I used to be very good at blogging about garden updates but like the lack of green fingered posts on here, there has been a lack of actual horticulture too. I’ve nothing to write about! Unlike other years, no seeds have been planted, I’ve barely weeded, and only this morning did I dig over one of the veg beds. Time is more of an issue these days. I’m working more and don’t get the chance to pop outside to keep apace with the plants. But do you know what? It has sort of been looking after itself! I suppose I’ve given it enough attention in the past, that there is still beautiful stuff to see now. It’s OK too because I haven’t completely missed the boat. This coming weekend is the Easter bank holiday and I believe there might be some kind of law which dictates that one must do gardening during all day light hours over this four day stretch. I have time to catch up.
In the meantime, here’s what has happened so far this spring…
So despite having done nothing at all, things aren’t looking too bad. Yes, there’s mess but I’m not fussed about a neatly manicured lawn or the composting mountain of last year’s runner beans and courgette plants. But I will be worried if I don’t get my arse in gear next weekend. I’m gonna blitz it. Probably.
Autumn. We bypassed summer, did we!? My outdoor space is in tatters, which is why I’ve not shared much about it recently. I have become most accomplished at being blind to the work that needs to be done; these days I just seek out the pretty.
This is the morning glory that has climbed up the canes intended for sweet peas. Did I mention that I forgot to plant sweet peas? I’d forgotten that a keen gardener must start planting in the autumn and winter to have pretties for the following year. I did plant sweet peas in the end (bought them!!), they just never flowered. Well, I got a single bloom, which is absolutely ridiculous. Still, the morning glory is a beautiful flower and it makes me happy.
And I’ve got alyssum, which was planted from seed. They remind me of the eighties when I was little. Mum planted them in the borders with lobelia. I think that’s why I like them now. I used to pick the petals off lobelia and eat them. I’m not sure they’re counted as edible flowers. But you know, I’m not dead.
Everything has gone wild. The natural look is a good one but when it’s actually neglect …er, I’m not sure one can argue that it’s intentional. Every now and then I make the effort to dig up a dandelion but other stuff, like the nasturtium gets left because it’s lovely. But then it drowns everything and turns to sludge underneath the weight of itself. Any way, I’ll stop with the negative spin (although moaning is brilliant fun). Let’s have a look at the rest of it. What’s good…
I’m still getting veg and other edibles. That’s pretty impressive. We had roast lamb on Sunday, so I picked loads of mint to make sauce. With it we had those beans (the very last of this year’s lot). And I am amazed that it is the courgettes that are the last thing to hang on in there. I’ve got loads in the fridge and I’m tempted to make the 121st cake of the season (courgette cake is the best – try the zucchini bread from Rachel Allen’s Bake).
I went round the garden trying to find summer’s leftover flowers too. It’s slim pickings but they are there. And if they’re not then the vivid blue of slug pellets adds a touch of the exotic.
And in desperate times, one can always try arty shots of random stuff. I thought that peg pic was going to be better than it was. Maybe I should have taken twenty more than the twenty I took. Of pegs!? Pegs!
And there we have it. Another season gone. Another season where I didn’t do what I said I’d do. Whatever, I’m giving myself a pat on the back anyway cos last weekend I planted bulbs.
It’s sunny! The sun has come back! I was worried there for a minute. How is your garden? Did it benefit from all the rain?! Everything looks lovely and lush in my little cottage style garden.
I have finally planted out some annuals and while I wait for those to impress me, I’ve got some perennials in flower and one or two surprise self seeders. Although it’s all gone a bit straggly over the years, I still love my garden space.
These alliums have all collapsed now. They looked very proud of themselves when they were at their peak.
The honeysuckle has never looked so good. It was all lopped back two or three years ago and it has done it the world of good. The colours are looking super tropical!
I’ve got a thing about blue flowers. I love them. The more intense the blue, the better. Speedwell en masse is terrific but just look at that anagallis! It’s wonderful. That’s one I planted last year. I did a test between shop bought seeds and collected seeds. Um, I have no idea which this is. Sorry. It wasn’t a very good test. It could even be the survivor of two summers ago when my mum brought me over three plugs from Sarah Raven. It goes nicely with the double petalled feverfew (there was a rogue one that cropped up years ago, I made sure to collect the seeds and now there’s tonnes of the stuff).
During the first week of June, my rambling rose was phenomenal. It was huge! Of course, it was battered by the rain. It is no longer as happy as this.
