Is anyone good at identifying plants? Not the one on the left sneaking into the photo - that's Scabious - but the one with a compact base of green leaves and long, slender flower stems. The flowers, when they're out, are purple, and when they're finished the plant produces seeds that're sticky and catch on your clothes and in your hair!
No idea what it is, and haven't yet found it when I've browsed through gardening books (of which I have far too many ...) but if anyone can point me in the right direction I'd be grateful.
Apart from the mystery plant, this one's doing well considering it's start in life. Among the Oxalis and by the lupin (Lupinus West Country Desert Sun) is Crocosmia Carmen Briljant. It's not really planted in a position best suited to show it off, so may get moved at some point. It was bought from Wilko, one of those yellow sticker purchases, reduced to 50p for a quick sale. The dry little thing was brown and crisped up, looking ready for the compost bin. But those kind of plants can be deceptive as often they've not been well cared for by busy shop staff, but still have healthy enough roots to do well once re-potted and watered.
The front garden's home to at least 3 rosemary plants. (I do have a weakness for buying herbs.) I love their smell, and of course you get the flowers to please the pollinators. It's funny how differently varieties develop.
The one on the left of the thyme (in the photo above) stands tall and upright, like a guardsman on parade. While the one on the right droops over, as if it's all too much bother. I don't think the variety of rosemary was listed on the plant labels when I bought them, both being spur of the moment supermarket buys rather than coming from a proper horticultural nursery. Those tempting tiers of shelving. Plants that canny grocery stores put by the door, so you pick up a basket or a trolley and lob a few cheap herbs or houseplants in with your teabags and cereals.
Are you someone who's easily seduced by supermarket plants? Or do you sail past temptation and not succumb to impulse buys?
This little area's started to look rather nice, mainly because of the verbena of which I'm ridiculously fond. It started out as resembling a building site. Weeds, gravel, bits of buried concrete slabs, there was little to love. But gradually I got on top of it.
I used bricks that I'd taken up from the front garden, and improvised about the layout.
Things looked a heck of a lot better once some greenery made an appearance.
There's a perennial sunflower by the fence, along with a foxglove, plus a couple of thymes - both a variety called 'Silver Queen', one in the ground, the other in a container - plus marjoram (or is it oregano?) and leggy verbena. Still too much bare ground for my liking, but that'll get filled up with plants in years to come.
When I'm flagging it's good to look at photos like these and see that progress is -slowly - being made.
When I'm not messing about in the garden or writing short stories then I can generally be found sewing patchwork or doing needlepoint. (Anything to avoid dusting and hoovering!) When you're crafting then colour is important. Choosing the right shade of wool or fabric, it can make the difference between a design being vibrant and zingy and a design being dull as ditchwater. Sometimes I've come up with a colour scheme for a cushion I'm doing as a needlepoint and began stitching it, only to find it fails to have any impact. Maybe there're two colours that look good on their own, but next to each other they get muddy and lack interest. The only thing to do is get the seam un-ripper out and pull out those stitches and choose something else.
When it comes to gardening I've decided that - despite their pretty name - these zinnias won't be making a repeat appearance next year. I like the shape of the flowers, but the colours? Nah. Too bright. Too clashing. I much prefer something softer.
The blue-ish purple of the lavender.
The paler purple of the flowering thyme alongside the creamy white yarrow.
Next year I'm going to be more ruthless about editing my colour choices, but then again I don't want the scheme to look boring. It's all about injecting the odd shot of contrasting colour without that splash of orange or red sticking out like a sore thumb. I think it'll be a case of trial and error, but then isn't all gardening?
Today was gloriously hot and the tomato plants are wilting like month old lettuce. I'm holding off with the watering though as the weather forecast reckons it's raining cats & dogs overnight and tomorrow. So I get to lounge on my ample backside and watch Channel 4's para-athletics coverage instead. Happy days.
P.S. The lemon tree's looking more like a lime tree at the mo. How cute are they?!
It was still light enough yesterday evening to pop out at 10.00pm and do some watering I'd forgotten about. I love these long, sunny days. They lift everyone's spirits. We were lucky with the weather last week for our visit to the Yorkshire Show in Harrogate. Crikey, it's huge! We saw as much as we could pack in to a single day - approx 18,000 steps according to a FitBit - but still probably didn't scratch the service. It's a real mix of proper agricultural fair (sheep, pigs, tractors and combine harvesters) and upmarket shopping experience. (It is Harrogate, after all ...) If you've never been, then get your tickets for next year, but I'd definitely suggest you spend at least two days at the event. Wear flat shoes too - I shook my head in disbelief at some women tottering around in heels or high wedge sandals. Their feet must've been killing 'em by teatime. Take lots of water, sunscreen and a picnic if you're vegetarian or gluten free. If you like burgers and chips, followed by ice cream you'll be well provided for food-wise though.
At home the front garden is graced by a tall pink hollyhock.
The leaves have been affected by rust, so don't look quite so appealing, but it's worth it for the flowers.
These Scabious are pretty too, though not an attractive sounding name, is it? The flowers are described as pincushion-like, which is apt. They're leggy and do need staking, which I've inexpertly done with some bamboo and string. The flowers are white, with just the odd pale pink bloom dotted among them.
