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.
I find it so odd that a garden can grow and grow but it’s not until you look back on pictures that you really notice just how much. It’s all happened so quickly that I’ve been overwhelmed by the progress so I’m jumping in with random pics of the last couple of months before it all gets too much. This HERE is the last “stage” back in May.
I’ve only commented on a few pictures. You don’t need a massive essay on a garden I go on about all the time. As it stands, right now we’re eating courgettes (zucchini) like our lives depended on it (for the first time ever, the yellow ones are bigger & better than the green). The broad beans are just coming in, which makes me happy (I love them!). The mange tout are over but the runner beans are in flower, waiting to transform into my favourite ever beans. Beetroot and carrots are being pulled up and added to salads and roast dinners. I’m also finding a plethora of wildflowers have cheekily wedged themselves between the rows of my veg (viola, nemesia, snapdragons). They won’t get pulled up though, they’re too pretty.
At some point this week you’ll probably find me in the kitchen, standing over a pile of courgettes, trying to decide whether to make chutney, cake or both.
In absolutely no particular order (because there are just too many – soz!), here are some recent pics of the garden. It’s been just over a month since I last sharedwhat was going on in the garden and it has been a very productive few weeks. I can’t believe the difference from these photos to the ones in the last blog post! The garden has gone bonkers!
We had the bonfire that I said I wanted to have, took stuff to the dump, sorted out all the pots and got planting. There’s still lots more to do as I’ve not done all the lettucey type things and there are baby runner beans and purple french ones to go out.
A sunny May day is the garden at its best before there’s the weird June/July lull. I’m curious to see what the pots will look like later on in the year; the kids have persuaded me to change colour scheme. They’ve chosen lots of garish, clashy things. I hope I like it! I’m also desperate to get my hands on home grown veg. It’s all late because my early stuff got bitten by the frost and I had to start again. But, hey, it’s only May!
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.
I’ve been waiting for a good day to take pretty pics of the garden. You’ll have to make do with grey skies and raindrops. Sorry.
Whatever promises I made about taking more care of the garden have been broken. It’s a terrible mishmash of last year’s leggy plants that have somehow survived the winter and whatever I grabbed at the local supermarket. I have empty pots, pots with dead things and weeds aplenty. Very little thought has been put in and I am ashamed. I am Cersei Lannister, walking through the streets of King’s Landing except people throw manure at me rather than human poo. Shame. Shame… Anyway, there is a plumbago in someone’s front garden in town that is glorious. It’s huge and gorgeous and sits next to a pink Japanese anemone; together they are beautiful. Last year I bought one so it could sit next to my anemone. That’s it, top left, puny and sad. I might have planted it in the wrong place. It represents the sadness I feel about my rubbish attempts at being Carol Klein. There’s also a big willow herb patch that’s drowning out penstemon (if I get my bum in gear, this spot will be foxgloves next year). And the verbena has it in for me, it lashes out and scratches me when I walk past. I’m down in the dumps about my garden. Can you tell?!
The veg beds are neglected too. I introduced borage to somewhere else in the garden a few years ago. It has gone mental. It’s popping up everywhere. At first I was reluctant to pull it up because the bees love it. This year I’ve torn up half of it and I keep finding seedlings trying it on. It was never in the veg beds before and now it’s barging its way between the beans and lettuces. On purpose, I planted a load of morning glory in the veg bed (I had so much of it, I didn’t know what to do). It kind of looks like posh bindweed. What am I doing for goodness sake?! I am a lazy gardener with no plan.What I will say is that I have plenty of colour even if it isn’t deliberate. The biggest surprise is this agapanthus. I bought it last year from Aldi and it looked dead for a very long time. There were two in a packet and one did indeed pop its clogs. So I’m really pleased with this. I bought another one from the garden centre about four years ago and it has never flowered. Monty says it’s in the wrong pot (too big). I’ll feed it and keep my fingers crossed.
