Tuesday, 31 July 2012

End of Month View - July

The whole garden has changed so much this month.  I am particularly pleased with this bit - the Sweet Peas are six feet tall and smell heavenly; the Honeysuckle, Sunflowers and Nasturtiums have climbed over the trellis and the Lupins have flowered for ages.  Just four months ago it looked like this:

This is the border I empited and replanted.  No casualties so far.  The haybaskets on the wall belong to my sister.  She was storing them at our mother's house so I borrowed them.  One outside the kitchen is filled with mint, coriander and chives.  It smells lovely and is easy to reach through the window.  The other is filled with strawberries - there's plenty of fruit but it keeps getting chewed by little flies.

Here are a few pots I recued from the tip.  Every time I take my garden waste up there someone has thrown away some decent pots and the guys up there put them to one side.  I got the strawberry pot on the first photo from there.  Andy tells me NOT to come home with more rubbish then I've taken but I love a bargain!  I brought a huge sack of Crocosia bulbs home with me a few weeks ago!

Visit The Patient Gardener for more End of the Month views.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Pop Corn

The corn is drying out nicely in the sunshine.  Have you ever stood and listened to it on a warm day?  It makes a lovely popping noise.  I can imagine the little grains popping open.

This Small Tortoiseshell was basking on top of the crop.  The males pick their territory and rest with open wings waiting for a female to fly by.  If the female settles he will approach her from behind and drum his antennae on her hindwings.  After some time she will fly into the cover of vegetation and he will follow her to mate.  They tend to remain coupled until the following morning. 

Small Tortoiseshell is a very common butterfly but numbers have declined.  A parasitic fly (Sturmia bella) is
thought to be the problem.  It lays its eggs near the butterfly larva; the larva eats the egg whole; the fly grubs hatch and eat the poor larva from the inside.  Horrid!!
The fly only arrived in Britain in 1998 as it prefers a warmer climate.  A side effect of Global Warming!

Soon be harvest time - it tends to be around the middle of August - then we will get better views of the young pheasants again.  A female came onto the lane with three chicks last week so they are about but hidden.

Here's a visitor that never hides - he follows me closely every time I pick up a trowel!

While I was snapping this I felt a warm touch on my back and thought Andy was behind me.  He was no where in sight and the warm area cooled rapidly.  I realised a Woodpigeon had pooed on me!  Do they say that's a lucky sign so you don't feel so bad when it happens?  If so, it doesn't work!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Heads Up

I love these pot heads from the Rookes Pottery in Hartington. I have collected them for years ... and replaced them whenever they got knocked off the wall by a swinging bag .....  I now need a new frog but I find the pottery has closed!  We will have to be more careful around them in future!

I got a bit carried away with the head theme and added a few more over the years.
These two Greenmen are made from moulds. 

The black cherub weighs a ton!

I bought two ugly tree men from Chough Studio Pottery near Hayle in Cornwall when I took some A Level Geography students on a field trip.....

.... and I got this happy pot from a herb farm in Yorkshire.

The pride of my collection is this American Indian head from California.  I put it outside with the others but decided it was too good for the garden and brought it inside!

I won't bore you with more of the collection!! You can look out for the others in future posts!

Monday, 23 July 2012

All in a Day's Work.

Here is Isis laughing at my achievement.  Now is she laughing because she approves?  Or does she think it looks funny??
Here's what it looked like first thing this morning:

A few broken finger nails and swear words later:

By mid afternoon it looked like this:

And here's the other side:

Before and ....


It isn't the best make over in the world ... but then it didn't cost me anything!  I just used stuff from around the garden.  The old bricks will look better once they have weathered.

My mysterious red blob has morphed again!

It is getting better and better!  There are very dark almost black ones as well as this lovely burgundy.  It is about five feet tall so I have had to tie it up.  I thought it was Rudbeckia Occidentalis but now I have no idea again!  Any suggestions?  I will definitely be collecting the seeds.  I think it is the best bloom in the garden!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Seeing Red

This was a sunny evening at the end of June.  The border was full of flowers and buzzing with bees.  I was content.  Then I visited Barnsdale! 

Suddenly the busy border looked untidy and chaotic.  The flowers were passed their best anyway so I chopped them back and dug them up.

I kept the Lupin and the Red Hot Poker but the Foxgloves, Aquilegia and Verbena filled the wheelbarrow.  I will find nice new homes for them.  You can see Fuscia, Dianthus, Heuchera, Lobelia and Busy Lizzie.  I also planted Penstemon, Sweet William and Hollyhocks.  I feel happier now I have some order!

