Sunday, August 31, 2008

Triumph And Disaster (In The Garden)

The Rose Lady Emma Hamilton has grown multiple new flower buds on new growth. I hope next year it will be festooned in flowers. The apricot flowers are beautifully scented and light up the garden.
I have a mystery plant growing with raggedy pale blue flowers, near to where I planted the Cornflowers.I will blog it to see if anyone can recognise it.
In spring I took out the weeds quickly, but as the summer came I became more relaxed, leaving things to see what they turned into.
I am going to the allotment soon, to harvest some vegetables and to do some tidying. I am thinking about what can grow where after the winter. The beds all need digging over and more compost mixed into the soil.
Having the allotment has been fun, but very hard work to try and juggle life and two gardens! As the poem by Rudyard Kipling goes you have to meet triumph and disaster head on, and treat the two imposters the same way.
Gardening is a lot like that. Some things work really well, and some things fail spectacularly.The combination of both these make each garden unique.
My worst casualties have been the black Hollyhocks which were diseased and never got off the ground.The Clematis Reubens that died suddenly for no apparent reason.The Tomatos in the grow bag also failed after developing masses of fruit, but that just started to rot...
My highlights have been all the Roses I planted flowered, even with endemic blackspot. The Dahlias and Lillys have also been beautiful flowers. I have grown vegetables for the first time with good results.
Even as you look back to earlier in the year, you also think about next year. I have a small pile of flower catalogues from the seed companys. Eye candy for the darks of winter to keep your gardening flame burning when the dark inclement days keep you inside.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

St Johns Wort

I'm back posting after a few day break.I worked five long days in a week and felt very tired.
The garden is showing signs of slowing down, with leaves changing colour and dying back on some of the plants.
My Tomato plants have succumbed to blossom end rot.The mixture of rain and hot days has made the fruits go brown and yucky!
The worst effected was the Gardeners Delight.I salvaged a few tomatos to try and ripen in the kitchen.I will make a Tomato and Basil soup with them once they are reddened.
As the Sweet Peas and Pea plant die back other plants are flowering.The pictured St Johns Wort, the White Gladiolus, the Dahlias, and the Roses have more buds developing.
I have seen my first conkers lying on the paths beneath the Horse Chestnut Trees. The Brambles fruit is developing the blackberrys from the purple stage.
Summer is drawing to a close.The month of September should be good for flowers, and for me to blog.I have had something in flower for almost 9 months now, not bad for a first year garden.
I'm already planning in my head for next year. It's been great for flowers on so many different plants.I am a plantsman and a gardener :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Day Out

York Minster today under cloudy skys.Hil's took me and Mum to walk around and go shopping.
It was packed and full of so many shops between old buildings and streets.
The River Ouse runs through the heart of the city.The queue's to the Jorvik viking centre still snaked along the square.
Masses of hanging baskets adorn the centre, the bridges, and all routes into the city.

Dahlia Dianas Memory in flower today in my garden.One section got eaten by something, but it kept on flowering.
The white, pink, and yellow are gorgeous colours.Two buds are growing that have not been eaten yet.
I will photograph this once it fully opens.The skys today were gray, and the light is fading earlier.
Summer is approaching the end of the season.
There are still loads more flowers to go yet, a colourful finale to the summer flower fiesta.
I hope the Dahlia is named after Princess Diana as it is delicate and beautiful.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Night Fever

A moth last night on the Teasel.Im amazed by how much flys around at night landing on my colourful flowers.
These are guided by scent as their is only the light from the house.
The secret pollinators you cannot see really unless you stand in the garden at night.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Love Lily's

Its Sunday morning and two of my Lilys have flowered yesterday.The first is the very fragrant Oriental Stargazer.This Lily has been grown since the 1970's, and was bred by an American.I love the colours like splattered strawberry jam with white petals with lime green stripes.My fav Lily from last year.I will get more for next summer.One plant is still in the bud stage but hopefully will flower soon.This one is growing in the kitchen.

