Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Autumn Changes

   The months of the year seem to be getting quicker as we head towards Xmas. The garden looks a bit tired around the edges after the summer party. These pink Colchicum have flowered in the Japanese Painted Fern pot. They are like pink ghosts rising from the green and brown fronds of the Fern.
 The Pansys are still flowering in the baskets. These little plants have good repeat flowering, and will even survive the Yorkshire winter. I love the burnt orange of this flower, like an Autumnal Sunset.
 The Wet path leading to the battered greenhouse, and shed. The weeds in the stones by the path are impressive. The Hostas are slowly dying back. The pots need clearing of weeds, and several need replanting.
 The view from the shed looking down the garden. The pots here move about and the table has become a decorative feature. Adorned in either bird food, or pots of Fuchsias.
The Shrub plants near the house have really enjoyed the Hot Summer, and Rainy Autumn. They both need trimming back. Both are loved by the garden birds for hiding in, and for perching for eating bird food. They also provide great perches for us to watch the birds from inside. They ignore us if we sit still behind the glass.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Anne's Rose

 Its been a long time since I posted last on the blog. It has been a busy month of work, a sad goodbye to a gardening friend, and a few days in Northumberland. The garden has been left to grow on its own. This beautiful Lilac Rose smells of Old Roses. Like a scented soap in a flower. I call it Anne's Rose.It needs a bigger pot to grow in for next year. It flowers one Rose at a time..
 The Nemesia Vanilla Scent were dead headed and cut back. they have rewarded me with a fresh second bloom of flowers. These smell divine too. I will get more of these plug plants for next year.
  Some of the plug plant Foxglove Dalmation series are flowering in the sunken border. These have taken a long time to get going, but look beautiful.
The Last photo shows the Geum Mrs Bradshaw flowering, but going over slightly. I need to tidy the garden up, and dead head a few plants. Its the time of the year to start planting Spring Bulbs. I need to clear all the Lily Barrels and get new soil to take the bulbs.
 I went to the allotment today and surveyed the plot. It has been a bad year for maintaining it. The whole plot needs clearing between the raised beds, and the raised beds digging over. I have the Autumn and Winter to try and perfect the plot.
 As the wind blew through the grasses, and the sun shone I realised I actually enjoyed being up there. Hands in the soil, and listening to the birds, and buzzing insects. I need to allotment plot clever for when im working lots.
  I will blog some pictures of Northumberland which was an amazing place to visit and stay for a few days. The Holy Island rested my weary soul.
 Hopefully this will be translated into more blog posts, and photos. I'm back.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sparrowhawk Saturday

 Its now the last day of August. Where does the months go to? I took this photo today of the Rose Arthur Bell. It has a beautiful cup shaped flower with delicious fragrance. It glows in the fading garden. A last bloom of this growing season.
 I had a surprise visitor to the garden today. I heard lots of commotion and saw this brown blur flying into the Ceanothus and then around it. Little birds flew off in all directions. After the swift dive he flew and sat on the garden fence. The camera was at hand to photograph this beautiful predator.
 I have seen Sparrowhawks three times before and they have always flown away before I could get the camera. The Buddleja obscured the view from the window so I tried to find a gap in the foliage to get some pics.
 The flowers attract the pollinators and insects. The small birds feed on these, and the bird seed. These birds of prey live off the small birds. These are top of the food chain.
They were persecuted and poisoned lots before, but I think there numbers are increasing now. I love the burning yellow eyes, and long yellow feet and claws. They have long tails but his was hidden behind the fence.
 The flight of this bird is amazing swooping into dense garden and picking off quick little birds. I think this time he only caught a few feathers and not a kill.
 Three times before I have seen the Sparrowhawk. I showed Cat the photos on the camera. She will see it one day.
  The days are drawing in earlier now, and the sun is rising later. Autumn is nearly here. The garden needs tidying up a bit.
 I have harvested a few Tomatoes over the past few days. Eaten off the plants with a little lick of salt to draw out the flavour.I love growing Tomatoes. All the other veg has not done so well because of the NZ trip in June.
 I keep getting seed/plant catalogues. I need to start perusing them for next years plants. The seasons are turning slowly.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In Transition

