Garden blogging, Garden visiting

Six on Saturday 15/09/2018 – Mottistone Gardens

In a bid to avoid repetition of previous Six on Saturday posts, I was delighted when I checked the participant guide that a six could include a garden visited. So here is my Six on Saturday following my coach excursion on Wednesday to the Isle of Wight. It was the only day that has rained for weeks! We visited Ventnor Botantic Garden and the colourful National Trust garden at Mottistone. Given the choice of the two gardens I am sharing six of my photos taken at Mottistone.

1. Monocot Border and Lower Garden

Following the garden plan, the first part of the garden you are guided to is the Monocot border and the Lower Garden. It is clearly quite sheltered and had a tranquil feel to it. The planting here consists of palms, banana trees, cannas and wonderful white and orange Ginger Lilies to name but a few.

2. The Steps up to the double border

I love Erigeron and the steps leading up to another part of the garden where covered with these delicate looking pink and white daisy-type flower. They flower from May to October and must be quite resilient growing out of cracks. Clearly a lot hardier than they look.

3. A blaze of colour

At the top of the steps, the orange just hits you with a sharp intake of breath. There were several varieties of orange dahlias, the information on the website tells us that the spiked orange dahlia is called ‘Ludwig Helfert’.

4. The double herbaceous border

The end of summer/early autumn planting was striking. There are lots of blues and purples with Michaelmas Daisies and Sedum which intermingled with bright yellows. I didn’t photograph them, but there were four very busy volunteers working hard in this part of the garden.

5. The allotment/kitchen garden

I always get excited to find a kitchen garden when visiting gardens. This one, on a west facing slope, was particularly interesting because it is being revamped. I had a lovely chat with the NT garden designer who took time out to show me the plans and explain what was going to go where. The cold frames in the middle will be replaced with a Mediterranean Garden, growing plants such as aubergines, and peppers. I will certainly look forward to seeing it when finished. The other interesting thing is that the compost area is in full view and not tucked away out of site, as they often are.

6. Border by the tearoom

Again, another border packed with autumn coloured planting including a beautiful Alstroemeria ‘Indian Summer’ . This border also had orange dahlias, enormous Nepeta which the bees were loving and at the front of the border are Gaillardia, which I think are Kobold Goblin. They really are that bright, no photo tweaking here.

Now please peer over the garden fence and take a look at everyone else’s Six on Saturday hosted every Saturday by The Propagator.

Garden blogging, Six on Saturday

Six on Saturday – 08/09/2018

Hello people, I’m back again!

Life took a bit of a dip recently after the death of my Dad and I lost interest in everything including blogging! I haven’t stepped foot on my allotment for 2 weeks and not sure what I’m going to find this afternoon when I make a much needed visit. However, yesterday I spent time in my daughter’s garden doing a spot of tidying up, they have missed their gardener (me!) so there is a lot to do.

1. Begonias

Whilst not to everyone’s taste this begonia trough is a riot of colour and you can’t help but think wow! Personally I was not a lover of begonias, the name always springs to mind visions of little pink flowers with burgundy leaves used in park gardens. These were small bedding plants given to my son in law by his father and I planted them in a trough on the patio, certainly not expecting the kaleidoscope outcome. They have survived the hot dry weather, being ignored, and have changed my view on begonias.

2. Morning Glory and an unknown clematis

Much to my daughter and SiL’s dismay, after pulling up the bindweed growing rapidly up the trellis on the garage wall, I planted Morning Glory. I think they were a little more than a bit dubious when I explained the difference and that ‘Grandpa Otts’ was a great colourful climber. Although we thought we had cleared the bed in the spring, I found a tiny clematis shoot, so without saying anything I left it to weave it’s way up the trellis. By some miracle it is the same colour as the Morning Glory, but I have no idea what it is called – anyone recognise it?

