Sunday, 24 June 2012

Plants - say cheese

Always a good idea to take lots of photos of the garden as it changes throughout the seasons to record successes, failures and things to shift next year.

Photo records help to keep my critical tendencies in check -  when I prowl around the garden, I'm thinking of what needs doing, what needs weeding or pruning and where colour needs injecting etc.  What I sometimes forget is to look at the garden with a more general eye and celebrate its success.  Last week I was feeling a bit grumpy thinking of all the bits which need pepping up but have just had a browse through the photo album and think I am being a bit unreasonable (who me?).  It is actually not bad at the moment and I should step back a bit more and enjoy its success.

Part of me is still fretting that it will peter out next month though!!  But I guess it is the critical bit that keeps it developing and moving forwards.  Wouldn't do for things to stay the same indefinitely after all - far too boring.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Who needs Zumba?

Have just finished mowing the overgrown lawn with a 1970s Qualcast push mower in need of oil.  The most exercise I've had in weeks....  I now have a great collection of finger and palm blisters to show for my trouble and a more orderly, if somewhat scalped lawn.

All the more reason to dig more of it up and turn it over to flower beds.  Grass is just a pain!

Monday, 18 June 2012

"The allotment has an afro!"

Such was the cry of my co-labourer on responding to my "Weed emergency" text which begged for assistance at the plot.  Grass frolicked, mockingly knee high, amongst the seedlings clinging onto life in the sodden soil.  Shears soon meant it was much less perky.

 The clear patch which sported spuds last year, now sports a magnificently prolific head of cleavers (aka "sticky weed" - weapon of choice in all weed slinging wars amongst our children).  It is still there in the vain hope that it may suppress anything even more insidious until it can be dealt with.

Adopted a policy of clear and plant as I tackled the designated area for this season's sweet corn.  That's the problem with allotments - it's no good clearing areas one week unless you can get the ground into cultivation pretty rapidly.  It just becomes a vicious circle of weeding for no reward otherwise.

Sadly,  things are sparse so far on the harvesting front - a few rows of parsnips are through, and the beetroot, turnips and perpetual spinach are hanging in there against the pigeon onslaughts. Other feeble beginnings include: one solitary French bean (so it seems the pot sown ones have won the contest against their direct sown opponents to date), a few slug munched semi-ripe strawberries, and the beginnings of red currants.

More successful are the gooseberries which seem to have avoided sawfly attack this year - but I've read that denuding of bushes by these evil beasties usually occurs the first year after planting with recovery thereafter.  Seems to be true on the present evidence.

Must sit down with my seeds and try to get the last vestiges of this year's planting done before the end of the month - otherwise will not see much benefit from our labours.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Coming up roses...

Lovely scents in the garden at the moment - sweet peas are starting and the roses are coming into flower.  Can't resist cutting them for the house and love them mixed in with the frothy lime green of alchemilla mollis.

 It's also the only time of year when I have even a small corner in my heart for ground elder.... If it wasn't such a thug, it would actually be quite a good plant as it has lovely bright foliage and stems and gorgeous airy white flowers.  The fact that I have hack them off before it can spread seed anywhere else means that I have lots to stuff into my flower arrangements - it is very pretty though. Pity I hate it for its invasiveness...

A mixed bunch of roses, knautia, alchemilla mollis, ground elder and pink and white snapdragons.  A few sprigs of pittosporum are great with their variegated leaves and dark stems for contrast.

Wish I could add smellivision too.... Gorgeously scented.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Dividing up a big space

The best thing I ever did was dig up the top half of the lawn as it really brought the garden up to the house.  Luckily, I had a few tall trees established in the middle section, which form a nice screen.  It is so nice not to look straight at the ugly fence anymore!  (It has been banished and the lovely beech hedge can now be seen in all its glory).

Here are various before and after pictures
Before the top of the lawn disappeared
Taking the initiative....

First season - summer (planted with annuals)

Spring this year - with the newly reduced patio...

Viewed from the remaining lawn round the back of the border. Still room for footy and cricket (and cats).

Friday, 1 June 2012

Growing ever upwards

The foxgloves and dog daisies have finally arrived, adding height to the border and creating the messy undulating look which I (luckily) love - I'm too disorganised to have beautifully graduated borders - and anyhow, I prefer my patch to look unrestrained.  Can't wait for my verbena bonariensis seedlings to get established, for that very reason.

Here are some photo updates:

This thyme was one of many in a pot from Sainsbury's  - I've had loads off it for cooking and it obviously likes being chopped.

Coming along nicely.....

Love peonies - even when they're knackered by rain so quickly.

Aquilegia fireworks in the border!

Angelica - statuesque and smells of gin. Remind you of anyone?

Thought all the foxgloves would have reverted to pink this year, but some white ones can still be found.  

Waiting for me have time to plant them.....