The rain also quashed the lupins and enticed slugs and snails towards my hostas. The peony has been dead headed. I might chop back the whole lot as it’s drowning a geranium. I’ve done some weeding, which has made it look less tatty than this.
And then there’s the veg. So much purple stuff this year! I’ve been watching the dwarf french bean flowers come out. We have baby beans! But it is the purpleness of the flowers that puts a smile on my face. So much prettier than runner red or the white of the usual frenchies. I’ve got purple mangetout too! The packet says shiraz, which makes me want to drink wine. The flowers are beautiful although they’re more Audrey 2 than sweet pea. There’s no smell either but I hope that their fragrant sisters will soon get a move on a do some growing. I cheated and bought a pot of ten sweet pea babies. I’ve always grown them from seed in the past but completely forgot this year.
It’s all kicking off now so I dare say I’ll be back quite soon with yet more pictures of plants. See you soon. X
Just some garden pics. These have been taken over the last few weeks. It’s good to see what wakes up and when. There are lots of jobs that need to be done. I’ll go out there in a minute and put the bean canes up. If I can squeeze it in I’ll go to the garden centre and get some pretty annuals for the pots. I got some at the supermarket the other day but they need companions.
This iris is an unexpected visitor. I haven’t planted any in recent years and there haven’t been any flowers for that amount of time either. It must have decided to just go for it this year. I like his little spider friend!
Um, that’s all really. The rain has been relentless this last week, I must make the most of today’s sun.
I feel like this is the beginning. Doesn’t it feel like the beginning of the gardening season? Hardcore gardeners have probably been at it for weeks but cliche that I am, I did most of it over the Easter weekend. Even squeezed in an obligatory garden centre visit. Anyone else stereotype themselves this weekend?!
My outside space was neglected last year and I made a promise that I would be more attentive by the time spring came. So I chucked on old trainers and tatty jeans to spend a couple of days in the garden. (If my mistreated anemones can make the effort to flower, I can make the effort to green my fingers).
If I’m being honest, the bank holiday weekend wasn’t my first time out there, I’ve done rudimentary weeding and pruning, stuff like that, oh and planted some pea seeds. But it was the first weekend where I’ve spent a considerable amount of time doing organising, tidying and planting. Alchemilla mollis was growing in the gravel, so I scrabbled around and got those in pots, I popped out to the front and gathered lots of baby foxgloves and put those in pots too.
Mum had given me a heuchera and a pulmonaria, so in the borders they went. I’m hoping the foxgloves and alchemilla will join them to fill up all the gaps I’ve got. Some cat mint died last year and left a hole. I didn’t split it when it was at its best a few years ago, I could see its demise coming and wasn’t proactive in saving it. Eh, I’ve never actually split any plants, even though the gardeners on the telly do it all the time. I get a lot of my plants from Mum cos she does what she’s told! Maybe I should chop apart the geraniums this year.
It doesn’t matter how weedy things are in the borders. As long as “weeds” bring colour, they’re welcome. Look at the delicate blue of the speedwell, I love that colour. My mum must too, it’s another one from her. Do you love forget me nots too? They make me extremely happy indeed. Those white anemones are the first plants I ever introduced to that patch. I’m amazed that they come up every year.
At the end of the season last year, I collected some seeds from the aquilegia. I planted them in a tray this weekend (along with many other seeds in many other trays) and I hope to give the ones under the fig tree some friends (not that you can see the fig tree in the photo above – it’s that blurry trunk in the background).
I’m so excited to see all the buds on the clematis. We had to chop loads back last year as it was clogging everything up. Buds mean flowers! We didn’t kill it!
And you’ll be pleased to know that we’ve been eating purple sprouting with nearly every dinner. There’s flipping loads of it now. I needn’t have worried about it at all. Just had some patience. But now it needs to get over itself, my runner beans will need to go in that space.
My last garden post was about three weeks ago. In that time I’ve taken a few pictures and I’m sharing them here today. I’m also linking to last July from the archives. It’s all of July’s posts because I seem to have added garden pictures to nearly all them. You think you’re a consistent blogger…. Apparently I’ve changed (not necessarily all that much, but most posts are now, at least themed).
This lemon verbena smells amazing. I don’t know what to do with it, other that pinch bits off for whiffing every now and then.
