EOMV, Garden blogging, Garden Meme

End of Month View – June 2018

I am a complete allotment newbie, so I am learning on the job with the help,of reading other allotment blogs.  If you are new to my blog (hello and welcome!) I am ‘caretaking’ a half plot allotment for an elderly lady who can no longer manage it herself but she is loathe to relinquish it.  She is happy for others to look after it, she pays the allotment fee and it’s mine to do what I wish.  I am on the waiting list so will only manage it until I have my own.  It was terribly neglected and since April we have had almost no rain so the ground is rock hard and it’s been very difficult to get it looking the smallest bit cared for.

The plot at the end of April (when I took it on)

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The plot as it looks today (1 July 2018)

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I have decided to work a few beds and keep the rest tidy.  I’m loathe to spend lots of effort only to have to walk away in March, which is when I believe I’ll have a plot, the waiting list is very short and they have recently released 10 half plots so I’m almost at the top of the list.

The pumpkin patch 

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The plot consists of a few little square beds and I have used one at the back for some pumpkin plants I was given by a neighbour allotmenteer.  They were initially quite spindly but had plumped up a bit after a few weeks and we’re ready to plant.  They now have flower buds so fingers crossed I will have at least one pumpkin for Halloween.  I have left all the dead grass hoping it might work as a mulch.

Flower patch bed

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Not having a garden anymore (😢😢) my main plan is to grow flowers on the allotment.  As I’ve already said I’m not going to invest anything this year, but did buy  a few summer bulbs.  All the gladioli are coming up, which I am delighted to see and should be a bright orange/red flower.  The lilies have struggled and I’m not sure why, but there is still hope they will be late flowering.  When moving the dahlias into my daughter’s garden I inadvertently broke off a shoot, which I put in a small pot and am happy to say within a couple of months it is looking good so now lives in the allotment flower bed.   I think you always have to have sunflowers on an allotment and I raised four plants from seed, planted them when about a foot high.  The snails had two of them before I had to breathe.  The other two I protected with a thick bed of slug wool, which I also put around the dahlia.

The vegetable patch bed

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I had to think carefully what vegetables I could grow in one bed and came up with sweetcorn, sugar snap peas, pak choi and  mangetout peas.  The sweetcorn is coming on great guns loving the sunshine.  I have a few flowers on the mangetout but something has nibbled the tops off the sugar snap.  I’ve strategically placed a few bird deflectors so hope they may get a little protection now.

Odds and ends

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Do you sometimes buy seed packets without any idea as to where you are going to plant them?  I did this with a packet of Thompson & Morgan climbers.   Having started them off in seed trays, they are now happily growing at the back of the vegetable bed.  From left to right they are Morning Glory ‘Grandpa Otts’  Cardinal Climber and Spanish Flag which has a lovely red flower and is great for cutting, it should really be in the flower patch.

And finally…what is this white flower?

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As time goes by it is clearer to see the plan of the plot and where various beds and paths are.  At the front of the plot there is a triangle space which I am keeping tidy with strimmer.  I’m not sure what grew in there but there is the odd verbena bonariensis and a shrub with the most beautiful white flowers.  I don’t recognise it and neither does my PlantSnap app.  It has very woody stems and initially before they flowered I thought it might be a chrysanthemum.   Do you know what it is?

UPDATE:  I’ve been informed it is Achellia ‘white pearl’.

As always, a big thank you to Helen at The Patient Gardener who hosts this monthly meme.  Please pay her a visit and take a look at her wonderful garden.

EOMV, Garden blogging

End of Month View – May 2018

They say better late than never! No longer the owner of a garden I was feeling a little melancholy, to say the least, when reading the links to the various blog posts for the End of Month View. Whilst looking at the photos of other gardeners flowers and plants I realised there is no reason why I can’t still join in even though I no longer have a garden.

I left my lovely garden in Worthing at the end of April, moved to Emsworth and now only have a patio, however I do have an overgrown bindweed choked allotment that I offered to look after whilst waiting for my own to come up.