On the off chance you want to take a look at the garden at different times of the year. Here is the link to all the posts in the Garden category. I’ve just been scrolling through and it’s fascinating to see the changes in each season. I didn’t read the words as I know they all say things like “next year, I’ll be good”…
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
Huzzah! Spring is here! Hello Spring! Who doesn’t swoon over spring blossom?! I can’t get enough, it’s just so lovely. This example I found in a car park. Ok, a garden centre car park but a car park nevertheless. It was smothered in busy bees, who couldn’t get enough either. I watched them go about their business for a while, Youngest had to drag me away.
These pictures were taken on my phone this morning after dropping the boys off at school. Super happy flowers. Even weedy types like celandine and daisies are cheerful.
I might have crept into people’s gardens to take some of these (probably didn’t get spotted).
There have been two periwinkle fails in my garden so I make do with walking past this lot every day instead.
Anyway, this is the garden at the moment. I’ve had two “sessions” taking photographs in the garden this week. Both have been lacking. It might be the absence of Chelsea quality plants, the disorganised appearance or just an unskilled photographer behind the lens (I’m improving on product photography but outdoor snapping is a completely different ball game). In real life I love this view; a picture of it is never the same. Hmm.
Look at all the yellow! Who is a gobbler of daffs? Someone has eaten the flowers now. I bought some slug pellets yesterday but I don’t know if daffodils are a slug’s cup of tea.
I’m glad the anemones in the border come up every year. The ones I planted in pots in the autumn haven’t flowered. They might flower in the next couple of weeks or they might not get blooms at all. They could be punishing me for tugging at them a while back (I’d forgotten what they where, which I mentioned last time I did a garden catch up).
I’ve had a quick look at what the garden was like around this time last year. Currently, it seems to be a weeny bit behind. I wrote a very similar blog post a year ago. I’d better have a different twist on a spring garden for next year.
I think the bluebells are multiplying! No other spring bulbs I’ve ever had have done this. I’d love it if the snow drops could bring it upon themselves to do a bit of breeding or whatever it is they do. I’m fed up of sporadic lone drops. I want big ol’ clumps! Luckily, the bluebells have got enough gumption about them to get their clump on.
The happiest garden happy happened this week. I found purple sprouting! The relief!! I’m looking forward to munching on this I tell you. My all time favourite vegetable. When I was pregnant (this time four years ago) there were trips green grocers nearly every day to buy it. The man there started giving me worrying looks after a few trips.
I often have a companion when hanging out in the garden. She will follow me all over the place. I’m feeling sorry for Marceline at the moment. We’ve had a few incidents of cat wee wees in the utility room. I blamed it on hyacinths the last time I got a waft but then I caught a tom nicking her dinner. He scarpered when he saw me. Of course, now I realise he’s had a spray in my house! Cheeky arse. Thankfully, it’s just the utility room (no soft furnishings) but how dare he?! Poor Marcy. I thought she had it sorted and ruled her roost but maybe she’s being bullied by the swagger monster next door. I’ve doused the place in vinegar but not sure if that’s the correct remedy.
In the interests of full disclosure: The corner of shame. This is actually a potion making zone. The boys have been brewing some weird concoctions that I’m not party to. It’s this or mud pies I suppose.
The next few weeks of the garden are possibly my favourite: The bright blue clouds of forget-me-nots, the planting of veg seeds, the montana clematis! It quite possibly means more blog posts about flowers too, for which I will not apologise!
And, veering off in a completely different direction, I’m desperate to talk about the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, desperate! But I’ll keep my gob shut until next week. I’ve found a few YouTube vlogs about it but I wasn’t organised enough to do that. See you next week. Have a fabulous weekend. X
I am getting old; I’ve watched Gardener’s World three weeks in a row. Monty has given me a long list of garden jobs to do and I’m adding tasks quicker than I’m tackling them.
At the beginning of September, the garden still looked quite pretty. Two weeks later I’ve still got some hot pink roses and pelargoniums but other things are looking really tired.
The Japanese anemone that was beautiful two weeks ago has swapped its pink petals for cobwebs.
