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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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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Garden Pictures for Spring

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.

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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A March Garden.

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

 

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Garden on the last day of October

shoesThere was lovely autumn sunshine yesterday. I went into the garden in my Hallowe’en get up to take a few pictures. The garden isn’t as exciting to me now but I think I should have a record of what it looks like in a different season.

Autumn is seriously beautiful. The other day I drove back home from the weekly shop through an orange tunnel of trees. Low sun, autumn leaves, winding roads through the woods. There was definitely some magic going on.

autumn-figI haven’t got much to say today. It was only five minutes in the garden, finding what I liked best about it.

end-of-fig

kerria-jcrocosmia autumn-garden-stuff autumn-garden

courgetteThere is one last courgette hanging on. And since I can’t be bothered to tear up the bedraggled runner beans yet, there are still some of those too.

berries nasturtiums-reseedingOne bed dug over and manured. Nasturtiums are trying their luck. I could salad them up before the frosts, I suppose.

hosta-seedsI’m most impressed with the hosta seeds. Pretty!  Last year I took some of these and planted them. Nowt happened. Next year I’m really going to look after my hostas. This year so many snails and slugs dined on them, they ended up looking like lace.

That’s it for now. Shock,horror, I have done very little crochet in the last week. We’ve been away for half term and had poorliness. I’ve taken to reading more too, which takes up stitchy time. I’ll try and find a better balance this week.

little-halloween-garland little-crochet-batPs. I found a couple more dodgy pictures of my little halloween garland.

September Garden. The End of Summer.

end-of-summer-in-the-garden

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.

japanese-anemone

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.

spider-webs

The Japanese anemone that was beautiful two weeks ago has swapped its pink petals for cobwebs.

garden-spider

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!

old-parsley

They’re making homes all over the garden. This teeny one has made its home in some old parsely.

cabbage-white-eggs

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.

butterfly-eggs

Up close the eggs they’re really interesting. I had no idea that they had those vertical ridges.

butterfly

Is this one a red admiral? I’m rubbish at butterflies. I spotted it proudly sitting on my runner beans. Very haughty.

runner-beans

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.

nasturtiums-and-oxalis

Weeds have been the happiest things.

tatty-veg-bed

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.

influenced-by-gardeners-world

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 himalayan-honeysuckle-flower

Himalayan Honeysuckle is a weed I keep because the bullfinches come for the berries. I don’t think I’d like it otherwise.

crappy-garden

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.

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!

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!

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!