3. Dahlia ‘Preference’

A good friend wanted to buy me a ‘Cafe au Lait’ dahlia last year but as they were out of stock she ordered tubers to be delivered in the spring. The nursery sent two tubers of ‘Preference’ with a note to say Cafe au Lait was still not available so we’re sending the tubers closest in colour – which was not the case. It is aptly named as I do prefer this one, the blooms are smaller than ‘Cafe au Lait’ and it gives more colour. You can see from the above photo, it has been left to tumble through the flowerbed – this happens when the gardener doesn’t visit regularly and stake the plants 😄. I think they look lovely like this and might just let them do this next year rather than have them regimentally tied up.

4. Salvia ‘Love and Kisses’

I have introduced a number of salvias of different types into their garden. We have all fallen in love with ‘Love and Kisses’. I was a little concerned that it wasn’t going to get enough sun, this border is in shade in the morning and late afternoon, but clearly it was a good spot and it is thriving. Getting it through the winter is the next step – advice on this please?

5. Euphorbia ‘Summer Icicle’

How many packets of seeds free with gardening magazines do you actually use? I had a weird collection in the spring and amongst them was a packet of Euphorbia seeds. I was unaware you could not only grow Euphorbia from seeds, but that some of them were annuals. As an experiment I sowed them in little pots and was not very successful with only two coming to fruition. They are in the ‘Hot Bed’ and are so pretty. I do know they are full of sap which can be an irritant so will be careful. ‘Summer Icicle’ is on my seeds to grow list for 2019.

6. Hot Bed

It is difficult looking after someone else’s garden when they have different ideas and these obviously must be respected. Even more so when it is family. I like the cram-it-all-in style of gardening, giving the higgledy piggledy look, as you can see in the number 3 Dahlia photo. My daughter and SiL prefer to go for the clear cut, room around each plant, look. It is a large garden with lots of space for different flowerbeds so a variety of looks are easily incorporated. Armed with a list of suggested plants from me, they bought and planted a hot bed, including grasses. monarda, agapanthus, salvias and knipofia. It really is quite impressive and they have done an excellent job. Above is the bed from both ends.

Please call in on The Propagator’s Blog and see his Six on Saturday and peep over the garden fence of the many other contributors.

allotment, Garden blogging, Garden Meme, Six on Saturday

Six on Saturday – 4 August 2018

My Six on Saturday is an allotment update.  The ground is like concrete, I am going daily for about an hour to water and ‘stock take’.  There is little else to do, so I am appeasing myself that I am building up a tan and tightening my biceps carrying heavy watering cans from the trough to the plot.

First an apology I have broken rule 7 of Six on Saturday:

Not too much verbiage. ….it’s easily done, but since there are Six things, and a growing number of Six posts to read in a typical week, consider being a little frugal with the wordcount.

1. Protecting sweetcorn husks

53FDD0D5-C284-4534-9FF4-B6E9E46E5F11The sweetcorn (Northern Extra Sweet) is coming along a treat, despite the strong winds last Sunday.  I have staked them and built up the soil around the base of each plant – there are only 8.   I read that night visiting animals have a panchant for ripe sweetcorn and it’s recommended to protect the husks with large plastic bottles until ready to pick.  Now, I’m not sure if this was a wise thing to do.  I have carefully punched holes in the top so they don’t sweat.  Any thoughts on this?

2. Pumpkin update

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I planted 3 pumpkin plants and have 3 pumpkins,  there is an abundance of female flowers but no more male ones,  I wonder if that is the norm, I don’t needs lots anyway.   The one with the yellow bottom I can’t stand up because the stem is too short, the one at the bottom right of the photo is now on its end so with a bit of luck it will become round in shape.  I’m seeing a lot of posts on FB allotment group pages of pumpkins splitting so fingers crossed mine will be ok.

3. Cauliflower protection 

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This is allotment life on a shoestring.   I had a freebie packet of cauliflower seeds so for a bit of fun I sowed them in pots.  Only 2 came good and because the ground was so hard when they were ready to plant out I put them in a doubled up growbag.  Someone told me an elderly gentlemen on her allotment said they thrive on solid ground, he compacts the soil with a roller and drills thin holes for his plants.  She said his cauliflowers and cabbages are the envy of their plots!   Anyway – my homemade cage.  Despite putting collars around my two precious plants they are still swarming with whitefly.  Rather than buy a cage, or netting, I found an old net curtain I was about to throw away and made my own cage.  It’s a bit rickety but I am hoping it will do the job.

