Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rosebuds And Rain

The Harlow Carr Rose is still making flower buds even in November.It has continued to pour down with rain causing more flooding, and water logging the soil here.I hope that next year is not as challenging as this year.
 We are going to London this evening for a week of relaxation,shopping,and sight seeing.I need to recharge my batteries ready to tackle the garden, and the weedy allotment plot.I need to revamp both places and try new plants,seeds,and varieties next year.The greenhouse needs replacing too, soon.I will be back next Sunday..

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Wintry Days

 The cold nights have started now.Since the clocks went back it has got darker earlier and more cold.The bird feeders have become an important feeding station for the garden birds and other wildlife like the Squirrels.I watched Autumn watch and saw short films about grey squirrels burying 3000 lots of food,and remembering 90% of them.Our squirrels do not need to remember much as the food is always there..
 A surprise flower was this exotic looking Toad Lily, growing in the same pot as the Pink Phlox.Only one plant has grown back from last year.These are beautiful Autumn flowers.
The Dahlia Bishop Of Llanduff flowers away still.I need to move the plants into the shed so they can die back and over winter in a dry frost free environment.
 I have moved the Hungry Bin into the shed today to stop the tiger worms from freezing.The cold weather has made them act really sluggish,and a few have died on top.I hope they are better inside a sheltered place until Spring when it warms up.
 Tomorrow we are waiting for the boiler man to come as our central heating has died.I'm typing this with my NY Yankee's top and woolen scarf to keep warm..
  I will do some pruning tomorrow of the Ceanothus,Roses,and Butterfly Bush.I want some hardy plants for our hanging baskets for winter colour and interest.

Friday, October 26, 2012

 It is the Annual RSPB feed the birds day on Monday the 29th of October.I love seeing the garden birds flying into and out of the garden.I try to keep a selection of food and water for them to come into the garden.This Collared Dove loves sitting on the table,the bench,and the fence.There are a half dozen of these slim birds that come to feed.
 The weather is cooling, and the gardens plants are either dying back,or changing the leaf colour.This is the leaf from the Dogwood.In winter we should be able to admire the bright red stems of the decorative shrub.On frosty and snowy mornings it will add colour to the winter garden.
 The Dahlia is making a valiant attempt to flower before the first frosts of Autumn come.The flower is perfect against the dark foliage.I love these.They will need over wintering in the shed again to protect the corms from the frost and wet conditions.
 Flowering away beneath the debris of the other dying back plants this Primula is flowering for its third season.Every year they flower in the spring then die back under the new growth of surrounding plants.Come October they are invigorated and are flowering away.October is a lean month for flowers in the garden.
A late Rose blooming on the David Austin Harlow Carr plant.The Roses have had a terrible year with the wettest summer causing black spot,and much fewer flowers.It is making the best of a cooler period with not as much rain.
  I want to start writing my seeds list out,and order things to grow next year.I want to try out some of the exotic Vegetables mentioned by James Wong,along with flowers, and more fruit trees.Winter is a good time to reflect on the past year,and to dream about next years growing season.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday Post

   Autumn is here now.The weather has cooled down,and the leaves on the trees have started to change colour.The paths are starting to get filled up with fallen leaves.The Geum Mrs Bradshaw is still flowering in earnest by the Apple Tree pot.The Bronzed Fennel I cut back has regrown to about two feet high with its ferny aniseed smelling leaves.
  The Betula Utilis has grown quite well developing a strong stem at the bottom, which is slowly changing colour from brown to yellow.Hopefully this will change to white in the next few growing seasons.Considering this is a Himalayan Tree it has some very British Caterpillars demolishing its leaves.It is forming the vase shape to keep its size small.It is over six feet tall now.The weeds growing around the base are very lush too!
  The Grapes in the greenhouse are nearly ready.They are now a good black colour,and taste reasonably sweet.There has not been as much sunshine as I would have liked.A winter job will be to trim the Grape Vine,and to move its pot outside to get some freezing temperatures to kill off any mites living in the bark of the plant.
  I watched a program called Great British Food Revival.Michael Roux Junior was championing traditional British Strawberries.Supermarkets only like stocking Strawberries that travel well,and have a long shelf life.I intend to buy more traditional Strawberry plants and to plant them in the raised Strawberry Bed.I also want some Perpetual Strawberries for late season soft fruit.Mine explode in late June and July, then production drops off,If I can get late season plants then I can eat Strawberries for longer.
  The garden needs clearing,and my Spring Bulbs planting.I have Tulips,Aliums,Anemones,and Frittalaria that need planting once I have cleared some space.The seasons keep changing imperceptibly.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


