About my garden

Friday, 22 September 2017

Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day Sep 2017

A quick post as I should be employed elsewhere. 

Two years ago I was able to plant a hedge. It's not a thing I ever thought I'd be able to do but when we moved here it became possible.
I bought a bare- root native species hedge pack and but it in along this fence. 
So this is my contribution to Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day hosted by Christina at My Hesperides garden. We had a very few rose flowers on it this year and now there are some hips but it is mostly foliage. 

I treated it to some manure when planting and then some more this spring. I will give it a light trim along the top to encourage bushiness. 

I have recently clipped the long grass around the roots and we do lay grass clippings down to try and suppress the growth of grass  and weeds. It works to some extent. 
The hedge includes hawthorn, blackthorn, dog rose, hazel, field maple and wild cherry so should be good for birds and insects in the future. 
I'm pleased with it's growth, it actually looks like a hedge this year. I'm sure I have some pictures of it newly planted but I'm not sure where. If I find them I'll add them in. 
That's it for now. I won't have time for any blog hopping until next week but I look forward to doing it then. 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Hanging on to Summer In a Vase on Monday

There is still plenty going on in the garden but not nearly so much to pick. Partly as many of the flowers are rain damaged. Dahlias are still flowering well but other things are slowing down. It has rained 11 days in a row. Not all day every day, of course and the sun is peeping out today. 

I've managed to fill a vase to bursting, though. I wanted to do that while I still can, to hang on to Summer. 

In the vase:
Wigelia foliage
Nicandra seed heads
Echiniacea flower
Pink Nicotiana - from the lime green packet but very pretty
Cosmos - Psyche white (I think)
Honeysuckle greenery
Penstemon 'Sour Grapes'

 I show you this view, not to highlight the rain damage aster, but the lovely black Nicandra seed pods. They dry brown unfortunately but do retain a little black. 

I'm happy with my vase, it's very cheerful. 

I have an abundance of Amaranthus so I filled a vase. It hasn't made a dent in the crop but looks fabulous on the mantlepiece. 
I've got far too many plants and they are swamping my squash plants. We live and learn. 
I'd like to grow some green ones next year but a few of each will be enough. 

View from the back door. I call this the Kitchen border as we look out on it when washing up. 
This is just before I set about it with trowel and secateurs to give it an Autumn tidy and decided what needs to move around. I found a few things being swamped. 
There is still plenty going on including  LtoR Heliotrope, Pineapple sage, Rudbeckia 'Green Eyes', Feverfew, Osteospermum,  garlic chives, Salvia nemerosa 'Deep Blue', Sedum spectablis, small pink geranium, Cordydalis, Fuchsia. And that is just the flowers. 
Now just the leaves to collect, again!
For plenty of pretty and  poetic vases visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for In a Vase on Monday. 

Monday, 11 September 2017

A touch of Autumn In a vase on Monday

OK, I admit it, Autumn is here. I was in denial but there is no getting away from it. 
I've swept up leaves two weeks in a row, the mornings are cool and damp and in the evenings the temperature drops quickly. Three seed catalogues have arrived this week with luscious things to tempt and thoughts turn to how to do even better next year.
I am making mental lists but will try and be sensible about how many seeds I can really manage.
There are still plenty of summer flowers and the garden looks colourful and lush but some things are going over gracefully. Others look dreadful after lots of rain. 

I found these rose hips growing in a hedge. The attack our long suffering postman when I forget to prune around the post box. I thought I'd use them in an autumn themed arrangement. 
This looks better in real life but I'm going to stop wasting time trying to get a better picture. 
I found some Atriplex looking very brown. I'm sure this will seed so I won't have to nurture it next year, in fact I'll probably be pulling it up in handfuls. Then I chose some Echinacea flowers. These are not the newest but some which have faded to a soft pink to add the autumnal look. 
I've also been collecting a few things to dry. I'm not a huge fan of dried flowers but it's nice to have a few hangovers from summer.

I found my Caryopteris is finally flowering so I picked a couple of sprigs. I am taken with small arrangements since making my buttonhole show entry a few weeks ago. While googling how to make them I found many tiny but perfect flower arrangements. This one is not tiny but it's quite small at about 15cm.

I added:
Caryopteris 'White Surprise' which has varigated leaves.
Salvia 'Violette de Loire'
Some kind of double achillea 
Tiny white geranium grown from seed
Artemesia 'Powis Castle

It was going to be blue and white but then I couldn't resist the purple salvia. It came through the last winter but I've just taken some cuttings as insurance. 

Just a couple of notes:
These have lasted very well, opened more and look as good as they did last week.

This went on getting better and fuller and the roses opened right out. I kept it for a week. 

Sadly the acidanthera didn't last long in water but I still have some in the garden. I'll (probably) leave them there next year. 

For colourful and creative vases visit Cathy at Rambling in the garden for In a vase on Monday. 