4. Blackberry heaven 

When I took the plot over a number of folks told me that the blackberries were always fabulous and they were not wrong.  Last week I picked a punnet full and decided to make blackberry gin.   There are so many recipes on the Internet but all are roughly the same, however, they vary in the time that the gin is ready from 2 weeks to 3 months and I’m  not sure why or if it matters.  I’m going for 2 weeks in time for my daughter’s birthday.

Ingredients

250g Blackberries

70cl Gin

100g Sugar

Method

1. Put the blackberries in to a 1 litre sterilised bottle or jar

2. Add the sugar

3. Top up with the gin

4. Shake well

5. Store in a dark cupboard and leave for a maximum of three months, shaking the bottle every week or so.

This recipe is courtesy of NicholasJon.

5.  Apples galore

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The little apple tree on my plot would appear to be some type of Pippin.  They are still very small and it could be due to the lack of water. I understand they are usually ready in September so we shall have to wait for a taster session then.   I’ve seen recipes for spiced apple gin 😄😄, so much better than eating every apple from the tree.

6. Baby strawberry plants

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I am wondering if I would do better to put these little strawberry runners into individual pots rather than a new bed.  Any advice please?

If you’ve been a great reader (thank you) and got to the bottom of this post, please now pop over to The Propagator Blog who hosts this weekly meme and has lots of contributors it’s always great to peer over the fence at other peoples gardens.

 

Garden blogging, Six on Saturday

Six on Saturday – 21 July 2018

My first Six on Saturday is Roselily ‘corolla’ which after a very long wait just looking at buds, eventually flowered in a spectacular fashion this week!

As promised here are the photos – aren’t they beautiful!

They are so different to other lilies, for a start they are pollen free so won’t stain anything that touches them. Also they have a very delicate light fragrance, which will please those who love lilies but dislike their heady perfume.

My second is pumpkins!

At first I though someone or something had thrown an apple into my pumpkin patch until I looked closer and found baby pumpkins. I’ve never grown them before and it’s only a little thing but I felt really quite excited.

Third are my Sunflowers.

I have always had this idea allotments should have sunflowers and am surprised there are very few to be seen on our allotment site. I raised a number of plants from seed, some are in my daughter’s garden and I planted the rest on my plot. Much to my annoyance, and ignorance I suppose, they were cut off at the pass by snails, leaving me only 2 to rescue. They are now enormous, standing proud for everyone to see, so it’s sunflowers 1: snails 0. Today, this little bee was feeding away, totally oblivious of me taking photos of him.

Fourth is Scarecrow and sweetcorn.

Along with sunflowers, I have this idealistic view that scarecrows are part and parcel of allotment life – again they are far a few to be seen. I know they don’t scare anything but they are a bit of fun. I made mine out of a pillow, and when I asked my granddaughter to name her she said “GRANNIE”!!! 🤣🤣🤣

What started as eight tiny sweetcorn plants are starting to reach for the sky, nowhere near as tall as some on other plots but they will get there. They appear to be the one vegetable thriving in this unusually hot, dry, summer.

My fifth Six on Saturday is Poppy (Pom Pom Shaggy somniferum)

This is one of only three wonderful shaggy poppy flowers that were successful and have more than made up for only being three. I sowed a whole packet of seeds direct into the raised bed I dedicated to flowers hoping for a big display. However I will collect the seeds with better luck next year.

Last but not least is blackberries.

At the back of the plot is a resplendent thornless blackberry growing along a very rickety fence. I have read that even the best flavoured thornless blackberries don’t quite have that aromatic sweetness associated with the true wild blackberry, but I bet they still taste good. There are so many of them I will be making lots of jam very soon.

So that’s my Six on Saturday. Please pay a visit to The Propagator Blog and take a look at the many contributions to this weekly weekly meme.

