Monday, October 10, 2011

A Windy Morning in the Garden

Last year I didn't take any Geranium or Fuchsia cuttings as I had taken quite a few the year before, but I stupidly left them all outside over winter and lost all the geraniums. Most of the Fuchsias survived but were very late flowering so today I managed to beg a few cuttings from a neighbour and have potted them up in  improvised incubators and put them on a windowsill. I will do some more later and also some Fuchsias.

This is one of the cuttings I took a couple of years ago and had a go at training into a standard. Not bad for a first attempt, even if it has got a kink in the stem. I'll have another go this year with a different variety.

It was very windy today, but this part of the garden, apart from being very untidy is very sheltered, so I decided to make room for the two Chrysanthemums in the picture above which  I bought yesterday.

Elijah's Tears was always too close to Mahonia, so I moved him a little way away. I hope he isn't too upset, he will have more room and not be battered against Mahonias sharp leaves anymore. Finn decided after all that hard wok it was time for a tea break!

Job done. Chrysanths planted were I can enjoy them whilst having my tea break, some crocus scattered and planted around them and some of the Brompton Stock seedlings I started a couple of months ago planted as well. I hope they'll be alright they seem very small to survive the winter and the slugs.

And lastly this fungi is growing on one of my Buddlea bushes. Does anyone know what it is and if I should worry about it?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

This is a piece of Leylandii deadwood I have left standing in the garden for the Honeysuckle to clamber over. It used to have a bird table on top of it but Tara cat kept jumping on it and broke it so now I just hang the bird feeders from it. The Blue tits love the suet treat I put in the green holder, but they have finished  it up and I haven't got another one yet, so they were actually eating the Nijer seed , which no-one seems to want, yesterday.

They have peeled the bark off to get to the bugs underneath, revealing a myriad of holes and tunnel ways.

The bugs themselves are about the size of a fruit fly and are mite-like in appearance. There are clusters of eggs revealed as well. 

 I spent ages this afternoon sawing a coconut in half for the Blue tits, only to discover it was old and mouldy inside, so I scraped it out, cleaned it up and filled it with suety treats. Here are the two halves hanging up.

 One had a mixture of bird seed in  and this one has some fruit in as well. I hope they enjoy it until I can get another treat for the holder.

 Smudge had to come and supervise proceedings. I was wondering why my poor Fuchsia's roots were all exposed until I caught him rubbing himself against it. Naughty cat.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Garden Visitors

The nearest I've got to gardening this week is feeding the birds and painting my hall in Fuschia and Poinsetta red. The bluetits love this suet feeder, no-one seems to like the nijer seed in the feeder below, I bought it to attract Goldfinches but they prefered the Golden chorus I scatter on the ground. The Sparrows like the cheap wild bird seed I buy in 20 kilo sacks and they get through a large feeder a day, although they are wasteful little things and drop quite a lot on the ground. (Why is it almost every wasted seed they drop germinates in my flowerbed, while hardly any of the seeds I plant come to anything?) If I don't fill it up quick enough they will eat the songster mix in the smaller feeder, but this is not really a favourite.

Sorry about the quality of this video, the birds wouldn't wait for me to clean the window!

Every night last week the honeysuckle by my living room window was visited by a moth at around 8o'clock, I haven't seen it since Saturday though.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Brick paths and rosehip wine.

Here are some photos I took in the garden today.

 The caption on the sign just about sums up my philosophy on life.
I salvaged some bricks from a neighbours skip and am making a path around the edge of the grass to stop me walking across it and turning it into a muddy mess again this winter. After I had laid them out I had to cut back my Rosa Rugosa so that I could actually walk on it! There were lots of big, red hips on the bits I cut off which I usually leave for the birds, but this year I'm trying making wine with them as well as the wild Dog rose ones I usually use. Here's the recipe I used:
2lb rose hips
1tsp citric acid (I didn't have any so I used the juice of an orange- no lemons either!)
3lb sugar
1 gallon boiling water
1tsp yeast, nutrient &pectic enzyme
Wash the rosehips and then either crush them or cut them in half. Put the sugar in a polythene bucket with them and cover with the water. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. When cool enough to be able to put your finger in comfortably add yeast, acid,enzyme and nutrient. Cover closely and leave in a warm place for a fortnight, stirring daily. Strain through a sieve into a fermentation jar and fit airlock. When wine clears siphon into a fresh jar and leave for a further 3 months before racking again and bottling.
Rose hip wine made with wild rosehips was the first wine I ever made. I hope this version will taste as good!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Not so lazy day in the garden