 It is already the fourth week of August. The fiery orange Crocosmia is blooming now in the pot on the patio. I need to re pot it so it can grow bigger. It is a lovely flower contrasting to the strappy green leaves. This plant has suffered with the summer heat, drying out, and having very browned leaves. The recent rain and my tidying up has made it more attractive.
 Self seeded Forget Me Nots growing in one of the pots. It did have some summer bulbs but they dried up and died in the summer heat. I love how delicate the blue flowers are . Cool against the green leaves.These self seed everywhere, but I love finding new plants growing wildly each year where they fall.
 The Bronze Fennell has been cut back to the ground, and regrew to five feet tall. It has these pretty yellow flowers floating over the edge of the sunken border. The hover fly's love these small delicate lemon peel like flowers.
 A late flower Aquilegia has attracted small insects inside the petals, and the Hover Fly. These have long spurs full of nectar. I hope next year brings new colour variations of the Aquilegias.
The Cranesbill Geranium has re flowered again. The electric purple flowers sing out in the slightly exhausted sunken border.
 I was reading today about the West Dean Chilli Festival. You can even camp in the grounds now, and spend three days there. I must go next year.
I am trying to grow a Chili. So far I have two plants and no fruit formed. Im running out of time before the growing season ends.
 I used to be able to grow Cayenne Chili's. The Scotch Bonnet, and Jalapeno Summer Heat have struggled with the Yorkshire conditions. I used to grow them with no problems. Maybe my exotic choices are too difficult to grow in wet/cool West Yorkshire..
  The garden is looking green. The weather has cooled down a bit now. There has been the odd rain shower too.It is in transition between Late Summer and Autumn.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Garden Balance

 The Dalmatian White Foxgloves have flowered beautifully in the barrel planter against the backdoor wall.I love the white trumpets with burgundy spots. I planted five Foxglove plants, and so far two have flowered. I think they were quite slow to establish, but are loving the mixture of hot days and rain showers. The Sweet Peas and Black Bamboo all look healthy still. It is a little sheltered suntrap. The Bamboos have greened up nicely in their new sheltered position.
 After a few sparse weeks the Rose Gertude Jekyll has started a second flush of flowers. The delicate pink Rose contrasts nicely to the healthy new green leaves underneath it.
 The Rose Dark Lady has had a poor 2013. The leaves have been diseased and the growth not very even. She has finally shown me a beautiful dark crimson Rose.I hope that I can revive this plant next year.
 The latest Rose to flower is the Hybrid Tea Queen Elizabeth. I originally got a free Rose last year from Sutton's which promptly died. I saw this is Wilkos for £3 and thought I must have it, to see what the flowers are like. They are a light blush pink Rose, with nice cup like petals.
 Alas there is only a faint rose scent, but the five Roses it has grown are all healthy. There is minimal black spot on the lower leaves. It has been a slow starter. Maybe next year the new growth will make it flower more profusely. That said the five Roses are all perfect, with little pest damage.
 The Old Grand Dame of the Roses is the Rose Lady Emma Hamilton. The Apricot colored roses smell divinely of fruit and citrus. Strongly scented. I need to change a lot of the soil and try more pruning. She is very spread out in the pot despite spring pruning. There have been less Roses this year than previous years. I think this Rose is at least five years old.How long can shrub roses last?
 The one star Dahlia is the Bishop Of Oxford. Orange is a very healing color, and I love the contrast to the dark leaves below. I will try to over winter my Bishop Series of Dahlias, and try to collect the four Bishops that I have not got. They maybe need deeper pots than they are currently in.
 Another successful plant is the Lavender growing in a pot on the small coffee table.The scent is lovely, and I have seen a few Bees flying onto the light blue flowers.I bought the Rosemary and Lavender to try and feed the native Bee's.
 The Lavender has flowered. The Rosemary has dropped half of its leaves on the other table. I saw a good Horizon program about the decline of Bees with Bill Turnbull from BBC Breakfast. He has kept Bees for 12 years as a hobby. He showed all the different reasons they think Bees are struggling here in the UK. There were three main scientific theories.These were from environmental changes from intensive agricultural use,  to the Veroa Mite, to the use of Neonicotinoid pesticides in Agriculture.There are scientists all over the world working in all three fields.
 He said that City Bees are bucking the trend and producing double the amount of honey of their country cousins?I know that London has more urban Bee Keepers than the rest of the UK.
 Our garden is packed full of flowers that will hopefully feed the Bees'. There are 240  species of Bees in the UK, not just the Honey Bee.I'm always pleased to see them in the garden. They are little garden Spirits.
The garden still has a few productive plants. The Strawberries are still growing. My four pots of Tomato's are growing strongly and there is a little glut of Tomatoes growing. There is one pot of gardeners delight, two pots of whatever Tomatoes I tried sowing to start with (I cant remember what I sowed.I must have reused the soil and they subsequently germinated). The last pot is the Hampsons bought Tomato plant,the Chocolate Cherry Tomato plant which is huge and laden with nice fruits.
  The Chilli's are outside now. I bought the two plants from the Spring Flower Show. None of my Chili seeds germinated. I have Scotch Bonnet, and Jalapeno Summer Heat. The CSB has flowers on it, but no fruit yet...
 The CJSH has flower buds but no white flowers yet. Fingers crossed!
  The Grape Vine has about eight bunches of Grapes of various sizes. The ones photographed are the healthiest. I need lots of sunshine so they can ripen and develop sweet sugars in the grapes.
 The Grape Vine has been trial and error as I have never grown them before last year. The Internet is awash with much conflicting advise about pruning and training. I hope that each year I get more confidant in growing Table Grapes. Their is a legendary plant at Hampton Court palace which is hundreds of years old. My Black Hamburg has royal pedigree.
  The garden is still lush and green with a lot of flowers and wild life in it. The pots have been rearranged by Cat to make the path line on two sides by plants. The Fruit Trees are all growing impressively. The Ceanothus and Buddleja have grown massively filling the garden with their leaves. The birds love flying into them in between feeding. The garden is a perfect shared space between the wildlife and the gardeners. Aestheticly pleasing to sit in, functional, and wildlife friendly. A perfect balance.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Roses Today

