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Welcome to my gardening blog

flowerpot for a pillow

                                         my cat Victor using a flowerpot for a pillow

I love sharing my love of gardening, all its ups and downs, its challenges and successes. I also love sharing what little I've learned - and there is so much more to learn! If you want to share anything, please post at https://www.facebook.com/gardenwithoutdoors/.

mid-March 2017

I've gotten fed up with waiting for rhubarb "crowns" to grow (which didn't in the end) so investing in some decent-sized rhubarb plants. They need this season to establish so I can start picking next spring. My garden doesn't get enough sun to grow much in the way of fruit and veg but hoping it's enough for the rhubarb. They force rhubarb in the dark? so they must be able to cope? My sweet boy Scarecrow amongst them.

rhubarb plants

polyanthus pots I did for neighbours, this one also has lupins

polyanthus

this one also has a foxglove

some hyacinths and borage in bloom, lupin small plant from late last year's sowing to the right, sea holly both in pot and in the ground in the back, also the ubiquitous green alkanet, forget-me-not and snapdragons

borage and hyacinths

all the gardening essentials: seeds, trays to put them in, inc egg cartons, camera, coffee and Diet Coke - and a cat!

see my Seeds page for more about growing from seed

He's the naughty kit who chewed these catnip seedlings (2 on the right) so I planted some more seeds. There are 2 kinds of "catnip"/catnep/catmint, the basic herb nepeta cataria  which I grow from seed (I have never seen these plants sold at a garden centre) which has small white flowers and nepeta faassenii (eg Six Hills Giant) sold in the garden centre as an ornamental plant with purple flowers.

catnip seedlings

Usually those nepeta faassenii are larger plants in bloom at the garden centre later in spring but I noticed these in the herb section so decided to get some now and hopefully grow them into larger plants. I've also been curious to see which cats prefer, if either.

nepeta catnip

cat with nepeta faassenii

scabious small plant from sowing last year

scabious

I wasn't sure if it was scabious but from the side it looks more scabious-like, the way it leans over.

scabious small plant

the anemone and ranunculus are slow to get going

anemone and ranunculus pots

this ranunculus is the largest

ranunculus

the green below is not an anemone but on closer examination, with those distinctively-shaped seeds, they are calendula seedlings

calendula self-seeded seedlings

close-up of the calendula seedlings, the calendula was growing nearby above and the dried seedhead dropped in this pot, unnoticed by me

calendula seedlings

these small poppy plants overwintered, I had planted the seeds end of last summer/autumn

poppy small plants

some more small plants from last year, foxglove on the right, scabious to the left, sea holly far left, Japanese anemone in the middle, 2 possible viper's bugloss at the bottom

these borage have been growing - and flowering - right through the winter, above (centre) and below (below right) are knautia small plants

borage

I was wondering how long the muscari seedlings and bulblets would take  to bloom and this very very small muscari bloomed already after less than a year in this pot. Also snapdragon self-seeded in this pot.

muscari bulblets

on the right is a rush which has self-seeded in this pot

rush seedling

my neighbour's forsythia makes a magnificent display

forsythia

March 2017

This is the time when the gardenwithindoors overlaps with the gardenwithoutdoors, some bulbs which were intended for indoors are blooming outdoors. Those red tulips in the small tobacco jar were indoors but the aphids were so bad I banished it outside and now they are blooming. I had intended those muscari for indoors but never took them in.

a week later (after the next pic) those muscari are looking fab

muscari in blue and white pot

bulbs blooming

I had so many muscari in recent years and had so many seeds, which I tried planting but nothing happened, so surprised to discover these seedlings the other day. I don't know what's different about these, something about them, the conditions, the timing, made them germinate. Now I have to try to thin them and repot them. I wonder how long before they actually bloom, years I imagine.

