June view 2009

June view 2009
View of rose and herb garden, June 2009

Small Garden Story

Over some 15 + years, I have been photographing the evolution of my small (85 x 15 foot) garden and it seems a waste not to put these records into some sort of context. Beginning here in April 2010 this Blog is intended to both act as a diary and to share past and present successes (and some failures), pleasures and disappointments with fellow garden-lovers. In due course, I intend to fill in some of the background and early days but that will have to wait until the winter months!

Saturday, 18 December 2010


Just saw my first redwings for the winter - they always seem to come with the snow.


Garden in snow 18th December
Having entirely missed the opportunity of posting about the joy of picking coriander from my greenhouse 2 weeks back, I went down the garden this morning to discover that I don't think I'll be doing that again for a while as, even in the greenhouse (a strange murky place under its covering of snow), the soil in the growbags is rock hard.   Never mind, it was a good experiment while it lasted and proved that greenhouse-grown "leaves" can survive quite a bit of frosty weather before they give in.

I was treated to a very extraordinary experience today.   We have had a good 5 inches or so of snow but today is the day for me to bring in my Christmas tree and I thought I'd better get on with it before it disappeared all together.   So I had to get first a broom, then a paint brush to brush off as much snow as possible before bringing it into the house - all the while battling off more settling!   Anyway, its in now and has just about stopped dripping dry in the hall.   I just hope the shock won't be too much for it!

I am trying to take care of the birds.   Seeds and nuts in birdfeeders are easy but ground food is more tricky as it gets buried in the snow so fast.   I have chopped up some dried dates which the blackbird seems to be enjoying.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Bulb planting and since...

Since I used up all the space on my laptop and had to have it "sorted" by very helpful Apple Genius in Regent Street, I am a bit out of date with my posts.   So here is what should have been posted early in November.   Up-date to follow (with snow news!) very shortly....

It has turned very cold now.   All my fragiles and garden furniture are out of harm's way but there is still a lot to do and so little light to do it in!

Have finally managed to get all bulbs planted.   In the herb/rose garden are tulips Ballerina and Burgundy (as per last year) but this time with Jimmy & Ronaldo -  Parker's speciall offer!   In the main "border" are Orange Emperor, Marilyn, Maytime and Doll's Minuet.   I have packed a couple of pots with a crazy-looking new parrot-style tulip, Rai and squeezed another 25 allium Christophii in any spaces I could find.

A quick trip to the garden centre provided dwarf Irises (mixed), miniature Narcissus Minnow and a pack of mixed shade mauve pansies which I just about managed to cram into my window box before it got dark!

The garden is generally looking very green and brown - with just the odd splash of colour, mainly from the nerines and a few late aconitum but the winter jasmine is also in full flower and very cheery - it's a wonderful screening plant and incredibly well-behaved, even if it seems to flower when it wants to!

Biggest surprise to me was that I picked about 1/2 lb of raspberries today - what a treat!.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Small pleasures

Even though it has turned mild again, I have put away the tops of my ceramic bird baths for protection against possible frost damage.   It's a pity but a worthwhile precaution.   Diana Roles' ceramics are technically frost-proof but if water freezes in any spaces, part thaws and then re-freezes, it expands and that is where the damage can be done.   Pieces that drain or are smooth-sided are OK but I'm not taking any risks!

On the plus side, revealing the base of this piece has opened up more opportunities for the acer leaves to catch in cobwebs!