  The Roses continue to inspire me with their blooms. I think they give a good injection of colour when other plants are starting to fade. The Lady Emma Hamilton freshly opened glows in the sunlight and smells so divine of citrus fruits. yum!
 The Rose Scent Sation getting ready to open five blooms on one stem. They smell best when they are just opening their petals, but it gets less strong as they open further. I cant smell Turkish Delight, maybe a sweet shop smell?
 These Hover Flys love the Scent Sation. It only has minimal Black spot on a few lower leaves. The Rose bush looks quite healthy. A bargain from Fryers Roses. A late developer but this has meant the Roses have staggered in their flowering.
The Hybrid Tea Queen Elizabeth is just teasing me with fat rose buds. I'm working the next three nights so this will be one of the first things I look at when I come back from work.
 Its hot and humid, and even a sharp rain shower has not cooled things down. Its a lovely balmy August Day.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Retail Therapy

   I got Cat to take me to Hampson's to buy some replacement plants for our dead hanging baskets. Six baskets needed replacing from the heat and drought. We walked around the Hampsons equivalent of the green mile (red and yellow tickets for damaged plants).Looking for plants that could be revived.
  I loved this Gazania mixed variety. It looks quite healthy to me, with a lot more unopened flower buds.
 Three extra plants that need a home. A Celosia, a Pelagonium, and a third yellow Geum to join my collection. Lady Strathden.
 I have Geum Mrs Bradshaw, and Geum Orange. This is a third lovely yellow variety.
 Cat replanted the three pots by the front door. There is silver foliaged Cinnereria, Prince Of Wales Feathers,The prarie like Red Coreopsis, two Spireas, shrubs with small pink or white flowers. Fifty pence or a pound each!
 The six baskets have been replanted with a mixture of Diascia, Pansy's, Lobellia, and Campanula.
 I wanted the Blue and white plants in the baskets. This Pansy has the blue, the white, and the egg yolk yellow.
 The Lobelia was a pack of twelve. A rare find in all the dead and damaged plants that they had ticketed.
The cost of planting the three large pots by the front door, six hanging baskets, and four extra plants was under forty pounds.
  Today was the hottest day of the year. Hopefully now it will cool down as I'm back on nights again tomorrow.
 Rainfall would water the new basket plants and front door pots. The garden is still full of colours, Bees,Butterflies, and other pollinating insects.
 I watched the BBC's program about Urban Wildlife with Mike Dilger from the One Show. He saw Kingfishers and Peregrine Falcons in Sheffield. Badgers in South Yorkshire. Newts in a mans swimming pond..
 We have Newts, Frogs, Pollinating Insects, an occasional Hedgehog, Bats at night. I love how the garden brings wildlife closer to me. Only a few steps from the backdoor.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Three B's

