Garden in May

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 shared what 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!

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Eleven Days Later…

Alchemilla Mollis. Poppin up all over the shop. Keep or pull?
(Not steel) magnolias

I said all I had to say about the latest garden exploits eleven days ago so I’m not going to say much more. It’d pretty much be repeating myself. But I couldn’t ignore the fact that just a few days has made such a huge difference to the garden (to my eyes at least). And I always ramp up the garden posts in spring/summer anyway.

No bonfire yet but guess what? I emptied all my pots! A full on sense of achievement was experienced that day, I can tell you. Expect to see a better garden blog post in a couple of weeks or so.

Cheers. X

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Hostas awakening!
Such cute babies. More hostas.
Thought this was dead
Some sort of peony
Kerria Japonica. Tiddly om pompom

  ;p

Spring Garden

The sun is properly out for the first time in ages. And it’s kind of warm if you’re on the move! What with all the recent snow, wind and rain, the sun is most welcome.  I’ve spent very little time in the garden so far this year; I’m definitely a fair weather gardener. I’m also avoiding going out there as it needs a massive spring clean. There are leggy things and dead things that need chopping or pulling up, and I think I need to get a bonfire going to get rid of things too twiggy to compost. Whilst I work up the gusto to get out there properly let’s celebrate the stuff that’s growing all by itself.

The magnolia and clematis seem to be going strong. I’m pleased to see new growth on them. Their flowers will be so pretty. Two years ago I got a plumbago too. I really hope it takes off properly as it has the most beautiful blue flowers. I spy new buds, which is a good sign. I also like its wintery stars when it’s not in flower.

Most of the kerria japonica is brown twigs. A few stems are flowering orange pompoms but I’m scratching my head as to why the rest of it decided not to bother to show up to the party. Lots of flowers are on the quince (chaenomeles). Every time it fruits I plan on making jelly. So far I haven’t but that’s because jelly is gross. Behind the white anemone is the pulmonaria I put in last year. I’m quite pleased that it’s happy to make a return.

A lot of the pots look like this this year. Frost, innit?! I need to get rid of so many pots. The ones that aren’t broken need to be emptied, given new compost and have new plants gifted to them. I have spent too many years just scraping off the top layer of soil; generally doing a half arsed job at looking after them. I have distant memories; past claims that I’d give them a new lease of life but this time I mean it. I can now clearly see the effects of gradual degradation, it’s time to pull my finger out.Sweet peas! Last year I forgot to plant them and bought some baby plants from the garden centre (the shame). One feeble, scentless bloom appeared and made me realise how much I must have these as part of my summer garden. Me and the youngest boy planted these on a rare sunny day at end of Jan/beg of Feb. I left them in the little plastic grow house and only just checked on them for the first time this week. I’m amazed they’re alive, I’m amazed they came up at all!

Right, let’s get on with it. Jobs to do: have a bonfire, empty pots (hide contents in beds??), plant more broad beans (first lot rotted), weed, plant runner beans & peas (sow direct? …Maybe not, there’s cat poo in that bed).

Ps, check out the Garden tab over on the right and you can see what the garden looks like at other times of year. Or go HERE as that’s the same thing!

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June Garden

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

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Bluebell Time

It’s bluebell time, come on grab your friends, we’re going to visit bluebell lands…etc

I don’t know a single person that isn’t impressed with a sea of these. Let’s face it, even a single bluebell sitting on its own is pretty good. Bees especially agree.

At the weekend we had an impromptu adventure to our nearest gathering of knock your socks off bluebells. Blackbury Camp is situated on the Ottery St Mary to Seaton road and it’s beautiful and interesting at any time of the year. I wrote about it last year when I was seemingly a bit mardy. Check out my grump here.

Photographing outside views is a lot different to product photography. I’ve had more practice at the latter but not much else.  This was one of the things that was upsetting me last year. I’ve improved since then but I still don’t fully understand how to get the best shot. It’s not just about clicking away and hoping that one will turn out OK. Every picture you take should have something going for it. That’s what I think. Believe me, I totally click away and hope for the best but I also try and plan stuff too.

I wasn’t thinking about it at the time (hence the non matchy matchy) but these two pics are the left and right of the same view. We’re in an oval bowl of an iron age fort. You can run around the top “walls” or amble through the centre. What is not seen to the left is the lane that brings you here. To the right; an exit, a series of trenches and stunning views of the valley beyond. The pic above this one shows the other side of the wall and one of the trenches.

Do have bluebell woods near you? Anyone in Devon know of other pretty woods? What follows can only be described as Bluebell spam. It’s worth it though!

Spam over. And by the way, I cheated. The bumblebee shots aren’t from Blackbury Camp at all, I took them in my garden a few days before our jaunty outing! Sorry about that. The fun will never end.

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Flowers in July

lobelia and other annuals

There has been some sunshine this week. Enough for me to nip out into the garden and take a few pictures anyway.

Hot pink roses

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.

Hot pink rose

So whilst some of these closer shots are still quite vibrant, I think they just about get away with it.

honeysuckle

I’ll have to get on a chair to get some pics of the in flower honeysuckle. I didn’t this time.

Climbing rose with not much to climb.

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.

borage

Trigger warning, nasty story in next paragraph. Scroll past to avoid.

borage and bee

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.

blue salvia

Isn’t salvia nice?! So blue! That’s better.

ox eye daisy ox eye daisy in a pot

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.

pink sweetpea

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.

summer garden sweet marcy sweetpeas

So, we’re mostly admiring the flowers from a distance. I think Marcy is just looking for the bugs.

snap dragons

Someone has eaten the top off the snapdragon. More bugs!

Nasturtiums

I’ve got caterpillars writhing all over my brassicas but they’re not touching the nasturtiums. I thought those cabbage white butterflies loved nasturtiums.

Ugh, bugs!