It is only half a plot, owned by an elderly lady who is loathe to relinquish it (naughty!) and advertised for someone to look after it. Whilst not ideal, it is something to do until either I am offered another plot or I can persuade the lady to pass it on to me, which can be done apparently if we send joint letters to the council. It is so overgrown, but has lots of wonderful fruit bushes. I am making myself work on one area at a time and not spend any money!

The other gardening project I am involved with, (again not mine!) is helping my daughter and son in law renovate their large overgrown garden. I have written several blog posts on our progress titled Restoring a Hampshire Garden. They are both still learning and I have given them an idea of what to plant and in what positions. Also I brought a lot of plants from my old garden for transplanting into theirs. There were a number of precious plants with memories that I was not going to leave behind. Last week we planted the grasses, including a rather beautiful Pennisetum ‘Karley rose’, Penstemon ‘Husker Red’, Dahlia ‘Preference’ and a bright pink echinacea.

As for my own personal gardening, I am getting into container gardening in a big way! A couple of years ago I completed an online course for container gardening with Learning With Experts, and my tutor was the inspirational Harriet Rycroft. With extra words of advice from Harriet plus the likes via Instagram I have been busy planting my own container garden just outside my patio doors.

The patio faces south, and is bathed in sunshine from early morning to late afternoon. There are a lot of trees around and I have had an issue with squirrels digging up the pots. One morning I came out to find all my freesia bulbs missing. Magpies and pigeons are also a nuisance.

Turning to good old Google, I read that chilli flakes and especially Birds Eye chillies were an excellent deterrent. I added gravel around the base of all plants and gave them a liberal sprinkling of chillies and so far, fingers crossed, the squirrels have kept a wide birth.

Talking about trees, there is a fabulous Monterey Cyprus opposite the entrance drive which has a tree preservation order. It does block out the sun for a couple of hours mid day, but that’s no great loss, a little shade can be a good thing.

There you go, that is my End of Month View, and although I no longer have my own garden I am keeping very busy. It is very hot working on the allotment during the day so I am trying to go early evening and soon hope to be able to post some photos of it’s progress, but it’s a bit daunting and sometimes soul destroying. The bind weed grows overnight, apart from pulling it up daily I can’t really do anything constructive until the autumn and the slugs have eaten all my sunflowers – but that’s gardening for you!

EOMV, Garden blogging

End of Month View – March 2017

Gosh it’s been warm here on the south coast for the last week and really brought everything on.   I checked back a couple of years and my End of Month View March 2015 blog post shows the garden is more advanced this year. 


Compared to most gardens, my garden would be described as ‘tiny’.  I have more by accident than design managed to move away from a square garden that can be seen in total from just one view.   It means that wherever you stand you get a different view, which gives the impression of a larger garden when photographs are taken.  


I removed the raised bed a few months ago and enlarged the bed to sweep around the left side of the garden.  The new bed is full of spring bulbs with the intention to turn it into a cutting garden during summers months.  I try to garden on a budget and can regularly be seen in Wilko browsing the garden section.   Their bulbs might be cheap and often disappointing but I bought 8 dahlia tubers at a £1 each and so far 6 of them have sprouted.   I did buy a packet of 2 Echinacia ‘white swan’ and sadly there was only one very limp plant in the dry dust they pack them in and I’m not sure if anything will come of it, however at £2 I can afford some no shows.

I have a plastic greenhouse, which really is nothing more than a cold frame, but it is full at the moment with sweet peas,  Cosmos, rudbeckia and sweet william.  I ordered cleome, aster, calendula and scabiosa seeds from the lovely Benjamin (and Flash of course!) at Higgledy Garden and when I can move some things out of the greenhouse, I will sow ready for a summer showing.   I ran out of copper tape and read that copper coins work just as well, it will be interesting to see if they work, and certainly will be one way to empty the coppers jug.  By the way, the slug pellets you can see on the bottom shelf are organic and only used as a last resort. 


The north side of the garden has a bed which in the winter is boggy, and in the summer under the shadow of the stone wall gets very little sunshine, so I have to be careful what I grow here.   The pink Astilbe loves it as you can see, along with Alchemilla Mollis.  Recently I put a lot of Levington Organic Manure on this bed to improve and feed it, however, it has been an attraction to the local cats, who have managed to knock off a lot of the Euphorbia ‘Fireglow’ tips and in order to protect the rest of it I have placed a bit of plastic, but I don’t think the Euphorbia going to be as good this year. 

