Saturday, 29 June 2019

The Sights

Mizzy BunnyButt outraged as usual.

Time again for another #SixOnSaturday when folk all over the world give us a peek into their gardens.  Be sure to drop by The Propagator to catch all the great SoS links.

Here's what's shaking in my garden.

1.  Water lily update.

Last week, I shared a hope that a certain nubbin at the base of one of the water lilies might prove to be something interesting.  Well, it did.

We got lift off.

And because every good mugshot needs a profile -

Hello, world!

The little guy's broken the water's surface & is definitely a bud.  How cool is that?

2.  The Great Lake.

While we're at the water, if you took a step back & perhaps had too much to drink, you might not notice . . .

Faux pond.

. . . that there was no place to hide the Doodle pool in our new garden, so I planted around it.  However, if you were sober & took a step to the left . . .

No escaping ugly.

. . . Mlle DoodeFace's point of entry ruins it all.  I've many thoughts brewing on how to hide it better.

It's amazing how established all these plants look.  This area was lawn when we moved here in February, with only the anemone & day lilies just coming up at the back.  There'll be some tweaking next year so the wall can be used for either peas or cucumelon.  Maybe both.

3.  Fuzzy Buddy.

I asked my son to take a snap of #4 (below) & while he waited for me, he got one of this fella.

Bee in the toad flax.

They're just amazing, bees are.

4.  Identification needed.

Last year, I found a pot with some dead sticks in it that, once given food & left to their own devices, actually grew.  The shrub didn't bloom but some of the SoSers thought it might be a fuschia.  Here's my photo of the whole thing.

Not a fuschia.

Here's my son's photo of some of the blossoms that've come out on 2 or 3 of the branches.  That swinger bloom in the back of the photo shows how much wind we had at the time.  I'm holding a notebook behind it to act as a windbreaker.

Nice surprise.

The blooms hang down & are doubles, with the outside petals having a pink stripe in the middle that doesn't really show up as pink as they really are.  So 2 rows of petals or petalish flower parts with stamens in the middle.

Does anyone recognise it?

5.  Old flame.

You may remember I was slightly excited about the flame flower buds.  Here's what they look like now.

On fire.

I'm not sure why it has 2 different colours of foliage - too much sun maybe?  Whatever the reason, it hasn't stopped this thing from charging up the bed springs.  It's supposed to be hard to grow, so I watch it like a hawk.

6.  Cocks comb.

I featured these when the plants were young & the foliage nearly translucent.  The new growth has that same effect, but it's the blossom that fascinates me now - they're fuzzy & shiny like silky velvet or velvety silk.

Celosia Dracula ready to fly.

Apparently it's edible, too.

Need a biscuit break.

That's my limit for this week. 

Come by next time to see if Mr BigNose has figured this thing out.

Thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Some Home, Some Away


It's #SixOnSaturday time!  That day when gardeners all over the world share six things from their garden. 

If you'd like to take on this affliction, drop over to our host Mr P's blog.  His theme this week is Profusion, which he's got in . . . papavers.  Be sure to check his comments for links to other SoSers.

For myself, it's been a busy gardening week.  All those plants that were promised in mid-May have suddenly arrived at once.  'It was the late growing season,' one nursery said, while another blamed some type of show down with Gardener's World.

I don't care why they were late - they're here now!  I might show you a couple of them, but let's start with some things seen when out & about.

1.  Community planting.

An offering to all the SoSers who've gotten the succulent bug - on his walk, Mr BigNose's nose sometimes takes us past this L-shaped council garden planted with a variety of succulents.

Succulent commune.

As I took this photo, another dog walker told me she'd added the stuff next to the wall that looks like it's dead.  They're irises that someone gave her but didn't fit into her own garden, plus a couple of roses (not in the photo).

One of the living.
This bed could've given Six on its own - reds & purples & yellows & blues - but here's one fine representative.

2.  Voodoo lily.

When I saw these in my neighbour Andy's front garden, I had to stop & ask about them.  Apparently  they'd appeared in his compost pile, something which he'd seen on a gardening show had happened to other folk.  They grew so big last year that this year he moved them to the front where I came along with my questions.

Mr Stinky

The flower is a stunning 18", so when Andy said I could have it, I thought he must be nuts.  Then he suggested I smell it.  If you've never smelled a voodoo lily, let me say that while Andy & I were talking, I was thinking there must be a dead mouse somewhere in his flowerbed.

Nope, it was the voodoo lily.  I went home without it.

