Saturday, 16 June 2018

Getting Fruity!

Laburnum in the mist.

Chores've slowed down in the garden, but the lack of rain means walking slowly among my plant buddies on a daily basis to give them a drink. 

A great time of year for this, with everything coming into bloom, then blooms turning to fruit.  I love my ornamentals, but man, I adore my edibles.

Take a look at them all.

1.  The race is on.

I bought 3 berry plants last year, the labels of which have walked off into the sunset.  None of them bore fruit last summer, but this year, 2 of them are popping out red all over.

So on the race to fruition, who will get there first - us or the birds?

Breakfast waiting to happen.

2.  Peas in various finery.

It's our first year for blauwchokker peas & I'm loving them in all their stages.  We grew ours from seed planted in April.  They now stand taller'n myself & have great broadly veined leaves on nicely thick stems.

The flower is originally 2 tones of purply pink but then go blue as they wither.

Rampaging pea plants.

Then the blue tissue falls away & these black-purple pods slip out.

Pods jumping the fence.

3.  Today's flowers are tomorrow's sauce.

Slightly behind their pea friends are our rosella cherry tomato plants, but we got flowers!

Looks like a good crop coming.

I'm a fiend for eating most of our cherry maters before I make it back to the house from the garden, but these are feted for having a smoky flavour, so we're hoping to experiment with cooking a few.  Too bad for future sauces that our onions did feck-al this year, but we've got plenty of . . .

4. Garlic, garlic & more garlic!

Inviting vampires to dinner.

Our early purple Wights didn't clove, but these fellas . . . well, you can see it yourself.  Smashing. 

5.  Bean brigade.

We've 2 varieties of dwarf French this year - yin yang & fire tongue.  The yin yangs went in first & so, of course, are the first to bean up.

Yin yang beanies.

As you can see from the smudge in the photo, these guys have a white blossom.  The fire tongues have small pink flowers that hopefully will produce red speckled pods.

6.  Happy surprise.

You may remember my spring angst over my Louis Bonne pear tree.  While it bloomed to high heaven & beyond, its mate, the Asian pear, had no blossom.  Since I'd been told by the nursery that my bloomin' pear didn't self pollinate, I feared no fruit.

The Asian pear, which'd been given to me by the nursery to replace its dead predecessor, gave us great foliage then died.  Louis Bonne did this:

How'd it do that?

Such a shame that I'm the only pear eater in the house (har har har).  Do you know how many amazing pear recipes there are out there?  Come on, Louis!

Rebel Woody.
So while I'm dreaming of fruits to come, take a gander at my woodwardia. 

It was supposed to frond out scarlet, unfurl bronze, then green.  The colour in this photo is pretty accurate, so not what advertised, but I'm not complaining.  Loving this fern.

There's my #SixonSaturday.  Make sure you drop by The Propagator who's our meme host.  You'll get a gander at his six, & links to SoS-ers from all over the globe.

See you soon!

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Prodigal SoS-er

Spying on the neighbours during rest breaks.

The garden's in post-spring frenzy.  There's me flying behind, clinging to its coat tail. 

As such, it's been about 6 weeks since my last SoS post, which means you've missed my bluebells & irises & the 1st dwarf French bean flowers.

Fortunately, there's plenty of other #SixonSaturday bloggers, keeping pace with the season.

Be sure to check out The Propagator for his Six & links to all the rest of the gang.

So, the garden.

1.  Summertime & the ground elder is blooming.

The last time I lived with ground elder was 3 gardens ago.  At that time, I waged war.  An older & less healthy me decided to live with it in this garden.   I mow the flowerbeds it's taken over, not planting anything else there.  Around the edges of the deck, it grows with impunity.

Elegant ground elder.

Some local residents are glad of its presence.

Drunk on ground elder.

2.  Peony.

The clasped burgundy hands that surprised me by poking up this spring, have come into glorious bloom, upstaging everything else in the garden.


This peony's such a well formed shrub, I hesitated cutting any of the flowers.  Then either the wind or a cat or a passing banshee bent one of the stems.  How are we blessed with anything that beautiful?

Indoor peony.

3.  Shade garden.

Fighting with slugs over hostas never seemed worth it before, but I wanted a gillenia & something with a different foliage to contrast it.  After an initial slug nibble on the hosta, I circled it with dead cedar fronds, & the slugs've left it alone.  Think the plant combo's working out quite well.