 When it was sunny yesterday I decided to move the Bamboo from the pathway to the fence by the back gate. It is hopefully more sheltered and not as hot. The Bamboos leaves have got wind burn, and damage from the pots drying out.
 The three pots together look like a living screen. There is plenty of new growth rising from the root system in the pot.
 They start off green and unfurl like a cigar. I think the black stems develop later.I have to watch that these plants don't split the plastic pots.
 I spent a good hour yesterday photographing the Butterflies on the Buddleja. This White one looks very mystical with the sunlight illuminating its wings.
 They come out when it is sunny and fly around the purple flowers. They are very flighty and move quickly from flower to flower.
 The Bee's also love the Buddleja and this Teasel that has managed to flower. I will pull it out before it sets seed, but I love the pollinators in the garden.
 Another Bee balanced on the Butterfly Bush. It is alive with the sound of buzzing bees. The ten feet stems are covered in triple flower spikes. They will be pollinated in double quick time, as the neighbourhood pollinators gather to drink the nectar.
 This Butterfly has his tongue down in the little purple flowers..
The last Butterfly pic shows a Comma. He looks a bit battered and weather beaten. He landed on the buddleja right outside the conservatory. They are very hard to photograph due to their small size, and the constant flighty nature.
  It is pouring down with rain now. July has been hot for three weeks, then rainy for the last week. The garden needs watering though. There will be probably be the months rainfall in a week?
  I hope August is hot and sunny. Butterflies, Bees, and Bamboos are the three B's.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Jewel Garden

   Apologies to Monty Don for stealing his book title for my blog post header. The stars of the garden at the moment are the Roses, and the Asiatic Lilies. The Rose Scent Sation after a slow start has exploded into growth. Each stem has five or six Rose buds on each. They smell so sweet to start with, and the flower mellows in colour to this Salmon blush colour.
 Wollerton Old Hall has gorgeous Myrrh scented flowers. They hold this chalice shape until the petals drop off the Rose. This shrub is covered in multiple stems with lots of flower buds. The weight of the Roses pulls the stems down.
  My favourite Banana Split Lily's. I will miss these next year, but the garden needs a break from them. I think monoculture is an invitation for all the local pests to decimate their target flower. These bright vibrant flowers represent a small portion of what was growing before. I had hundreds of Lilys growing in many pots, hence the red Lily Beetle infestation.
  The Pinks look more faded now, but this maybe the intense sunlight, and very hot days.I think these look great in blocks of single colour.
 Orange flowers always bring a warmth to the garden. I will definitely have these plants in my wish list for a few growing seasons.
 I moved these back to next to the Hungry Bin and they have bloomed away. The bottom right Lily almost looks white. It has lost its dark pink pigment in the flower petals.
  A late Rose bud unfurling on the Lady Emma Hamilton. I trimmed this Rose back to try and keep the growth compact. She has not flowered as well as normal. Lots of leaves but not many flowers. She is maybe five years old now. I will try to change the pots soil, and keep trimming to keep the size small. How long can shrub roses last for before you have to change them?
 The Patio with the birdbath reflecting the sky. The Hosta's provide the green and yellow leaves, the Roses and Lily's the jewels in the garden. The Bamboos have done quite poorly in the summer heat. They will be moved in the winter to the side of the house by the backdoor. It is sheltered and has some shade from the house. The Yorkshire wind has browned the Bamboo leaves. I thought that the Phyllostachus Nigra would be more hardy.
 This is the Rose Scent Sation just after the Rose bud opened. It smelt strongly of sticky sweets, Turkish Delight according to Monty Don. It is a thing of beauty when it first unfurls from the rose bud.
The Wollerton Old Hall in bloom with four of its Roses. They smell strongest when they first bloom. It is a lovely old scent. I hope someone who grows this can tell me what they think it smells of?I did not know what Myrrh smelt like before I had this Rose.
    I already am planning the garden for next year. Change what is dying or struggling. Bring in new replacement plants, rearrange what we have growing. Its never ending with the changing of the seasons.Photographing helps capture moments in time when the garden or an individual flower looks perfect. Or an unexpected combination of planting catches your eyes. these are the jewel garden moments.