3.  Peas, peas, peas.

While I love a beautiful 18" flower, there's a special joy in growing things to eat.  The peas've begun to produce.

Masses of peas.

I bought a bag of mixed seeds, allegedly early, middling & late bloomers.  They're all coming ripe at the same time.

Mange tout mix.

They're also very tasty, so not many of them make it to the house.

4.  And berries, berries berries.

This enthusiastic ground creeper has foliage quite like a strawberry plant, & even produces little red berries.

Snake berry?

If it is a snake berry, the internet says it's edible but not tasty.  Since nothing else in my garden nibbles at it, neither shall I.

5.  Phyllis Bide

Our first year together, I love her colour, her soft smell, her prolific flowering, her patient scaling of the garden wall.

David Austin's Phyllis Bide.

Mostly, though, I love her name.  It cracks me up & I've no idea why.  Perhaps because when I say it in my head, it's punctuated, Phyllis, bide!  Obviously she's not compliant.

6.  Acanthus Mollis Whitewater.

I adore bear's breeches (or britches, said in my accent) & decided this year to get a white one.  This is how it arrived, slug included.

Too big for her britches!

I cut the poor wretch outa her pot, put her in a larger one where she looks so much better, even w/those brown spots on her leaves.  She's quite the beauty, so I do hope she recovers.

Underwater nursery?

That's my Six for this week.  Tune in next time to see if there really is a bud on my water lily.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, 14 June 2019

Rain & Raids


We've had so much rain this week that I brought the hardening off plants inside lest they drown.

The sunny back garden dries out quickly if we go too long without rain, so it was welcomed.  And, being confined to quarters myself, I did get the downstairs curtains made.  The upstairs bedroom window is still a scandal, however.

And now it's #SixOnSaturday time, where gardeners post six things happening in their garden during the week.  If that sounds tempting to you, then drop by Mr Propagator who's kindly provided us with a participant's guide.

What's been happening in our garden . . .

1.  Bird feeding station.

Our garden birds aren't deterred by rain.  This week, I moved the bird cafe to the lawn, hoping to save the flowerbeds from careless avian diners.  We got this suet cage last year & though the birds fed from it, they seemed to consider it more the after dinner mint than the main course.  In the 4 months at our new place, I've just now replaced the six pack.

Yesterday morning during garden rounds, I noted a genteel pecking at the new suet.  Over my coffee, a pair of adult starlings arrived for their first ever visit, dividing their attention between suet & seed.  They were soon chased away by 3 of what I assume were their own fledglings.

When I returned from the BigNoseWalk about an hour later, the younger starlings were still going to town & this is what the suet looked like.

Starling raid.

By the end of the day . . .

Cupboard is bare.

Both corvids & squirrels've lifted the roof off this cage & taken whole sticks out before, but that doesn't look like what's happened here.

Mini product review => the suet cage doesn't start at an angle, but the design of the handle is such that the motion of the birds unseats it from its little holder.  I wouldn't recommend this feeder, which I think I bought from Haith's.

2.  Viola

This viola marks the final resting spot of a magpie my son rescued.  Up til now, it's been low maintenance (the viola, I mean, although the magpie hasn't given us much trouble recently, to be honest).  In the new garden, however, there's simply too much sun for the viola.  I moved it all over the place, stuck its pot in the (not so) shady bed, snuggled it next to the fence, & still it sulks.  Currently, it's behind one of the patio chairs where it seems to fare best.

Hidden & happy.

It's quite pleased with all the rain.  Here's a look at its pot, which my son had specially made by his local potter for his late corvid friend.  The rim isn't a perfect circle as you can see above, but rather curves in & out into 3 gentle lobes.  It's a shame the pot's tucked away because it's quite the work of art.

Bespoke beauty.

The potter doesn't typically make outdoor pots, but was amenable to a special order.  The benefits of buying locally.

3.  Mad parsley.

This is last year's parsley that remarkably didn't die over the winter.  Previously, the herbs lived in a trough but this year are growing in an old linen basket.  Once the Mad Parsley moved in, it started to express itself.

Beginning to bloom.

As you can see, sometimes this expression of self necessitates the use of restraints.

4.  Hosta bud.

The rain brought worries about Big Daddy hosta falling prey to S&S.  The latter're definitely chomping other plants, but the hosta is fine.  While all my delectables've been surrounded by wool pellets, I suspect the younger ones are so delicious, the S&S brave the crossing to get to a good meal.

Big Daddy in bud.