Remember my Red Blob?  Well it turned into this almost black velvety thing.  I decided I quite like it.  It's in the wrong place but it could be quite dramatic next to a large yellow something......
I searched the internet and found it is a Rudbeckia Occidentalis 'Green Wizard'.

Really looking forward to tomorrow!  Apparently Summer is returning!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Barnsdale Garden

Barnsdale Gardens attracts thousands of visitors every year ... and I fully understand why.  We spent a lovely afternoon wandering round the 38 gardens.  By the time we got to the cafe I was desperate to get home and dig up a new flower border! 
The late Geoff Hamilton created the gardens when he worked on Gardeners' World.  I remember as a teenager I switched over whenever that programme appeared on the screen but I would like to see them now! I had a look on You Tube and found a couple of old programmes.  One called Geoff Hamilton's Paradise Gardens (You Tube called it Parade Gardens though) shows him sitting on a rustic bench surrounded by small leafy sticks.  I saw that bench.  It had a sign on it saying it was too dangerous to sit on.  The leafy sticks had become a living arbour towering over it.  Sad to think he imagined it looking like that but didn't live to see it.  He died of a heart attack in 1996.
The Barnsdale borders were stunning and every garden was different.  He left behind a place to give real pleasure to people ... a Paradise Garden.

 Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera.  I took a few pictures with my phone but you can take a virtual tour on You Tube.

It cost £6.50 to get in which I thought was a real bargain.  It is a lovely place to see.  The plants were rather expensive though but the money goes to fund bursaries for young people to study horticulture so it is worth it.
I will definitely be going back ... with my camera next time!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - July 2012

I bought one small pot with about three flowers on a few years ago and put it in a sunny spot.  I have divided it and stuck bits in empty gaps all over the place and it has taken every time ... a very obliging little plant!

 This is one of the smallest flowers in the garden.  Grown from a free packet of seeds it is also one of the cheapest!
One of my favourite flowers at the moment is the larger version ... Sweet William.

I seem to have a pink theme going on here as my next photo is a pink Sweetpea.
Followed by a pink Primula vialii.
How strange!  I could have photographed yellow roses or blue cornflowers or cream Achillea but everything I snapped was pink!  I wonder what that says about my mood today.
Well, I will end with a red blob!  No idea what it is called.  I lost the seed packet.  I'm not sure I like it ... it looks like it hasn't grown any petals!
You can find other Garden Bloggers Blooms at May Dreams

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Seagate Irises

We paid a visit to Seagate Iris Nursery at Long Sutton last Wednesday.  We pass it every time we travel to Norfolk and I've often thought of calling in but never have so we made a special trip. 

Unfortunately we missed the best of the flowering period in the display gardens but the few still in bloom were beautiful. I was paticularly taken with Midsummer Night's Dream ... being an ex- English teacher I suppose I was bound to be!  It is a tall, purple Bearded Iris.I had admired Top-Gun (pink with lilac falls) when we went to Doddington Hall last month so I purchased one of each of those then wandered around the greenhouses and picked up another three:  Helena Terry (a rich reddy purple); Rosalie Figge (dark blue) and Top Flight (orange).
The lady who was working in the display garden was very helpful and well informed.  She gave us detailed instructions about planting and after care and showed us how to separate the tubers from the main plant.  Apparently they like well drained soil so I will need to add a bit of grit to my clay soil.  The tubers should never be covered as this will make them rot and they like the tubers to be in full sun if possible.  They shouldn't be planted so other perennials throw shadows onto the tubers and weeds need to be removed.  If my plants take they should be bushy enough to divide in three years' time.

I already own four different kinds of Iris: Battle Star (a peach flower with violet falls); Frost and Flames ( mainly white); Pretty Print (pink) and Golden Muffin.  The latter should be yellow with bronze falls.  I planted it last year and it is the only one of the four to bloom this year.  As you can see from the photo above it is not the colours I ordered - I think this one is actually Welch's Reward if the Seagate catalogue is correct.  I didn't purchase these four from Seagate!

Seagate Irises opened in 2000 when they had 100 different Irises in their catalogue.  They have increased their stock since then and have over 1000 now.  The gardens must have looked amazing in full bloom with over 600 different types flowering.  There will be another chance in August/September when over fifty of them re-flower. Next time we go to Norfolk I will definitely be calling in.