Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – September 2014

I haven’t contributed to Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (15th) for some time now. To be honest I had forgotten all about it until I saw a couple of blog posts for GBBD on my Reader list. So spurred into action it’s time I did one for September.

The battery on my camera needs recharging so I took my iPad out into the garden to take pics of the remaining flowers in the garden. I still haven’t quite got to grips with WordPress in the iPad but here goes!

It is very dry at the moment, we have not had any rain for well over a week and the temperature has risen again, following a chilly August. Most of what flowers are left are looking a bit raggy but there are still enough to pick to make pretty posies.

The side patio is looking particularly good, especially the Passion Flower which is covered in more blooms now than there have been all summer.

The Fuchsia has struggled but is holding its own and will continue to flower for a good few months. You may notice some of the leaves have yellowed and look like the black spot you get on roses.

Next to them in the side border are the Japanese Anemones, not as many as in past years because I pulled a lot up but still enough to make a good display.


The Choysia is flowering again!

I know this is supposed to be about blooms but the front garden is looking colourful with wonderful red berries on the Skimmia. This large shrub usually has white blossom during the summer but seems to have continued to produce berries instead of flowers, not sure why.


The Cotoneaster which grows on the wall between me and next door is covered in berries also.

Going into the back garden again, the Sedum is taking on beautiful rosy hues.

The Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ is on its second flush. I gave it a haircut some weeks ago which it seems to have benefitted from.

Behind the Salvia is the Penstemon.

I have a couple of yellow Dahlia plants that come up every year. I don’t dig up the tubers and they don’t seem to suffer from being left in the ground all winter.

The Cosmos continues to produce flowers although the stems have collapsed into the Dahlia bushes.

Tucked into the edge of the raised bed, it found some nasturtiums clambering through the Euphorbia. They come back every year but are looking slightly sorry for themselves this year.

Finally, although most of the flowers in the raised bed are finished, the Calendulas continue to flower, but looking at this photo I can see there is some serious deadheading to be done!

Thank you May Dreams Gardens for hosting this monthly meme.

Please hop over to her blog by clicking here and take a look at all the other September blooms.

Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!

Mopheads are Marvellous

I love this time of the year when the Mophead Hydrangea blooms start to change colour and are ready to be used as dried flowers.  I have several plants in the garden; a large pink one in the front garden…

DSC_0051 (1024x812)

…a smaller pink in the back and a beautiful white one in a pot on the patio.


I would like to have a blue variety, as a happy reminder of my youngest daughters wedding – she had them as table decorations and the bridesmaids bouquets.


Whilst the white hydrangea will always stay white, to obtain the blue they must have acidic soil.  Not possible in my garden, which is heavy clay and alkaline.   If you have neutral or alkaline soil and want blue flowers, hydrangeas will grow quite happily in containers with ericaceous compost and watered with rainwater.

Now we are on the cusp of autumn, the white hydrangea flowers are turning shades of pale green.


The pink hydrangeas are starting to take on their antique shades and are just asking to be dried for indoor displays.

DSC_0050 (1024x683)

If picked at the right time the blooms could last for up to a year.  It is getting the time right to cut them that is important, too soon they are still full of water and too late they will lose their colour and become a dull brown.   The end of August to early October is the best time.  Try and pick blooms without spots or marks on the petals – which in my garden is difficult.   Place long stems in about 10cms of water in a vase with a good space around each flowerhead.   Place away from sunlight and allow them to dry slowly as the water evaporates over 2 weeks, adding more water if necessary.  The whole point of drying them out in water is to prevent them from drying too quickly and losing colour.

DSC_0046 (1024x683)

I always keep  Mophead flowers on my shrubs throughout the Winter and then prune them in the Spring remembering that hydrangeas flower on old wood.

I am aware that they are not everyone’s favourite but I find they are a great all year round shrub and a beautiful plant for late Summer borders.

© Hurtlingtowards60 and Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond ©AarTeePhotography Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited

Of Cabbages and Kings The History of Allotments : Book Giveaway

Caroline Foley has published a number of books providing information and planting guides for the allotment gardener.   ‘Of Cabbages and Kings – the History of Allotments’  is her latest book, due to be published by Frances Lincoln on 4 September 2014.

This is a fascinating history book charting medieval Britain, Serfs and the roots of common land and growing our own food from 1066 to 1349 through to modern day allotments and the problems we have now with space and priorities of Local Government of allotments over the needs for housing and business.

Cabbages and Kings

This well researched book takes us through the Great Famine (1315-1317), The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, the Agricultural Revolution and the Swing Riots of 1830.  We are told about The Second Allotment Movement of the mid-nineteenth century and the chapter entitled ‘Digging for Victory 1939-1945 is of particular interest in this year of remembrance of World War One.

It is well laid out with clear subheadings and side headings in the margins for historical events, making it an easy book  for reference.   This book is made all the more interesting with historical cartoons, pictures and photographs as well as interesting facts.   Did you know in 1999 “The Land is Ours” activists laid a plaque on St Georges Hill in Surrey to commemorate the True Levellers who started to grow vegetables on that spot 350 years ago?

When you read ‘Of Cabbages and Kings – The History of Allotments‘ it strikes you how very important it is to fight to keep hold of the allotments we have.

Caroline Foley finishes her book by saying:

“… if a strip on the common had not been a matter of life and death for the medieval serf we would not be enjoying them [allotments] today…Remembering the struggle it took over centuries to win them makes them even more precious.”

To win a copy of this book please leave a comment together with your email address and I will pick a name out of the hat on Wednesday 10 September.  I am afraid this book give away is open to UK readers only.

To order Of Cabbages and Kings at the discounted price of £16.00 including p&p* (RRP: £20.00), telephone 01903 828503 or email and quote the offer code APG209.  
*UK ONLY – Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.


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.

Cosmos (1024x683)

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.

DSC_0061 (1024x683)

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.

DSC_0064 (1024x683)

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.

DSC_0065 (1024x683)

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.

DSC_0077 (966x1024)

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.

DSC_0078 (1024x683)

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.

DSC_0063 (1024x683)

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.

DSC_0083 (1024x683)

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.