I thought I had Big Daddy centred when I took this shot, but it would seem the actaea distracted me.

5.  Celosia.

Last week I learned that my new plug plants need to spend a little time in pots before releasing them into the wild.  The potting shed is currently rocking w/them.

Celosia Dracula

Here's the celosia's nearly translucent foliage, one of their really bizarre flowers just beginning to show in the left pot, too blurred to discern.  To the far right is an uncooperative artichoke whose mates've all gone outside to play.

6.  Spinach bucket.

Spinach is one of my favourite vegs, so when another SoSer shared her idea of growing it by the bucket, I had to do that myself.  It sits in front of the herb basket outside the kitchen door for easy access to quick nibbling.

Plenty to share w/the S&S.

I'm so sorry I don't remember whom I stole this idea from, but I have reached the crone stage of life, so hopefully my memory lapse will be forgiven.  Identify yourself & we'll do the spinach bucket dance.

Served w/kedgeree

Maybe a spinach & fish lunch'll boost the old grey cells.

There's my Six for the week.  Thanks so much for stopping by.  God willing & the creeks don't rise, we'll see each other again real soon.


Saturday, 8 June 2019

First-Summer Adjustments

Much needed rain in the Doodle pool.
My parents raised us to garden - the orchard, the vineyard, the acre of veg patch,  my mother's passion for flowers, my father's love affair with trees.

A childhood like that, plus 20 years in the British Isles, yet gardening here keeps me humble.

This week's Dunce Dynamic, which may've involved a slight bit of plant murder, was learning there are indoor & outdoor cucumbers.  You just gotta ask, why?  Who needs indoor cucumbers?

Anyhoo, it's #SixOnSaturday time, so here's Six adventures in my newest garden, every one with a lesson inside it.

1.  Crooked Cherry.

It's a well guarded secret that the Crooked Cherry is my favourite in our tree collection.  When its leaves began to curl, I hoped it was a self amputation of the crooked part, but the curling spread.  No sign of pest or disease above ground, so I decided to re-pot it.

Maniacal Helper.

Other things grow in my tree pots to facilitate bug movement & so the Crooked Cherry housed a Welsh poppy, a nigella & a valerian, volunteers all.  When my Maniacal Helper pulled the tree from its original pot, the valerian's tap root had grown like a boa round the poor Cherry's root ball.

So now Crooked Cherry is in the pot on her own, pot mates at her feet, as it should be.

Crooked Cherry & friends.

I quite like this arrangement, which is totally accidental - tall pots behind, short pots in front, volunteers in the ground, anemones where they were when we moved in.  Now, let the Crooked Cherry live!

2.  Birds.

With no mature trees in the garden, I hooked the bird feeders to the wisteria trellis.  Not only did we have the expected (& tolerated) sunflowers growing in the shady border, but the pigeons ate my woodwardia fronds & trampled all over the bergania leaves.  So I got this.

Current solution.

It's a no-tools assembly, so my kinda feeding station.  Since we're having big winds today, it stays in the box for now.  Bummer.

3.  And speaking of Woody . . . 

I bought a woodwardia fern because allegedly its new growth comes out scarlet.  For some folk.  Last year, (Woody's first with us) his new growth was more burgundy than scarlet, but really an eye catcher.  This year, however, his new growth was copper.

Until now.

A little bit of red in that frond at 11:00.

I'd wondered if the copper colour were because Woody gets more sun in our new garden or because he was now in a pot, but this latest frond has a distinctly red tone to it, as compared to the others on the right.  I recently fed Woody & it could be that these fronds developed before & after the feeding, but I can't be sure that's true.

Anyone have any ideas?

4.  Heliotrope update.

Very soon after arriving, the leaves on the lower stems of the heliotropes turned brown.  I clipped off the brown leaves & discovered new growth had already started at the base of these leaves, so whatever ailed these poor babies, it came with them.

Four of the plants got planted outside.  Two were kept in the potting shed until their new pot & pot mate arrived.  The ones outside seemed to've stopped growing, so we played chicken for a little while, me standing on the footpath looking worried, they sitting in the bed, pouting.  Eventually I lifted & potted them, then put them inside the shed.

Comparing the heliotropes.

Here you can see the difference between the 2 plants that were initially kept inside the shed & one (now in the smaller pot) that was planted in the bed.  You can also see the new growth, most obvious on the right hand plant, making them look like skinny dudes wearing ruffled collars.

