Wednesday, 29 August 2012


There are parts of my garden that I have really struggled to get things to grow in. I have planted things that have looked staggeringly beautiful in the flowering season, only for them to die or simply disappear the following year.

This year has been, by far, the most successful in my gardening adventures. However, in a few spots I am gifted with some things that, without the tiniest bit of intervention from me, or even without having spent a single penny, have not only survived but thrived.

When travelling on the London Overground into town, I am always amazed by the tenacity of buddleia growing out of cracks in walls twenty feet up in a railway siding or out of a gutter.  This buddleia is literally growing out of the tiniest cracks in the side of this old concrete path that leads down to the grass. Each year after it has flowered, I hack it down to ground level again but year on year, it comes back. I like to leave it despite its non-invitation as I like to encourage butterflies and bees into the garden. This year I have also discovered that it makes a great cut flower too.

A little further down the path, again growing out of a small crack, is this clematis. I'm not sure how clematis propagate themselves, but I have another freebie which I am going to train up to the top of the balustrade around the deck. You can also see that alchemilla mollis is happily self-seeding along the cracks too.

Down at the bottom of the garden, the brambles scramble over the top of my fence providing me with blackberries come late summer. I've been picking them every few days and my freezer is getting a nice supply which will tide me over the coming months as a compote for my porridge.

Do you have gifts from Mother Nature?

Sunday, 26 August 2012


A while back, I bought a collection of scented pelegoniums. Celia had tweeted about them and I couldn't resist. I was giddy on the success of the cuttings I had taken last year on my cutting garden course.

From three tiny bits of well established plants, I now have three fabulously healthy plants. One is in my conservatory and has loved the year-round warmth. It flowered in about March and I'm loving the scent that gets released whenever you brush past it. The ones in the garden have only been flowering the last couple of months.

The flowers are just delightful. The leaves smell of Turkish Delight. Seriously!

I digress. My plug plants duly arrived and I potted them on as instructed, tucking them in a sheltered spot so they could begin their journey into lovely healthy plants. Then I went away on holiday and that was the week when Britain got its summer and the mercury whizzed towards the 30° marker on the thermometer. Unfortunately, my sheltered spot went unnoticed by my Mum who was doing my watering and on my return my poor tiny plants looked as though they had reached the point of no return. I could have cried. First aid measures had to be acted upon so I decided to bring them all in to the conservatory and see if the constant warmth could do it's magic. I lost 3 out of the original 12.

Fast forward on four weeks and my careful nurturing and words of encouragement seem to be working. I have some delicate flowers on a couple…

…and lots of tiny new leaves on all but one of my charges.

You can read about Celia's success here and her quirky display, which I think looks fabulous and would love to have outside my back door.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Six weeks, six things...

  • Oof! Time slipped away for a while there, as is its wont.  I went on holiday and loved having the Mediterranean outside my back door.

We wore our TeamGB bracelets with pride, although I have to confess that I was one of the few who wasn't glued to the box throughout the two weeks. I loved the Opening Ceremony, was slightly disappointed with the Closing Ceremony and got way too excited over the 10m platform diving events. I blame my sister. My niece and nephews are the diving stars in the family and it all got a bit contagious!

  • My garden has been my obsession this summer and I am reaping the rewards of the many hours of pottering around out there. I think these mosaics give some idea of what's been happening. The colour is just glorious.

I've been unlucky again with Mr Fox but have just bought another small flock of hens. I cannot bear the garden without them; it just seems empty. They aren't quite used to me yet and tend to scarper as soon as approach but I spend a little time each day having a chat (as you do) and I know they will soon settle in. I'm thrilled to have finally got some that will (hopefully) lay me some blue eggs.

  • My cutting patch is a complete success and I have had my own cut flowers around the house for over 3 months now. At one point, I counted 14 jars, jugs and vases in the house. Admittedly, some only had one stem in, but still! It feels very indulgent to have fresh flowers in my bedroom! I found this pretty coloured vase in the charity shop in my town centre this week - I love the way it highlights the pink flowers.

  • I am looking forward to a small harvest of tomatoes again this year. Other than some herbs, they are the only edible crop I have grown. Apart from some golden cherry tomatoes which are in a hanging basket, the rest are in the greenhouse and are in desperate need of some sun to ripen them up. This is a black cherry variety.

  • I have been lucky enough to have had a couple of days out over the summer too. A fruit-picking trip resulted in some yummy blackcurrant jam being made, a disaster in the red currant jelly area and a couple of bags of red and white currants in the freezer for later.

  • Finally, the bad news. I have a prolapsed cervical disc and have been in agony for over four weeks now. I can't sew or knit or, well, do anything much really. Even the jam-making was tricky! For the last couple of days, I've been trying to get this post written as well as tidying up my blog (what do you think? better? worse?) but sitting at the computer isn't the best position and it makes my shoulders scream after a little while so I have to wander off and come back to it. I'm finding the hammock a comfortable place to be, so life is tolerable!

I am on a scary amount of pain-killers and am anxiously waiting to see my consultant again next Wednesday to decide on a plan of treatment. In the meantime, No2 has become proficient with the hoover and I am just taking it slowly. The hammock is calling ...