muscari seedlings

I tried repotting those muscari seedlings and have made a bit of a dog's dinner of it. I had this idea of one seedling per cell but they are too fiddly and there are too many of them so I started putting clumps in and a few in a cell if I could. I guess the best way in future is a few seeds in each cell when I sow them. I never expected that amount of germination this time.

muscari seedlings

I planted all my spent forced hyacinth bulbs outdoors. That purple one in the middle decided to bloom again.

planted spent forced hyacinths outside

These are forced hyacinths from previous years blooming in the garden this year. Not so large but there's still life in them.

spent forced hyacinths planted outside

a week later and lots of those previously forced hyacinths are in full bloom, some rather small, but they are blooming

hyacinth

hyacinth

hyacinths

hyacinths

a close-up of one of those above, not sure which variety it was but it has the colouring of those Fresco hyacinths but I never bought them before so don't know

hyacinth

There were 8 or 10 hyacinths in that pot but doesn't look like it now. They weren't forced so what's their excuse! The small ones in the ground were forced from previous years.

spent forced hyacinths planted outside

self-seeded viola

violas in bloom

I am so happy I have flowers on my new rosemary from last year, one tiny flower is in the middle amongst the daffs. It's taken a year to flower but I feared it would be longer.

flowering rosemary

close-up of that first flower and buds

flowering rosemary

my other flowering rosemary which I bought in bloom a couple years ago

flowering rosemary

I received a £5 voucher from the garden centre and was going to put it towards more perlite and vermiculite, which I like to mix with seed compost, but at the garden centre I couldn't resist more ranunculus. That makes 3 suppliers to compare (unexpectedly). I wasn't really intending to buy so many or to do a formal comparison but it looks like I will. Soaked tubers today and planted them. Still awaiting first sprouts from the other 2 suppliers' tubers.

Taylors ranunculus

I'm not sure how so many seeds get into a small pot like this but they seem to have. I see grass, green alkanet, cerinthe, viola, lesser knapweed, foxglove, maybe centaurea montana. I will try to repot and give them all more room.

self-seeded pot

I was trying to get a shot of Bear (black and white cat) on the fence next door but he's just too far away but wanted to document how the garden looks now (in March).

3 of the polyanthus I sowed last year are in full bloom now, 2 more in bud, 5 plants in total from a packet of 100 seeds, not great but at least I got something!

polyanthus

February 2017

I was given a few snowdrops a few years ago by a fellow gardener and a few have bloomed recently. Most seem to be smothered with grass and weeds but it is the garden next door and I haven't cleared it recently. I pretty much leave it and it just gets on with it.

snowdrops

even though it's been so cold the lupin seeds are continuing to sprout up after being planted last summer/autumn

lupin seedlings

I bought the ranunculus and anemone from Sainsbury's and planted them the other day, soaking both for a few hours before. Those ranunculus sure look pretty dry and shriveled but will wait and see.

ranunculus tubers and anemone bulbs

the next week I bought these Lily of the Valley rhizomes

Sainsburys Lily of the Valley rhizomes

The tulips in this dialene bowl are sprouting. I'm not sure what variety but maybe Silver Parrot. I didn't buy that many tulips but that was one kind I did buy. I think the bulbs in the rack of terracotta pots are muscari.

tulips in dialene bowl

I think these must be Tête-a-tête narcissus but I can't remember exactly why they ended up in this pot. Looks like an anemone as well. The pots in the background on the right are the anemone and ranunculus I just planted. Not sure the best time to plant those but I know in the past when I've planted them in the autumn they grew leaves quickly which then just died back so this year I'm trying February but I did notice some in Sainsbury's yesterday that said plant March - May so maybe I'm a bit early but confirms autumn is not the time. (Even though I did order some anemone and ranunculus with my hyacinth bulbs, no doubt I will be tempted to try those Sainsbury's ones).

narcissus tete-a-tete

I think these are Little Princess tulips in the blue and white pot at the front but my records aren't complete so will have to wait and see for sure.

small tulips

Sadly my large SylvaC pot which I left outside this winter has broken. It did have a crack before but that didn't seem to be a problem. I think those are Tête-a-tête narcissus but again, will have to wait and see. I see there's deadnettle growing through them.