   These Purple Haze Carrots are the limit of this years harvest.These were grown from seeds sent from the USA.I grew them in two pots.Despite mice attack ravaging the top growth these actually grew okay.I love the purple colouration on the skin.I still need to cook these and have a taste test.
 The Sweet Peas are coming to the end of their flowering.I love the pink and white colours of the Sweet Pea William and Catherine.I need to buy more Sweet Peas to grow next year.I love picking the flowers for the vases and the perfumed scent that can fragrance the conservatory.
The David Austin Moliniux Rose has provided me with a Rose to photograph.It is like lemon sherbet colour with the tea fragrance.I need to buy another Rose to replace the one that has died in the front garden to make the Rose hedge.
  I have been reading the Home Grown Revolution book which is inspiring me to think about exotic crops to try growing at the allotment,and in the garden at home.I think trying new things will make it more interesting,and provide new ingredients for cooking home grown produce.
  I went to look at a lean too greenhouse today which was too tall and wide.I want to replace the plastic covered one at the end of this year.The Grape Vine needs to go to sleep so I can untangle it from the roof,and move it outside to spend the winter outdoors.The lack of sunshine has meant the grapes have not ripened as well as I thought they would.The plastic greenhouse also has problems regulating the temperature with the doorway open all the time.
  I have never grown Grapes so it was a good experiment.Now I want to grow Grapes that are edible without tasting so acidic!The grapes make me wince when I try them and put my arm hairs up.
  I have to go back to work for three nights but after that I will be tidying the garden up,planting Spring Bulbs,and clearing the allotment weeds.The days are shorter,and colder.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Flower And Fruits

 The days are getting colder,and the light fading earlier each day.The garden has been looking more tired with the changing weather.I was surprised to see a lilac flower blooming in the Japanese Painted Fern pot.It is an Autumn Crocus.
 It has beautiful petals unfurling like a Water Lily.It just has the Stem growing up through the soil,and no leaves.These plants can flower in a glass with no soil or warmth.Colchichum they are called..
I harvested these Apples from our Tree.They look delicious and I will enjoy eating them across the Winter.The other fruit trees have grown really well and might fruit next year now they have a lot more growth on than when I bought them.
 I love how red the Braeburns are in the crystal fruit bowl.
  I am off this week so plenty of time to garden,and to get to the allotment.I will plant my Spring Bulbs this week,and start the clear up in the garden.I will try to blog more too.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Summers End And Winter Plans

I have just looked at the blogs main page and realised it has been 15 days since I posted.2012 will not be a vintage blog year I think because of the extreme weather,and working full time.The Summer is officially over (the date was 21st September).The garden looks ragged around the edges and needs tidying up when the weather drys out.We have had the wettest spring, the wettest summer since 1912,and from the last few days probably onto the wettest Autumn.There were widespread floods across the north of England.
The Sweet Peas are still flowering beautifully.A few odd flowers remain around the garden.The Baskets need cleaning up,but hopefully the Pansy's and Viola's will flower over the winter.I liked the Petunias in red,white,and blue.It complimented my patriotic streak in celebrating the Queens Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
 I have started to receive seed and plant Catalogues to peruse over.I also bought the James Wong Book Homegrown Revolution.I need to see what exotic varieties I could grow at the allotment alongside the traditional British Vegetables.
  Looking out of the window the Roses need trimming back to encourage new growth next year.The pond needs the duckweed removing again and the plants trimmed.The wildflower area needs cutting down and excess growth removed, so the bare soil can germinate the wildflower seeds that have dropped.I will also use the plant supports next year before the flush of new flowers to keep them upright.
  The Ceanothus will need cutting back.In its third year it is now about eight feet high and five feet wide.I will try to shape it into a giant figure.
 The Butterfly Bush needs hard pruning but the birds love landing in it.From the dining room table you can see the plumage,feathers,and behaviour of the garden birds at close range.
 I want to buy a new greenhouse too as the old one has ripped cover and leaks water.The Grape Vine needs detaching from the frame to stand outside over the winter.There are five good bunches of eating Grapes ripening nicely now.From green to mauve to purple to black.I could do with some more sunshine to illuminate the leaves to make more sugar for the fruit.
 I need to read the seed catalogues and start to make my wish list.Work out what I want to grow next year.The pictures and descriptions are perfect to read in the cool dark nights now it is getting darker earlier.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Birds And Seeds

