Saturday, 25 May 2019

Heating Up

Honey bees

Last summer was so hot, it made me ponder relocating some place cooler.  But the extended growing season, the drought . . . well, maybe give the area another year.

Here we are, not yet end of May (month, not PM) & already it's too hot for me.  At least things in the garden are loving it, including some honey bees that swarmed next door.  They sent scouts out & about, raised squeals from various neighbours.  There were probably a good 100 bees in my shed which I evicted by using the tadpole net.

The bee guy came & all is well, but the heat is still with us.

1.  First rose.

Our front garden is a swath of grass big enough to bury maybe 2 mortal enemies, but the border next to the footpath has several mature roses w/stems the size of my big toe.  The buds suggest they're all different colours.  The red one opened this week.

Bud & flower.

There's a thin brown line on the buds when they're closed - more visible on the bud in the background.  Not sure if this is a feature of this rose or a sign of something unhealthy, but it does make the buds look very pretty.

2.  Front mystery

A mystery plant grows in the border next to the front of the house.  I've seen it in other gardens, but never lived with it myself.  Guess it's time for an introduction.

Stranger in my bed.

In the photo below, this stuff grows around some dead stalks.  Am I right in thinking this is the new growth of the same plant?  Some junk tree seedlings rampage in this part of the bed so it's possible someone took a bit of weed killer to everything living there, with this as the result.

Same thing?

3.  Yellow Queen Columbine

Last year - their first w/us - these ladies grew in pots.  This year, they're in the shady bed.  Their blooms are bigger, but not as intensely yellow, which is a bit disappointing.  Their wonderful 'dove' shapes, though, are just as elegant.

Faded queens.

The softer yellow probably goes better with the rest of the bed, though.

In situ.

4.  Geum

A plant with a sense of humour.  The buds start out dark yellow . . .

Geum amongst the curry plants.

. . . then open red.

True colours.

This geum was something inherited in a former garden, not a pest but prolific enough to allow one of its progeny to come with me.  I've assumed it's Mrs Bradshaw but could be very wrong.

5.  Stump garden.

There was a stump in the middle of the lawn when we moved here, surrounded by light coloured square rocks.  A bit of weeding unearthed a brick circle around the stump, giving me ideas of a flowerbed.

In the lull before the corn plants arrive, I've been tackling the overgrown bricks.

Bricks & a bit of stone.

In the process, I discovered that the stump is not a stump at all, but firewood.   The brick circle is a fire pit.  Or more accurately, was.  It has purple columbine growing in it, probably self seeded from my neighbour's garden.  Some of my annuals will soon join it.

6.  Rodger

First time ever meeting a rodgersia pinnata, 9 or so years ago => I stepped out the back door of our most recent new house, saw him blooming in a flagstone bed, & thought, 'If that doesn't make a person believe in magic, there's something wrong.'

Bronze peacock.

On my most dismal days, if I look at Rodger, that feeling comes back to me, even if he's not in bloom.  There's nothing so healing as a garden, & perhaps we all have our magic plants.  For me, it's Rodger.  Hate his name, love his magic.

And that's my #SixOnSaturday.

It's way too hot to work on the bricks, so think I'll join Mlle DoodleFace in the hammock.  I do hope you go check out Jon the Knife whose avoe today will be spent executing the Chelsea Chop.  His kinder more gentler side lets all us SoSers post links to our blogs in his comment section.  There's gardens from all over the world, so go take a look.

Living is easy.

Thanks for stopping by!

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!