End of Month View: August 2014

I have realised that I missed out the End of Month View for July, but the garden was looking particularly dry and probably not very photogenic which is perhaps why it didn’t get published.

In contrast to what has been a really good summer, August saw an autumnal dip in temperatures and a lot of rain.   I went into hospital on the 13 August for a further operation and was unable to mow the lawn before I went in because of the rain.   Since then I have not been able to give the garden the much needed attention it now requires and it is looking neglected.   The grass is far too long, ankle deep in some places, and due to stomach surgery I can’t, as yet, use the mower so it will continue to grow until next weekend when a friend has kindly offered to mow the lawn for me.

Some of the taller plants, such as the cosmos badly need staking as they have flopped over the smaller plants.  I am really pleased with this particular variety of Cosmos, called Sea Shells, which I grew from seed.  Some were pink, but the white ones seems to have taken over.

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I have been very selective with my photos this month to give the impression that the garden is still full of flowers, which strictly speaking is not really the case.   There is an abundance of greenery and a few patches of colour.  The Echinacea and Rudbekia have been devoured by the slugs and snails and are, sadly, no longer to be seen, so no wonderful late summer orange shades.

Tucked away just behind the Cosmos I found a very pretty white Scabious which I grew from seed last year and survived the winter.

DSC_0059 (1024x683)There are a few plants I grew from seed this year; one is a Cleome.  I have two plants which survived the ravages of the snails and has flowered continuously for the last few months, with more flowers to come.

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Another is a Verbena which, although it has struggled, has added some bright colour on the border edge.  Unlike its relative Bonariensis this variety only grows to about 8″ and comes in a number of colours ranging from deep purple through to pink.

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I was given a Gaura last year which I thought I had lost but I found it growing quite happily in the south facing border.   It must have flowered well in the last month and not being in the garden I missed it, There are only a few flowers left on it but I was pleased to see it.  I am inclined to dig it up before it gets cold, and nurture it in the greenhouse over the winter to give it the chance to establish in size before putting it out in the garden next year.

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The roses are in their second flush and looking good with the white Japanese Anemones behind them.


It has been a fabulous year for raspberries, and I am not sure if it is just the good weather or if it was partially down to the good helping of  fish blood and bone that I gave them in the spring.   They have fruited since July, and are the size of strawberries and incredibly sweet.  I have given them away to neighbours, have bags of them in the freezer and my grandchildren helped themselves to large portions last weekend.   Still they continue to produce fruit.

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The ‘Moneymaker’ tomatoes are very slow to ripen.  I have had a good number of them, along with the slugs, but there is a branch with tomatoes the size of small apples that seem loathe to turn red.  I have removed most of the leaves now with the hope that they will concentrate on what they are supposed to do.

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The one plant I love to see turn pink at this time of the year is the Sedum.  Slowly their flower heads are changing to a rose colour and will, eventually, become turn to a lovely dark burgundy shade during the winter.

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Finally, the side patio.   Here it has become a bit of a jungle and everything is very overgrown.  With the promise of good weather this coming week I will have to take the secateurs to several of the plants, including the passion flower and the Clematis “Jouiniana Praecox,” which is looking good but taken over most of the patio wall between me and my neighbour.

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As always a big thank you to Helen from The Patient Gardener for hosting this monthly meme.  Visit her blog to see what is happening in her lovely and interesting garden as well as then hopping across to other gardens who have contributed to this month’s End of Month View.

Book Review: Sarah Raven’s Cutting Flower Journal

Frances Lincoln Limited, publishers, approached me recently to review Sarah Raven’s latest book Sarah Raven’s Cutting Garden Journal, I was eager to see what it would be like and was pleased when it arrived.  The book is due to be published on 4 September 2014 so it is always a privilege to have a book before it is available.

Sarah Raven's Journal lr

Actually, this is not really a ‘new’ book, but a month-by-month journal format of Sarah’s first book “The Cutting Garden” which was originally published in 1996 and republished in June 2013.   Most of the text and the photographs are from the original book, however as I don’t own a copy of “The Cutting Garden” this didn’t bother me.  It does mean that I am not in the position to compare the two books, which is probably just as it should be.

There are 2-4 jotting pages for personal notes spread through each monthly section which, if you don’t have any objection to writing in a book, I can see could be quite useful.  Personally, I would find this difficult having been brought up when a child that you do not write in books!

Each month contains relevant monthly advice on planting, sowing, cultivation, cutting and creating arrangements, together with:

A monthly project – July has 3 pages dedicated to creating flower arrangements using yellow and red sunflowers, dahlias and dill.

Jobs for the month –  September  has advice on bulb care and planting along with with collecting and planting seeds and seedlings.

Flowers of the Month - December has information on Viburnum, Cornus and Hamamelis.

I particularly liked the size of this book, it is smaller than the original measuring 210 mm x 150 mm (as opposed to 255 mm x 255 mm) but is slightly thicker with 192 pages (168 pages in the original book).  It is a comfortable size to hold and read, sometimes I find the larger coffee table type book, whilst ok to browse, difficult to look through when looking for information.

Sarah Raven’s Cutting Garden Journal would make a great gift, especially if you are starting to collect Christmas presents!

As I said earlier, the publishing date is 4 September 2014 but you can pre-order now and the lovely people at Frances Lincoln are offering a discount to all my readers.