From the spring flower show the Casablanca Lily.I have bought the DVD of the Humphrey Bogart film from 1942.One of my favourite classic films, and the pure white flower with a hint of green near the stamens.It smells sweetly fragrant, but not as heady as the Stargazer Lily.
These Lilys are used in wedding Bouquets, they have the air of purity and innocence.No wander angels are always dressed in white.
The plant has five flower buds on it, with two opening when i was at work.I love the Lillys..

Friday, August 22, 2008

Birds Of Summer

The third B that has made my summer has been watching the Garden Birds eat all the snacks I put out in the multiple feeders. The cheeky Robin who usually visits every day, multiple times, and watches me digging or weeding.

Blue tits, great Tits, Coal Tits, House Sparrows, Song Thrushes, a Wren, Magpies, Pidgeons, and Collared Doves. Rare visitors include Black Birds and Goldfinches.
The birds of Summer have been different from the birds of winter.I need to keep replenishing the bird food though now i have started.
Sitting with a coffee watching them fly in and out of the garden has been a joy to behold this year.
I hope the birds visit when Mums here as she is a keen bird watcher.The food and water are always restocked to encourage these garden spirits to meet me in the garden.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Snow White

The third Streptocarpus in flower.This first flower was hidden beneath leaves facing away from my view.I was showing Cat the Steptocarpus flowers and discovered it in flower.
I bought it at the spring flower show from the Dibleys stand.
Three out of six have flowered this year so far.They are such cheerfull flowers!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

An English Summer

The second B post is about Bee's.They visit my garden daily and are attracted to the Sunflowers, Butterfly Bush, Catmint, Cerinthes, Verbena Bonarensis, Petunias, Million Bells, and the Teasel too.
All those flowers have been visited by many species of Bee's, as well as flys and hoverflys.
The body is electrically charged to attract pollen grains to stick to the Bee's body.
This one let me photograph him at close range without me disturbing his foraging.
Their energetic workrate is colloquially described as being " a busy little bee" . It is so fun to watch them flying from flower to flower, then back to the first flower.
I think this is a Honey Bee and that he will take the pollen back to the communal hive. As gardeners we are aware of the work these little insects do, and how whole agricultural industrys rely on them to produce edible crops.
We should treasure every visit and know that thousands of years have evolved the ongoing relationshop between people, flowering plants, and bee's. These flight of the Bees can be viewed in any garden with flowering plants, in your own backyard.
The bee's noise and striking bodies in flight are always the highlight of an English summer for me, like Strawberrys and Cream, and Sunshine.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Butterfly Moment

A suprise visitor today to my Agastache flower.He looks like the texture of a persian carpet.
I have had a few Butterfly encounters this year,but need to keep on with nectar rich flowers to attract them.
They are lovely to look at, and reminds me of childhood summers trying to catch them.They were always too flittish to be caught however.
Wild insect spirits that flutter, dive, and roll on the breeze before settling with wings open.
As our summer continues to be very wet i have not seen as many butterflys as i would have liked.
The three B's I wanted to attract to the garden have come this year. Birds, Butterflys, and Bee's.
Snappys garden will slow down its post rate soon as Summer continues to wind down..

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Summer Thoughts

The Chamomile and Butterfly Bush in flower on Saturday. I got the autumn catalogue from Bakker and spent a few hours perusing it.The summers not over yet and all the seed and plant catalogues are being sent out tempting you to buy even more plants, flowers, and bulbs for next year.
I'm trying to imagine winter when the garden will be clearer and there may be room for my homeless plants. Some grasses and red flowering Camellia need planting in the off season.
I have been thinking about what worked and what did not work as well.The majority of edible plants will be grown up at the allotment next year, so i can concentrate on flowers.
The two exceptions will be Chilli plants and Tomatos which need lavish attention, so they fruit fully.
I have enjoyed the homegrown vegetables and potatoes that the garden and allotment have produced.
I think I want the plants to stay within the borders, to keep the patio free for water features and bird table.
This year I had so many plants that a lot have been grown in pots and containers on either side of the borders. It looks lush and green but its difficult to enjoy all the flowers when you are fighting through masses of green to see them.
As plants go over and look ropey then you can think what the garden has done well.The garden has supplied eight months of photos for the blog.A wide variety too I think.
I love Roses and might grow more varieties next year.I might substitute some with new Rose bushes bought bare root in the winter.
Next year I want a bed for cut flowers at the allotment as well as expanding what I'm growing up there. I have Seven beds at the moment, with six more of Mr Saddiqs. A fourteenth bed will be dug in the winter, along with the erecting of the shed.
I have enjoyed the gardening and vegetable growing. I hope my enthusiasm shows in the regular posts and photos. Im working a long day today so no gardening today.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


