A Walk to the Seaside: Part II – Summer

In March I posted “A Last Winter Walk to the Seaside” inspired by A Tidewater Gardener.   We are officially in Summer, heralded in by the Summer Solstice on 21 June, so it is now time for my first ‘Summer walk’ down the sea to capture the changes in 3 months.

For a few days now the weatherman has been forecasting a heat wave today, Sunday 26 June, with temperatures up to 30°C.    I was a little dubious to begin with when opening the curtains because it looked grey and drizzling outside, however, within a couple of hours the sun came out and it was certainly quite warm by 11:30 am.  Just right for a walk to the beach.

My first stop was Grand Avenue, which certainly lives up to its name.  It is a wide, tree-lined road which goes straight down to the seafront.  In the 19th Century, it was known as “Ladies Mile” and apparently Victorian ladies used to race with pony and traps down this road.

Living by the sea for so long, you get wise to the fact you can never guarantee that the weather inland is what you get by the sea.  As I reached the end of the road, the sun had gone, and there was a sea fret.  I love that word…”fret”.  I heard it several years ago and it is a wet mist that rolls inland from the sea.  It often hangs around all day, and I feel sorry for those who have packed up their picnics and deck chairs to drive to the beach for the day, only to discover the blue sky has gone and you can’t see the sea.  It doesn’t stop people though, what a resilient lot we are.

The sky was interesting with the fret/mist blending into the beautiful blue sky.  I tried to capture it in my camera but not to sure if you can see it properly.  What you can see in the photo below is, what I think, a lovely Thirties style house which has recently been renovated.  I can imagine sitting with a gin and tonic on the roof terrace taking in the wonderful seaviews.

We are now in Marine Gardens, with a pitch and putt at the front of the gardens and a bowling green at the back.

Note to self:  I love Penstemons, why do I never grow them in my garden?  I must get some.

Walking through the gardens, I saw a magnificent Hydrangea with flowers as large as your head.  It looked as though it couldn’t make up its mind whether to be blue or pink and in doing so, ended up a very delicate shade of white.

I said in my Winter Walk post that I like this park because some thought has been given to the planting, it is not full of what I call Council issue flowers.  They have surprised me though because in one section of the garden, which has a water feature, they have planted a complete bed of Cordyline and nothing else.  I have to be honest and say I don’t like it.

As I left Marine Gardens, I took a look at the Olive trees and noticed little shoots coming out of the trunks.  Someone had commented on the earlier post how badly coppiced the trees were. They seem to have filled out well, and the gnarled trunks are great.  I will be interested to see what they do with the shoots – remove them I suspect.

My last port of call was the Southern Water Drought Garden.    It was full of drought resistance plants and flowers.  If you click on the link there is a very informative website which gives lots of information of different types of plants for drought conditions.

Again, I have been unable to present you with lovely photographs of blue sea.  We do have sunny seaside days in Worthing, it is just unfortunate that on my walk in March we had a fog and a fret in June.

Thank you for joining me in my Summer walk to the seafront, and I will give you sunny blue seaside photos shortly, promise.


Important: Change of blog address

I have changed my blog address from to  Hopefully WordPress will redirect all traffic to the new address.  I don’t want anyone to miss new posts so would suggest if you have bookmarked my Blog or access it through a Reader, that you update the URL address.   Thank you everyone for continue to follow my posts, it makes it all worthwhile. 🙂


From Plot to Pot with a Little Bit of Blight In Between

This is the first year I have grown my own potatoes.  I bought seed potatoes, choosing Duke of York Earlies and cared for them whilst they chitted in egg boxes on the windowsill in my spare room.

When the eyes were a couple of centimetres, I planted them in a potato bag.    I even covered the sack with a wicker cloche to prevent animal damage, thinking a bag of soil could be great attraction to cats.  As the foliage grew, I added more compost and another few chitted potatoes until the bag was full.

Pride comes before a fall.  The wonderful looking growth, was lush and full of promise, until last week.

One evening, I noticed little freckles on some of the leaves.  Initially I didn’t take much notice, not having grown potatoes before, it didn’t occur to me that it was a warning sign of a big problem looming.