A few months ago I bought a small Tree Peony and after deliberation and advice from gardening followers on Instagram and Twitter as to whether to plant it in a container or in a flower bed, decided on the latter and it seems to have settled into its new home. 

There is a very small corner at the end of the garden which I have left alone – I call it my ‘wild section’, the primroses love it.  A job to go on the ‘to-do-list’ is to clear the ever invasive ivy before it gets a real foothold.  

It is quite exciting to see the number of buds on the peony this year, the first time since I planted it many years ago.  Previous years it’s only produced one or two flowers. 

A couple of years ago I planted a Clematis ‘Josephine’  to wrap its self around the Sambus Nigra (Elder).  I love this because the flowers are a good combination of colour with the new shoots of the Elder.

In 2015 I over pruned the Montana ‘Elizabeth’ and it hardly flowered in 2016 so I left it alone last year and look at it now! In a week or two it will be a picture of pink, fragrant flowers.

The photos above are a part of the garden I often ignore and don’t write about because it is not interesting and tends to be a dump area.  This year it is going to receive most of my attention.   The bed by the house wall, has had ever spreading raspberry bushes.  At the end of autumn 2016, I cut the raspberries right down to the ground and planted lots of spring bulbs which has given it lovely colour.  There is a small gravel patio in front of the shed, and a rather too large patio set donated to me by my youngest daughter.  There is a small path leading around from the side of the house across the front of the gravel area.  At the moment it is full of containers because it is the sunniest part of the garden.   My first job to improve this part of the garden is to dispose of the patio set, opening up the area which feels cluttered.  


The Day Lillies and Agapanthus are going to look really good this year and are filling up the left hand sunny corner.    The garden is still full of bits of chicken wire to protect young plants from animals who have complete disregard for the hard working gardener.   


My final photo is of the lime green Euphorbia adding contrast to the yellow tulips and Alliums which, although you can’t see, has some flower shoots. 

Thank you Helen at Patient Gardener for hosting this invaluable monthly meme.  Please pay her blog a visit and take a look at her lovely interesting garden as well as those of other contributors. 

End of month view, Garden blogging

End of Month View – January 2017


Not one of the best days for taking photos of the garden, it’s dull and drizzling, but I got out there for this January 2017 End of Month View  ( EOMV).

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The garden is very wet and I have done very little in the garden save for filling in holes in the flower beds courtesy of foxes and cats. I have spoilt the aesthetic look of the garden with sticks and chicken wire to try to protect all the bulbs, but sometimes even these don’t thwart the wretched animals.

dsc_0126The flower bed above I recently extended following the removal earlier in the year of the raised bed.  I have filled it with daffodil and tulip bulbs and hope that they will produce an impressive display.  The idea is to grow more flowers in 2017. 

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Taking photographs of the garden is an important way of seeing things differently.  The photo above has shown that I need to reshape the border slightly, I think it looks a bit odd.  However, although it is a small garden, I think I have proved you can still have an interesting walk around the garden and see things from different perspectives, rather than stand at the top of the garden and view everything at once.

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Out of interest I thought I would add a photo of the garden taken in May 2004 – 13 years ago. There was a lot of lawn with straight borders.  The ivy is still on the Victorian stone walls but along with my neighbour we are beginning to eradicate it although it is a long job.

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There is a small bed to the left of the back patio which in the last 5 years had raspberry  bushes.  I am cutting out a lot of them, not only because they produce more raspberries than I can cope with they have taken over a flower bed in a great sunny position.  In the summer, after the strawberries finished, I moved them into this bed and they have taken to their new home.  I put a cage over them, again to protect them from being dug up.   This is another bed full of bulbs, covered with chicken wire.  It is my intention to have a small cutting patch here.

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Just to finish off the view of the back garden is a photo of the other border which faces north and has very little sun in the summer with none in the winter.

The side patio is full of spring bulbs filled pots with just a few green tips poking through.  Looking back they appear to be a little later than usual in past years and there is, disappointingly no sign of the Iris Reticulata.  Below is a photo of the very pretty iris from a post on 8 February 2015.  You can see from the photo how much further advanced the daffodils were then.