My first Streptocarpus was bought last year from Harlow Carr.It has white flowers with the purple and yellow stripes inside the petals.
Its been beaten by Happy Snappy into second place for flowering Streptocarpus 2008.
The last Streptocarpus to flower will be Snow White, bought from the Spring Flower show at Harrogate.
I spent a day tidying the garden a bit, ready for Mum coming to see me in a weeks time.
Its been overcast today but no rain.The gardens flowering is slowly winding up and slowing down as we approach Autumn.
It has been a summer of many colours for me this year.The first with my new garden..

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mystery Plant And Edible Ones

Sometimes plants suprise you when they flower. This plant is a native of the USA, only growing in boggy conditions in North Carolina. I bought it from Hampsons, and it has been moved from my kitchen to the greenhouse. It likes no plant food, and rain water only to keep the pot moist.

One white flower open, one finished flowering, and buds still to open. Guess what the plant is.

My first Tomato that is changing colour.The Tomato Matsoka in the hanging basket.These red fruits are going to be the last thing to be ready for salads, sandwiches, and soups...

Who cant love Sunflowers?This is a dinky small one growing besides the one remaining Hollyhock. I love the Fibronicci spiral which is pure natural art. The birds will eat the seeds from all the sunflowers (and Goldfinches I hope).
I have homegrown vegetables and potatoes ready for a roast chicken dinner tonight with Cat.
Amsterdam Sprint Carrots, Runner Beans, Peas, and King Edward Potatoes.The joys of growing all these edible plants is eating them :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

White Fireworks

After a break away from the allotment I returned today to see what was growing.The wet weather has seen a surge in the growth of the grass and the weeds.
The best part of the day was harvesting the King Edward Potatoes from the trench that I had dug five months ago.One line of Potatoes have been dug up, leaving the Nadine Potatoes growing on a bit.
I picked ten pounds worth of courgettes (and some were Marrow sized).I harvested some French Beans, Runner Beans, one and half pounds of Peas Calibra.
I did some weeding but need to return with my knife to chop the grass back down.My size 12 work boots will flatten the grass then into paths again.
This Red Onion had sent up a flower spike which was in flower today.A glorious white firework in the sunshine.It actually stopped raining enough for me to wear my vest top!!
The growing season is coming towards its finale.The Cabbages look like net curtains, but have formed hearts now in the middle of the plants.The Brussel Sprouts are still developing and im waiting to see something that looks like a sprout on the plant.
It has been an experimental year with my late start of getting the overgrown plot.I have enjoyed applying my garden skills to the allotment which is much more exposed and wild.
As i harvested my mind turned to next year, and for plants that can be grown over the winter for earlier cropping next year.
I turned the compost in both bins but they will not be ready for a few months yet.The black gold from them will elevate the raised beds and improve drainage.
I still want a shed but the base has to be dug out first and flattened.I think that will be an autumn job when things are slower on the plot.
It was a good day but very muddy underfoot and boggy ground.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dahlias And The Rose

In the rain yesterday the Dahlia Night queen stands out like an olympic torch. It is a gorgeous double flower around the yellow centre. Another Dahlia is in the foreground to the right, and the Rose Margaret Merrill to the left. One photo with three flowers vying for the cameras attention.