There’s been a lot of samey samey over the last six years. I am extraordinarily tempted to have a big overhaul and rip out the tatty, overgrown stuff to start all over again. I’m getting lost with planting and there is no real garden design. I’m not sure if normal gardeners do any real design; maybe they just hope for the best with the stuff they like. I know I like the cottage garden style and I know I like having my own vegetable patch and that’s about it. I also know it needs is muck. Lots and lots of nutritious muck. Would half a tonne be enough for everywhere?
There is something in the photograph above that has become my mortal enemy. I didn’t get a good picture of it that day but it was there.
Here it is. Little blighter. Under the net as well! Most days, I’ve gone out into the veg patch with the explict task of squishing butterfly babies. I started off squeaminshly using tools but the more angry I got, the more vicious I became. Now I just use my fingers to smoosh any bright clusters of orange eggs or any newly hatched caterpillars. I’m still grossed out my the big fat juicy ones so I flick those ones across the garden or drown them with jets of water. Between this and the frog from a few weeks ago I feel like a proper murderer. I really like purple sprouting though, so they must die.
This is a leek flower (a leftover from last year). I was wondering what it would look like (quite pretty, as it turns out). I’m glad that it’s as pretty as its ornamental cousins.
Morning Glory. I want more.
Crocosmia. Spreading like wild fire.
Japanese anemone. The white ones don’t work as well as these.
I know I showed lobelia last time but I like this picture.
What I haven’t done in years is suck the nectar from honeysuckle. It was always something we did when we were little. That and red clover.
And it works with buddleia too!
It could have been any butterfly, maybe a peacock or red admiral. What about one of those little blue jobs? Nope… thanks cabbage white.
It was definitely laughing at me whilst it probed its teasing tongue into my verbena bonariensis. Cheeky.
There has been some sunshine this week. Enough for me to nip out into the garden and take a few pictures anyway.
I haven’t included any long shots, my camera was on the wrong white balance setting and they all came out a bit orangey/acid.
So whilst some of these closer shots are still quite vibrant, I think they just about get away with it.
I’ll have to get on a chair to get some pics of the in flower honeysuckle. I didn’t this time.
This hot pink rose isn’t growing in the pot, it’s just hugging the flowers that are. It grows behind but has nothing much to grab on to. It’s in its third home. I’ve had to move it because I initially planted it in a stupid place, where it slumped on the ground. It looked kind of depressed. Now, it’s more contained but still makes an attempt to reach out for friends.
Trigger warning, nasty story in next paragraph. Scroll past to avoid.
I’ve got more borage than is necessary. I didn’t rip it out, like I was supposed to. It gives me gardener’s guilt. I tell you what else gives one gardener’s guilt: mowing down big, fat juicy frogs. Seriously, I am traumatised. Yesterday, I was merrily chopping the grass to a more acceptable level when, judder judder thump. A frog was flung a couple of feet from the whizzing blades, flung carelessly to his death. I may have hollered loudly, I may have also run inside the house and waited until Husband came home to sort it out.
Isn’t salvia nice?! So blue! That’s better.
I think it’s a good year for bugs. There are little black bugs I’ve never seen before. They’re particularly noticeable on the big stinky daisies.
I was disappointed to find them hiding in amongst the sweetpeas too. I’d brought in a lovely bunch to put in a pretty vase. Somebody came in behind me and promptly chucked them back outside. They were riddled.
So, we’re mostly admiring the flowers from a distance. I think Marcy is just looking for the bugs.
Someone has eaten the top off the snapdragon. More bugs!
I’ve got caterpillars writhing all over my brassicas but they’re not touching the nasturtiums. I thought those cabbage white butterflies loved nasturtiums.
I only have garden pictures today as I’m not up to date on anything else. Even these aren’t really making me dance a jig.
We’ve had so much rain. It pummeled the roses so that their fallen petals left a hazardous slippery goo on the steps. And sadly, because I thought it was done, I chopped all these twisty branches off two days ago. It is far more naked than this right now.
I’m assuming it’s slugs that have treated themselves to my hosta. It was certainly they (and the snails) who decimated my first round of lettuces.
Aphids are having a go at the lupins, which never stood a chance this year. I sprayed them with bug spray a few weeks ago; the leaves were curling and the stems and buds were smothered in thousands of mischievous sap sucking bugs.
The rocket has gone to seed. I don’t mind too much as we got a fair few dinners from it. Plus, the flowers can be eaten too. Bonus.
