It got cold. I know it’s not heavy, wintery frost but I wasn’t expecting any at all. October isn’t usually icy. The change to the garden jogged my memory, I was reminded that I used to write garden blog posts. Over the last few months I have taken a few pictures but not really thought about putting them together with words. Let’s try that today…
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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).
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
These bees are far more welcome. Hello bees!