Friday, 29 October 2010

October - work to be done

I had some crazy idea that I would be able to whip the dahlias out and pop in the tulips - in a matter of a few hours!!!!    In fact just labelling the dahlias proved to take almost that long.   Now I see why people buy expensive metal tags which they leave on plants - permanently.   Anyway, I think I sorted them all out.   The next thing was to allow time - in the right location - for the worms which refused to be made homeless to decide to wriggle out.   Then came the small matter or hanging the tubers upside down for a week to allow them to dry out.   Hmmm - makeshift arrangements in the greenhouse took a bit of thinking out but I was glad I hadn't chucked out all the old shelf supports.   One greenhouse-length piece of wood balanced on some garden chairs seems to have done the trick!
Dahlia tubers drying on make-shift shelf in greenhouse

The first bach of tulip bulbs took longer to plant than expected as some multi-coloured osteospermum I had popped in as colour bedding have suddenly put on a new flush of blooms so I had to carefully dig around them.   Another lesson there.

In the greenhouse the winter salad crop and herb seedlings are coming on quite well.  Will soon have to decide whether to harvest some as "cress" or just thin out.   May experiment with a bit of each.
Progress of winter salad crops in growbags in the greenhoue
The nerines are certainly worth growing.   Sicne they are such a shocking colour I may even put in some orange ones for next year.   That would be interesting!

More crazy nerine shapes - they are so worthwhile - however LOUD!
Last luscious blush of little acer (unnamed seedling from Westonbirt arboretum)

Sunday, 24 October 2010

First frost

So we have had our first heavy frost - on the night of the 20th - which has put paid to all the cheerful exhuberance by turning the dahlias black.    My temptation was to whip them all out of the ground so I could put in my tulips but apparently the dying foliage has to be left at least a week.
Instead I spent some time having a serious think to try and remember where I envisaged the tulips going.   The front border has emerged fairly unscathed from the house being decorated (very handy having a decorator who is also a gardener!) and the white paintwork at the bottom will provide a great backdrop for tulips so I put in all the bulbs I rescued from 2009/10 plus some new "Irene" - then remembered the crocuses I had dug up so shoved them in - they will have to take their chances.
There is some new colour - evergreen honeysuckle has started its second flowering, winter jasmine (very early!), the nerines are opening, a few late roses and most stunning are the acer leaves which have turned a luscious coppery crimson.
Red robin has been exerting his territorial presence and I finally saw a squirrel yesterday.  
Now preparing myself for a lot of work next weekend.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

What a mess!

Suddenly the garden is looking pretty much of a mess!   So much for hopes of cutting the grass - I think that would make a big difference.   Still a lot of growth and quite a surprising amount of colour but I think this is the real turning-point.   I fact tonight's predicted frost prompted me to be quite ruthless about cutting handfuls of gorgeous dahlia blooms - so this will probably be it for dahlia pictures this year!!!  
I am posting a picture of the progress made by the nerines which shows just how much growth has begun to slow.  
There are still PLENTY cobwebs (seen here catching the light behind crocosmia leaves) - must be a very good time of year for spiders, although I have no idea why.    Are they fattening themselves up for winter?

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Nerine buds
It did turn out to be a beautiful sunny day - if rather windy.   Pruned forsythia, swept up some fallen leaves, picked a handful of raspberries and collected a few more nuts.   So had something else.   Before I realised the nuts were worth gathering I was throwing them into an empty pot.   They have all gone!
 Too wet to cut grass but gave 2 garden chairs a rub over with WD40 (yet another use of this wonderful stuff!) and put them in the shed for the winter.
Sitting with door open onto garden at dusk descends!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Changing hues

Sadly, we are back to the time of year when I only get to see the garden at weekends and there has been a definite change towards autumn in the past week.   The amelanchier has begun to shed its leaves and the acer is turning.   Everything is just beginning to look a bit messy.   I so hope the promised sunshine materialises so that the grass dries out enough to cut.   That always tidies things up!

But there are still little surprises.   The autumn raspberries are putting on quite a crop although the rain has turned them mildewy before I could get to them.   My growbags in the greenhouse are full of little seedlings of lambs lettuce, American land cress, rocket and leaf coriander (cilantro) - exciting!   Must remember to get more perpetual spinach to plant outside before it gets too cold - such a worthwhile veg..

My tulip bulb order arrived from Parkers last week- plenty of work to look forward to there.   Lovely bulbs.   I am impressed with Parkers.