Last year’s parsely is going to seed, as expected. I am still gathering what parsley I can from it before it goes too ‘not right’. There is also new stuff in there somewhere too. I have far more nasturtiums than is necessary but everytime I rip it out, the guilt weighs down on me.
Even the butterflies look tatty. Eeh, I’m not painting a very jolly picture.
Things that made me happy were the delphiniums. I hadn’t realised they were here already, so to see them was lovely. Mind you, something/somebody has already flattened two of them so now I’m sad again. They are also really hard to photogrpah nicely.
Another pleasant surprise is the feverfew. Strictly speaking it’s an univited guest. It cropped up surrepticiously one summer and was not seen again for another three years.
Last year it decided to come back and I was delighted. I made sure to save some seed too. What I like about it is that, it is a double petalled variety. The one I bought at the garden centre was not and also had very yellowy leaves. I prefer the one that chose me.
The pots are looking alright. As usual I didn’t have much of a planting plan. Before the season begins I promise myself that I will plan what to buy and plan where it’ll go. Pah, it never happens. I end up just buying what I fancy. And to be honest, that method hasn’t not worked for me. Provided only a handful of colours are chosen, I think anything can look good. I go for blues, purples, pinks and white. I avoid yellow, orange and red. I don’t like them…until the day I do and then I’ll buy all those instead.
I go for a mixture of garden centre and supermarket. I get the fancier ones from the garden centre and bulk them up with cheapy supermarket staples. And, if I’m feeling enthusiastic, I’ll gather seed from those that give it up and I can grow my own plants for the following year. It worked for the anagallis (not yet flowered though). I also saved the seed from last year’s hosta but nothing came of those. I didn’t look into it, just bunged them in a pot to see what would happen. The answer turned out to be nowt but you don’t know unless you try. Stock is a good one to save as is aquilegia. I forgot to save either of these last year.
If you want to get a shock like me, look at this blog post from last year (scroll past all the irrevelant pictures). How neat and tidy is that?! What a difference a year makes! I’ve let myself go, obviously. I had no clue. The shame!
I’m not sure you can call it a cottage garden if you don’t live in a cottage. However, it’s the style I like and I’m going to call it one. The theme for this post is pictures of my garden. And that’s it. It’s all I’ve got to show as I haven’t taken any photographs of anything else (apart from camping pics that I don’t have time to go through). I’m in a can’t be arsed slump. It must be the weather.
In no particular order I’m going to blather about some flowery pictures and see where it takes me. I will fly by the seat of my pants. I’m an expert at it.
I like this pretty peach rose. It wasn’t planned. He is a leftover from the previous owner who dumped it behind the shed. I plopped it in the ground to see what would happen. I’m glad I did.
Whilst I’m down at the bottom of the garden, amongst the birds and the bees, I may as well start here. It’s a total mess, not at all manicured. It’s the way I like it as it means you can avoid a lot of hard work.
I’m a sucker for pretty flowers.
As well as those geraniums I’ve got some ox eye daisies coming up. My brother and I used to call them bum flowers when we were kids because we thought they smelled like bums! Delightful. I haven’t actually stuck my nose in any of the ones that have presented themselves, I’m not that keen. Maybe I should, just to check and see if they’re still bummy. They add a bit of non-bummy interest too. I like a bit of white to break up the bluey purples that are going on.
I missed the peonies do their thing. They’re a bit saggy and old now. It must have happened quite quickly. Look at all my weeds in the gravel. I can tell you that most of it is borage. It goes mental. I think it’s going to have to come out. It’ll get massive if I leave it. If anyone in East Devon wants some, give me a shout and you can have some. I’ve got loads. Same for nasturtiums.
Loads of figs happening.
This was the hawthorn blossoming a couple of weeks ago. It’s shrivelled and died since. I’m surprised that it’s a thing I look forward to (not the dying bit, obvs). It’s really impressive when in full flower.
This also happened. Not in June, mind you but it was the last day of May so not a million years ago. So cute. I’m relieved that these guys fledged. Tits. Coal tits. It was a close call though. The day before, one of them ended up in our hall way. As far as I’m aware it’s Marceline’s first real gift for us. She also brought us a wasp last night though. Luckily the little tit was still alive and not in too bad a condition. It was taken back to the box where it wriggled back in.
Here she is; a tiger in the lupins. A frog was her prey this time. I heard it way before youngest child spotted it.