SylvaC pot with frogs and lizard

Looks like this anemone has been eaten by slugs already. The slugs survived the winter.

slug-eaten anemone

the anemone in this pot seems to have been out of the way of the slugs, agastache just sprouting to the left

anemone small plant

Concentrating on plants the slugs don't eat seems the best bet. I see 2 slug-eaten seedlings left front of this pot yet the viola is untouched.

viola seedling

my seed-grown polyanthus also seem to be uninteresting to the slugs, as does the foxglove

seed-grown polyanthus small plants

as are these scabious

scabious

violas are great self-seeders, this one is growing right through this prickly sow thistle

viola growing through prickly sow thistle

Seeds

It's time to start thinking about seeds. I have some seed I collected last year, eg borage, nigella, etc (will check what seed heads I have), some seed packets left from last year, eg cornflower and scabious and I carefully chose 5 kinds to buy. If I want to track them carefully I can't do too many:

  dierama, monkshood and echium blue bedder (aka viper's bugloss)  tried all 3 before without success but having one more final go before I give up and just buy plants if I want them

  meadow cranesbill and greater knapweed, think I've tried both before without much luck but can't remember how carefully

 

Chinese Lanterns

In January, the brilliant orange of the Chinese Lanterns is fading, leaving a skeleton around the seed pod.

chinese lanterns

I have tried planting the seeds but not in any controlled scientific way. I tend to throw collected seed into any old pot with other seeds and other plants. Not surprisingly I have not noticed anything of the chinese lanterns but I am going to try again this year doing it properly. From what I see, these have spread by roots and without those annoying bluebell clumps which I removed a few years ago, they are doing very well.

chinese lanterns

I collected some of the lanterns which contain the fruit with seeds. One thing I hadn't noticed before is the slugs! so many of them had traces of slug slime and slugs themselves on them. They were eating the orange covering. As those inner orange fruits dry, the seeds are released. The two top right are just showing the seeds in them.

chinese lanterns with seeds

I was hoping I might get flowers on the prostrate rosemary I bought last year as very small plants and it looks like there might just be buds. I'm very excited - and impatient for them to develop and open - if indeed they are flower buds; maybe they're just new leaves. (Sadly my camera is just not focussing properly to show them more clearly.)

rosemary buds

The cold weather is not stopping this one from blooming. I know it's hard to see but this one has beautiful purple/blue flowers and has done on and off since I bought it, regardless of the temperature.

flowering protrate rosemary

difficulties of urban gardening

My front garden is both too tidy and too messy, there's both room for a homeless man to roll out his sleeping bag and have a kip along with rubbish from the neighbour making him think it was okay? Seeing him in the morning was the last thing I expected to see in my garden!

on the other side of the garden . . . the chinese lanterns at at their peak

chinese lantern

chinese lantern

chinese lantern

Chinese Lanterns

the self-seeded borage is in bloom

borage

borage with the blooming rosemary in the background

borage

the rosemary is still in bloom

rosemary in bloom

rosemary in bloom

close-up of one of the rosemary flowers

rosemary in bloom

cerinthe and borage in bloom, spent flowerspikes of agastache and spent sedums flowerheads

close-up of the cerinthe flowers from above

cerinthe

the snapdragons are still in bloom

snapdragon

with all those pots shown above, I have little room to plant more bulbs but I find if I want a decent display of even a few bulbs I need to buy fresh so a few daffodils and tulips have gone into new pots, a bit boring plastic ones but at least I can move them around easily when they are in bloom (end of October, fine for tulips but perhaps a little late for the daffodils)