The dahlias are still going strong, the rather strange buds of nerines are pushing their way through, the autumn crocuses and Japanese anemones are in bloom and a few stems of late aconitum have flowers for about the first time so I'm glad I didn't dig them up last year.  

Today I picked a tiny bunch of delicious-smelling sweet pea mattucana and nasturtiums including a gorgeous rust-coloured one.   Also despatched another 3 lily beetles and missed one.   They are certainly prolific.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Dahlia "Seduction"

Or ... seduction by dahlia.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Steam and cobwebb

Saturday morning was astonishingly bright - if very soggy.   While many things were battered down by the heavy rain others shone with gathered water droplets including this cobwebb caught against the light above a fence steaming in the warm sunlight.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Wet weekend

Let's hope this weekend won't be as wet as it is forecast to be!  

Late September view on a grey day

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Late September

I was concerned we might have a frost this morning - it was so clear last night.   But it's just chilly and very windy.    The wind has blown almost all the petals off my herbaceous clematis and it looks set to do a lot worse today - everything is thrashing around rather unsettlingly! 
Mid-week's sunshine must have helped warm some of the seeds I planted in the greenhouse into germination as there are tiny green specks showing and the rhodochiton and clematis seedlings seem to have put on a spurt of growth.
The first - maybe the only! - flower on my cup and saucer plant (cobea scandens) has now turned its beautiful purple colour.   As I tried quite hard with it this year I am concluding that its east wall positioning isn't allowing it enough sunlight.   What a pity!   It's such a  fun plant I must have a go with it somewhere sunnier.   More flowers are coming on the eccremocarpus - so hope they manage a little flourish before the frosts come.   Another lesson there - to plant them earlier next year.
Collected another small cache of cob nuts yesterday.   Something has evidently eaten some (will try and identify what from shell remains) and there are doubtless going to be a few more seedlings in due course.   I am keeping one or 2 in case I have to replace this tree as it's growing at such a pace.  
The autumn raspberries are making many more buds and I picked a small handful of fruit to add to my cereal today.   They are big, round juicy fruit, quite different from earlier season ones.
Just had a visit from a collection of great tits, blue tits and greenfinches - even saw a great tit on the bird feeder with a greenfinch.   Unusual as greenfinches are usually such bullies.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Changing light

Another surprisingly sunny Saturday morning - a completely clear blue sky when I went out around 8.00.   But the light has definitely changed to the sharper, lower, more contrasty quality of autumn.   The amelanchier and potted hydrangea leaves are definitely beginning to turn.   Some very heavy rain showers have battered the taller annuals and I'm very glad I picked that bunch of dahlias mid-week.   Still no frosts though.

Lily beetles again

I have been surprised just how many lily beetles I found on my L. regale this year.   I have obviously missed a lot as this is what one stem looked like the other day.   The closer shot shows the orangy-coloured larval stage which disgustingly covers itsself in its own excrement!   Apparently this stage lives for a couple of weeks on the plant leaves and then crawls to the ground where it pupates and finally emerges as a beetle a couple of weeks later.   The beetles can over-winter!   Wish I had paid a bit more attention earlier in the year.   For more info and a survey see: http://www.rhs.org.uk/Science/Plant-pests/Lily-beetle

Sunday, 19 September 2010


Decided today that I must be more disciplined about my planting - mainly with regard to colour schemes.   There really isn't space to do all I want here so I shall try and learn from this year's wild enthusiasm for dahlias and limit myself a bit.   Still, it has been a greatly enjoyable experiment.   I think I will try and keep the rose and herb area to a colour palate similar to that in this shot of sweet pea Matucana which has suddenly come on really well in the past week.   I wonder if it was responding to the tomerite I gave it last weekend?   Will have to experiment.   Anyway, this palate with a slightly deeeper orange than Noordwijk's Glory (which is such a pretty shape).   Maybe see what Sarah Raven recommends....