Monday, 4 September 2017

Fireworks in a Vase on Monday and notes to self

Two quick vases this week. I found this rose lying on the ground. No-one admits to anything so I suppose it was a victim of the weather. 

I don't know what this rose is but it's a gorgeous copper colour when new then fades to peach. Shown here, just as I found it, with raindrops enhancing it. Should roses ever be photographed without raindrops?

There is so much going on in the way of flowers at this time of year that  some little things can get lost amongst the crazy dahlias. I chose these Allium cernuum ( I think that's what they are, correct me if I'm wrong) so I could enjoy them inside though I do admire them every time I pass outside. Great shadows in the photo too. 

Each flower is like a little firework. I don't know how they will last in a vase but there is only one way to find out. (Yes, Noelle, I will have some bulbs for you at the end of the season. x)

For fancy and fun vases from around the world visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden - In a vase on Monday. 

Just a few notes now about my cutting beds. For a number of  years I've tried to grow flowers with the aim of having plenty to cut without stripping the borders. This year has been the best ever(2nd full summer here) but there is still room for improvement so hopefully I'll read this next year and take note. 

From the right front first bed - Sunflowers, Nicandra, Chrysanthemums 1 bud so far,  Migon Dahlia for Bee obs, Nicotiana, Birch trees waiting to be moved.
Good points - things have flowered brilliantly and I've had loads for myself and to give away. 
I gave them proper support - for the first time ever. It doesn't look particularly beautiful but I think the eye is drawn to the flowers rather than the ugly mesh. The mesh and post system has really worked. 
I've deadheaded reasonably often and not had too much trouble from pests. 
I have plenty of foliage to add but a few more background plants would be useful. 
The Atriplex looks great flowing over the sides of this slightly raised bed. 
It has rained very frequently since flowering began in earnest so I have not had to water. In a dry summer (!) much watering would be needed. 
From front - second bed - Asters, Dahlia Classic Rosamund, Honka pink and Rip City
Third bed - Newly planted wall flowers, Atriplex, Cosomos, Dahlias
Fourth bed - This was supposed to be squashes but they are completely swamped by Atriplex. There is one squash growing. 
Could to better - Even with the amount of space I have I plant things too close together. Several smaller more delicate dahlias are swamped by the bullies. 
I didn't take note of how tall the new ones would be so they are in the wrong place and struggling. 
There are probably too many cosmos all crammed in. They are still producing lots of leaves but plenty of flowers now too. 
I sowed Ammi in the autumn and it did very well but went over quickly. A few sown in autumn and a few in spring would be better use of space and last longer. 
I don't need 20 plant of the same thing. 
Some more subtle flowers would be good as a foil the brightest and biggest.
Sweet peas have been dismal. I should grow them round here next year. 
I've missed Rudbekia Rustic Dwarfs as they either didn't germinate or didn't survive. Buy new seed!
From  the other direction - Dahlia Labyrinth swamping Bishop of Oxford and Gallery Art Fair, Cosmos and one dill plant.
What has done well for you this year? Or what will you do better next year?
Thanks for visiting and bearing with me to the end. x

Friday, 1 September 2017

Adventures in a poly tunnel - August 2017

It suddenly seems more like Autumn in the mornings when go out. There are mists and heavy dew on the ground. 
The temperatures and weather in general has been hugely variable in August. Early on was cold and wet but it has improved vastly towards the end of the  month. It's still wet enough to be moving plants without worrying about whether or not they will survive. 

 I cut down these strawberries after they had fruited, watered them well and fed them and they have responded with lush new growth and even the odd flower, Any strawberries are eaten by mice. 

 Kohl rabi are swelling slowly, they have probably been too dry. I only  need a couple at a time so that is fine. There have been some caterpillars but I have managed to prevent complete devastation. 

 I have planted out spinach and rocket. 

 Cobra beans. I pick a handful every other day and they are tender and delicious. The plants have red spider mite and whitefly. Sigh. 

 View from the front. Many seedlings and tomatoes in the background. 

 Perpetual spinach enjoyed by humans and hens. Long red chillies, or at least they will be when they are ripe. 
 Radishes to the left. Small peppers, turmeric in front. This is grown from a fresh root bought in the wholefood shop. Salad leaves behind and spring onions in the pot.

 During June and July I failed to sow any salad so was not able to pick any. I sowed these in modules and they are now ready for picking some leaves. 

 Yard long beans. These seeds were given to me and I've not tried them before. They are growing well and flowering but will I get any beans?

The tomatoes are finally ripening. This picture was taken about a week ago and there is much more ripening since then. I don't think they liked the cold weather early in the month. I am very pleased that I have, so far, managed to avoid blight. My regime was:
Plant in bottomless pots using growbag compost. Some are, in fact, in bags when I ran out of pots, but that has worked. 
Don't grow potatoes
Spray with mix of water, aspirin and seaweed feed. Regularly, I have probably managed once a month sometimes two weeks. This is supposed to promote natural resistance.
Feed with molasses diluted with water. This is the only feed they have had. These last two are recommended by James Wong in Grow for Flavour. 
The tagetes are supposed to deter whitefly but the plants are covered in them and they have been in the tunnel since last year. I need to try some kind of garlic smoke bomb (organic) during the winter when numbers are reduced. 

