When Did the Garden Grow?

Massive bush…

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.

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The hawthorn flowered much later than expected. Usually it’s May but this wasn’t until June. I look forward to it; it makes a great focal point smack bang in the middle of my view, down at the bottom of the garden.
Every year I forget what it’s called. Not any more, Love in the Mist!
Peony. Way too heavy for its own good.
Caught in the act. But I’m totally shocked to find that none of my hostas are riddled with holes. Winner!

  xxx

How to Crochet a Beach Bag. Free pattern

At the very beginning of April I had an email from Hobbycraft asking if I’d be interested in designing a crochet project for them. It was really exciting to be asked and really exciting to learn that I could pick any materials from stuff they sold in their stores! Caron Cakes took my fancy, it’s self striping so no colour changes!! The brief was “summer” and what’s more summery than a bag for the beach?! The pattern pretty much uses two entire “cakes” including plenty for pompoms. Honestly, it’s a super easy crochet pattern and pretty fast to work up too.

Hobbycraft have an Instagram account and blog page especially for knitters and crocheters. The bag pattern is up and ready to grab over on Hobbycraft (see below). The best thing of all is that it’s totally free!! They’re asking lots of IGers to come up with patterns. It’s a lovely idea to include crafters who are already connecting in a virtual community. There are some fabulous patterns available and they’ve all been designed by us!

Crochet Beach Bag PDF : Crochet Beach Bag_zeens and roger

Or pop to Hobbycraft, here.

And if you spot my error, please keep schtum!! 😀  It was very late at night, I was tired and mistakes happen. I kicked myself for not noticing until it was beyond changing. What a silly sausage. Ah, you’re gonna seek it out now. Psshh.

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The Summer Garden.

early morning sweet peas.

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).

lemon verbena

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.

the sun in summer sunny day in the garden 6am summer garden

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?

veg garden

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.

pesky cabbage white

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.

leek flower head

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

Morning Glory. I want more.

Crocosmia

Crocosmia. Spreading like wild fire.

Japanese anemone

Japanese anemone. The white ones don’t work as well as these.

blue lobelia

I know I showed lobelia last time but I like this picture.

Honeysuckle honeysuckle. Lonicera.

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.

buddleia buddleia or buddleja

And it works with buddleia too!

cabbage white on verbena

It could have been any butterfly, maybe a peacock or red admiral. What about one of those little blue jobs? Nope… thanks cabbage white.

cabbage white butterfly on verbena bonariensis

butterfly

It was definitely laughing at me whilst it probed its teasing tongue into my verbena bonariensis. Cheeky.

bee on the verbena bonariensis bee

These bees are far more welcome. Hello bees!

More June Garden

Allium and ferns

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.

rain swamped rose

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.

Hosta in the garden.

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 on my lupin

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.

rocket

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.

messy veg patch

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.

butterfly on erysimum

Even the butterflies look tatty. Eeh, I’m not painting a very jolly picture.

delphiniums by the shed.

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.

double petal fever few.

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.

Double petal feverfew.

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.

pots of flowers.

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.

petunias in pots

bellis and lobelia

Flower pots.

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!