Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kitchen Garden Update

Apart from the Apple on the mini tree there are two other crops ripening away.The first two are the Chilli plants in the greenhouse.These are Purple Tiger Chillis,grown from seed this year.I think they are going to be very hot.I ended up with six of these plants so there may be a bumper crop of Chillis once they have finished growing.The Chili Cheyenne are the most impressive.They are a good two inches long,and apparently will ripen to an orange colour.I got this plant from the plant stall.It is producing about eight of the long tapered fruit.I will end up using these in cooking, or slicing them to eat in cheese and ham sandwiches.I love tasting the fire on my tongue!I have a weakness for buying new varieties of Chili seeds and trying to grow them to fruiting.Also being grown but not developed enough for a photo is the Habanero,and Scotch Bonnet plants.They have not done as well as the first two.My Jalapeno seeds did not germinate so I will have to wait for next year to start them off again from new seeds.My other weakness is growing Tomatoes.They are so easy to grow from seed,and once they ripen the fruits are lovely to eat directly off the plant.I have tried two varieties.One in the greenhouse, and one outside in grow bags.The Outdoor Girl are big solid Tomatoes and taste lovely with cheese in a sandwich.I hope they ripen before any frost comes to kill the plants off.Each day a new fruit has a slightly red tinge.Growing well in the greenhouse are the Red Cherry Tomatoes.These are so sweet to eat and very juicy.I will have a glut of these as there were twelve plants growing in grow bags on the greenhouse floor.The plants have grown to nearly six feet tall and are festooned in little cherry tomatoes.
The garden has been quite productive this year.We had Strawberries,Gooseberries, and some lovely Charlotte New Potatoes.There is still one grow bag with main crop Potatoes growing in it yet to be harvested.
We also started growing Herbs from seeds this year.The Chives,Parsley,and Coriander grew really well.The Garden Mint is also thriving in its pot.Its amazing what you can grow in a small urban garden.If you are selective and grow what you like to eat then a kitchen garden can supply you with some of your food.The pleasure you get eating your produce is amazing.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Late Summer Displays

The garden continues to surprise and delight me despite the changing weather.It rained heavily for the past few days.The Scabiosa looked beautiful and phantom like in the overcast light.The flower looks like a lightning conductor in a science experiment.It attracts lots of flying insects and moths with its ghostly white flowers.The late flowering Asters remind me of sweets in an old fashioned sweet shop,where you go and buy a half pound of sweets out of plastic containers.I love the Duchess mix of colours.The hover flies love these nectar rich blooms.At the corner of the sunken border the aniseed smelling Bronze Fennel has made these delicate yellow flowers.They float above the green leaves below.They look like little yellow fireworks exploding over the borders plants in an August display.Our Apple Tree has three mini Apples on it.I will plant the Apple Tree in the winter into the ground by the fence.I hope that this will encourage it to have more flowers and more Apples.As Autumn draws near the Apples should be ready to eat.This plant surprised me.I thought a moth had landed on the pink phlox.When I looked closer it is the first flowering Toad Lily.This is such a beautiful and exotic flower.I thought it was one of the Freesias.They must have rotted in the pot.There are about five of these plants so I'm hoping for more flowers.I have wanted to grow these for years before I finally bought the bulbs from Hampsons.They are gorgeous colours.The burgundy spots,yellow centre,and almost squid like tendril's in the centre. These are unique flowers growing on top of thin woody stems with dark thin leaves.I will wait to see if any more colours grow.
Walking around the garden daily always brings new things to look at.I have not done much tidying.I am trying to keep the flower heads on to make attractive seedheads.When winter comes these should add some structure when it is frosty or snowing.I want to see which birds come to feed on which seed heads.
An August garden is full of colour,but also the remnants of flowers that have bloomed and gone over.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Charming Visitors

This is one of the first of the Monet Sunflowers to bloom.It is growing in the pot by the backdoor.Cats mum brought back some Sunflower seeds from the garden at Giverny in France.I sowed them this year then planted them out around the garden.They have a golden colour to the petals,not like the large Sunflowers that are growing at the allotment. After I finished a night shift I like to watch the birds as I check my emails.I love the colourful Goldfinches.They love the sunflower hearts that are in the hexagonal feeder.They have such pretty songs and are quite gregarious.A group of them is called a charm of Goldfinches.I think they are charming garden visitors.
Two more nights to work before I can do some more gardening and get to the allotment.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lazy Days