Well Autumn is with us now , so the lazy days in the garden are replaced with busy days in the garden! Yesterday my friend Jane took me to my favorite garden centre, this was quite a treat as I haven't been able to get there since I stopped driving. We spent a pleasurable hour or so wandering round and I bought some Winter flowering Pansies, some double daisies and some Hyacinth bulbs plus a suet treat for the birds.
Today I spent the morning clearing the patch of dead nettle under the front hedge ready to plant and adding compost to the ground.

I found this little fellow under the elephants ears, I hope he keeps the slugs away from the pansies.

All planted out.

And my pots replanted as well.

I'm not going to be able to move tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Case Of The Missing Bucket

Would you believe it, someone has stolen the yellow bucket you can just about see in the picture of the front hedge in the last entry here which I put over the tree stump until I can remove it so that no one catches their shin on it as they go past! I don't believe it's kids as the baler twine I secured it with has been cut with a sharp knife. Is it paranoid to think it's the same sad person who complained about the hedge in the first place so they can make another complaint?
I've put another bucket over it and secured that with a padlock!

Paranoid or what..........!

After spending all the summer a few years ago thinking I was going out of my mind when a certain person kept reaching over and breaking branches off my Buddlea, I'm not so sure that it is parnoia. It was only when I actually caught them doing it that I could really believe someone could be so petty. I can't help feeling sorry for people who have so little going on in their lives that they have to make trouble for other people.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I've been a bit lax in updating my blog just lately, so first of all here is a quick roundup of what has been happening since I last wrote.
First of all my courgette plant, (the only one to actually germinate) has been producing a number of courgettes and the tomato plants have fruit on them, although none have actually ripened yet.

Last years Bunny Rabbits have come back stronger than ever, and I have moved their pot from the doorstep into the flowerbed in the hope they will seed themselves.

The yellow Day Lilly has done well by the house, but her orange sister has not flowered this year at all, she is usually a bit later flowering but not this late.

Sue gave me this shrub and I have looked it up in the book, but have forgotten what it is called, but anyway it seems happy enough and has lots more flowers than last year.

This is the view into the garden from the seat under the window. The bird feeder is empty because Smudge spends his time sitting on top of the archway waiting for birds! I went out a few days ago and was I glad I had a pair of shoes on. There was something soft and squishy under my feet, hidden by Montbretia leaves - a dead pigeon!

Through the archway and up the garden path.

The honeysuckle and jasmine pulling the trellis down yet again. I end up mending it every year! This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago, the jasmine is in full flower now, I don't think I've ever had so many flowers on it!

And after the tour round the back garden it's time for tea before starting work in the front garden!

This is my front gate after massive clearance of the front hedge. I had a visit from the Council Man a few weeks ago complaining that the hedge was overgrown and needed to be cut back to the fence. (I had only just finished trimming it), when I pointed out to him it was illegal to cut out hedges while the birds were nesting he got all embarrassed and told me well yes but if anything happened I'd be liable and he'd be back in 2 months. You just can't win, so last week I set to work (there weren't any nests in it I did check), it took 3 days to do, but I refuse to get rid of my roses, at least you can see them better now!

Finn is looking at the pile of trash after The Great Hedge Clearance. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it as there's a huge sack of prickly stuff as well.
The mound under the tarpaulin is wood waiting to be cut up for the fire. I spent a couple of hours cutting it up this afternoon and have done about half and filled the coal bunker.