This week, I got a rake of plants delivered.  Because of the heliotropes (& perhaps the indoor cucumber), I've potted them all up & they'll do shed duty until their roots get the knack of things, regardless how healthy & hardy they're supposed to be.

5.  Big news on the flame front.

I do garden rounds twice a day, in addition to actually being out working in the garden, eyes usually open.  It always amazes me what I haven't noticed happening right in front of me.  As in, buds on the top part of the Flame Flower.

There's a million of 'em!

Even better, what's on the bottom of the vine.

Further along than just buds.

We gonna have flowers & soon!

6.  Mystery Plant

I've got 5 of these thangs, which I shared here when they were smaller.  Not even the most fluent Latin speaker amongst y'all could tell me what they are.

Now that they're bigger, does anyone have a clue?

What's my name?

Look at that spacing - would nature do that?  (I'm trying to talk myself outa believing they're weeds.)

Well, that's my Six.  Be sure to drop by The Leader of our gang Mr Prop who's welcoming rain to his own Six.  In his comment section, you'll find links to gardening Sixers from all over the world.  Great fun!

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday, 1 June 2019

Goodbye, May!

Mizzy BunnyButt amongst the iris.

The weather's a heartless master, but now that May's over, all complaints about the heat have to go unsaid, June being a proper summer month.  No better way to distract oneself than joining the #SixOnSaturday gang, sharing six things in the garden on a Saturday.

Mr Propagator has set gardeners all over the world on this addictive path, so visit his blog to see how it's done.  This week, he's got 'em tall, he's got 'em crowded, he's got 'em from the local privately owned garden centre & the chain store grocer.  Between you & me, mostly he's got 'em pink.  Shocking.

1.  Iris.

My poor Iris.  She spent a year as a single mother trying to raise her family in a planter shared with a few dodgy neighbours.  After absolutely no clipping back by her human, the great liberation came for Iris & the chillen via a small spot near the curry plants.

Unfortunately, the resident gang leader, DoodleFace, decided Iris' family stood in the path to the Doodle pool.  They survived only because their ghetto landlord stuck a few bamboo canes between them, drastically bringing down property prices in the neighbourhood.

And still Iris blooms.

O, that Iris face.

2.  Fire pit (nee stump) garden.

Last week, I discovered that the stump garden was really an overgrown fire pit.  It had a single columbine in it, plus a lot of weeds that needed evicting.

Digging out the first half took 3 M.E. work days - 10 minute intervals of actual gardening followed by at least half an hour in the hammock followed by 10 minutes . . .

Zinnia, tithonia, one African daisy & a Dr Pepper.

Each of those days has to be separated by a day of rest.  A serious drag, but me, I'm happy to not be bedridden.

The side not done.

This is why I get so tickled at any little achievement in the garden.  It's also why I come up with cowboy ideas like . . .

3.  The Neighbour's Bramble.

Young people live next door, of the subspecies Studenterius, I believe.  They're apparently growing brambles.

Howdy, little short human neighbour!

But as well you know, brambles aren't content to chat over a fence with you - what they can't get over, they go under.  In this instance, 3 times over.

Now digging out a bramble can be the flick of a fork or arduous digging to China.  Having to make decisions every hour of every day how to budget my stock of energy, the risk of the China route proved too much to bear.

So I did this, in the hope there might be a few berries in it for me.

Bramble supports.

Leaving the herb Robert in its bed has nothing to do with energy decisions, everything to do with thinking it's really pretty until the seed heads come on, after which we have our yearly falling out & they're kicked to the kerb/curb until next year's romance.

4.  Philadelphus

Speaking of yearly romance, the mock orange is in bloom.

Philadelphus in bloom.

I've lived with or next door to a few mature phiadelphus, & lamented that their blooms were so far above my head.  This little guy is still a short shrub in a pot, very compact with a high ratio of bloom to foliage.  I feel like never going back, but all puppies eventually grow into dogs.

5.  New love.

This love can be blamed on Mr P, who introduced me to it, & the backup chorus of SoSers who made this purchase seem like a virtue.

Thalictrum Black Stockings.

Did you ever see anything as cute as these?

6.  Nudder rose.

Last week, the red rose bloomed for the first time & is still going strong.  This week, it's the yellow.

Big Yeller.

 I love how the buds have swirls of red in them that fade to pink blush & finally disappear as the rose opens fully.

And that's my Six.  I hope you find time to visit the other SoS gardens - you'll find their links in the comment section of Mr P's blog.  Whether you do or don't, thanks so much for stopping by.

Purple toadflax & allspice w/nigella on the side.