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

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Planting bulbs, despite the time of year

 It's an odd time of year to be planting bulbs, but that's what I've been up to.
Firstly, some fritillaries and mini-narcissi 'rescued' from the DIY store's reductions shelf.

I thought it was too cold to plant them outside (this week the overnight temperature has really dropped), so I put them in pots and left them in the porch, where they'll be cool but hopefully not frozen. In spring, I'll either bring them indoors or just place in the garden somewhere easily visible from the house. 

Secondly, this alien looking growth. 
I deliberately bought a piece of ginger root with signs of a shoot on it, kept it in its supermarket plastic bag in a warm spot in the kitchen, and let the shoot grow. It's done better than I expected - there's a little bulb growing and it even seems to be putting out roots

So I've chopped it off, keeping a little of the original root, and potted it up.
For now, it's in a plastic bag/mini greenhouse, during daytime on a windowsill above a radiator, and at nighttime in the warmth of the airing cupboard.

Hopefully by summer, I'll have home-grown ginger to harvest.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Raspberries in November!

Every time OH brings raspberries back from the allotment I expect them to be the last of the year, but we're halfway through November and they still keep cropping!

Friday, 10 November 2017

Seed collecting

I try to keep my gardening as inexpensive as possible, and many of my flowers grow each year rather than needing to be replaced - either bulbs, perennials or annuals that self-sow easily, like love-in-a-mist or welsh poppies. Some plants aren't reliable enough left on their own, though, and rather than pay out for seed next spring I like to collect it from this year's flowers if possible. 
Both these nasturtiums (left) and marigolds (below) were grown from home-collected seed, and have done really well so I've picked some more from both plants.

In case you don't recognise them, the nasturtiums are the large green seeds (when dried they'll shrivel and turn brown) and the marigolds the thin black and white 'sticks'. The dried 'peas' are from the sweet pea plants, and I'm hoping to find more when I cut the plants back down, as five sweet pea plants next year wouldn't be many.

Also, for the sake of their skull-like shape rather than needing the seeds, I collected some antirrhinum seed heads, full of tiny black seeds.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Playing "guess what month it is"

You and I know that it's November, there's been frost overnight and the garden should look like this - covered in fallen leaves, berries bright on the mountain ash and pyracantha - but the garden doesn't. In fact it seems to have no idea what time of year it is at all.

Bright sunny days seem to be keeping the summer flowers going. Antirrhimuns and campanulas ...


love in a mist

nothing can stop the continued spread of these nasturtiums

and even an oriental poppy has suddenly burst back into flower!

On the other hand, winter is definitely here with jasmine flowering round the kitchen window ...

... and a couple of polyanthus seem to think Spring is on the way.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Orange and purple

 Sometimes the garden accidentally turns out to be colour-themed - and this month it just seems full of orange (montbretia, marigolds, day lilies) and purple (clematis, buddleia, platycodon, lavender, oregano), with a couple of splashes of pink from fuchsias and hydrangeas

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Day lilies

Planted a couple of years ago, the day lilies are now really getting established and flowering well. They definitely seem to bring a touch of the exotic to the flower beds, but alongside them is another plant getting settled in - I don't know what it is, it must be self set, and in part I'm inclined to think it's a weed. It's bright and yellow though, so I'm letting it stay.

Edit - instead of searching through a pile of gardening/wild flower books I did the modern equivalent and asked Twitter. where someone identified my 'visitor' as goldenrod. Apparently it's a common herbaceous border plant but modern varieties have showier flowers - I suspect mine isn't one of those. I'm glad I decided to let it stay :)

Monday, 19 June 2017

Home grown lunch

It's that time of year when growing-your-own really starts to reap rewards,even if sometimes you end up with odd combinations. So here I am eating home grown salad of red oakleaf lettuce, rocket, fresh peas and strawberries. OK I had to buy the feta :)

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.