Saturday, 18 May 2019

Best Buds


My spring flowers are nearly-but-not-quite done, yet summer friends are fronding & budding, vining & fruiting.

1.  Woody the Wonder Fern

A few weeks ago, my woodwardia's new fronds were being snapped off by birds.

At least I'm fairly sure it was birds.

So I staked a folded bit of chicken wire on top & now . . .

Frond heaven.

2.  Clematis Taiga

Last year, Taiga first featured in a coupla SoS gardens, then later in an end of season sale.  Now, it's mine.

We have 2 buds!

3.  Tropaeolum speciosum

I've tried on & off for 5 years to propagate Scottish flame flower from seed, but with zilcho luck.  This year I admitted defeat & ordered a plant, expecting something small I could stick into one of my tree pots.

For scale, Mlle DoodleFace measuring at 24".

Lucky for wean Flame, the cucumelon tubers didn't sprout, so the mattress spring is free.

And it's off!

I'd intended to separate the vine from her wigwam & train her into an orderly spread across the springs, but her little tendrils grip the wigwam poles like death.

She promises to be the plant you write horror stories about.

4.  Gillenia.

This beauty spent last year in a pot & I was slightly worried how she would take to planting.  Well, she's in bud!  Hard to see, but there they are at the very tip of the branch - tiny red buds.

Tiny but mighty.

This is such a beautiful yet low maintenance shrub, everyone with a bit of shade should have one.

6.  Pears!

We've been through a lot, ole Louis Bonne & myself, but for the 2nd year, we have pears.  The nursery said there has to be two trees for this to happen, but I've yet to meet Louise' elusive lover.  I suspect she's got a bit of a past.

Behind the valerian bloom, a baby pear.

There's my #SixOnSaturday.


#SixOnSaturday is hosted by Mr Prop who this week features plants that are all 18 months or younger.  His unknown foxglove has 7 flower spikes - an Incredible Pink Hulk.

Be sure to check out his comment section where Sixers from all across the world post links to their #Six.

And if you want to give us a peek into your garden, there's even a Participant's Guide .

Thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, 11 May 2019

A Week of Surprises

Dog damage - never a surprise.

All good, fortunately.

I do love seeing old favourites show up in the garden, but surprises, especially good ones . . . well, now you're talking.

So six surprises in my garden on a Saturday.


1.  Last tulip.

This fella arrived in a free bag of tulip bulbs that came with some order.  The rest were single colour, red or yellow, but he has some style.  While his comrades've given up their show to become a tiny grove of fading foliage, my guy's been blooming for nearly a fortnight.

A little stripe of class.

And for the pleasure of Mr John K, in the background, a Welsh poppy pushing open its bud.

2.  Should we name it Archie?

This hen came from a prolific flock, but hasn't produce for 2 summers.

The hen has a chick.

Now that's a surprise worth talking about.

3.  Weigela F. Bloom.

You may remember back when we first moved here, I kept shifting a pot of forget-me-nots, wondering who in their right mind packs up forget-me-nots.  Then I discovered a tiny weigela opening its leaves - a forgotten end of season sale item from last fall.

The weigela taking over where the forget-me-nots left off.

Surprise!  It's in flower now, a gorgeous little spark of fire.

4.  Another clematis volunteer.

Last week, I shared a clematis blooming for the first time ever.  It started life as a volunteer in my witch hazel pot, the suspected seed of a neighbour's rampaging clematis known for casting its chillen far & wide. 

And when will you bloom, you pretty little thing?

This week, I found another volunteer clematis in the potted oak tree.  I've not noticed it before when tending the oak, but as you can see, there's the ubiquitous forget-me-not, so perhaps it's only now been able to show its face.

Or do they lurk for a few seasons, then germinate?

5.  Heliotrope.

My excuse for buying more plants at this time of year?  I saw a planting combo I wanted to replicate which featured a heliotrope.

I only needed one but they came in packs of three.

Double the joy.

My records show they charged me for those three, then sent me six.  I like that very much.

6.  Guess the heucherella.

As to buying heucherellas, I blame SoSers who led me astray with examples of heucherella heaven.

Identify yourselves.

They're meant to be 4 different colours, but some've yet to show their stripes, so I can't really plant them until I know who is who.   Bummer.

After these 6 surprises, time to beat a familiar drum.

Read me!

Allan Jenkins' book, Plot 29,  has been passed hand to hand amongst SoSers & it seems I'm the kid who caught the spud in a game of hot potato.  This is my 3rd try at offering it out to the great wide world, so do take pity on me.

