plants and bulbs at the Autumn flower show on Sunday. This has been a pleasant week off so far.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Late Summer Star

The Crocosmia is a late summer blooming star of the garden. This plant is growing in a pot. The cold and damp winter conditions caused most of the corms to rot. A handfull survived and gave this explosion of burnished gold. The petals glint in the sunlight with a sparkly glitter to them.

The Crocosmia are from the same family as Gladiolus, and Iris. These are stars of the garden. They are perennial and extremely vigarous in some gardens. They need to be controlled by limiting their size. I think the reds and oranges are symbolic of Late Summer/Autumn.
We went shopping today and i Bought even more Spring Bulbs. Every time i go out i find more bulbs to add to the collection.
Today I went for the yellow and white coloured Dutch Iris Symphany, and 5 Hyacinth pinks ready for forcing. I always like to try to get some Hyacinths to bloom by Xmas.
I bought more Tulips yesterday from Wilkos. Triumph Gavota (red and white/yellow stipes), and Fosteriana Orange Empereor (orange/apricot colour with a hint of green).
The rain is pouring down today so work has stopped on the gardens tidy up. I hope it drys out soon.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Autumn Auras And Flowers

These Busy Lizzies are still flowering away around the Lilac tree in the pot. They have flowered non stop for months, and still look healthy in the main part. The rest of the garden is looking a bit jaded around the edges.
The Horse Chestnut trees are finally tinting, with the outer leaves turning to shades of orange, brown, and yellow. The leaves seem to have their own September aura!
I am off work on annual leave this week and intend to tidy the garden, and start the big dig up at the allotment clearing the ground ready for next years growing season.
The incessant wet weather and warm soil temperatures have seen a huge amount of weed and grass growth up at the plot. It was hard to see the crops from the weeds!
Their are flowers in bloom still outside in the garden. The Lupins, the Verbena Bonarensis, The wildflower Daisys, the pastel jewel coloured Snapdragons, and the Ruby Astrantia to name a few.
I am still waiting for the Autumn Crocus flower to bloom in the pot. Speaking of Autumn it is the North of England Horticultural societys (NEHS) Autumn flower show at Harrogate on Friday to Sunday. Cat and me are going on Sunday I think.
It is raining now outside as I write this. I have topped up the birds food and there are dozens of them in the garden now. Despite grey skys and wet conditions there is still quite a lot to look at in our garden. The flowers colours, Autumn leaves, and garden birds are all lovely to look at.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Ruby Astrantia

The Ruby Astrantia I bought from the Gardeners World Live show at the Birmingham NEC is in full bloom now. It has these Pincushion type flowers that attract pollinators.
The garden is very wild looking around the pond. Three frogs have now moved into our green cool pond. The wildflowers are sprawling out all over the wild area. I guess wildflowers just flop around wherever they want to.
I'm hoping that the seeds fall onto that area so it can flower again next year.
I'm thinking of sowing some Cornflower seeds which are a sumptuous Blue colour.
I have been working so much that the garden has been left to run wild. I will get into it over the weekend I hope. I have Spring Bulbs to plant once I have cleared some of the debris from the party that is Summer.
These Astrantias are perennials so they will grow back even stronger next year. I cant believe its September already.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Second Wind

As the season draws to a close some plants show a second wind. All my David Austin Roses seem to have regrown Rose buds.
This is the sweetly fragranced Rose Wisley, a present from my Mum. It had a rough start being frozen solid in the freezing temperature of January.It has picked up some terrible Blackspot because of its icy imprisonment.
It is blooming okay now though. Roses are the beautiful spirits of the garden. I love watching the plants grow, develop buds, then flower. Scented Roses are a must too in my garden.
I can see why David Austin and his family became enamoured with Roses. They cast a magical spell and make you love them forever.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

September Thoughts

September is the month for Tinting and Fruiting. I cannot believe we are into the ninth month of the year already. The growing season is drawing to a close. The first leaves are changing their green to red and orange on the edges..
These beautiful Flowers are from our gardens Chocolate Mint, that was growing in the garden when we moved here in the corner of the sunken bed. I re potted it and planted the pot into the sunken border where it has grown beautifully.
We went on Thursday to the Lancaster canal and saw masses of wild mint in flower along the Canals edge water. There were also fluffy Baby Coots, and quacking Ducks in between the lovely painted Canal boats with exotic names.
The Mints petite lilac hued flowers are very attractive to Bee's. I like rubbing the mint leaves and then smelling the warm fragrance afterwards on my fingers.
The Blackberries in Lancaster by the Canal were only just beginning to turn red. They are more advanced here. I have made Apple and Blackberry Pies already. I was reading the Woodlands Trust email today and it had recipes for traditional Hedgerow produce. Blackberry and Apple crumble, Rowan Wine, Rowan Jelly, Rose Hip Syrup..
Traditionally people used to collect these wild bounty to make these wonderful products. This is a dying art as most people have forgotten their connection to the seasons.

I bought another pair of Frogs for my collection, and these Bulbs from the Barton Grange garden centre, near Preston. I wanted the Autumn Crocus called Colchicum. It is famous for being able to flower with no soil or water in a glass..
Cat bought the two packets of Freesias. Single and double fragrant mix in a variety of colours. These will go into two pots to be nurtured, then admired at close range.
I'm cooking more Apple pies as im typing this. I have used up all the Apple we froze last year when we had a glut of Apples. They are cooked then frozen so we can enjoy the delicious Apple Pie with warm custard throughout the winter after a Sunday dinner.
September is a month to be productive with all your harvested Fruit and Vegetables, both cultivated and wild.