Gillenia, hosta, herb Robert, ferns & Doodle tail (w/possible sleeping BigNose behind the chair).

4.  Too stupid to breathe.

All those long weeks ago, my last blog entry generated conversations about what the fruit trees were at the bottom of our garden.  Best guess from the best guessers was plum or cherry.  However, I'd convinced myself that it was the same type tree as the neighbour's on the other side of the fence.  The dried fruit on that tree were too big to be plum or cherry.

Then our hero, Fencing Guy, enters stage left.  He says to Hot-On-The-Tree-ID-Trail-Me, those trees don't have the same bark.  Meaning my tree & the one next door.

It's a struggle, gardening & not being very bright.

Anyway, in that same vein, I was very excited to plant our terraced area of the garden.  It had pavers over it, which I lifted to discover soil.  Well, if we add a little this, add a little that, then this here's where the maters would grow.

Seeds were germinated, pricked, potted on.  After the last fear of frost, out to the terrace with myself.  Dig, dig, dig.  An inch or so down, builder's rubble.

The soil was plant material accumulated over the years.  I knew the garden'd been neglected for a raccoon's age.  Just too stupid to breathe, that's me.

Anyhoo, the terrace as it looks today.

Veg garden.

5.  Mystery visitor.

When lifting the terrace pavers for the tomato planters (that need to sit on gravel, rather than concrete), I found this little guy. 

Snakes are common where I come from, but the only snake I've seen in the UK is an adder.  This fella doesn't really look like a snake to me - something about the head.  Is it a snake?

What's my name?

6.  My favourite thing.

I don't think I've ever shared a photo of my favourite tree, the Crooked Cherry.  Some day I'll tell you how it came to be called crooked (no relative of Nixon) & how it came to live with me.

Until then, here's Ole Crooked with valerian, Carolina allspice & what I call loose strife but others call toad flax.  I'm probably wrong (see #4 above).

Keeps getting better.

Ditch them maters.

That's what's happening in my garden this week.  Sun's shining, tomatoes, peas & beans are blooming, last mess of beans've germinated.  Time to put my feet up.

Or maybe not.  Looks like someone has other plans for my afternoon.

Hope to see you again, soon.  Until next time . . .

Saturday, 28 April 2018

A #SixonSaturday of Few Words

Garden twine washed, dried, not folded.

If there's no rest for the wicked, what's the state of the average gardener's soul?

This week's seen Freecycling of surplus plants, repotting tenders whose roots slithered into view, training roses & peas to cherish their supports, not checking my pockets before doing the laundry, & yes, I admit it, planting out my French beans.

That French bean impatience alone reveals the state of my soul.

There are readers who'll be glad to know I've little energy left for words this week.  So without further yammering, I give you El Punko's photos.

1.  New growth on the fatsia.

Spider web fatsia survived the beast.

2.  Woody strutting his stuff.

New fronds on the Woodwardia have a nice red tint . . .

. . . that fades in close-up.

3.  Blue daddy beginning to open.

Slightly nibbled hosta.

4.  Long awaited akebia action.

Blooms I thought would be blue . . .

. . . and bigger . . .

5.  Old friend returns.

 . . . but the Carolina allspice just as I remembered.

6.  Another 'free gift' daffodil.

Day 1 . . .

. . . & dust inside the camera.

Next day . . . 

. . . with the phone camera.

Crooked cherry now has self-seeded valerian in bloom.

So there's my #SixonSaturday.

The Propagator hosts this gardening meme. 

Follow the link to his Six with a comment section overrun by other SoS bloggers. 

And if you have a garden, why not post your own Six so we all can have a peek?

Thanks for stopping by.

P.S.  Have I ever said that this crooked cherry is my absolutely favourite tree? 


You'd think I'd post its photo more often.

See you next week!

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Superfluous Gardener

How we spent our week.

What a week of heat & sun.  As I slowly melted, muttering about it being hotter'n the American south, some kind family member translated the temperature into Fahrenheit.

67 degrees.  I'd have a light sweater on at home.

In addition to being roasted like a weiner, CFS came over for a visit, reduced my gardening fun to turning trays on the window sill.

I had a coupla surprises from that bunch.

1.  The Goldilocks Method.

Neither my leeks nor onions moved past germination.  Haven't a clue what I did wrong.  I'd used all my leeks seeds, but did another tray of onions which admirably poked their thread-like stems through the soil.

