welcome to my little suburban oasis, filled with flowers,fruit trees and vegetables

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Almost like Spring ... Saturday in the garden

Today has been a glorious day, with the sun almost high enough to shine over the neighbours' leylandii and let a little more light into the garden, so, in keeping with my attempt to spend an hour outside each day of February, I've been out weeding and clearing, and generally pottering in the garden.
I'd expected to just spend a few minutes at things then head back inside so I didn't bother changing to 'gardening clothes' - which is how I ended up with my rather impractical shoes caked in mud!

The snowdrops are nearly in flower but many of them are throttled by 'weeds' - though when I say 'weeds' I actually mean this creeping invasive campanula. I planted it long ago for its pretty blue flowers but I've since got tired of its spreading habit and can't seem to get rid of it.
As its entwined itself round snowdrops and daffodils, each tiny plant has to be pulled out individually, which isn't fun when the soil is cold and damp. Still, I got quite a bit out today and got a shock at the same time. I thought at first that I'd disturbed a mouse, but no, it was a frog! It's probably come from next door's pond but I'm very surprised to see one hopping round the garden this early in the year.

When I'd had enough of the 'close work' of pulling out campanula, I got a spade and turned over a small area of veg patch to plant out some lanky red cabbage seedlings. I should have done this before winter rather than after, and they may just bolt without hearting up, but I'll see. I've had to protect them with chicken wire as birds are proving very troublesome this year, pecking at the larger cabbages. 
With the sudden lettuce shortage this week I was delighted to find spinach growing well and some small self-set lamb's lettuce, though not enough of either to keep me in salad. It's early to set lettuce but it was very warm in the greenhouse today so after the next few cold nights have passed I might set some rocket in trays in there.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Hiding the straight lines

I once read somewhere that there are no straight lines in nature - well, I like to try my best to keep them out of my garden too. 

It's a bit difficult as it's surrounded by fences rather than hedges - but pick some trees and some climbers, and soon the harsh lines of the fence will disappear, especially in summer.

Right now, the back fence, the old tree house and the bench are covered in clematis montana.

To the side are flowering trees - laburnum, snowball and lilac.

The patio is curved, vaguely circular, but even so I prefer to soften the edges with foliage - heuchera sanguinea in bud with the spiky leaves of montbretia that will flower later

The main path has to be straight - the compost bin is at the far end and a curved path wouldn't be easy to find on a dark winter evening. So through summer, forget-me-nots, welsh poppies, lavender and oregano spill over its harsh lines.

While this smaller path has almost disappeared under flowers!

Even the house walls are softened by flowers growing at the bottom - and of course spilling out of their narrow flower bed and over the paths.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Poppy time

At this time of year the garden is normally filled with aquilegias in shades of pink, purple and dusky mauve, but this year there are very few - I blame the mild winter followed by late frosts for killing off tiny seedlings!

Instead, the back of the garden is carpeted with yellow welsh poppies, contrasting nicely with the forget-me-nots.

Elsewhere, a couple of clumps of Welsh poppies are a more unusual orange. As always they're self-set. so must just be a variant of the yellow flowered variety.

Soon though, they'll be dwarfed by the huge oriental poppies - flowering now in odd ones but a day or two of sunshine will have all the buds opening.

Monday, 2 May 2016

When is a weed not a weed?

lamb's lettuce
 Trapped inside with my continuing cold virus, I've become increasingly annoyed by the weeds running wild over the patio and paths. So today I decided they needed to be tackled.
There's plenty of the obvious sort of unwelcome plants there - grass, dandelions and such - but our patio had to try to be different! I found sycamore seedlings from the 'helicopters' that fly into the garden in autumn, self-set lamb's lettuce, oregano and lemon balm, strawberry runners, forget-me-nots, dog violets, aquilegias, and even lily of the valley spreading its roots under the slabs!

Most I've tried to remove but some of the flowering 'weeds' I think deserve to stay for a while.
lily of the valley
dog violet and aquilegia

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Time to catch up ...

 For four weeks I've been mainly hiding indoors suffering from a long, lengthy cold virus, while the first phase of spring - the bright yellow of daffodils - has passed and been replaced by a wave of whites, reds and blues.

The large red tulips are mainly Appeldoorn variety but there's one solitary darker flower - I think from some bulbs once forced indoors, then planted out.

The whitebells have been spreading through the garden for many years now, but I recently added some bluebells and pinkbells which I picked up through my local Freecycle group. Sadly the 'blues' aren't native English bluebells but they still look pretty.

 Forget-me-nots are softening the path edges with a river of pale blue, with occasional dog violets among them.

The first flower on my new(ish) camelia!

I even have the first outdoor veg crop of the season growing - radishes from home-grown seed

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Yesterday, for the first time in a long while, I joined hubby on his trip to the allotment as he wanted my opinion on the various bits of brassicas that have over-wintered. The purple-sprouting broccoli had both run to seed and been nibbled by birds, but the cabbages are standing well, and if they aren't very large, at least there's a lot of them. I brought three of them home to clear ground ready for potatoes; at a guess the one on the right is about grapefruit sized!

The fruit trees seem full of bud, particularly this  pear (left) and cherry (below), and another week or so should see them full of blossom.

 Blossom of another sort lined the road to the allotment - council-planted ornamental cherries which always look so beautiful at this time of year, and I just had to grab a few pics out of the car window.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

First Day of Spring

 I'm a bit late with this post as the first day of Spring was last weekend. The weather forecast had been for dull and cloudy but it was wrong (surprise!) and we had a day of proper Spring sunshine to show off the flowers.

Crocuses are opening wide with the recent sun.

Later flowering daffodils brightening up the garden.

 A garden centre trip this week resulted in the purchase of some 'to clear' polyanthus which seem to have settled nicely - although the white flowers in the wall basket have had me fooled  several times into thinking there's snow there!

The flowering currants are on the verge of breaking into flower - and then the fence with be hidden.

A couple of plants aren't looking so good though - both the outdoor fuchsias and the montbretia continued to grow all winter, and then the frosts of the last few weeks have zapped the green shoots. They're looking pretty miserable for now but I'm hoping that they'll soon be growing again.