Had to water the garden today as it is so dry.   Also planted up some grow bags in the greenhouse with a small quantity of lambs lettuce, corn salad, land cress and cilantro (leaf coriander).   Hopefully they will get going before the days shorten too much and give me a bit of winter greenery.   Also having another go at growing Lilium Formosanum and Tropaeolum Speciosum from seed - also planted today.

Picked up quite a few more nuts and shelled and toasted them.   This was a very bad idea as I have eaten a LOT!

Little nut tree

Something may have "got" the squirrels!   Having been plagued by them stealing nuts and even wrecking a bird-feeder on occasions, this year, for the first time, I have a small harvest of decent-sized cob nuts from the little tree which grew from a seedling in my brother's garden some 20 years ago.   Seeing some lying about on the ground I nearly ignored their edible potential - as they didn't rattle I took them to be empty but in fact just the opposite is true.   I may even make a nutty merignue!

Surprisingly fine day yesterday but there was tidying up to do after some strong winds during the week.   Have decided that shorter dahlias might be a better idea next year - less work and some of the big ones are a bit dominant.   On the other hand shorter ones seem more vulnerable to ear-wigs - shook another one out of a flower pot trap yesterday (very effective method!).   They also need a lot of water.   Although I'm sure it's rained here since last weekend I realised that some dahlias were wilting by the afternoon - and recovered after a few cans of water.   They have responded well to a feed of Tomerite last weekend.   Just hope the frosts hold off a bit longer.   While I am on the dahlia topic, I was surprised to find one really healthy-looking plant of d. Seduction is producing blind buds - must look into the cause.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Hot spots

One of the most satisfying aspects of gardening, for me, is the joy of the unexpected.   Things just happen.   It is a constantly evolving canvas and sometimes you wonder where on earth the paints came from.   I certainly never expected a patch of such fiery hues as this dahlia grouping to find a home in my small patch.   The first shot was taken in the early morning, blooms still heavy with rain, featuring Karma Bon Bini, the second (following tomorrow) mid afternoon as I was trying to sit down long enough to enjoy a small bottle of beer - an impossible feat for a gardener (the sitting, not the beer).

Joining KBB is Cactus Nuit d'Ete and orange Pompon New Baby.   In planting are also Cactus Tutu, Natal, decorative Arabian Night and decorative Seduction.   But I can't get a decent shot of the whole lot together!

Early September jungle

Oops, nearly called this autumn jungle, but let's keep it as late summer.   The early summer sun, followed by wet July and then more sun when the children went back to school (!) really seems to have suited the garden and it's flourishing just now....   So here are a couple of views.... with dominant blues!   Dominant reds to follow.

Rosa Pat Austen through Clematis Wyevale

Monday, 13 September 2010

in brief

Such a wonderful day yesterday - all of it spent in the garden and so glad I did as it looks like that might be the end of summer - ouch....   Needless to say, lots more pictures to share but I ran out of time and computer memory.

But, in brief; the first flowers have appeared on one of my eccremocarpus seedlings, a tiny heartsease pansy has self-seeded and opened its first bloom, I emptied out some earwigs from my earwig trap (luckily only the one shop-bought dahlia has succumbed), evidence of my laxness over lily beetles has resulted in some disgusting grubs and shredded leaves (photo to follow - I said I'd share the bad as well as the good), rhodochiton seedlings have at last started to make progress since I put them in the greenhouse, treated to a generous late spray of rosa Pat Austen, enjoyed the company of a crazy starling over breakfast, found another blue hero - caryopteris and LOVING my clematis Wyevale and dahlias.   I so hope we don't have the threatened frosts to bring about an untimely end to them.

Oh, and spent all this evening agonising over my tulip order from J Parkers, who seem very good.

Pics to follow....

