Sunday 30 November 2014

Heaven Scent

I often buy hyacinths at this time of the year, they're a perfect alternative to air freshners as their scent is heavenly. I know there are many people who aren't very keen on their fragrance, but I love it.

I was in Leeds for a little while yesterday afternoon after dropping Eleanor off for her matinee performance of Scrooge at the Carriageworks Theatre, so I popped in to the market with the sole purpose of picking up these beauties. You can't go wrong for £2.50.

I'm just waiting for them to bloom now, I wonder how long it will take them.

Friday 28 November 2014

New Life

My spring bulbs have burst in to action already, their snouts are showing above the soil.

These are crocus, my other bulbs seem much more sensible and are keeping covered up for now.

I remember some bulbs getting an early start last year, but they soon stopped growing once the weather turned a bit colder before starting back in to growth in spring. I think I'd take advantage of their cosy bed for now if I were them.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Time For Bed

My pelargoniums, or geraniums as most people call these type of pelargoniums, have done so well this year but you can see that they're now past their best and looking very tired.

They're actually plants which I grew last year. I'd popped the pots in the greenhouse over winter without clearing them out first and in spring, discovered that the plants were coming in to bloom again. I didn't have the heart to discard them in favour of buying new ones so I gave them a good trim and they were happy to do their thing again this year.

I thought I'd try doing the same thing with them again this year so before popping them in the greenhouse, I gave them a severe haircut. It looks a bit drastic but it got rid of all the decaying leaves. I shall fleece them to give them a little protection as my greenhouse isn't heated, but I suppose it will depend on how severe the winter is whether they come through it or not. Supposing they do, they'll get some new compost in spring to set them up again for another year.

They're fabulous plants putting out vivid red blooms continuously throughout summer. If I can keep them going another year then why not?

Monday 24 November 2014

A Windfall

This is the second lot of apples our lovely next door neighbours have given us this year. They've got a few apple trees in their garden and they say they had a bumper crop this year.

I found these waiting for me on the doorstep before they went away on holiday a fortnight ago, it's time I did something with them. Apple Crumble sounds good.

I'm hoping that my own little apple trees will give me a better harvest next year.

Friday 21 November 2014

Mosses And Berries And Ferns! Oh My!

Following on from my last post, I thought I'd show you a few more of the photos I took in Golden Acre Park last Sunday. Autumn treasures are plentiful, there's so many subjects to photograph at this time of year.

I know it's not in the post title but I thought I'd throw in a few lichen photos for good measure.

I'm not a lover of autumn, purely because of the cold weather it brings and also the fact that the descent into winter begins. It does bring some wonderful photo opportunities though, and I can't get enough of the blazing colour and wonderful textures. I'm hoping that the weather is good enough this weekend to get out and about with my camera again.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Fabulous Fungi

I'm fascinated by fungi. I don't know the first thing about it, but it seems magical somehow. Take this toadstool, I expect to find a fairy living underneath it.

We visited Golden Acre Park on Sunday and came across lots of different types of fungi, I thought I'd share some of my photos.

Autumn is a great time to go fungi spotting, there's even some in my garden.

Monday 17 November 2014

A Rose By Any Other Name

My Golden Wings rose which Mick bought for me last Christmas is still blooming, it's so pretty and delicate looking and it smells beautiful too.

I want another rose for my garden to plant in front of a six foot fence. At first I thought I should get a climber or a rambler but now I'm thinking they might be too vigorous for what I want and a large shrub rose might be the better option. I love single flowers but could go with semi double and I'm veering towards a deep pink, though I could be swayed on this.

I love American Pillar but this, I'm sure, would be too rampant and I also like Rosa Rugosa but wonder if this could be too. Do any of you grow either of these varieties?

I'd love to know if any of you have any suggestions as to a variety which may be suitable as I don't know the first thing about roses so any help will be greatly appreciated.

Friday 14 November 2014


There's a myth that watercress needs to be grown in flowing water. I've grown it previously in a container on the patio and it has done really well.

It's a few years since I've grown it, but I saw a packet of seeds in the 50p seed sale so I popped them in my basket and I will grow it again next year.

It doesn't need any special attention, I sow the seeds in to a container filled with multi purpose compost and stand the container in a tray filled with water. All I do is make sure that I change the water every other day, this seems to be enough for it to thrive.