   The weather has turned greyer and colder with more rain.I am back to work for the next four nights so the gardening and allotment work stops.I saw this Nuthatch today in our garden eating seed mix from the tall bird feeder.I topped them all up today as the birds are hungrily feeding.
 The Japanese Painted Fern is growing magnificently in a pot.I have used lichen and moss in other pots and dropped off our roof by the House Sparrows to cover the soil underneath it.This will provide an organic mulch layer to stop it drying out.The growth of the leaves has been lush,so i think its working.
The Lady Bird Poppies were decimated by the heavy summer rains but they must have been pollinated because there are about six pepper pot seed heads in the sunken border.I'm hoping these drop seeds in the sunken border.I have some Patty Plum type Poppy seed heads at the allotment to bring back home too to scatter across the border.
  Collecting seeds is a great way of propagating more plants of the varieties that you like.You can also swap seeds,or give relatives and friends bonus seeds.Gardeners have been doing that for centuries I think.
 The other surprise yesterday was seeing a Sparrowhawk sitting on the solar light in the Strawberry patch.I have seen him three times now,and each time he sits looking at me through the conservatory window.I hope to get a photo one day,but every time I pick the Camera up he flies off to the shed then away.He was beautiful with a speckled back,white breast feathers,and bright yellow beak and eyes.
 He is terrorising the garden birds but he is amazingly agile in the air.I have a soft spot for Raptors..

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Flowers And Philosophy

 I was at the plot again today trying to continue the late summer clear up.I was surprised by the flowers I found growing in my Onion bed.When I came back I photographed this Geranium.It has re bloomed again for the third time this year.the colour is electric blue.I love the sun casting a shadow with its stamen.
 The Sweet Peas William and Catherine continue to bloom.I think they will until the first frosts cut them down.In a wet summer of many failures these have been a heart lifting success.
 I do not know what these bright yellow wildflowers are called.These were growing up at the allotment in the Onion bed surrounded by volunteer Snapdragons.
 I have left these so I can collect the seed heads.These can be used for the wildflower mix around the garden pond.I love the deep crimson colour with a hint of yellow.These just started growing in the raised bed at the allotment.
 The other snapdragons are a bit lighter red,with a hint of orange.they both smell divine,like my old sweet Candy sticks.
The Bounty from today was these Onions,and some King Edward Potatoes.My experiment growing the Onion Sets in the greenhouse worked.There was good leaf and root growth.The red onions I got from Hils have not grown at all.I think the soil is contaminated with white rot that stops the plate growth of Onion Sets.
  I have cleared four of the raised beds.Two have crops still growing in them (Broccoli Waltham, and Cabbage Primo 2).The Snapdragons and Yellow flowers are growing in one bed.Two need clearing ready for the winter green manure.The area between the beds needs digging over and covering with black tarpaulin.
 Once I have written this blog post I will be doing Internet shopping for more those items.I am enjoying the few successes of the allotment in 2012.
 The failures include no Carrots,Parsnips,French beans, or Japanese Onions germinated in the soil, so there were no crops.
 The weeds and grasses have outgrown all the vegetable crops in my absence.Now is a time to regroup and plan for next year.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Lost Plot and Old Roses

  The Paralympics finished yesterday and I watched the closing ceremony with pride and a little sadness that our super summer of sport is over.
 I went to the allotment today and discovered a jungle growing all over my raised beds!
 I spent four hours trying to start the Autumn clear up of the lost plot.I brought home a Cabbage which we had for tea,and some Turnip Snowball.They tasted okay,but the crop was very hit and miss.Most of the plants had grown skinny taproots and not the nice round snowball pictured on the seed packet!
The slugs and snails have wreaked havov on the Cabbages.The rain has destroyed all the Potatoe and Onion foliage.They need lifting tomorrow and drying in the shed.
 I looked back at the photos to find this gorgeous photo of the Getrude Jekyll Rose when she was in flower.
  I need to go back to the drawing board for the allotment.I need to keep the areas between the raised bed clear of weeds.Black Tarp and bark chippings may do the trick.Bare soil just gets colonised by weeds and grasses.The wet summer has seen them explode.Eating the Cabbage and Turnip tonight with Pork steaks was amazing.I could taste the sunshine and rain,and chemical free plot..
  I will also sit down over the winter and work out what I want to grow.I think I will move away from Potatoes and into exotic crops.James Wong will have a new series out soon exploring growing exotic vegetables.I will watch that with interest..