Allan Jenkins, the editor of the Observer Food Monthly, writes 2 parallel stories in his memoir: his search for his biological family after his brother Christopher's death & 15 months in his allotment, Plot 29.  It's an honest, sometimes brutal story, never graphic, always beautiful.

Contact me, & the hot potato is yours.   

Be sure to visit Mr P who hosts this meme.  He's got black stockings that make me think more purchases could be in my future.  In his comment section, you'll find links that open up inside gardens all across the globe.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Strangers & Favourites

Mizzy BunnyButt.

With seeds germinating (or not) & beds readied, there's nothing to do in the summer propagation department but wait.

So the week's been spent putting up berry supports, assembling raised beds, trying to find the perfect spot for the hammock.

There was some nice corvid vs red kite (as in milvus milvus) action to be seen during the hammock testing.  Job perks.

Nothing new to show this week, but I've got 3 favourites & 3 no-clues.  Except for #3.  It's a kinda-got-a-clue.

Trigger warning => among the latter, there be spiders.

1.  Perfect Polly again.

Last week, you saw my alocasia Polly bloom.  This week, she's unfurling a new leaf & it's stunning.

Like a sea shell.

2.  Shady border.

Those bodacious anemones featured last week.  This week, I love the entire shady bed.  Everything's doing well except for the woodwardia (in the elephant planter) whose new fronds, the birds find delicious.  Woody's got a chicken wire hat in his future.

Look at that gillenia.  O, my heart . . .

The shady border.

3.  The forest.

There are no trees in this garden, except the ones I brought with me.    The absence is palpable, which makes my little potted copse all the more special.

My little forest.

There're no hedges either, but amazingly, there's a ton of bird activity in our garden.  And they're absolutely fearless, from sparrow to corvid.

Still, it's huge, how I miss mature trees.

4.  Stranger #1

I have 5 pots of these, so they aren't volunteers.  Anyone have a clue?  I love the way they look like they're dancing.

Sun or shade?

5.  Stranger #2.

A couple of undesirables from my last garden quietly stowed away via the bottom of pots to yell, 'Surprise!' once we got here.

I'm afeard this might be another one, but it's too young for me to identify.  Anybody have an idea?

Friend or foe?

6.  Stranger(s) #3.

Yesterday, I noticed this gold ball on the patio 2 seater.

Phone charger for scale.

Closer view showed there was a web.

Presumably a spiderweb, but what's the yellow stuff?

Closer still . . .

Gold babies.

This morning, the web's extended across the sofa.  There seem to be fewer of them - what eats spiders?

Off limits, human.

And they're taking refuge in the woven cane.   From my web search (har har har), I guess these are araneus diadematus, the common garden spider.  Cute or creepy?  (Cute.) 

Moving in?

There's my Six.  
For looks into other gardens from all over the world,
drop by our host, Mr P who's not only celebrating
World Naked Gardening Day &
Star Wars day BUT
the 2nd anniversary of the first ever Six on Saturday!
Be sure to check out his comment section for all those SoS links.

Who's next?

Lot 29 has been making the rounds of SoSers, found its way to me, & is now ready to move on.

It's not an easy read.  The author was raised in care during the 1950s & '60s.  While he's not graphic about what happened to him, he's honest.

If you'd like the book passed to you, get in touch here or on Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, 27 April 2019



Here's six firsts in my garden.

On a Saturday, of course.

1.  Alocasia Polly

Earlier in the week, this appeared in my Alocasia, which lives happily in the bathroom.

Little green hoodlum.

I've not had Polly a year, so this was definitely a first.  Then a few days later . . .

Unassuming beauty.

The little guy's overshadowed by those gaudy leaves, but I like him anyway.

2.  Germinating go-slow.

This is my first year growing ricinus.  Three weeks after planting - nothing, so I planted a new tray.  Then the very next day in the old tray . . .

Castor cometh.

And a coupla days after that.

Now there are two.

Twice the seeds planted.  Of this great, gargantuan jungle monster.  I don't think they're gonna fit in my garden.

3.  Rogue clematis.

A few years ago, we lived next door to this rampaging pink clematis that self seeded round other folks' gardens, & left chillen in one of my pots.

Well, this year the offspring bloomed for the first time & it's something better'n pink.

Clematis surprise.

The blooms are the size of a 50p coin.  When this vine gets serious about flowering, it'll be stunning.

Here's the back of the bloom . . .

Little pink stripes.

. . . and the bud.

