Saturday 29 June 2013


Recently, Flowerlady held a giveaway competition on her blog. Three new chickens have come to live with her and she needed help naming them. She wanted them to have the names of flowers, and as it was June, she thought it would be nice for their names to start with a J. My name was drawn out of the tin first, and my suggested name of Jasmine was given to the Light Sussex. My prize was this lovely book, Monet at Giverny by Caroline Holmes.

I'm thrilled to have won this book, and though I've only had time for a quick flick through it so far, it looks really interesting. I'm sure it's going to be a book which I really enjoy.

Claude Monet, the French impressionist painter created beautiful gardens at his Giverny home which inspired his paintings. The book is divided in to three parts, The Man, The Gardens and The Paintings, and it's beautifully illustrated with Monet's paintings, the gardens and plants. I'm sure it will be a very interesting read.

Many thanks to Flowerlady, I'm really looking forward to finding time to sit down and have a good read, and thanks also to Flowerlady's son who pulled my name out from the tin.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Scabiosa For June

This year, I'm taking the late Geoff Hamilton's advice and visiting a nursery each month with a view to buying a plant which is in flower for my garden. Doing this should ensure that I have something blooming in my garden every month of the year.

I had a lovely trip to the garden centre this morning. My son has now finished his A levels so I dragged him along with me, it was nice to have some company whilst I browsed. I'm often rushing when I visit a nursery or garden centre on a weekend so it made a change to have some time to have a proper look around.

I decided that the plant I would buy for June would be this lovely scabiosa columbaria Barocca. The gorgeous wine coloured flowers attracted me to it, but I was sold when I read the plant information which said it would attract wildlife to the garden. Further research shows that it's a magnet to bees, butterflies and moths.

It should flower from spring through to the first frosts, so it's a plant which will definitely earn its keep in the garden.

Saturday 22 June 2013

By Request

I mentioned in my last post that the cotoneaster in my front garden is attracting lots of bees. I was asked if I would put a photo of the cotoneaster on my blog, so here it is. As you can see, it's not a showy shrub, the flowers are extremely small, but they're so loved by bees. It also produces berries which are a favourite with the birds, especially blackbirds, so it's a great shrub to have if you want to help wildlife, or attract wildlife to the garden.

The fruit bushes which I planted a little while ago at the allotment have settled in well. There's a small cluster of fruit on the blackcurrant bush but nothing on the gooseberry, though it seems to be growing well. I think I'll have to wait until next year to taste it's wares. The rhubarb has put out lots of stems but I've resisted harvesting any for fear of weakening the plant. I'm looking forward to taking a few stems from this plant next year. You may remember, I planted out a second rhubarb crown which had started growing again after I thought it was dead. It's very spindly, but it looks to be growing a little stronger now, so with plenty of feeding I'm hoping that it may come good next year.

My daughter spotted the strawberry I mentioned in my last post, so we ended up sharing it. That first taste of home grown strawberry is something I look forward to every year, as is the taste of home grown tomatoes. My tomato plants are growing nice and strong and are flowering away, so it's only a matter of time until I get my hands on that first fruit, and this time I'll have it all to myself as the rest of the family don't like tomatoes. They don't know what they're missing.

Monday 17 June 2013

Nearly Ripe

I should be eating the first home grown strawberry of the year within a matter of days, that's if my darling daughter doesn't get to it first, she would eat them until they come out of her ears. This one is growing in a pot in the garden but there's lots of green fruit on the plants at the allotment, which I'm pleased about as it's a new strawberry bed created just this year. I don't expect a huge crop but whatever I harvest will be very welcome.

I didn't manage much gardening over the weekend, but I made sure that I got my tomato plants tied in to the stakes and I nipped out their side shoots. They seem to be growing really well and are just starting to flower, so I shall start feeding them soon. I'm looking forward to seeing how the outdoor plants perform in comparison to the ones grown in the greenhouse, there doesn't seem to be anything between them at the moment.

I have a cotoneaster in my front garden which is smothered in flowers at the moment. The bees are absolutely loving it, I must have counted at least twenty bees on it at once over the weekend. I haven't seen many bees around this year, then to go from nothing to so many on one plant was strange. I'm also still getting a good selection of birds in the garden too. The goldfinches, which I hadn't seen for a while, are here all the time now. Earlier in the year I was seeing an odd one here and there, but they come in threes, fours and fives now, which is nice. A group of goldfinches is called a charm, how charming is that.