To order Sarah Raven’s Cutting Garden Journal at the discounted price of £11.99 including p&p* (RRP: £14.99), telephone 01903 828503 or email mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk and quote the offer code APG200. 

*UK ONLY – Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

Look out for the next book review: “Of Cabbages and Kings – The History of Allotments” by Caroline Foley.

How We Dug for Victory: Notcutts Garden Centres

Recently, I was sent an “infographic” by the marketing guys for Notcutts Garden Centres and was asked if I would like to use it on my blog.   First of all I wanted to find out exactly what an infographic is.    Thank goodness for Google!   Infographic  is a graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.

I rather liked this infographic, designed by Kate Southgate from Crafted,  so decided to share it with  you, check out the recipes!

Victory Gardens

Early in WW1  Parliament passed a law that any untaxed land not being used f0r the production of food could be taken over by authorities and parcelled out as allotments.  In 1917, 2.5 million acres of land was taken over for farming and by 1918 there were around 1,500,000 allotment plots.  The Land Army started in 1915.  Towards the end of 1917 there were over 250,000 – 260,000 women working as farm labourers, with 20,000 in the land army itself.  The government wanted women to get more involved in the production of food and do their part to support the war effort.  This was the beginning of the Women’s Land Army.

Dig for Victory

Within one month of the outbreak of WW2, the “Dig for Victory” campaign was launched.  Gardens were transformed into mini-allotments.   By 1943 millions of tons of vegetables were being grown in gardens and allotments.  The government started the Women’s Land Army in June 1939.  The majority of the Land Girls already lived in the countryside but more than a third came from London and the industrial cities of the north of England.  In the Second World War, The Ministry of Agriculture and Fish asked for volunteers and was supplemented by conscription, so that by 1944 it had over 80,000 members.  The Women’s Land Army lasted until its official disbandment on 21 October 1949.

Victory Garden Infographic

My World War One Stories

The remembrance of World War 1 (1914-1918) has featured a lot in the last few months, not only in TV programs but social network media, blogs and a large variety of dedicated WW1 websites such as www.Forces-war-records.co.uk and www.nationalarchives.gov.uk.  It has caused me to think about my relatives who fought in that war, so I have revisited the family trees I have been compiling on Ancestry.

My Grand Uncle : William Aloysius Taylor (1877-1915)

On my mother’s maternal side are the Taylor’s, a very large family from Liverpool, so this is where I started.

William Aloysius Taylor was born in 1877 to Thomas (Tom) Taylor and his second wife, Anne Gilbertson.  Tom had 3 wives, 2 predeceased him, and a total of 15 children – a good Catholic family!

William married Mary Gertrude Fox in 1910 and from the information I have I gathered they had at least two children, the last of which, Jane, was born in 1914.  It must have been hard for William and Mary at that time with a newborn, when he joined the 5th Battalion Prince of Wales Volunteer (South Lancashire) Regiment and went off to France.  I’m not an expert but assume that he was not conscripted as he joined a volunteer regiment as an officer.

On 11 May 1915 William died in hospital in Boulogne following injuries received at Ypres. His grave, which I found on the War Graves Commission website, is in the Eastern Cemetery Boulogne and the war graves index reads:

Taylor, William Aloysius (Capt) died 11 May 1915 from wounds received at Ypres on 8 May 1915


The Second Battle of Ypres

The Germans released a batch of chlorine gas on 24 April, directed against Canadian troops situated north-east of Ypres. They gained ground against the unprotected Canadian troops, and the fighting was fierce.  The German infantry sustained heavy losses from the defending Canadians, who were relieved by arriving British troops who arrived on 3 May.

Fighting renewed around Ypres on 8 May, the same day William received his wounds, and continued until 13 May.  Poor William, it would appear that he was only in France for 5 days before being wounded.

Thomas had two grandsons, Cyril Adderley Taylor and Oswald Acton Taylor from his son, James William Adderley, whose mother was Tom’s first wife. They were both officers in the Liverpool Regiment and they were lucky enough to survive.

My grandfather Claude Charles Riches (1900-1981)

I know quite a lot about my paternal grandfather Claude Charles Riches because my Dad is still alive and has photos of him during WW1.   Grandpa was born in 1900 but lied about his age when he joined up.  On 31 July 1914 he was 14 and the call to enlist was in August 1914, so I am not sure if he joined up then or a year later, but he must have told them he was 19, the legal age for signing up.   There were approximately 250,000 underage boys who lied about their ages.  The criteria was that they should be at least 5ft 3ins with a minimum chest measurement of 34 inches.  As recruitment officers were paid 2s/6d (about £6 in today’s money) and they often turned a blind eye to these young lads.


Grandpa joined the 5th Battalion London Rifle Brigade and went on a signallers course.  It was only because he did so exceptionally well on this course and they found out his age (although it didn’t stop them from sending him home) that it was decided not to send him to France.  Had he gone, it could be that we would not be here to tell this story.

My father gave me another photo of Grandpa with 1916 written on the back, he was 16, and you can see the crossed signallers flags on his left sleeve.  I don’t think he looks anything like 19 do you?


There is also a Leave on Duty ration book, dated 20/12/18 to 31/12/18 and I guess this meant he went home for Christmas.  The ration book has unused ration stamps, one for lard – LARD!! – and one for tea.

Grandpa survived both the First World War and Second World War – but that is another story.

Do you have any WW1 family stories?  Please share them here.

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