mid-October 2016

Victor sitting in the centre of the back garden

close-up of Victor, looking ever so serious

the time of year for the chinese lanterns in the front garden

that sycamore stump in the middle keeps sprouting and I keep cutting the sprouts back - difficult at this time of year because I don't want to walk on and damage the chinese lanterns

this cyclamen coum has been eaten by slugs but has some flowers left

cyclamen coum

this clycamen coum is not far from the one above but it has even more slug damage, still has a few buds

cyclamen coum

I think of borage as being a spring/summer flower but these self-seeded plants have buds, I'll see how they survive as it gets colder

borage buds

beginning of September to mid-October

It's a shame snails can look so cute when they are SO destructive. I found 3 snails and a huge slug in this small watering can when I went to use it to top up my bulb pots in the cellar.

snail

the nasturtiums are still blooming

nasturtium

nasturtium

blue green alkanet flower in the background

nasturtium

About a month ago now (mid-Sept) the snapdragons were at their peak in this flowerbed, to the left my new rhubarb and lots of green alkanet starting and some foxgloves (one in centre above the snapdragons). Hard to tell apart but I have lots of both so very familiar with them: foxgloves have very soft leaves, green alkanet have textured rough stinging leaves.

snapdragons in bloom

one lone blue cornflower in bloom on those brown stems

late blue cornflower

I was surprised to see the comfrey in full bloom mid-October, all summer the bees were on it every time I saw the flowers, sadly no bees right now

comfrey

While I was at the back of the garden looking at the comfrey I was reviewing my sad-looking compost pile. Apparently Camden (my local borough) is moving onto rubbish collection every other week, recycling collection every week and charging for garden waste so thinking I need to do more composting. I'm not sure I have enough material for composting to break down stems like ivy but too much for a small pile like this so I need to improve it, so far, not sure how.

I'm still intrigued with red plants and what causes them. I have lots of forget-me-nots as they are a very stong self-seeder and I like them (ie I don't pull them out) but I have never seen one so red-tinged as this one. Coincidentally the nasturtium on the right is one of the darker-leaved variations I have. Does that have anything to do with the forget-me-not? I don't know.

red leaved forget-me-not

I love rosemary with flowers and have not been able to get them to flower so I bought this prostrate one in flower, the only reasonably priced rosemary in flower I have come across, presumably because it's small.  I have re-potted it once and it's filled this pot so needs re-potting again.

rosemary with flowers

it was sitting in this flowerbed but I moved it to photograph it more clearly, I hadn't even noticed the lesser knapweed self-seeding in the pot until I looked at the photo

rosemary with flowers

Having found one small prostrate one in flower, I though these prostrate rosemary might be quicker to flower. Waiting to see.

prostrate rosemary

At the end of the summer I am preparing for my bulb forcing (see gardenwithindoors), beginning with tidying up the patio. In the background to the right are some more shelves for the garden I bought on ebay.

I painted those shelves and started getting my hyacinth vases organized. As soon as I put that small table there, Bear had to jump up on it.

hyacinth vases

When I checked on the Green Wizard rudbeckia I saw the slugs have now found it, must get it off the ground but so far nowhere is safe. I'm investigating hanging some pots on the fence.

green wizard rudbeckia

green wizard rudbeckia

One of my outstanding tasks was to sort out this chicory which I grew from seed. The pot it was in I had put on another pot not realizing what would happen.

The roots went down into the lower pot and out the bottom of that.

I took off the bottom pot relatively easily.