Garden blogging, Six on Saturday

Six on Saturday – 14 July 2018

I will subtitle this post “The Good, the Sad and the Ugly.

In reverse order (this may make your skin go funny) …

1. The Ugly – Social Pear SawflyThere is (was) a small hawthorn shrub on my allotment. A couple of days ago I discovered it absolutely covered in what looked liked cobwebs full of black eggs and orange caterpillars. I looked up ‘orange caterpillars’ and found they were Social Pear Sawfly and like to feed off hawthorn and cotoneaster, as well as pear and cherry trees. Once they have completed their feeding they go down into the soil where they pupate and emerge as adults in the following spring. The best way to eradicate them is to prune out the branches. As this was covered and the hawthorn in an odd place anyway, I carefully cut all the branches, bagged and binned them.

2. The Sad – Sweet Pea Bud DropI know I’m not alone this year with sweet pea problems, although I have never had much success with growing them in pots. They have always been prolific in the flowerbeds in my last garden and I grew them successfully for years. I started my sweet peas late this year, but they were doing ok, a little slow and short but ok. Then all of a sudden almost overnight all the buds turned brown and the bottom leaves died and it is called bud drop. There a numerous reasons for this apparently, (i) overwatering (ii) the wrong fertiliser, I used ordinary liquid fertiliser instead of a tomato feed, (iii) too hot, would you believe and (iv) watering with too cold water. I was tempted to pull them up but then read that they can recover if I cut them down to the base and don’t feed them, they might recover – we shall see!

Now for the good –

3. The allotment – Bee on Flower Just occasionally I manage to capture what I consider is a good ‘bee on flower’ photo. This little bee was totally oblivious of me as he clambered all over the pumpkin flowers.

4. Morning Glory ‘Grandpa Otts’I just love this plant, and there is no colour touching up on this photo. Morning Glory Ipomoea purpurea, usually an annual, is a close relation to Convolulous (bindweed) which is a perennial weed. My allotment is burgeoning with bindweed with its white flowers, so it seems strange to grow Grandpa Otts from seed yet spend most of my days pulling up the white stuff.

5. Ipomoea x sloteri ‘Cardinal Climber’This is another member of the Morning Glory family that I am growing on the allotment. It is looking good in contrast to Grandpa Otts growing next to it. It has totally different leaves to the usual Morning Glory, the bright green leaves are triangular, with deep, narrow lobes that give them a lacy appearance.

6. Roselily ‘corolla’I am hoping that I am going to get lots of photo miles from this flower. Until I was given 2 Roselily bulbs earlier this year, I had never heard of roselilies. They are in a pot on my patio and been in tight bud for weeks on end. I was almost beginning to despair and seriously thought of cutting them to place indoors in a vase. So pleased I didn’t, because this morning I could see they are about to burst. They are doubled flowered lilies with a light perfume and I am really looking forward to seeing them in full bloom, which I will share with you. That’s my Six for this week, don’t forget to pop over to The Propagator Blog for other Six on Saturdays.

Flowers, Garden blogging, Photography

Six on Saturday in Vivid Colour 30 June 2018

A regular Six on Saturday can leave a bit of a challenge when you only have patio pots.  I didn’t really do myself any favours last week when I posted close up photos of my pots, leaving me not a lot new photos to post this week.   However, always one for a challenge, the idea this week was to take macros of six carefully chosen flowers.

On downloading I realised I had the camera set on vivid colour mode – I love the exceptional bright colours so rather than edit them here are my Six on Saturday in vivid colour!

1.  Dahlietta ‘midi pinta’

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2.  Patio Rose ‘sweet wonder’

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3. Scaevola ‘euphoia blue’

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4. Gaillardia ‘Arizona sun’

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5. Fuchsia ‘genii’

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…and for a spot of cool colour on a hot June day:

6. Angelonia ‘’angelface’

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With thanks to The Propagator Blog for hosting this weekly meme.  Please use the link to his blog where you will see some wonderful photos of known and unknown plants shown by him and other contributors to Six on Saturday.