I left the first trays in situ, ever hopeful since the seeds had germinated.  So this popped up in the original onion tray (that little green fleck in the middle of the photo).

Too small in the onion patch.

It doesn't look like the 2nd batch of onions, so perhaps I mixed the onion tray w/the leeks.  Whatever it is, it'll get itself potted up.

My beans are on the other end of the spectrum.  In their short fortnight of life, they've outgrown 2 homes & are determined to outgrow their 3rd.  The warm weather makes it so tempting to plant them out, but I'm holding off until the 1st of May. 

Too big in the bean forest.

Fortunately, the rest of the window sill trays - maters, peppers, peas & flowers - were all just right.

2.  Why, o why, dear Woodwardia?

Okay, so I might be hot & I might be sick, but I'm not staying inside.  Just ain't happening.  Right outside the back door, pride of place, my new Woodwardia fern.  Looking less than happy.

Brown spots.

My web searches only tell me the woodwardia is disease resistant, not why it's going brown.  I don't know if it's transplant shock or if I should actually lift it.

If anyone has any ideas, please give me a nudge (boot) in the right direction.

3.  Brenda's legacy.

Other than my favourite fern, the garden got on with things this week, telling me I'm non-essential personnel.  But then, the garden's been on its own for a lot of years, so it knows what it's doing.

According to the OAP Fairy Person next door, the house once belonged to a woman named Brenda who died over 10 years ago.  Brenda added a conservatory (now our kitchen) & terraced the back garden.

She loved grape hyacinth.  They are everywhere still.  Here's some mixed in with what's turning into a giant peony.  The blue & reddish purple look so good together.

Peony, grape hyacinth & bucket.

The bucket has 2 buddies with it to keep certain dogs from wandering through the peonies.  For some reason, both the dogs love chewing on grape hyacinth.  That can't be healthy for anyone involved.

4.  Daff cherry.

So you know that my favourite tree of all times is my Crooked Cherry whom I saved from the clutches of a ruthless bush 2 gardens ago.

Last autumn, I got some free daff bulbs & knowing we were moving, tossed them into the tree pots.  A few weeks ago, some revealed themselves to be quite fancy, including the ones in the Crooked Cherry's pot.

Can we please move on?

This week, Crooked Cherry started to bloom.  The combo of burgundy leaves, pink flowers & those not-orange-not-coral daffs . . . I was smitten.

So I took 37,000 photos, none of which captured what I saw in real life.

Later that avoe, my phone dinged.  Attached to a message from my son El Punko, were 3 photos of the Daff Cherry.

So you have him to thank for this photo. 

Daff Cherry by El Punko

In future, you may have Fred the French Gardener & his Macro Gang to thank as well.  Their photos have influenced El Punko to get a macro lens for his new phone, as soon as it arrives.

He'll be pressed into willing service for future Sixes.

Yes, willing.  I swear.

5.  Unrequited love.

Last week, you saw my pear tree in bud.  This week, it's spiralled into bloom.

Pear & fig.

But its pollination partner - the Asian pear in the foreground - still has no buds.  I'm wondering if it's because the Louise Bonn is too cozy with the fig tree.

Unrelenting celibacy.

6.  What is it?

So, I've been watching this group of 3 small trees in the corner of our patio area, wondering what horrors to expect from them.  When they came into bud at the same time as my neighbour's tree on the other side of the fence, I was less skeptical. 

The largest of the 3 unknown trees.

Especially since the neighbour's tree had last summer's dried fruit on it - type unknown.  In an English garden, my first port of fruit tree call would be apple.  The thing that confused me was that I didn't think apple trees self seeded all that well, & whatever this tree was, it'd done it at least 3 times. 

Perhaps Brenda liked her neighbour's tree & got one for herself.  Except that the 2 smaller trees look too young to be from Brenda's time.

Last year's fruit.

For a brief moment, I thought, maybe it's a pear!  But the leaves aren't the same.

Here's a closer photo of the leaves & blossoms.  The leaves have a slight serration around the edges & although the veins are visible, they aren't pronounced.  Does anyone recognise this tree?

Mystery tree in bloom.

Whatever it is, I do like it, even though it doesn't seem to have much of a smell.  If it self-seeds so easily, one of its chillen may travel with us when we go.

Bathing beauty.
To end, here's a gratuitous photo of the Big Nose in a puddle, cuz he's my buddy & the other 2 buddies've been featured.

For other Six on Saturday blogs by gardeners who actually garden, run over to The Propagator who hosts this meme.