Spiders are eveywhere. I keep getting a faceful of garden spider. A few years ago I would have flipped my lid but I’ve gotten surprisingly used to them now. I still had an episode of Bake Off ruined by a gargantuan house spider last week. Now, those ones do make me pee my pants. It was so big you could hear its footsteps!
They’re making homes all over the garden. This teeny one has made its home in some old parsely.
Talking of bugs… I cannot believe how the cabbage white butterflies are still laying eggs. They’ve been at it all summer! I’m still out there, smooshing eggs. As I smoosh, the farty waft of brassica goes up my nose. I wonder if that’s just encouraging more butterflies to come along.
Up close the eggs they’re really interesting. I had no idea that they had those vertical ridges.
Is this one a red admiral? I’m rubbish at butterflies. I spotted it proudly sitting on my runner beans. Very haughty.
My runners have been the most successful thing this year. But mostly, it has been quite lacklustre in the veg beds. I’m going to spread what compost I have over the beds and then get my hands on some manure.
Weeds have been the happiest things.
Look at how tatty this bed has become! The shame. This weekend I took out the pea sticks and it was the first time I’d really noticed how messy it all was. I’ve been a particularly lazy gardener this year. But when spring comes around again, I’m going to be really good.
After a Gardener’s World injection I did try out some rosemary cuttings. I think I’ll smarten up the front garden with these (if they work). I don’t show pictures of the front as it is a spectacular hell hole.
Himalayan Honeysuckle is a weed I keep because the bullfinches come for the berries. I don’t think I’d like it otherwise.
And that’s that. Overall, I’m disappointed at how scruffy I’ve let it all become but I’m also feeling enthusiastic for next year. I think I thought that, I could get away with letting it do its own thing. It turns out that a garden is a lot of work. Monty would not approve.
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.
I enjoy little sewing projects. Usually, they’re easy and don’t take that long to make up. Just before the weekend I made two identical purses to give out as presents for two birthday girls.
I didn’t do so well with pressing, meaning, I didn’t really do it. And I should have. They would have looked really tidy if I’d been more careful with the iron. I didn’t not get the iron out, but neither did I use it every time I needed to. Rush rush and being lazy. Also, with a good press, both bags would have opened without the lining repeatedly getting stuck in the zip. One did, one didn’t.
The tutorial is by Skip to My Lou, and it is really easy to follow. I think it looks a bit more special than a plain purse. The only problem was that the zips I had were too short, so I added a small strip of extra fabric to each end of the zips to make up the length. I got the idea from here at fishsticksdesigns.com and I’m really pleased with the effect. Also, in that tutorial the zip is top stitched, which would help to stop the lining getting stuck in the zip. And, don’t sew too close to the zip teeth, that helps.
The garden is in a lull. I think it is a common occurrence in June. All the spring flowers have gone or are looking sadly scruffy but the true summer flowers are not yet at full gusto.
I’ve got straggly areas that I don’t know what to do with and they could look much better with some planning. Next year I would like some sweet william and centaurea please. The erysimum is a new addition and I like it, hope it’s happy too.
The lupins are now tired, however, the bees think they’re awesome and have been buzzing around them constantly. I will take pictures of other plants from now on, these have had their moment.
It’s time to move on to the veg patch. Things are beginning to appear! I’m excited as I can be about courgettes coming. I’ve also got flowers on the sugarsnap peas and runner beans. I’ve had a couple of batches of spinach for dinner too. It’s all a bit behind other years, I’m sure, but I’m starting to feel relief that production has begun.
And, I am so pleased about the apple tree. This is only the second time that fruit has decided to turn up to the party. I bet they get some hideous disease and wither from their branches.
I love my garden. I hate chunky, plastic garden toys. I do like these wooden blocks though. There is an old baby walker they belong to. I’m not sure where it is at the moment but the blocks have been sat outside for a couple of weeks.
Anyway, This was a bit of a mish mash of garden pics that I’m not really happy with. I think it’s dissapointment that the thrill of spring flowers has past and I don’t know what is going to happen next…. Apart from some crochet, I know that that is going to happen next. I’m going to get a move on with turning some circles into a blanket.