Almost overnight, all the leaves developed brown freckles and the horror that it could be potato blight hit me.  I Goggled “blight” and took a photo which I posted on Twitter.  Sure enough, slowly the tweets arrived “Looks like you have potato blight”.   Garden Tweeters are great, not only was I given lots of advice, I also learned that the name for vegetable foliage was haulm.

Potato Blight is caused by a fungus Phytophthora infestans.  It spreads through the air and develops when the weather conditions are warm and humid and can happen overnight.  We have had warm dry weather and last week the rain we have been desperately in need of arrived, creating the ideal condition for blight infection to occur.  It is what caused the terrible famine in Ireland between 1845 and 1849 known as The Irish Potato Famine or The Great Hunger.  These days, as a gauge to watch out for blight, potato growers use what is called Smith Periods which are defined as 2 consecutive days with temperatures of at least 10°C and 11 hours of relative humidity of 90% per day.  There is a website called “Fight against Blight 2011” where the Potato Council give regular blight alerts and advice on how to prevent it, as well as how to deal with it if you are unlucky enough to get it.

I could have used chemical treatments, such as Bordeaux Mixture, but I decided to cut away all the haulm and dispose of it.   If I left the leaves they would have turned brown and the spores would have washed down to the tubers causing dark spots on the skin and reddish-brown stains on the potatoes.  I was also advised to ensure that none of the foliage was put the compost heap, with burning being the best way of disposal.

There is a lot of information on the internet and most of it says that once the foliage is removed, you can leave the crop for at least two weeks to let the blight spores on the surface die.  I decided to dig out what was there and not run the risk of losing all the potatoes.  To be honest, there was also a tinge of excitement, at last, I had the opportunity to take a look at what was in the sack…

…REAL POTATOES, just like the ones you buy from the greengrocer – I had grown potatoes!  “So what“, some might say, “I grow potatoes every year, no big deal” but this was my first time and I was disappointed I had been subjected to blight, so to still have a crop at the end of the day was something I felt proud of.

The next day, I had some for supper, boiled with a little bit of mint from the garden and they were delicious.

It may not be a bumper harvest, but hopefully there will still be some left in the potato bag to dig out in another couple of weeks.

I wish you all a blight free summer.

Garden blogging

Raindrops on Roses, but not the post I really wanted to write

I have had a really happy, busy, day – despite the rain.

Two weeks tomorrow, Daughter #2 is getting married.  Although there is just under 2 years difference in age between my girls, there has been 10 years between the weddings.   The wedding day for Daughter #1 was a marvellous day and she looked beautiful and glowing.  The reception was held in Bristol Zoo and had the zoo to ourselves between the reception and the evening party, which went down very well with the guests.

Daughter #2 and her fiance, have planned the day themselves and it’s been a great honor to have been involved along the way to bounce ideas off.  It is very much their wedding, planned with fun in mind, and in keeping with the great sociable couple they are.  It will be a wonderful happy Wedding Day by the Seaside.

Today, I went with her for the final fitting of her wedding dress – a creation in silk!  I am bursting to tell you all about our day, but it would also mean spilling the beans and spoiling the surprise.   I will have to control myself until after The Day, then I can tell all.  I can say that I have been taught how to fit her dress properly.   Now that is some responsibility, isn’t it?!

So, with the urge to write something and in view of the deluge of rain we have had today, I thought I would write a blog post about raindrops on the roses.

After wishing so long for rain in the unseasonably dry last few months, West Sussex is now in receipt of the rain we have been missing out on, but why does it all have to come down in one day?  It is coming down in stair rods and has done all day.  So much so that my water butt is overflowing, and flooding the patio.  I have had to disconnect the pipe into the butt from the downpipe.  At this point some of you will realise that when the connection was put in, it was not done correctly, because if it was, once the butt was full the rain would just continue down the pipe.

What is the connection between the rain and roses?  I am still very much a newbie when it comes to taking macro photographs and really want to learn how to take a photo of raindrops with a reflection on them.  I have seen other photos and they always look so stunning.   Practice makes perfect, so with the rain pouring off the hem of my waterproof and having to keep shaking the drops off my camera, I snapped away.   I am not happy with the end product but its a start and hopefully in the future, I will publish the elusive raindrop photo.  In the meantime, you get the picture though… raindrops on roses!