These two little plants nestling with their white flowers among the Oxtalis (which incidentally self seeds like crazy, be warned) are Ageratum, bought for 50p each from the Yorkshire Show. They're compact and ideal for edging a border. Apparently they're also known as Floss flowers, according to my 'Enclyclopedia of Garden Plants and Flowers'. Yeah, there would've been a time I devoured novels, everything from Jane Austen to Willa Cather, via the Brontes, Virginia Woolf, Poppy Z Brite, Judy Budnitz and Beryl Bainbridge. Now it's plant books that catch my imagination. Time rolls on ...
I've got a tray of flapjacks baking in the oven. My second attempt as the first weren't quite sticky and yummy enough. I'm off to the Yorkshire Show tomorrow, so thought I'd make flapjacks for us to take along. As my bruv and niece are gluten free, I bought GF porridge oats. Crikey, they're expensive compared to the regular kind. Anyway, let's see if the second lot are more successful.
Before my attempt at being Mary Berry I did some pootling around in the front garden. I've been popping small thyme plants in between cracks or gaps in the bricks, and this little one in the photo above should hopefully spread out in weeks to come, and cover that gap entirely.
These Californian Poppies are tumbling out of their flower bed, and I loved the shape the petals made as they weren't fully open.
This dill plant seems to shoot up another inch or two by the day. It's pretty enough to go in any herbaceous border, don't you think?
Another photo of the dill, which would look better without the plastic washing up bowl loitering in the background! It's useful for chucking weeds into, or general fetching and carrying. Another old washing up bowl has had holes punched into the base and now has catmint growing in it. Waste not, want not, as the saying goes.
Okay, time to sample a flapjack. Let's see if it comes up to scratch.
July already, and we've had some amazingly hot days. It's been gorgeous, and I'm developing a Yorkshire tan from all this sunshine. It does mean an evening traipse around with the watering can, and the tomato plants and sunflowers are greedy 'uns when it comes to water.
The front garden's looking disheveled. It's got its bedhead on, and no one's around with a hairbrush or some straightners! This photo shows the upper level, the front being split into two levels from when previous residents flattened the sloping ground and paved it over. (In the background is the not-so-charming sight of many bags of sand and limestone I've removed after lifting bricks. I'm waiting till I've got a skipful before getting rid of 'em. Plus there's a trio of hulking plastic bins. Unsightly, but those wooden 'bin tidies' are ridiculously expensive.)
When I created these flower beds I was in such a rush to get plants - anything green! - into this barren space, so in it all went. Jumbled up and squished together. Consequently it's messy but at least the bees love all the nectar sources.
Having visited some public gardens over the summer, and having watched Mr Montague Don on 'Gardeners World' I've got more idea now of what plants I like and am beginning to understand the theory behind how to plant a successful border. I spent last night chopping up seed catalogues, cutting out pictures of plants I aspire to grow and noting their height. I'm working out what looks best at the back of a border (tall spires like foxgloves and delphiniums), what's of medium height (Achillea, alliums, lavender and Cosmos) and what's compact (Forget-Me-Not, daisies). I've got a colour scheme. Actually, more than one. The upper beds will be whites, purples (from pale lilac through to a deep imperial purple), pinks (from blush through to shocking pink), with the odd blue (such as the Himalayan poppy) and a touch of yellow, but only the softest creamy lemon. (The lupin you can see in the photo is 'Lupinus West Country Desert Sun' and is a beauty.)
On the lower level will be a 'white' bed - home to yarrow (which is self seeding like a maniac), a Cosmos like 'White Knight', some Gypsophilia maybe and I'd love an ornamental grass like 'Bunny Tails'. Finally I'd like an 'orange/yellow' bed - a home for all those vivid look-at-me blooms, such as orange or red Crocosmia, vibrant Heleniums, lots of Californian poppies and Echinacea 'Paradiso'. Plus some Chinese lanterns and a chocolate scented Cosmos 'Choca Mocha'. Oh, and of course lots of sunflowers. I want to grow those outrageously tall ones that you can get nose to nose with from the upstairs windows.
Yup, I've got big plans for a gal with a small budget. But seeds are cheap, and there're worse things to spend your cash on than prettying up your home and providing wildlife with a tasty buffet. Actually, it's turns out I've got loads more seeds than I thought away. The tartan patterned former shortbread tin that I use to store them has plenty, plus I recently ordered a fair few from a £1.00 per pack sale on Forthergills website. I may have to be brutal much later this year and into the start of next, ripping out what I've planted so far and redoing all those borders from scratch. It'd be worth it to get some proper structure in place, and to also make sure I dig in a load of organic materal, to ensure the soil's as good as I can get it.
You know, I don't understand what people who don't garden do with their time ... seriously folks, you need to get 'with it'. It's great exercise, you're creative, you can indulge in a love of colour and texture. What's not to like? Who else has got bitten by the gardening bug? Or maybe you're a frustrated would-be gardener who's got no more space than a window box?
Moved from a garden-less city flat in the South West to a Yorkshire village in 2016. I now have a garden ... of sorts.