I have enjoyed my single day off yesterday.I spent a lazy day in the garden.The sun was shining and I went outside into the garden to take some photos.The Asters have started to bloom en Mass now,in lots of soft colours.I love the pink of this flower contrasting to the lilac one behind it.The squirrels continue to raid the bird food on occasions.I love the way they use their tails like a flag bearer.They seem to be swishing secret messages to the trees as they eat the sunflower hearts or peanuts.They eat the birds food,dig my pots up,but generally are quite benign.The mole has been back causing chaos on the grass with his earthworks.The battle continues to find an organic solution to driving him into the neighbouring houses.Today's trick is to use pop bottles in the ground with their tops off.The wind blows across them making a woo-ing noise that penetrates the ground and hopefully stops the mole from venturing out.This Butterfly was flitting from my Everlasting flowers before stopping on the Parsley leaves in our herb planter.I got a good close up photo with him chilling in the sunlight.I have not seen as many butterflies this year in our garden.I think I need to revamp my butterfly attracting plants to draw them in.The allotment was full of hundreds of butterflies.Is not all about the pretty Butterflies.These Hover flys and normal flys love the sweet nectar of the Everlasting Flowers.These have offered quite fiery colours into the planters.I have two bunches drying in the greenhouse ready to be put into a vase over the winter.A surprise to me was this Gladiolus blooming in the corner of the sunken border.I planted the bulbs under the Dogwood,and near to the Bronze Fennel.I love the pastel effect of the pink and yellow colours.It looks like an artist has used two colours and rubbed the two together where they meet,smudging the colours for a seem less change.I picked all these Tomatoes and Strawberries yesterday.The Strawberries have nearly finished now.I want to decant the herb planter strawberries and plant them in our raised bed.It gave us lots of Strawberries this year.The soil just needs more compost adding to enrich it.The Tomatoes are starting to turn red now.The small Cherry Reds are delicious eaten fresh off the plant.They are a good mixture of sweet and sour.The large one is the second Outdoor Girl Tomato plant.These seem to be growing really well on the garden path.They will all start ripening together so I think we will give some away.I love growing Tomato's and Chillis every year.I will look for new or heirloom varieties to grow next year.The final photo shows the Teasel seed heads in shadows against the white sky.These are magnificent plants and most have been covered in flying insects.The seed heads are ripening slowly.I will leave these for their architecture and presence.The three plants are like three giants in the garden.Nothing else can match them for height.The Goldfinch's keep landing on them.I want to see if they will eat the seeds in the winter.
Summer is drawing to its end,and the leaves are starting to change colours slowly.the garden flowers are blooming for a last hurrah before the Autumn starts.I'm back on nights again so the posts will be short but sweet untill Friday.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer Stars

The Water Lily flower bud has opened at last.It looked like a floating balloon sitting on top of the pond water anchored by the stem from the sunken basket.The water Lily has made about a dozen leaves in our small pond.It is sunken now in the deepest part of the water.I read the leaves adjust to the depth of the water automatically.The Fuchsias in the baskets look magnificent now with their pendulous drop flowers.These plants are perfect for the centre of baskets.The flowers cascade over the sides of the baskets.I just have to remember to keep watering them on hot days.There are eight hanging baskets around the garden fence on both sides.The plant labels are buried beneath the masses of Petunias,Busy Lizzie's,and Pansy's.I love the purple colour on these Fuchsias.The Asters have started to bloom in earnest.They have a mixture of Lilac,Pink,and Purple colours so far.They are beautiful to look at with their pastel shades.It has been worth waiting for.These have been grown from seed this year.A wide shot of our pond showing the bricks,pond plants,and floating on the water the Water Lily flower.The frogs love our pond.I keep seeing them peering at me from the edges of the lily leaves.The water should be deep enough not to freeze over in the winter protecting our resident frogs.The water is still very clear to look down into.Some plants need splitting and new baskets bought for sinking the plants onto the shelving.The Water Lily flower is reflexive.It closes at night and opens slowly throughout the day if there is six hours of sunshine.The first photo shows it just opening.Two hours later this was the flower from above.I love the delicate beauty of this first Water Lily flower.The stamen attracted a hover fly as soon as it opened.you need to be in the garden during the day to see this flower open.By the evening it is closed again.I love the colours.Water is very calming to look at.One of the Monet Sunflower plants has finally flowered.I saw a program about the secret wildlife that lives in the lost gardens of Heligan.Flocks of Goldfinches were landing on Spent Sunflower heads extracting the sunflower seeds.I always wandered why the Goldfinches were mad for my Sunflower hearts in the garden.It must be a natural resource that they like to feed on.
This is a small flower compared to the ones at the allotment.I think Sunflowers just make people happy with their brightness,and cheery face.They also move around following the path of sun across the sky.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Candlelight Post