Striped candy.

Ain't she great?

4.  Dog pool.

This year, I'm 'naturalising' Mlle DoodleFace's pool (i.e. making it less ugly) - perennials on the outside, water lilies on the inside.

There's a bamboo shaft in the pond, a sort of life raft for smaller pool visitors.  This week, I planted the part that sticks out of the water.

Bamboo life raft garden.

The section closest to the water has creeping Jenny in it.  I'd seen it used in a floating garden & the creeping Jenny spread across the water.  The top of the bamboo is planted with this succulent looking stuff:

Purloined plant, name unknown.

The blossoms will open into a daffodil yellow.

I discovered its ancestor when we lived next to the pink clematis.  The succulent grew in about half an inch of soil on a rock at our pond edge, which makes me think it could survive the shallow bamboo planter.

5.  Camassia

This is my first year growing camassia.  It's had the misfortune of being consigned to the fox garden, that site of much dog destruction.  Even so, it's strutting its stuff.

Camassia beginning to open.

It's supposed to bloom in June, but with so much trouble in this bed, early thriving is recommended.

6.  Anemone

These were an end of season sale item, bought last year when I knew we were moving.  I stuck them in the planter with Big Daddy Hosta, so they got a bit man handled once they arrived here.

Anemone coronaria Bordeaux

And still they bloom.  They also close up in the avoe, making me wonder if I'll see them again the next day.  So far, I have, which is good news.  Love their pretty faces.  Hope they spread like a certain rapacious clematis.


That's my Six for the week. 

Don't forget to drop in on the Spring Bulb King who still has quite a good display going.  In his comments section, you'll find links to other SoS bloggers from literally all around the world.

Thanks for stopping by.  Until next time, you take care of yourself, you hear?

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Green Grows The . . .

That new-leaf red.

For the first time in a lot of years, we have a north* facing garden.

Same gardener, same plants, better results.  And I'm loving it.

* correction - my garden's actually south facing. Thanks, Joshua Johnson, for showing me my error.

1.  Honey berry (lonicera caerulea).

This is its 3rd summer with us, & it's always been a bit of a runt.  It got lifted & stuck in this pot for the move, but the way it's looking, all dolled up in blossoms, it doesn't seem to miss being planted in the ground.

Perky honey.

Here's a close look at those blooms.

Honey berry bloom.

Little sparks of glee that hopefully'll give me a handful of berries.

2.  Be thar slugs?

Our last garden had permanent boggy spots - even during 2018's drought - making it a slug & snail heaven.  I don't know if that same drought decimated the population in this garden, but take a look at Big Daddy Hosta.

Good enough to eat.

Daddy's copper rings are still in the packet, so every morning I expect to find him & the brunnera devoured during the night.  Not yet, not yet.

This is my first time using copper - anyone have any tales to tell?

3.  Gillenia

In the same bed, Ms Gillenia's auditioning for a horror movie.

Little scarlet arms reaching out of their grave.

Nothing chomped on her last year, so hopefully she'll remain as unappetising as ever.

4.  Some pests come with you when you move.

A gardener I follow on Twitter swears this stuff keeps her family cats out of her plants.

And cat's enemy.

You can see how effective it was in my garden.

Under dog construction.

From what I can tell, the cat only visits a tiny corner behind the metal fox.  The carnage is from a certain canine trying to get to that little doggy delectable.  This bed's surrounded with obstacles that keep our geriatric dog out, but not Mlle DoodleFace.

5.  Living the fantasy.

The water lilies have arrived & with them, my ambition to tart up the dog's pool.

Aliens in a ziplock baggy.

They got planted a couple of days ago, & DoodleFace doesn't seem to know they exist.  Fingers crossed.

6.  Bugle buds.

Last year, my single bugle weed didn't make it out of the planter.  Well, you know how that stuff likes to spread its toes.  Where there was one shy little thang, now there are three behemoths.

Growing in every direction, up & out.

Some of you asked that I keep you posted on how my lasagna no-dig beds worked out.  Everything in this week's Six that's not in a pot (or dog pond), is in a lasagna.  And in the bugle weed's case, a lasagna not yet finished.  The trick is making it deep enough.  And maybe, having a north facing garden.

For the edification of Jim Stephens.
How did I not see this tag,
all these long weeks?

So there's my Six on Saturday.  Be sure to visit our Hammock Hero who's got some tulip heaven going on in his patch.  There's also links in his comment section to other SoSers from all over God's green earth.  Don't miss it!

Thanks for stopping by.