Monday, 6 September 2010

And back at home

Dahlias still haven't all come into flower but have definitely not been a disappointment.   Will be extending the range next year - trying not to miss ordering in good time! (although tulip ordering now has priority). 
The recent rain and following sun have worked wonders with clematis Wyevale and it is just one mass of flowers. 
Picked first blackberries and autumn raspberries.

White cactus dahlia Tutu with (probably) waterlily Requiem and various including Cl heracleifolia Wyevale in background.

Garden visit - Barrington Court

Went to a very special house and garden at the weekend - National Trust's Barrington Court in Somerset.  The 16th century house, once owned by the Lyle family (sugar people), is empty - except for Lyle's extraordinary collection of wooden paneling!   I loved the atmosphere and the fact you could soak it up without having reams to read about precious furnishings. 

The gardens are worth a visit in their own right - part-designed by Gertrude Jekyll (advice "by post"!).  Even in September there was masses of variety - a delightful, airy white garden, some lusciously-planted herbaceous stretches and a waterlily garden overlooked by the restaurant which was positively bursting with fiery hues including dense beds of dahlia Grenadier.   I shall be looking out for that.   There is also an extremely productive walled vegetable garden and some whacky features like the umbrellas.   Here are a few shots.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Hop picking

Hop picking summons up images of long hours of hard labouring gathering the hop harvest for beer-making.   Hops do smell wonderful - if you like beer that is!    I managed to time my own hop picking alright this year, while they were still fresh and green and in between the showers so I did not have to bring them in wet!   Just enough to drape about in the kitchen - gives the place a nice country feel.

The picture shows a few stems which clambered their way up into the amelanchier.   I brought a few of these down with the aid of a step ladder and a walking stick but most will have to stay until the tree sheds its leaves and I can see what I am doing!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Unreliable i.d.

How many of us have not carefully tended a sickly-looking seedling only to find out that what we have been tenderly nurturing some wayward imposter that has been lurking in the compost!   I can accept that.   What is more frustrating is carefully planting, labelling and growing on tubers which are labelled as one thing and come up as most definitely something else.   Take, for example, what I have been confidently calling Cactus dahlia Natal which turns out more likely to be Orfeo and what is this cheeky soft magenta with the red stripes?   Colours are inevitably subjective but shapes?   Can a waterlily shape turn into a cactus, a pompon into a cactus?   Still it's all good fun and I was delighted when this stripey fellow opened up right next to my small clump of old-fashioned sweet pea Matucana.   According to the records it is Requiem but it looks a bit more exciting than that.   Will have to be doubly careful with labelling next year - just in case! 

After a particularly heavy downpour the sun came out on this sunny example of what I am confident is Karma Bon Bini.   Not what anyone I know would expect me to have in my garden but she's so cheerful who could object?

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Shy pink

Peeking out from a fairly dry patch beneath a Choisya and a rather rampant clump of variegated ground elder I just spotted a delightful clump of pink cyclamen - truly heralds of the "a" word.

Monday, 23 August 2010

First hops

As the rain clouds seem to have blown over, decided to trade gym for garden and was well rewarded.   The fish blood and bone I spread yesterday has been well watered in and my efforts in staking up dahlias etc seem to have been worthwhile.
More new things to see included the first flowers on clematis pistachio - another must - peeking out from the dense leaves of winter-flowering jasmine.   Picked the first blackberry and a few stems of hops in anticipation of more ripening before the rain turns them brown as happens so often.   I desperately need to replace the dry brown things collecting spiders in the kitchen.  
A poetic close to this brief sojourn was an almost perfect silvery moon against a pale lavender sky.   What price half an hour in a garden?

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Breakfast view

This morning I got up early to watch the day begin - because I wanted to and not because I had to!   But it was so dull I went back to bed to moulder and listen to the radio.   Delight! - there was Lionel Kelloway on the Living World talking about beavers in Scotland, reminding me of a wonderful evening in the Ardeche sitting outside a restaurant in the middle of nowhere overlooking a river and suddenly spotting a small sapling frantically waving about from its base.   It proved to be a busy beaver who we watching about his business for a half hour or so.   A magical evening.

