About my garden

Monday, 16 October 2017

Still Hanging On In a Vase on Monday

There is no denying it is now Autumn. There is plenty of green around but some of the trees are gracefully changing hue. As I drive around I see butter yellow, oranges and reds, beautiful but sad too, as we head away from summer. 
We've had mild days and not so much rain so I've been able to get on with a few more jobs. I'm trying to keep on top of things this autumn and winter though it's tempting to curl up with the seed catalogues and a cup of tea and just plan in my head for next year. It's better to start the changes now as I know many of you are doing. 

Making a late appearance is Dahlia 'Summer Flame'. Almost completely swamped by larger plants (my fault) this plant has hardly bloomed. Then I managed to decapitate this flower while trying to cut it. Sigh. 

I promise to look after you next year.

I could have chosen autumn hued things but I'm hanging on to summer here and you'll notice so is Rocky. 
My daughter no longer lives here but we still have a room full of her stuff. I wondered if I'd be able to find something appropriate in this treasure cave and sure 'nuff there was Rocky from 'Chicken Run'. This is my husbands favourite film, it's so clever and is extra funny now we have hens to observe at close quarters. None of them have yet tunnelled out with a spoon.

Back to the vase - I wanted to cut these pink roses, which I'm reliably informed are 'Queen Elizabeth', thanks Noelle. Storms are heading our way so they might not be standing after that. 
They are a very bright pink which is difficult to pair with anything so I chose Dahlia 'Karma Naomi' who is very dark and won't fight with the them. (Not all pinks are the same - discuss).
Also Artemesia 'Powis Castle' as grey is always calming. 
Feverfew still going strong after months of flowering.  I'm so glad I added the daisies as they really lift the arrangement. 
Finally Gaura 'Rose bicolour'. That's a disappointing name. This has also been flowering for months and is a beautiful, graceful airy plant. 

As usual I'm joining in with In a vase on Monday hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. For creative and colourful vases do visit and see what you can come up with yourself to share with other plant enthusiasts. 

Monday, 9 October 2017

Orange Allouise In a Vase on Monday.

Sunday here was a beautiful day left over from summer. I was able to spend several happy hours outside weeding some places which have been neglected and moving plants around. 
We have been here for two years now and have learnt how the different areas work. Some are in full sun, which is easy but there are several places which get a good bit of shade so have to be treated differently. 
Did I leave the garden for a year as you are supposed to do, to learn all about it? Don't be daft, of course I didn't, does anyone do that? I was planting in the first few weeks and made plenty of mistakes but, look on the bright side, most things are happy and growing well. Some are growing too well and that is why they have to move. 
Late summer is a great time to move things but I feel it's like one of those puzzles where you move around the little squares to make a picture. You just move that one down there and another one over there but then this one is wrong so you move it up a bit. That is me and my plants. I am always left with a large clump of something mouldering in a bucket or wheelbarrow or left on the grass till it goes yellow underneath and I'm in trouble. Today it's a large clump of Iris sibirica. I'm not sure where it's going but I didn't leave it on the grass. 
I still have lots to cut to put in a vase. This is Chrysanthemum 'Orange Allouise'

I'd meant to wander round the garden and look for things to go with Allouise in her vase. There was no time so she went in on her own but, as is often the way, I think she looks better flying solo and we can see all the curvy petals. 
The vase is rather an odd one. Silver on the inside and raised black, raised, velvety pattern on the outside. 

I bought rooted Chrysanthemum cuttings this spring and they have made tall strong plants but this is the first one to flower. Does anyone know what sort of conditions they need? I must have something wrong. 

I've also made a posy. I did go round with the roses choosing what to add in. This is 'Aphrodite' and she has beautifully shaped buds but the rain is really spoiling the blooms so I've brought some inside. 
 I found red basil flowers (which are purple), pinapple sage flowers (bright red), Abelia, Pittosporum, convulvulus cneorum. 

The Abelia flowers have gone over really but I like the pinky brachts, or whatever they are called, and often put them in vases. 

For all sorts of amazing and adorable vases visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden and see what she has In a Vase on Monday. 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Adventures in a polytunnel - September 2017

Again the month has whizzed by. September is one of the busiest months in the garden so perhaps that is why it seemed to fly. 
Looking back it seems as though the picking season has been very short. There were only a few weeks where we had more beans and courgettes than we could manage and then we were quickly back to the steady drip of harvests. Perhaps it's always like this.
It has certainly been wet and we have only had a few days with no rain at all. It means that I can happily transplant things and not have to remember to water them again so that is a bonus if you are busy and forgetful. Not in the tunnel of course, watering continues year round but cooler temperatures mean it is not so much of a task. 