Thursday, September 06, 2012

End Of Summer Highlights

 The Climbing Fuchsia that Cats Mum brought back from Cromer last year,has revived in the pot and is now flowering beautifully.The Scarlet and Crimson flowers contrast to the bronzed leaves.I tied up the stems today to the bamboo cane.
 It will need protecting over the winter.It will eventually become winter hardy but it needs cossetting for another season or two.
 The Common Garden Mint has flowered with these pretty lilac blooms.The scent of the leaves is delicious.The lilac seems to stand out above the leaves.
 The Late Summer has seen the Gladiolus flower.They have a nasty habit of falling over if they are not tied to something!The sun was shining today giving these nice colours.
 Late Sunshine should help the Apples ripen and get them larger on the tree.
 I spotted this Butterfly the other day alighting on the Butterfly Bush.Its flowers have an earthy scent to them.
 The Peacock Butterfly is very brightly coloured and I have seen several of these this Summer.
 The Strawberry plants are putting on a small burst of flowers and fruit.I ate a lovely juicy Strawberry today off the plant.It was so sweet and delicious.
 The Honeysuckle has made these Berry's which the birds have been feeding off.They are like mini Blueberries.I read that Blackbirds love to eat these.
 The Grapes are growing away nicely in the Greenhouse.I am waiting for them to change colour,so I can begin to taste them.There are a half dozen bunches growing which is not too bad for the first years growing season.
 There have been lots of Baby Birds coming into the garden to feed.These cheeky chappy is a baby Goldfinch.He has the black and yellow Wing bars but no facial colours.He looks quite spotty on the chest.
The Butterfly bush is a favourite place for Blue Tits to eat their sunflower hearts.I love how they hold it between their feet and peck away at it.
  The wettest summer ever has impacted on how much gardening and plot work I have done.I am already planning for next years growing season.I need some Spring Bulbs,and some seeds to revamp the garden.The Greenhouse needs replacing soon too.
  Luckily there is always something on show in the garden.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Apples and Flowers

   The wet British summer is drawing to a close,and the late flowers have started to bloom.This lovely pink and white Gladiolus has flowered next to the Ceanothus.There are a half dozen plants ready to start blooming in the sunken border.I do not remember planting them.They have been moved around when the border was revamped.Surprise flowers always bring a smile.
 Flowering away in the corner in a little pot is this Crocosmia.Its deep orange and yellow colours contrast to the green strappy leaves.This needs a bigger pot next year and a centre stage.It has bloomed unassumingly in the corner under the Honeysuckle,Tree Peony,and Dicentra.The dropped bird seed has also germinated en mass so this needs clearing in the autumn.
 Two vases of Sweet Peas,and a Sweet William flower on the conservatory windowsill.The wet weather has inspired the Sweet Peas.I love cutting the flowers for cut flowers.They fragrance the house when they are freshly cut.The more you cut them the more flowers they make.This has been one of the successes this year.
 The Mallus Braeburn in a pot is flourishing.A dozen Apples are gradually increasing in size.I will enjoy eating these home grown beauties.I hope the Tree can maintain productivity in its fifth year.It has been a long time to a dozen Apples.
The Apple looks lovely.I hope that my other two Fruit Trees are as productive.The Bramley Apple Tree,and the Pear William Chretien.The Cherry Tree looks poorly in the pot after being attacked by Black Aphids and Ants.
  The garden is looking lush,but slightly dog eared around the edges.It is a sea of green.I will think about ordering next years seeds,plants,and plug plants soon.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wings And Dreams

  The brief sunshine we have had means that lots of flying insects have been visiting the flowers that are blooming in the garden.A mixture of perennials and wildflowers.This Echinops is two years old and has grown massively in the sunken border next to the conservatory.The Blue and white flowers bloom on the spiky flower head.This is a manga flower!
Local bees have gone mad for the nectar in the flowers and they are a hive of activity.
I love trying to photo Bees to capture their black eyes and furry bodies.I have caught this one in flight.The wings blurry in the photo.
A patch of wildflowers growing by the greenhouse attracts lots of Hoverflys,Bees,and Wasps.They are such a vivid yellow colour.I do not know what they are called the flowers.
Finally the other day the sun shone and some Butterflies came into the garden to feast on the Buddleja or Butterfly bush.They have such vivid wings.
A pair of these Butterflies alighted on the Butterfly bush.I tried ages to get a good photo of them feeding on the nectar.
This was my best photo of the pair of Butterflies..
This was the first time I saw the Buttefly wings outside the conservatory window.They are glorious, like garden free spirits that flutter around and make the summer brighter.