Although there seem to be lots of flowers on certain things the garden seems dead compared to last year. Since a row of old Leylandii at the edge of the field behind me were cut down last year the birds have disappeared and I really miss their comings and goings and constant chattering while I sit out there. Also there don't seem to be the butterflies about this year. Dorothy from seems to think it's because we had a dry spell when the caterpillars were about so they couldn't feed properly. So now I'm trying to plan my garden to attract as much as possible next year.
The plan is to make a survey of the garden and really get to know it, all the different habitats and what lives in them and how I can improve and add to them. That should keep me busy for a while!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Herb of the month - Wild Garlic

Although I have a couple of patches of Wild Garlic, or Ramsons in my garden come April and May I love to go foraging in our local woods for the leaves,they seem to taste better if I have gathered them from the wild while enjoying a walk with Finn. Ramsons (Alium Ursinum, so called because Brown bears love eating the bulbs when they emerge from hibernation) grow in moist,slightly acidic soil in deciduous woodland and flower between May and June.
All parts of the plant are edible, although it is illegal to dig the bulbs up in the wild and unless the cultivated patch needs restraining it is better value just to harvest the leaves which can be used in salads, soups , boiled as a vegetable or used as a spice.
Wild Garlic is said to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. It eases stomach pain and treats diarrhoea, wind, indigestion and colic. The leaves can be applied externally for rheumatic and arthritic joints. It is also reputed to be beneficial for asthma, bronchitis and emphysema although none of these conditions should be treated without the advice of a doctor.
The juice of the leaves can be used for moth repellent and as a general household disinfectant.The whole plant is supposed to repel insects and also moles.
The plants can be propagated by division at the end of summer when the plant dies down or by seed, which should be sown as soon as they ripen either in situ or in a cold frame. The young plants should be big enough to plant out in three years.
Some recipes for using Wild Garlic can be found on the following link
I tend to use it as I would normal garlic although the flavour is slightly more mild.
There are several ways to preserve Wild Garlic, here are two that I found on
To Dry:
100grm wild garlic leaves
1tsp salt
Set oven to 50 celsius
Spread washed and dried leaves on baking trays without overlapping and place in the oven for about 4 hours until the leaves are dry and brittle.
grind up using a grinder or food processor then add salt.
Store in a jar.
100grms of leaves should give approx 20grm dried.

In Oil:
100grm leaves
100ml vegetable oil
5grm salt
Chop leaves and add salt. Leave for 15 min.
Blend wild garlic salt and oil. Decant into preserving jar and top up with oil so no leaves are exposed to air.
The paste can be spooned out for soup or pasta dishes.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Yes we've had some rain at last! It must be about a month since we had any to speak of, and then last night there was a strange noise outside my window as I was going to sleep, like a waterfall falling from the roof. Although its been glorious sitting in a sun drenched jungle it must be said that the garden was in desperate need of a drink.

This morning I went out with the camera and this is the result.

The sun glistens on the wet clematis petals.

A mass of Aquilega and Rosa Rugosa.

The Ajuga loves this position and is in desperate need of splitting once it has stopped flowering.

The Aquilega from the opposite end of the garden.

'WillI get my paws wet Finn?'

The clematis is the star of the garden at the moment.

These last two pics were taken from my window, as you can see my garden is not really very big at all.

Friday, April 8, 2011

With a little help from my friends

My push bike had a puncture, Finn thought he'd like to help mend it. No Finn that's the wrong wheel!

That's right, it's the back one that needs fixing.

Smudge isn't impressed, never mind the ball Finn, get on with the job!

Job done we can get on with planting a weeping willow tree my friend gave me when she moved, now were shall we put it? The problem is I have a small garden which already has an Ash tree and a cherry tree in the front and a quite large willow in the back, the only suitable place in the back would shade my sitting place (and we can't have that!), so after careful deliberation Finn decided it should go by the side of the front path just were the fork is, I hope it really is a dwarf tree!

Another job finished, Finn really has been a big help today! He looks very pleased with himself doesn't he?

And just to finish up, these are the only two remaining Fritillaries, there used to be quite a few scattered round the lawn.