The Night Queen which looks more hot pink than Crimson coloured.The flower has withstood a pelting from some very heavy rain where other flowers have disintegrated.

The Dahlia lemon yellow one growing lower but just as beautiful in the complexity of the yellow petals, arranged in a spiral fashion.

The Rose of Margaret Merrill in flower again yesterday.Im at work all day today and hope to be upto the allotment on Thursday.I hope its dry for a bit of the day...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rain Reflections

Happy Snappy Streptocarpus is the first in flower this year on the kitchen windowsill.Following close behind is the new Streptocarpus Snow White, and the Streptocarpus Nerys which have flower buds developing on the end of the bendy stems.
The double flower makes it look like the bottom flower is reflecting in water.
It has been foul weather today with torrential rain and thunder and lightning.
It was too wet to get to the allotment.I hope to get up Thursday after work tomorrow.
The garden looks bedraggled with the heavy rain knocking flowers over with its constant battering.
The only thing that seems happy with the rain is the Tomato plants and the fruits are growing larger.
The Streptocarpus are so coloutful, i did not think they would flower for me.They are bought in masses of flowers, but after the shock of bringing them home they always seem to struggle.
I am pleased that the first plant of six has flowered.More photos to come as the others flower.I am watching the Olympic Showjumping.Team Great Britain won a bronze medal :)
Now its the showjumping for the individual medals.The rain keeps falling.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Three Amigos

its early Sunday morning and I have got up for a cup of tea.I can hear the rain pelting the windows and saw my Tomato plants are getting battered down.I thought I would blog my Dahlias.The Three Amigos are three flowers that were in bloom this week.The first photo is called Night Queen.It looks Zinnia red to me not burgundy like the packaging said..

The lemon yellow Dahlia from the Hampsons selection marked mixed colours.This has been destroyed by the rain and wind now.New yellow buds are growing around where it was.Yellow perfection.

The last Dahlia is from Hils greenhouse.I planted this and it has flowered really well under the shadow of the Cerinthes.
These Aztec golden flowers help brighten the garden in the most miserable of weather.Cat comes back today from Florida.
Maybe thats why i cannot sleep.Im at work in four hours...

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Pink Petal Saturday

A sea of scented pink petals to start todays blog post.This is the second bloom of the Zephrine Drouhain climbing rose.The scent is extremely fragrant.My bare root roses have given a few flowers, but im hopefull that they will give a profusion of blooms next year.The rain fell and caught on the bright pink petals.I smelt the Rose and the rain.

The Rose at midday today with me getting wet photographing it.The first bloom opened when i was at Tatton Park two weeks ago.This Rose likes to keep me waiting, over how slow it grew in the pot, and now to when the buds will show some colour before opening.The anticipation of each new Rose bloom makes me excited still.I like each one as a work of natural art.

Yesterday at 8pm on the eighth day of the eighth month of 2008 the opening ceremony of the 29th modern Olympic games took place in Beijing, China.The photo was from the BBC news website but shows my favourite Olympic image, the flaming torch that will burn for the next sixteen days (15 now) of competition.
I watched it on BBCi player because I was working yesterday when it was televised.Im glad I watched it for three and a half hours because it was spectacular.
my day off has been about Roses and the Olympics.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Zingy Zinnia

The Zinnia from the plant stall is still in flower.Bright Crimson petals with a yellow ring in the middle.
This has lasted for a few weeks and the flower is still in perfect condition despite the rain.
A contrasting colour to the electric blue Iris..more posts tomorrow on my one day off.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Electric Blue And Lilac

A late post due to me finishing work late.The colours of this Dutch Iris are superb.Electric blue with yellow, white, and a purple Haze.I do like Iris as a group of plants.I want next year to grow some of the new bearded Iris.They were strappy green leaves for months then suddenly the flowering spike appears and the colours of the rainbow unfurl.

A different Dutch Iris in flower around the edge of the Raspberry bush.This plant has hung on between the two heavyweights of the left border. The Seven feet Teasel and the equally spread out Raspberry bush.A few more plants have flower spikes in the windowbox under the kitchen window.