Daytime high 42∘C
Nighttime low 7∘C

Harvesting inside and out:
Salad leaves
Climbing french beans
Czechoslovakian beans - Borlotti type 
Perpetual spinach
Spring onion
Onions - harvested and drying
Kohl rabi
Munchkin squash
Parsley and other herbs

Monday, 28 August 2017

Showing off In a Vase on Monday

Hello fellow gardeners,
What an amazing Bank Holiday weedend. Hot sun and no rain. That's not right!

This weekend was our local village Produce and Handicraft show. It's a pretty impressive show for a small village. Lovingly nurtured giant leeks and onions are in evidence not to mention fantastic gladioli and plenty of cakes and jam. We've been here for 3 shows and this is my first time of entering so I'm cheating a bit and showing your my entries. They are in a vase and it is Monday so I think that counts.
This class was 'Vase of cottage garden flowers and foliage':

Everything is in here which I could find which was vaguely cottagy though I stuck the pink side of the spectrum. I even found some honeysuckle flowering.

I'm not going to give you a run down of my prizes. Suffice to say that I did well and most of my entries won something but bear in mind that there were often only 2 or 3 entries in the class!

The next is Top vase. This was to be between 5 and 10 stems of 2 or more kinds of plant but NO extra foliage. 

I found that hard as I almost always add foliage. Truth is this was put together in a couple of minutes as I had run out of time and what I'd planned wasn't going to work. I found this vase hidden away and thought it went well with the colours of the flowers. I think it was very cheap and bought years ago but is a good shape and colour
These are Labyrinth and Rip City Dahilas and amaranthus. Foliage on the stems is allowed.

It was up against some giant gladiolus but I think it held it's own. I wouldn't put huge upright yellow glads with pink roses round the bottom but that's all I'm saying. 😊

Dahlia - Labyrinth
I didn't enter any of the proper floral art, I don't think it would have done my stress levels any good. Some of it was amazing and probably hours of work and, of course, bought flowers. I did try a button hole, though, just dipping my toe in the water. I'm quite pleased with it as I've only ever made two and the first one was the day before as a practice. It'a a bit droopy by the time you see it here. 

Japanese painted fern, hibiscus flower, Ammi flower, Thyme 'Silver Posie' and Achillia 'The Pearl'.
That was my fun for the weekend. Now I'm off the enjoy the sunny day.
Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for lots of fantastic ideas and fun In a Vase on Monday.

ps I'll be spending my prize money on seeds!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Garden Blogger's Foliage Day

A little break from all the flowering of August to look at some foliage for Garden Blogger's Foliage Day. Hosted by Christina at My Hesperides Garden. It's good to focus on foliage, shape and structure for a change. 
I went out this morning with a camera, thinking I'd take photos before the sun came out. Sadly it never did, but it is strangely warm anyway. The photos are all rather grey and dull, I'm afraid. 

 I wasn't sure how much I would find worthy of showing but there was plenty just outside the backdoor. Here is a little Alchemilla alpina, I think. So pretty with soft silver undersides to the leaves. 

 Right next to it is a little Aquilegia. It is supposed to have little brown flowers but it hasn't for several years. It's very small, the leaves are only about 3cm across. 

 Thyme Silver Posie.

 A variegated Caryopteris. It is going to flower, I think but is so dainty and pretty, I'd forgive it if it didn't. 

 Cotinus coggygria. This has really grown well this year after a slow start last year. It looks fabulous when wet, which is a bonus where  I live. 

 Sorbaria sorbifolia. This was a present from my son and always seems to look good whatever time of year. New foliage is pinky and I love the structure of the leaves. 

 In contrast some kind of Eryngium. Saved from the slugs. Don't be fooled into thinking they won't eat this! 

 Convuluous cneorum. I like silver foilage very much and do like all these different textures. 

 Euphorbia. My collection is growing. 

Last but not least, my fernery. This was a little patch of soil at the back of our house when we came here. It is in complete shade so perfect for ferns, though they do need some water sometimes. RH is a Japanese painted fern and something else on the left. 

I've been very lazy about looking up proper names today but if you'd like to know anything you can always ask. I have a book and a box of labels. 😊

I've actually been out gardening today and starting on some of my plans for improvements. All summer it seems as though I have been fighting fire. Watering in the hot spell, bailing out in the wet spell and generally trying to manage plants, vegetables and seedlings. 
Now things are slowing down. I hate to admit it but there is sometimes a feel of Autumn in the mornings. There is still the joy of harvesting vegetables and flower but also the joy of  a late summer clear out and planning for next year which will, of course, be bigger and better!