When I did get up the sun had started to break through catching the rain droplets on the garden furniture I seldom get to use....

Saturday, 21 August 2010

August blues

No, not a complaint about the very muggy weather but this is to flag up three wonderful, trouble-free blue-flowering late summer plants that I would never want to be without.   All of them seem to be very easy to grow in my soil and seem to thrive on neglect.   I have a bit of a problem with remembering the names so will be back with more details later...

Herbaceous Clematis Wyevale

Cl. Wyevale with Rose Warm Welcome

Ceratostigma Wilmottianum

Clematis Arabella

Thursday, 19 August 2010

August and the "a" word

A dear friend of mine had an unfortunate liking for the word "autumnal".   Unfortunate in that she used to trot it out with regard to the weather when I was desperately trying to pretend it was still summer.   I thought of her today as I wrapped my (horrible) fleece around me and set off, secateurs in hand, to see what has been going on during the past few days.   The grass is certainly greener - and will need a cut for the first time in ages - but there is a distinct hint of the "a" word in the colours of the leaves and in the air...   But there is still a lot of colour as this view from the rose/herb garden shows.

 New dahlias are continuing to treat me (didn't realise I had so many white ones!) and I looked after them with a bit of dead-heading.   Diana's "Feuille" ceramic piece acts as a wonderful foil to their showy heads....

Saw three lily beetles on the regal lily foliage but only managed to catch one.   Oh dear....

Saturday, 14 August 2010

August rain

It has to rain in August, doesn't it.   Some May/June sunshine followed by a drought and then as soon as the school holidays start - hey presto!   Still, today I love it.   The heavy showers are interspersed with brief flashes of sunshine and it's mild enough for me to keep popping in and out of the garden to see all the good this delicious rain is doing.   Not even many slugs and snails about yet....

The dahlias are coming on just fine, so here is pink and white cactus dahlia Hayley Jane to say hello.   (The flower in the background has its back to us.)   I have managed to get a great deal of pink in the garden this summer which is a bit shocking as I'm not really a pink person.   But it's fabulous in dull weather.   Even a hydrangea which arrived white has gone pink in spite of my best efforts to turn it blue by adding iron filings to the soil.   Maybe I need to bury some rusty nails right into the soil?

Diana's bird bath by the house looks particularly striking in the rain - as well as being a good indicator of precipitation when I'm not here to see it for myself.

Friday, 6 August 2010

I blame Sarah Raven

A shot I took the other evening as the dahlias are beginning to "do their stuff".   It's very exciting as, although I labelled them all very carefully when I planted the tubers, I have almost completely forgotten which I planted where and the labels are pretty much buried now.

It's all a bit garish - I blame Sarah Raven's "The Bold and Brilliant Garden" for that.   It inspired me to get into dahlias several years back.   But they are just so good for keeping colour going through the difficult late summer period.   The crocosmia - just the bog-standard sort - in the foreground provides a great foil and just does its own thing.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Delicious Rain

Yes, at last we have lovely gentle rain.   I had forgotten how absolutely delicious it smells after everything's been so dry - like the early mornings of hot summer holidays in France.   Can't ever remember being so happy to get up on a Saturday morning to rain....

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Happy as a bee in pollen!

Normally I wouldn't think of posting another 2 pictures of bees - and on the same plant (Echinops/Globe thistle) - but these fellows were so covered in pollen and looked as if they were having such a good time, I couldn't resist it.   In the background of one are the first to open of my shocking orange dahlias.   Dahlia pics to follow soon.

I was pruning and tidying today when I made a lovely discovery.   The Clematis "Pistachio" which I thought had succumbed to the hard winter has 2 sturdy new shoots and even some tiny flower buds - so I may have a late-flowering clematis just where I wanted it after all!   Still looking for a relatively small-flowered mid-late season variety - most of the white clematis on the market seem to be fairly huge....