Billed as a superfood, watercress contains vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and calcium. It's related to mustard and has a peppery taste. It can be used uncooked in salads and sandwiches or steamed and eaten as a vegetable or made in to soup.

It will make a welcome addition to the mixed salad I wrote about growing in my last post.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Second Chances

I recently sorted through my seed stash as I thought it was about time to discard all the old packets of seed which are out of date as well as the half empty packets of seed, and start again. I bought most of the seeds I require for next year in the sales so I'm good to go again.

I wrote a post back in September about all the packets of seed I'd got left over from the last few years and I had a comment from Fran at Bonnie of Clyde saying that she was going to sow all her old packets of seed of salad leaves, greens, beetroot, peas and herbs to make mixed salads. I thought this was a great idea for using up old seed so I shall be doing the same.

I've sorted through my old packets of seed and I've got lettuce, mixed leaves, beetroot, peas and mange tout among other things. These will be given a chance to do their thing, even if the seed is past its best now.

There's no point wasting seed when it can be used in this way. Some seed may not germinate as it's old, but it won't really matter when it's all combined. It's a good way to use up old seed, it will give a quick harvest when leaves are used young and it will save a bit of money too. A win, win, win situation.

Friday 7 November 2014

Bulb Choices

I've been known to buy bulbs in autumn which I never get round to planting and then regret it when spring comes around. This year, I've made sure that the bulbs I bought got planted, so it looks as though spring will be a colourful affair this time round.

I usually grow a single colour tulip but this time I've gone for a mixture of colours with Triumph. They range from white and pale pink, through red to almost black, with some yellow ones thrown in for good measure. I bought two packs, so twenty bulbs in total, I hope I get a good mix of colours.

Tete a Tete is a favourite Narcissus variety so I couldn't do without them, but I also bought a pack of Thalia, a variety with ice-white starry flowers.

The crocus variety I've gone for is Miss Vain. It's an early bloomer which I decided on because it looks like a cream colour on the packaging, however, when I've looked it up on the internet, it is in fact a white variety. No matter, I bought two packs as I think crocuses look lovely en masse.

It's getting a little late to plant bulbs now, but I might still pick up some more if I see any I fancy. I haven't got any iris reticulata which I'm very fond of so they may jump in my shopping basket if I come across them.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Garden Visiting In November

It was an early garden visit this month. We popped over to York on Saturday, the 1st of November, to see Daniel so while we were there, we decided to visit the Museum Gardens.

York Museum Gardens are botanic gardens in the centre of York beside the River Ouse in the former grounds of St Mary's Abbey.

The abbey ruins form a wonderful backdrop to the garden.

The colours of autumn are in full swing in this garden, fallen leaves litter the ground and turn the grass and pavements in to a scrunchy carpet.

There are a number of different beds and borders in the garden, each devoted to a different type of plant, The Oriental Bed, Wildlife Border, The Prairie Bed, Fern Garden and The Rockery. Most of the borders are passed their best at this time of year but I'm sure they look stunning in summer.

The Butterfly Border was designed to supply nectar for butterflies, bees, moths and other insects. Its planting reflects this.

It must be a real butterfly magnet in summer, though most of the plants have now finished blooming for this year.

There are several historic buildings in the gardens, The York Observatory being one. It was built in 1832 and houses the oldest working telescope in Yorkshire. I must ask Daniel if he's visited the observatory, he's studying Physics with Astrophysics at York University so I'm sure it would be of interest to him.

The flower beds to the back of the observatory are inspired by space, stars and the planets.

There's some wonderful container planting in the entrances to the gardens. I like how lots of mismatched pots have been used and many different plants are in the display.

The Hospitium was built around the 14th century as one of St Mary's Abbey's support buildings. It's where the pilgrims who visited the abbey would be fed and housed. Today, the hospitium can be hired as a wedding venue. What a beautiful backdrop the gardens would be for a wedding.

There are some beautiful trees in the gardens too. Many are home to semi-tame grey squirrels, some of which will allow you to hand feed them peanuts.

Not many plants were at their peak, but there was still colour to be found.

It's wonderful to find such a beautiful green space, and one with so much history too, in the heart of a city. This is another garden I shall return to in summer as I'm sure it will be spectacular then.
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