I could not remove the upper pot unless I destroyed all those roots so I cut it off the best I could, leaving the bottom of the pot between the roots.

chicory

I chose a reasonably clear space in the garden so I could dig a large hole to accommodate those long roots.

chicory

The other chicory plants I had already planted in the garden. The slugs had initially eaten all the chicory seedlings but luckily there had been a few out of the way which they hadn't gotten to so I ended up with 5 plants. I feared the slugs would eat the chicory plants when I put them in the ground but either I managed to removed enough slugs or they only like the fresh growth but the chicory are still there and appear undamaged.  (They look like giant dandelion, the clearest one is at the back, there's also one front left and right.) They're biennial so will bloom next year.

chicory

the nepeta is looking good, the bees love the purple flowers

nepeta

mid-August 2016

I found myself at a garden centre last week and couldn't resist the 4 perennials for £10 offer: another sea holly which looks so healthy and beautiful next to one of my self-seeded ones, a green wizard rudbeckia which I have attempted at least twice from seed without success, a sedum which I thought would be good in this hot dry weather needing less watering and a hosta as my current ones are like lace from slug damage.

sea holly

green wizard rudbeckia

pics of sedum and hosta to follow

oenothera versicolor, not bad for a self-seeder

oenothera

even more morning glory flowers every day

morning glory

the snapdragons are producing flowers of various colours, this colour is my favourite

pink snapdragon

this rose appeared to be half-dead earlier in the summer but it's come back and flowered, in 10 years it hasn't grown any larger and produces only 1 flower

rose bud

these are my roses shown to compare sizes, the orangey one above is quite small, the pinky one is very large behind, would be even larger if I didn't prune it, I don't understand why that foreground one is so small and never grows taller

one oenothera versicolor that has self-seeded this year, a couple years ago I had dozens self-seeding from just 1 plant that bloomed the previous year, I will need to remove the flowers after wilting before the seeds escape, surrounding the oenothera are verbascum seedlings, again from only 1 plant I had a couple years ago

oenothera versicolour

this is my seed-grown delphinium, I put it up on the top shelf to keep the slugs away from it but the nearby morning glory strangled it

delphinium

delphinium

an update on some of my seedlings: that oenothera in the middle before I repotted it, the chicory behind it looking like giant dandelions (must get them planted in the ground but worried about the slugs), nepeta on the left, polyanthus to the right of the nepeta, scabious on the right, so far just upright leaves

August 2016

the Grandpa Otts morning glory continues flowering, still no flowers from the other variety

Grandpa Otts morning glory

the water lily keeps flowering as well

water lily

surprisingly the red poppy (was supposed to be Seriously Scarlet but I doubt that) has a second bud

poppy

the bees are loving the buddleja in the front garden near the pavement

bee on buddleja

the last shrub I had in that position people passing pulled off every woody flowering stem, eventually ruining it, the buddleja was free!

bee on buddleja

this phormium bloomed recently

phormium

hollyhocks are the star of the garden next door

hollyhocks

The ornamental artichokes are fantastic at this time of year.

artichoke flowers

They have spread next door and the next garden as well.

artichoke flowers

a better view of the artichokes next door

artichoke flowers

bees are also loving the scabious

bee on scabious

and the lesser knapweed

bee on lesser knapweed

the velvety buds of and "ebony" (of Ebony and Ivory scabious

Ebony and Ivory scabious

Liverwort: how bad is it?, can self-seeders grow through it?

I noticed this sprout in the middle (towards the left) and wasn't sure if it was part of the liverwort or something that was growing through it.

liverwort

I pulled up the liverwort, the roots are like cotton wool, and that sprout does seem to be a separate plant.

liverwort

As well as that original sprout I saw there seems to be another on the left, I will see if they survive - and what they are

A green alkanet has self-seeded against the fence amidst the sea hollies on the left, that is coming out, much as I love green alkanet I don't want it everywhere. The nepeta is blooming, the phlomis is still blooming and a viola has appeared in the small pot. A globe thistle has appeared in that pot of poppies. It's going in the flowerbed (to the right).

This sea holly, still in a pot, suddenly bloomed recently, there's another sea holly next to it that has not bloomed, also a self-seeded scented-leaf geranium which has not bloomed yet, a hollyhock and a snapdragon.

that slug-eaten sea holly is to the left below, I've put that copper tape in a ring around it to stop the slugs eating it

sea holly

a close-up of the sea holly inside the copper

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