Late Summer is here.The first Gladiolus in flower with a cane to help keep it upright.Experience in the past has told me they need support or the first rain and wind will knock them horizontal.This Gladiolus is a combination of lilac and white.

A handful of Gladiolus have flower spikes.I planted white and blue ones, so i guess these are the Blue bulbs I planted in March. They are a typical English garden flower, and look spectacular when grown en masse.I think there is every conceivable colour going, and different sizes of flowers and shapes.
The blue and white was meant to blend with the Nepeta and the Butterfly Bush, with the purple cone flowers continuing the theme.White Chamomile flowers with yellow faces grow beneath this stately Gladiolus.
I know its late summer because the sun had set by the time i came back from work.I looked at the garden in the darkness with the security light on.
These flowers are so nice to look at..

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Roses In The Rain

It has been a wet few days.I was out in the garden early photographing the flowers.My Florida Dream pink Rose is flowering beautifully, and the scent is of sweet oranges.I love their shape and how they get bigger but still hold the petals.The rain had washed them downwards.

The climbing Rose Zephrine Drouhain has three flower buds on one climbing stem.I missed the first Rose opening when I was at Tatton Park.Its a wander of nature when a flower opens on a plant you have been tending, and nurturing.The wow factor never goes down for me.Every new Rose is photograph worthy!

The Lady Emma Hamilton has flowered eleven times, and this will be the twelth Rose.They are delicate though and the rain breaks the petals up too easily.Maybe next years flowers will be sturdier.

The suprise return of the Margaret Merrill Rose.The most strongly fragranced after the Lady Emma Hamilton.I cut off all the black spot diseased leaves and this new growth duly sprung up and has formed flower buds.
One Rose still in flower, with three other Roses returning for an encore, like operatic divas of the garden.
The rain cannot dampen the Roses spirits.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Cornflowers Blue

The bedraggled Cornflower in flower today. I sowed the seeds a few weeks ago, and they have grown quietly then burst into bloom. The flower buds look like hand grenades before the petals peek out like a mohican haircut!
The Cornflower was widespread once as a weed in crop fields but herbicides have eliminated it from the countryside virtually. Gardeners are growing them as annual flowers so they are naturalising again.
The British use the Poppie for the anniversary of the Armistice at the end of the first world war, the French use this blue flower as their veterans symbol.
Its also called colloquially Bachelors Button and worn by young men as a symbol of love, and if it fades quickly unrequited love.
Various orginisations and political parties also use the blue flower. It is used by Twynings too in their Lady Grey tea..
I love the shape of the petals and the cobalt blue colour. Apparently there is a Crayola crayon called Cornflower!
Its been raining all day and my energy levels have dropped after four mad night shifts. I need to recharge my batterys in the garden, when its stopped raining.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sunflower Sunday

In flower better today the Sunflower that is already attracting the bee's.I love these flowers, they are so cheerful.No wander Van gogh painted them often.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Garden Art 1

The garden is so full of colour and life that some photographs are pure art.
Will post more of my guest flower tomorrow.The rain was pouring after I finished work.I got a clear spell for five minutes to take a few photos.
This one was sowed by the birds a few months ago..

Friday, August 01, 2008

After The Storm

A morning post after my first night shift.It rained torrentially yesterday afternoon, and all last night.Thunder claps sounded as the rain pelted down.
My Heleniums look bedraggled this morning in the morning sunlight. Mist rose from the fences and plants as the sun warmed up the air this morning.
I always try to look at the garden after a long night to see what has flowered, or what has been damaged by heavy rainfall.
It all looks green, and the Eucomis and Tomato plants seem to have grown since yesterday.
The rain and clouds have gone and the sun is shining this morning.Three more nights for me to go. Three more days of sitting on the Rose bench with coffee watching the bee's on the Teasel.
I have enjoyed the garden just sitting and looking, and listening, in a reflective mood.
After all my work its good to sit down and be still.