Monday 10 June 2013

Slug Fodder

I love hostas, but unfortunately, so do slugs. My hostas usually end up looking something like a lacy doily, though they're doing well this year, at the moment they remain untouched. I grow my hostas in pots in an attempt to thwart the pesky molluscs, and I think they look quite good grown this way, especially when a few containers are grouped together. Apparently, slugs and snails are more partial to some varieties than others, I obviously haven't got any of the less desirable ones as they munch on mine whenever they get the chance.

My parsnips seem to be doing well this year, I don't think I've ever had quite so many germinate when they've been sown direct before. I used to start my parsnips off in toilet roll inners and then transplant them, but they were all shoulder and not much root, so I now start them off direct. So many have germinated this time that I'll have to carry out some thinning, something I've never had to do before when so few have germinated.

I didn't manage to get to the plot this weekend so my sweet corn plants are still in pots. I'm hoping to get them in the ground as soon as possible, and as the weather forecast has now changed from rain, it looks like I may get chance during this week. Some of my squash and courgette plants are ready to be planted out too so that's another job to put on the list.

Friday 7 June 2013

Baby Peppers

I've got five pepper plants this year. I'm growing Corno di Torro Rosso which are long peppers, its name translates as Horn Of The Bull. I sowed five seeds in to a heated propagator back on the third of February and all five seeds germinated in little over a week. I wanted to sow them early to give them a good long growing season, it looks to have paid off as I've already got some fruit just starting to grow, and the plants are a mass of flowers. I could be in for a good year.

It's not such a good start for my beans this year. Very few germinated in the modules I sowed them in to, yet now that we're in to June, I don't want to repeat this process, so I've planted out the few plants which have grown and filled the gaps by sowing direct. They should germinate well this way at this time of year, though I think I will sow some extras as knowing my luck, the slugs will get them as soon as they emerge. I've got two wigwams, one for Cobra French beans and the other for St George runner beans. My dwarf French beans didn't germinate at all so I'll be sowing all those direct.

It looks set to be a good weekend, though I doubt I'll get anything done at the plot tomorrow as Hubby and Son have a cricket match. I'm hoping to get my sweetcorn planted out on Sunday, the plants look lovely and healthy so I'm keeping my fingers firmly crossed that this is the year that I manage to get a decent harvest. I haven't managed to grow any respectable cobs since having the allotment so I'm going to try my very best this year. I hope there's plenty of good weather around the country over the next couple of days so that everyone can get some gardening done.

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Growbag Tomatoes

I'm growing more tomatoes this year than I've ever done before. My greenhouse is only six foot by four foot, so I only usually have six plants in there at the most. This year, I've decided to grow some plants outdoors as well as growing some in the greenhouse. The varieties I'm growing in the greenhouse are Tangella, San Marzano, Gardener's Delight and Costoluto Florentino. The outside varieties are San Marzano, Gardener's Delight, Costoluto Florentino, two Ferlines and four Totems, thirteen plants in total. I usually grow my tomato plants in containers, however, four of the plants have been planted in to growbags which have been cut in half and turned on their ends. This has given a great depth in to which the plants are nestled. I'm hoping for great things from my tomatoes this year after the extremely late harvest I got last year.

The Sunburst squash seeds which I resowed have now germinated and are growing away. I don't know why I had problems with them germinating the first time round as the other squash seeds I sowed at the same time germinated without any difficulty. The other two varieties I'm trying are Queensland Blue and Crown Prince, they're both winter squash whereas the Sunburst is a summer squash.

The weather has been beautiful this week, and looking at the forecast, the sunshine is supposed to stay around for a while yet. I'm not complaining, it's about time we had some decent weather, though I'm hoping that this spell of good weather isn't the only summer we're going to get this year. I've been looking at what's in flower in my garden and I've done a little tour on my Through The Keyhole blog if you'd like to take a look.

Monday 3 June 2013

Blog Of The Month - June

This year, I'm dedicating one post each month to Blog Of The Month. This is where I feature a blog I'm enjoying reading. Some blogs will be new to me, others may be blogs I've been reading for a while. I hope that by doing this, I can introduce some of my readers to other, interesting blogs, though I know that some of you will already read the blogs I feature.

The Blog Of The Month for June is Rusty Duck. Jessica has been blogging for a whisker under a year and her blog is a joy to read. The blog documents her day to day life of living in a thatched cottage which is being renovated, and gardening on a slope.

I really enjoy reading about the visiting wildlife, though some creatures can be trying at times for Jessica. Take Ptolemy the pheasant, he thinks he rules the roost, or the squirrels which raid the peanut feeders.They've now been thwarted, but there's plenty more creatures waiting on the sidelines to hinder a peaceful growing season.

If you haven't yet discovered Jessica's blog, you're in for a treat. Do pop over and have a read, and don't forget to let Jessica know that I sent you.
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