The less lovely discovery was a lily beetle.   It's easy to forget about them once the luxury of their flowering is over.    I would love to find some later flowering lilies to extend the season and read about Lilium Formosanum in Christopher Lloyd's "Garden Flowers" but my first attempts to grow them from seed were a miserable failure.   I think I rather overdid the copper fungicide spray.   Will have another go.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Busy bees

I just read in the RHS magazine that bee numbers are up.   It certainly seems to be the case in my garden.   Now the echinops are in full bloom there are masses of bees and hover flies busying about them.

Still no rain here - in spite of substantial cloud-bursts round and about.   I can really recommend Maidenhead to people who are not so keen on rain!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Black and white

In contrast with my redcurrant crop, I picked the sum total of my black currants and white currants in about half an hour.   Never mind - it's a much bigger crop than last year.   Spreading the bushes out to give them more light has obviously been worth the effort....

Friday, 16 July 2010


What a reward for venturing out on a soggy night.   My suspicions have been proven true - THERE IS a hedgehog who passes through my garden, at least one.   At about 9.15pm I heard scuffling and scrunching and there on the path was a very smart, quite young-looking hedgehog clearing up my snails for me.   I followed him or her for quiet a while as it pottered about and finally went under the fence next door.

Other firsts this week were a wonderful, decent precipitation of rain which seems to have done my eccremocarpus seedlings far more good in 2 days than all my weeks of careful watering and I picked my first French bean.   Now I am going to eat it!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Gooseberries and dragons

My goodness has it been hot - and no rain for ages.   But lots of things have been enjoying the sun - not least my pink gooseberries.   There is only a small crop this year since a would-be burglar climbed over the fence and landed on the one bush, demolishing half of it (I hope it hurt!!!) but plenty for a gooseberry pie tonight - with ice cream....

The garden is beginning to go into its high-summer phase now with fiery shades to mark the season.   Alas I have lost quite a few treasures to the hard winter but other things are looking promising.   Along with the first dahlias in rich reds, pinks and orange, crocosmia "Lucifer" has spring into action this week, nodding its huge stems like small fire-breathing dragons. 

Managed to choose one of the hottest days of the year to start digging up my driveway, removing paving slabs and underlying concrete to put it all down to gravel.   Madness.... but good exercise!   Great to have the cool and tranquility of the back to retreat to!   In the process I had to cut down a whole lot of aquilegia seedheads from plants in all different blue-white-purple-pink shades.   Anybody want any seeds?

Monday, 5 July 2010

For the birds and the bees

I forgot to mention that my wonderful Kiftsgate rose has been a MAJOR attraction for bees.   There must have been literally hundreds on it some days....

Another thing they love is the honeysuckle whose scent is so delicious.   Here it is as a backdrop to a clump of Globe thistles - also bee favourites when they finally burst into dainty blue flowers...

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Summer begins to turn

With the longest day passed there have been so many changes and so much to do, it's hard to keep up with it!   Having enjoyed 2 weeks of picking fruit for my breakfast, the raspberries have virtually finished now and I picked the last of approx 17 lbs of redcurrants yesterday,   But the loganberries have started to ripen so my breakfast fruit supply has been uninterrupted!  Sheer fluke but great.

The regal lilies are in full swing now and my first dahlia has come out in the past couple of days - a lovely deep red.   I never have (yet) got round to making a plan of which ones are which but most are doing well and many showing coloured buds.

Most of the roses have finished their first flush and I still think the most spectacular feature of the garden is the Kiftsgate rose which has lasted beautifully for a full 2 weeks plus and relatively healthily this year.  But I am still perplexed by the fact that it turns pink as it ages which really does suggest it isn't Kiftsgate but something else.   I must look into this further.   Anyway, here are 2 shots of it taken 2 weeks apart, which show what I mean!