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The first week of February 2015 – Reticulata Iris
Finally a quick visit to the front garden.   Those of you who follow my blog may remember that the front garden belongs to the flat upstairs, although the tenants have never been gardeners so for the last 15 years I have been lucky to be its custodian.

Last year  (2016) was different because the tenant planted a tomato plant in the bed under my window, which is her prerogative, but it grew rampantly and unchecked so took over the bed and I was unable to plant any summer flowers, which was a shame.  I am wondering if she will do the same again in 2017, I expect she will because despite the dry west facing aspect, clay soil, never watering, or pinching out, she had an excellent crop of cherry tomatoes – very annoying!  At the moment, the Day Lillies are producing healthy shoots and the tete-a-tete narcissus are looking as though they have survived the tomato plant onslaught, although there are not as many as previous years.

Finally, I can’t complete a January End of Month View without showing the snowdrops in the front garden.   A strange thing has happened though.  I always hang bird feeders on the lilac tree, but this year the inevitable drop of seeds have produced grass!  This has choked some of the snowdrops and will give me another job to dig over this bed to remove the grass without disturbing the snowdrops.

The EOMV meme is hosted by Helen of The Patient Gardener.   Please pop over to her blog as many gardeners across the world contribute to this meme and it is really interesting to see how others are doing at this time of the year.

EOMV, Garden blogging, Photography

End Of Month View (EOMV) April 2016

Quite a few months have passed since I contributed to Helen’s Patient Gardener  end of month meme ‘End of Month View’ (EOMV).   This week we’ve been wrapping our gardens up in fleece and hot water bottles due to freezing temperatures and snow.  Can you believe it?!  My kitchen floor has been covered with seed trays in order to protect them from the below zero nights.  During the day in sheltered areas the sun is quite warm, so the poor plants must be wondering what on earth is going on.

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The sweet peas have been outside for several weeks and are ready to be planted.  This year I am growing Horizon Mixed and Old Fashioned Mixed.  I am never organized enough to sow them in the autumn so only sowed them a couple of months back, I am sure they will do just as well.

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Last week I planted the Charlotte potatoes and I am looking forward to having the first ones in about 12 weeks.  I am not sure how they will turn out this year, I bought seed potatoes from Wilko, they only cost £1.50 for 4.  I then read that you get a better crop buying from reputable garden centres and online plant companies rather than discount stores who purchase second class/substandard stock.  I shall report back after my first meal of Charlottes. img_0263

The right hand side of the garden is frequently in shade and over the winter became very boggy and the edges broke down.  I have put in wooden edging and sowed heavy duty grass seed, also from Wilko.  It is beginning to look a lot better, although the grass is a different colour to the rest of the lawn, hopefully it will sort itself out.  My next job is to give the whole lawn a good rake and scatter more lawn seed to thicken it up.

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For a few years now, I have had a small strawberry plant in quite the wrong place so a few weeks ago I split it, made four plants and put them in the same bed as the raspberries, which makes sense to have the fruit together.  The raspberries are spreading themselves everywhere, so I am expecting a bumper crop!   I quite fancy a blueberry bush so will take a look to see if I have room, but having said that there is always room in any garden if you put your mind to it!  The chicken wire is to stop the local cats digging up the plants whilst using the bed as a toilet – they have no regard do they?

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I am happy to see that the peony has a number of flower buds on it, this plant is always hit or miss and not terribly reliable.   It is a very pretty pink single peony that I have had for several years now, but a little temperamental.  It looks very pretty surrounded by forget me nots.

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Despite the unexpected cold snap, the Peiris ‘Forest Flame’ is looking splendid.  I also noticed some flower heads appearing on the climbing hydrangea.  The Choysia is also beginning to bloom.

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If you follow my blog regularly, and thank you if you do, you may recall I recently took a saw to the Sambucus (Elder)  reducing it to half its height.  I am happy to show you that it is full of new purple stems.  It won’t flower this year but at least it will be a bit tidier than previous years.  It’s amazing how much rough treatment a Sambus can take.