I had a day off to relax and take a few photos.The first picture is our water lily bloom almost opening.It has grown a dozen leaves and this is the first flower bud which has pleased me a lot.I did not know if it would flower this year in the pond.The frogs love the water Lily's to sit on,or underneath them.I wander if this plant will die back in the winter or does it need lifting and drying out until the spring?I love the many colours of the Violas.They have such vibrant colours and patterns.They were the plug plants that Cat ordered.Each flower has unique face and is a little work of art. This lovely royal blue Lobelia self seeded from Fishponds drive in one of the long planters.There are a few plants but I love the colours.Blue stands out really well as a flower colour,especially in fading light.These pretty weeds are growing by the greenhouse concrete base.They are such a cheery yellow colour.The Hoverflys love them.I love the colours in this photo.The Rose Harlow Carr,hanging basket, and the salmon coloured Gladiolus in the barrel planter.This is a view from the backdoor looking up the garden path.The August sunshine makes the colours stand out against the green.I love the Globe Thistles.They float above the dark green foliage and attract pollinators into the garden.I'm pleased how much they have grown on this year.The last photo shows the Aster duchess.This is the first flower that has bloomed.There are maybe two dozen plants that I have grown from seeds that my Mum sent me for Xmas before.They will be in a variety of pastel shades.I love the yellow centre with the swirling spiral.
I have just been writing this post by candlelight as the electricity got switched off along our road.Happily power has now been restored.
I am back to work tomorrow.It rained earlier on and I was tired from my two long days at work.The delights of the garden and watching the birds always helps me recharge my batteries ready for another shift at the hospital.
I hope to get to the plot on Wednesday or Thursday to see whats been growing.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rain Music

I bought the fuchsia's from wilkos.The Six small plug plants were growing in jelly in a mini plastic greenhouse for a few pounds.The half dozen plants are now growing in the centre of six of the hanging baskets.This is a blue tinged one called La Campanella.I love fuchsias but end up killing them in the winter every year.Their flowers are pretty like some natural teardrop pendent jewellery.It rained today, heavily at times.All gardening ceased apart from these few photos taken between rain showers.The Pelagonium continues to flower on the outside table.I love how dark and crimson like these flowers are.The lemon scented one looks dog eared,but this plant keeps on blooming week after week.I bought this at the Spring Flower show at Harrogate.
It has been a baking day because of the inclement weather.I have baked fruit scones,Eccles cakes,and lastly chocolate chip muffins.I hope its drier tomorrow.
I have been reading the Monty Don book the sensuous garden.I love his very poetic prose about individual colours,sounds,tastes, and textures inn a garden.The photos beautifully illustrate the prose.He makes you want to go out into the garden to see which of the qualities he is describing is present in your garden.The only one I did not have is running water,but today mother nature provided my own raindrops symphony as it fell onto the plants,and grass.The dripping noise adds to the watery symphony.I do like listening to the raindrops hit our skylight covers.
Imagining how much rain will be collected in the water butts by the shed.I love the fact the book was a bargain at fifty pence but so readable.It will be a book to peruse during wet days where you cannot get out into the garden.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Frogs And Flowers