Here is the perpetual spinach. Currently being fed to humans and hens. It's is producing lots of new leaves. 

Long red chilli peppers. Some have already turned and I made some excellent chilli sauce using a James Wong recipe. Easy peasy and very good. I'll post the recipe but ask if you'd like it sooner. 

From left: Chrysanth cuttings. chilli plant, lettuces, red peppers, salad leaves. 
Pots of succulents have been moved in for the winter as they don't like to be too wet. 
Turmeric grown from a tuber I bought in the wholefood shop. This is a tuber I've uncovered. I'm not sure when to harvest but it looks like the one I planted so perhaps I'll try one. 

The tomatoes are doing beautifully now in spite of the whitefly. They don't affect production but some of the fruit are covered in black and have to be washed well before use. It means snacking in the tunnel is not so easy. 
I'll try and fumigate after I have removed these plants. There are garlic bombs available which are organic. 
I've just made some tomato soup with my own onion, garlic, tomatoes and basil. No recipe, I just needed oil and stock. It tasted twice as good. Seed saving for the Heritage Seed Library is going well. I have some dried and some more fermenting. 

A tiny 'Sweet Dumpling' squash growing well. It will be more white when ripe. 

Small kale plants grown in modules and planted out. One bean left. The others all had bad red spider mite which was so bad is was affecting the beans. I took them out. Next year I must try harder to control it. Regular spraying with water should help. 

 I grew these outside but I'm very proud of my first onion harvest. I started them in modules and planted them out. Almost all are a decent size and will last us a few months. 

Daytime high temp - 39.9∘C
Nighttime low - 3.7∘C

Harvesting (inside and out):
Courgettes and the occasional small marrow
Spring onions
Rocket and salad leaves
Climbing french beans - few
Borlotti type beans
Kale - curly, Cavolo Nero and Red Russian
Few red  peppers

Monday, 2 October 2017

Autumnal colours In a Vase on Monday

Don't mondays come round quickly?
I chose oranges this week as I wanted to pick Dahlia Bishop of Oxford. He is looking very good just now despite being swamped by other things. He'll be getting more space next year. 

Showing off with him are Rudbekia Green Eyes, Dahlia Labyrinth, Chrysanthemum, Mahonia leaves and Cotoneaster. 

It's a very cheerful vase to have in the room giving a bright splash of colour. 

I've remembered my prop this week (not required but fun). Munchkin pumpkins which are very cute. I'm very pleased that they germinated, grew, made it to adult hood and produced fruit. I trained them up inadequate supports so they grew half upright and half sprawled. The fruits are light so training them upwards is a good use of space. Again, they'll be better next year. 

I've got some pink roses I wanted to pick too but no time. Perhaps tomorrow. 

For colourful and creative vases visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden - In a Vase on Monday. 

Monday, 25 September 2017

Sunshine (on a rainy day) In a vase on Monday

Some of my roses are having a last fling and I've been watching this yellow one send up bud after bud. I was a little late in picking them, as they are mostly fully open but they do add some lovely colour to a grey day. 
Being short of time, this was quick and easy for me to do today. I don't know what the rose is. Any ideas?
Yellow roses don't usually mean good things in the Language of Flowers - jealousy, betrayal and infidelity are a few - so be careful who you give them too!

For plenty of colourful and creative vases visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden - In a vase on Monday. 

I've just had a lovely weekend away and chose the location on purpose so we could visit Forde Abbey on the way home. If you don't know it, it's near Chard in Somerset and it definitely worth a visit for any gardener. There are spectacular dahlias just now as well as a fabulous walled kitchen garden and plenty of trees, lakes, walks and beautiful borders. Plus restaurant and plant nursery, just to make it perfect. 
We'd just about done enough walking, as we walked miles the day before as well, when we came across this fantastic bit of meadow/flower planting. 
 We think what they had done was scraped off the turf and sown seeds in the grooves. There were plenty of flowers even though it is late September. 

 It was a mix of many different flowers.

This is one entrance. You could walk all the way in and round the circles. 

Here is my very rough drawing of the pattern.

I don't think I've got this quite right but it's a very clever design where you follow the paths round and eventually come out again at the other end. 
It was so very pretty, I'm glad we found it. I certainly like the idea of scraping away the turf in a small area and sowing a mix. I do love visiting gardens, you always pick up some sort of idea. 

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