 

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I’ve been given a Sisrynchium striatum, which I am reliably informed I showed great interest in when wandering around a garden last summer – I don’t remember, but am delighted with it.  All I have to do now is find a suitable place and space for it, any advice is welcomed.

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I leave you with a photo of the side patio together with a photo of a few pots of tulips on the back patio.  I will be writing a separate post about my tulips, so I won’t spoil this for you.

Thank you Helen for hosting this meme.  Please hop over to The Patient Gardener blog and check out her lovely garden.  https://patientgardener.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/end-of-month-view-april-2016-hughs-border

EOMV, Garden blogging

End of Month View – September 2015

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What a stroke of luck I booked this week off work!  The weather has been glorious, although with a marked nip in the air at night, during the day it’s been warm and sunny.  I love September.  Some people groan “oh it’s climate change”, but I remember going to school in September dressed in a summer dress, pullover and blazer, by lunchtime we would be sitting in the sun on the school fields having discarded our pullovers and jumpers.  50 years ago no one used the expression climate change – it was just the norm.

I am writing this on the 2nd October, a few days late for the EOMV, and it’s still warm and sunny.  The only bugbear I have at this time of year is fighting my way through the spiders and the many webs they have managed to weave around the garden, trapping me at every turn.
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I do think that the plants are a little confused, and have been lulled into believing it’s still time to be flowering.  My Compassion Rose is still in bloom, and today I noticed a lot of greenfly.

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I am still cutting sweet peas, but I suspect this may be the last lot which is sad as I have had an excellent supply for my mum, who loves sweet peas.

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I also noticed that Penstemon ‘Sour Grapes’ , whilst looking a little leggy is producing new flowers.

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In the middle of the garden, Penstemon ‘Garnet’ and Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ are not ready to close down for autumn yet.

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I tried to get away from the pink theme in my garden this year but by default and not design it would seem that pink is still the predominant  colour, after green.  However, I am really proud of the Cosmos ‘Pied Piper’ grown from seed, as long as I keep remembering to deadhead them on a regular basis they are providing lots of colour in the bottom border.

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The side patio was becoming a bit of a jungle and in need of a serious tidy up.  It is now looking a little better and the garden wheelie bin is almost full. Here, again, the spiders lay their traps for me, stringing their webs from one side to the other, which makes it a bit like running the gauntlet when I go to the bins.  I now carry refuse bags in front of me, face high but still get caught sometimes.

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As I was photographing the garden this morning, I noticed that the Fatsia Japonica is throwing up their peculiar spikes of what I suppose could be called flowers.

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At this time of the year the hydrangeas slowly move into their autumn shades.  The Madame Emile Mouilliere is turning from a pure white to a pale green tinged with pink.

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Still on the side patio. I am not sure what happened but a few months ago half of the choysia died.  I lopped off all the dead parts and am happy to say that it has recovered and is healthy again.  It did me a favour as it was really rather large and it now a lot neater.

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Regular followers of my blog will know that I have been reviewing an online 4 week container gardening course run by MyGardenSchool.  It has made me take stock of the odd assortment of containers and plants that I have dotted around  and  I am slowly having a sort out and rethink.  Looking after pots of plants requires a lot more thought than I usually give them which is probably why they always look so neglected by the end of the summer.

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Moving on to the back garden again.  The north facing side of the garden will not see anymore sun now until next year.  It gets very damp and boggy, fortunately the hydrangea and astilbe live very happily in these conditions.

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On this trip around the garden, a quick visit to the front garden, which doesn’t often get a look in. The Cotoneaster is glowing red in the sunshine and always amazes me, it grows in the wall and I can’t think where it gets its goodness from.

image There is a large Skimmia in the front which is covered in red berries all year round. The leaves are looking pale and slightly yellow so I think it probably needs a bit of a feed.

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That almost ends my EOMV tour of the garden for the end of September, well two days into October! Before I go, let me share the Sedum which is looking magnificent, as usual, and the nasturtiums that always appear about this time of the year and brighten up a dark corner.
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Thank you Helen from Patient Gardener at http://www.patientgardener.wordpress.com for hosting the End of Month View. Please hop over to her blog and take a look at all the other EOMV’s from a whole load of other garden bloggers from around the world as well as the UK.