It did not have a particulary pleasant singing voice. But I’d recognise a frog scream anywhere. Our old cat used to bring in half a dozen frogs a day. It got tiresome, ferrying them out again. I don’t like it when they go rigid.Anyway, that’s reminded me about the lupins. Look what a difference two weeks makes?! Delightful, they were. Now, they’ve been ravaged by slugs or something. Gutted. I love lupins, if only for their leaves. And look what they’ve become! pfft.
Just up a bit from the lupins, I’ve got some alliums. They were really cheap to buy this time round. A couple of years ago you were lucky to buy three in a pack for less than a fiver and this time I got loads (I don’t really remember, it was months ago). I’d be much happier if a couple of small children hadn’t gone round with whipping sticks. In this photo you can make a few headless casualties (a the top).
Ok, I seem to be working clockwise around the border. I do like a pretty tangle of speedwell. I think this is called Veronica. Loads of things seem to be called Veronica though, flowers are confusing.
There’s loads of this near me, it grows all over Devon. Erigeron or Mexican fleabane. It’s in fashion at the moment (Mum saw it on Chelsea). I never thought of flowers as fashionable/unfashionable but apparently this is the case.
Up near the house is a yellow rambling rose. I bought it from the local garden centre about five years ago. Two years ago its pergola doodah got blown down and the rose was chopped to a foot high. In two years it has gone nuts. I love it.
The smell was drifting gently in to the living room last night (had the doors open), it was lovely.
Everyone grows runner beans here. A couple of years ago there were six gardens in a row with them. Interesting, hey?!
I’ve also got peas. It sets me appart from the runner bean crowd. Bean dweebs.
And because I never do, let me show some of the front garden. The foxgloves out the back were weak this year, pathetic and weedy. I thought they’d be happy wherever they ended up but not so as it turns out. There are loads out the front and they’re very perky. Mostly I choose alpine plants for the front as they’re not as fussy. I have cerastium (snow in summer), it sits very nicely with some lithodora (which was thirsty and manky looking at the time of photographing, so I cropped it out). Erm, what are those pink things? Are they indeed, just pinks? Dunno. And some weeds to show you that I am neglectful and untidy.
This afternoon I potted on some anagallis and my morning glory. I also started planting out some lettuces (with the help of a not so competent three year old) but had to stop for school pick up. Now that I’m back indoors do I really want to continue with that job? I’d probably make the tea instead. Eldest is at judo so I should do it now.
It’s getting good. Starting to get happy with sunshine and flowers. Yeah, there’s been loads of rain as well but it’d look pretty shockin’ without it.
This small magnolia was at its best about three weeks ago. It’s over now. It was a birthday present last year. I think it should grow to about four feet. The plan is that it’ll eventually hide the compost bin.
The kerria japonica is also looking tattier than this picture suggests. Probs taken on the same day as the magnolia.
I’ve loved watching the fern unfurl over the last few weeks. I’m not sure but ferns might be considered a bit naff these days. I still like em.
Figs. I’m happy that they grow well in the garden, I feel quite smug about it sometimes. What’s that about?! I don’t even like the things. The tree is looking fresh green though and that, I do like.
Hiding in the fig tree is the cat’s favourite outdoor thing. Many catis hang out here. I think it has something to do with that bird box. I inadvertently caught a blurry coal tit too. Husband said he saw a starling trying to have a rummage in their hole…!
Cox. The apple blossom got lost in the clematis.
The clematis is growing all over. I like it, it’s becoming rebellious.
This butterfly is boring. There was another one that was prettier but it gave me the slip with its flappy ways.
Lupin leaf. Lupins are the thirstiest plants in the garden. They look so sad when they haven’t had a drink. I do too, I expect.
This geranium is Rozanne. This is the first flower of the year. It’ll be covered in them soon enough.
Aquilegia. I think the seeds came from a wayside plant up the road. I don’t know what the rules are about nicking seed heads. I’ve got my eye on some deep purple ones too.
Who could possibly want to tear up all these “weeds”?! I know people do it. They are so lovely and there would be very little out there right now if it weren’t for these.
Forget me nots.
Here’s a quick glimpse of the veg stuff. I do grow most from seed but I bought the purple sprouting as plugs (horrid word). I don’t need that many so there’s no point buying loads of seeds. I’ll cheat and buy courgette plants too.
I’ve kind of caught up with myself from last year now. It was May last year that I published the first garden post. There was another post soon after. Kind of the same but different. I’m losing my aquilegia, I didn’t realise until looking at the pictures. Better pinch some more of those seeds.