August Garden

Hello! It has been aaaages! How’s it going? I haven’t written for nearly a month! I’ve been working on crochet commissions and hanging out with the boys as the summer holidays have started. I wanted to write a garden update a week or two ago but either we weren’t here or the light wasn’t right for photo taking. I’ve given up on waiting to take more pictures so I’m sharing what I have manged to snap.

Flowers first. I’m thrilled that the white anemone has bloomed for the first time. I bought it about four years ago and planted it down at the very bottom of the garden. It had never been happy there and not once did I see a flower after its  first year. I dug it up last year and plonked it in a pot to live nearer the house. Hey presto! Flowers! I love anemones. I don’t suppose they’re anything special but I don’t care. They’re definitely a favourite.

See? I have a pink one too! These flowers have always been happy sharing a corner with ferns.

This plumbago lives next to the pink anemone and the ferns. It looks like the ferns are spreading and will swamp it. I ought to move it but don’t know where it could go. Given the opportunity, I think this could get much much bigger. Where would it be happiest? The borders are where I do a lot of guess work. I’ll do some research.

Then there are the patio plants. This is what I was waiting to capture; none of these photos really show what’s what. Maybe it’s a good thing there are no other images, it isn’t the best bunch of pots I’ve ever had. The prolonged high temps made things leggy and sparse. But the boys chose this year’s plants and they chose bright things. The flowers that have come out really do make an impact. Sort of. All the summer’s rain seems to have fallen in this single past week. I wonder if it’ll pep things up. Then I can ask the sun to come for a photo opportunity! Quick, please, before the autumn comes!

Veg patch. I’ve been much better at keeping things tidy this year. It helps to have more plants waiting in the wings. There has been no room for laziness. Once the mange tout was over, once I’d pulled up all the (sadly, maggotty) carrots and eaten all the broad beans, I pulled it all out to make room for leeks and purple sprouting.

I got the leek seedlings from my step dad and the purple sprouting from the garden centre. I have tried growing both from seed before but I no longer see the point. I didn’t like the tangle of microscopic leeks that you had to wrangle (and you get too many – even without sowing them all). And caterpillars ate all my PS babies (I can’t be bothered to keep typing purple sprouting). I don’t feel the need to cheat in the garden all that often but there are times when it works out for the best. Courgettes, for example, I buy two plants each year because you don’t need more than that. Even if you made all the chutney and cake to feed an entire town, there would still be a magic porridge pot of mini marrows.

Anyway, I made a PS net house.  Three sodding hours it took me to build! I had to sew the netting together at the joins, which took ages. But, I have noticed lots of healthy growth and no butterflies. I was told to build it high as butterflies drop their eggs like bombs! Cheeky buggers. I’ve had to make a few repairs already as the cat has seen it as a daily challenge to break and enter. Pfft. I am hoping my efforts will be rewarded with the gloriousness of the best vegetable in the whole world! (Now that I’ve written that I realise that they’re all my favourite vegetables. I’m growing all my favourites! Of course I am, I wouldn’t grow ones I didn’t like, duh).

Finally. Have you ever happened upon a mystery squash? There’s one in the herb bed. I thought it was going to be a butternut. It’s not. I grew them once so wondered if it was a rogue seed.  The other option is it’s a pumpkin. I grew mini pumpkins about five years ago. This isn’t mini. Whilst it isn’t orange, I’m guessing it’s a Halloween job. Last year I chucked the carved ones on the veg bed to rot down. There must have been seeds  left in one of them. Do they turn orange at a later date? Squash Watch is a thing now.

Oh, hang on the rain has stopped. Right, I’m off outside. Whilst I’m gone, let me know what’s going on in your patch? Cheers. x

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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

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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Proper Autumn. A Garden One

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.

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Summer Garden Catch up.

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”…

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Busy Busy in the Garden.

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.

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