With all the civil unrest going on around the UK the garden has turned into my little sanctuary from watching the rolling news coverage.The flowers are blooming away nicely now.There are all the colours of the rainbow dotted around the garden.I take pleasure in walking around and taking in the flowers and plants.I share the garden with all the wildlife that seems to be attracted to it.It is a little oasis,in a sea of turmoil. The Bees and hoverflys are oblivious to trouble in the other world.Their life is flying around feeding on the abundant nectar that the august garden offers.I have tended to each and every plant within the garden.This tending makes you proud of the garden,and makes you enjoy being in it.A lot of the trouble has come from disaffected people who have nothing to lose.There is so much good and beauty in the world if you can just see it.The Globe Thistle continues to draw the Bees in from miles.They must be attractive to them. I have noticed more juvenile birds or fledglings feeding in the garden.They have learnt from their parents where to feed,when to fly away from danger.This baby Goldfinch intrigued me because his beak seems huge compared to his size.He has the black and yellow wing bars.I love having a charm of Goldfinches.The sunflower hearts are nestled between two Teasels and they alight on the spiny stems.Goldfinches and Teasel go together like fish and chips.
Another of the adults was feeding on the hearts too.They show a communal spirit too like the clean up groups appearing in the city's after the riots.One bird watches all the time whilst the group feeds below.
The fence is a popular starting point for all the fledgling House Sparrows.They sit chirping away,and wing flapping like mad to get their parents to feed them.I had groups of about ten or twelve today on each fence top.They feel brave and fly down to the bird feeding station,or the bird table. The rain came today,and the wind has started to blow hard.The Margaret Merrill looks beautiful in the evening light soaked by the fresh rain drops.The scent is amazing on these flowers.A rose/citrus combination,good enough to eat!
Darcey Bussell continues to flower amazingly well.These Roses are part of the second flush.The dry hot weather meant all my roses flowered early and then stopped.The Roses with vigour have started to bloom again.These look jewel like in the late evening before the sun sets. The Bishop Of Llanduff still looks amazing.The red and gold coloured flower are like a priests robes.they contrast to the dark foliage below.These will need lifting before the first frosts and will over winter in the shed.I am happy I bought four plants at the Spring Flower Show. I watered the Tomatoes in the greenhouse tonight and saw a suprise guest on the concrete base near the opening.He had obviously hopped from the pond looking for some tasty slugs and insects to eat.He obliged in me taking his photo before he disappeared again.I love this photo of a Bee on the Echinops.His wing is like a stained glass window,with the lead lining.This was taken a few days ago when it was gloriously hot and sunny.This photo shows the globes floating above the sunken border.The flowers are electric blue and seem to stand out against the predominately green leaves below.Two Bees and a Fly are on the flowers. I found this big Frog sunbathing on the rocks.He was oblivious to me and quite content to be photographed.The water Lily leaves are below him floating on the pond surface.I have high hopes that we will get at least one Water Lily flower.The flower bud is floating in the middle of the pond.It has grown a dozen leaves and it is only supposed to be a small Pond Lily!The large number of Frogs and Newts means the water balance is right with fresh water and pond plants oxygenating it.I thought I would show the gardens Lily's.The Oriental Stargazer has nearly finished flowering.I love the gaudiness of this flower.The pink,red,and white, and the strong scent.This plant has bloomed for the past three years now.It dies back,but always grows new leaves in the spring.The virginal Lily Casa Blanca is like pure driven snow.The petals have slight bumps on them.This is one of the most fragrant Lily's.I can see why this is used in Bridal Bouquets.It has also bloomed for the past three years.Not to be outdone the newest Lily in the garden is two pots of Tiger Lily's.They look amazing with their tiger orange and burgundy spots.These do not appear to have a scent.They also had lots of black seed pods on the stem branches?I have never know a Lily to grow seeds on its branches before it flowers.They look like little black coffee beans but have been dropping onto the concrete path as it flowered.If anyone knows what they are I'd love to know.The Rose Wisley has three Roses blooming on it now.After a terrible start when the leaves went brown and it appeared to be diseased.These three pink Blooms have the most amazing scent.I love how delicate the flowers appear,in a light pink flush.This was an Xmas present from Mum a few years back.I hope that it regrows next year with more beautiful blooms like these.The Bishop Of Llanduff Dahlia in sunshine glows red hot in the heat.I love the Scarlet and gold colours.The Everlasting Flowers are blooming away nicely.I have two bunches in the greenhouse drying out ready to decorate the house in the winter.They are amazing flowers though.I would like more colours though so I will peruse catalogues for new seeds. The Barrel planters look good still with the combination of Asiatic Lily's and Gladiolus.I have ended up tying them together to keep their shape.It reminds me of the florist displays at the flower shows we visited. The Butterfly Flowers always impress me with how different the colours and shapes are expressed year on year.I let them set seed then at the end of summer collect the seeds for next years.The pollination creates new colours and combinations.The flowers are very reminiscent of Orchids.The Poor Mans Orchids is a good epitaph.These Purple ones remind me of Kiss,and they almost have their tongue poking out.The Purple and White is a new combination.Apart from all the flowers the two things I love to grow from seed are Tomatoes and Chili Peppers.These are Tomato Outdoor Girl.I have one ripening on the windowsill which I will photograph.These are growing in grow bags on the concrete path.They have grown big fruits and seem to be coping with the Yorkshire weather.The greenhouse ones are Red Cherry's and were free seeds from Hils.Amazingly they all germinated.The Cherry Tomatoes are productive but not all the same size.I hope they will grow more over the next few weeks.The Chili Cheyenne from the plant stall has been amazing and has ten fruits growing on the one plant.The Purple Tiger have one fruit growing,but lots of purple flowers.The Scotch Bonnett and Habanero have not flowered yet,so I'm worried they will run out of time before fruiting.I like buying new varieties of both each year,and then trying to grow them.I love cooking and eating with both!Another star performer in the garden has been the Rose Harlow Carr.This has the most old fashioned rose scent,and dainty pink flowers.It is flowering away madly,and has made even more Rose buds.This will flower for weeks more.The only decision is whether to get a cage to support the rose as the branches keep flopping over.It is very sharp too on the stems. The Rose Harlow Carr is so pretty.I would love these Roses pictured on plates and cups.I think the heavenly pink contrasts to the nice green leaves.It appears to be disease resistant and flowers freely across the summer.These masses of blooms are the second flush.
Gardening can help people reengage with life,with the seasons,and with the earth.I believe it can help with depression,and take people out of dark places.Gardening has the power to heal and make you aware of the beauty of life.some parts of the UK could do with some of that healing.