In his comment section, there'll be links to lots of other Sixers.

See you next week!

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Signs of Life - Six on Saturday

Tree of Life applique.

Last week, the rain left long enough for us to play catch-up in the garden.

This week it's a day of rain, a day of fog, another of rain, nary a blue sky.

While there's no sun, there are signs of life.

Sometimes signs where it seemed no life could be.

1.  Verbena bonareinsis

The animal trails take precedence in my garden designs - it reduces the risk of having a favourite plant beaten into submission.  After learning Mlle DoodleFace's paths in our last house, I dug out a new flowerbed.

What I didn't take into consideration was, chasing garden intruders veers a DoodleFace off the beaten path & into the fast lane.  Which is how two of my sleeping verbena bonareinsis got flipped head over heels out of their autumnal bed.

I stuck them into pots & hoped for the best.

We survived a Doodle rampage.

And the best happened.

2.  Chocolate vine.

After this plant arrived last year, it essentially did nothing but grow one thin spindly stem.  A pretty stem, but no buds.  Allowances have to be made for the young, so when we moved, it got invited to come along.

To be honest, after seeing photos of other SoS chocolate vines this year, all with tons of buds, I thought the worst about this fella's potential.  But I did tack its chicken wire to the shady side of the new potting shed.

Today, its waving new tendrils won it a place in this week's six.


It wasn't until I looked at the photo on my computer that I saw the buds.  Out I ran to check it in real life & yes, my vine is loaded with buds.  If you look near the bottom of the roof board, we got 'em.  Buds that start there & run all the way down.

3.  Pear tree.

Last year (its first year with us), this pear tree bloomed a little, but nothing to write home about.  Its pollination buddy, an Asian pear, failed to thrive, so there were no pears at our house.

Louise Bonne of Jersey being hugged by a fig tree.

As you can see, we now have tons of buds on this fella.  The nursery replaced the Asian pear, which has plenty of leaf buds but no flowers.  Will it be another pear-less year?  Only the Shadow knows.

4.  Gillenia trifoliata.

This is one of my new shade-loving plants.  I'd never had a gillenia before, but it's supposed to be a nice sized shrub that'd fill a corner with delicate foliage & pink flowers.

When it arrived as a little shrivelled brown stalk in a pot, let's just say it inspired doubts.

Pink profusion.

But the little brown stalk grew itself some lovely russet leaves.  It lives.

5. Laburnum

Two gardens ago, we had a laburnum at the end of the front lawn.  It self-seeded like blue blazes, spotting the boundary hedge with yellow blossomed chillen.

Hedge laburnum in bud 2 gardens ago.

I rescued one of the smaller hedge volunteers & potted it up, but it appeared to've died before the end of last summer.

As you know, no one gets left behind, so the pot came with us.

Laburnum dead stick.

And now it has leaves!  Did ever a scraggly stick growing in dirt, inspire so much joy?  (All the time, says you.)

6.  Afterlife.

I don't know about your dearly departed, but ours don't always rest in peace.  When a box fell out of the closet in the middle of the night, my response was - Duly noted - then back to sleep with plans to check it in the morning.

Box w/Mlle DoodleFace for gauge.

The Big Z is my late mother, a master quilter who continued to teach quilting into her early 90s, even though she'd moved into a nursing home.  The same move that brought this box to me all those years ago.

Here's the pattern with swatches pinned to it.

Jacobean Tree of Life.

Isn't that something?  Even in black & white, it's amazingly beautiful.  It has a comforting balance to it.

Besides the pattern, the box is filled with little bags of hand cut templates labelled in her writing, thread & needles & markers . . . yet the kit's not whole.

She'd appliqued the brown stems, pinned on the green leaves.  But there's no fabric for the blossoms or fruits.  As if she were interrupted in her work at the beginning of spring.

The kit unfinished.

Which wasn't my mother's way of working.  Before the pattern was traced, the templates cut, before a single tiny stitch got sewn, she would've picked out her fabric.  All of it.

But it is the way nature works, sending us spindly stems, dried sticks in the dirt, slumbering verbena with their roots in the air.  We wait for signs of life, nurture them, & subsequently nurture ourselves.

And that's me done talking until next week.

The way she left it.

But there's more to be shared over at The Propagator who hosts this meme.

Be sure to check out his comment section where SoS bloggers have left links to their own Six on Saturday gardens.

See you next week!