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Welcome to my gardening blog

flowerpot for a pillow

I hope I can share a little of what I've learned - and there is so much more to learn. Let's learn to love dandelions! and all those wildflowers that are so helpful for bees.dandelion

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Victor using a flowerpot for a pillow

mid-September 2019

I have a lot of pots! I tend to need to put plants in pots: 1. to keep them away from the slugs 2. to make use of the sun on the patio 3. to have plants in the very shallow flowerbed along the front path which isn't deep enough for normal planting. It's the time of year to review the pots:

1. Pots with annuals that have finished.

an empty pot will be a magnet for forget-me-nots, verbascum and wild basil

2. Pots with perennials that I'll set aside until next year.

the knautia spent stems need to be cut back and guess I should feed them

3. New plants (both grown myself and bought) not planted out yet.

the slugs love the greater knapweed seedlings so still haven't planted it out yet

4. New plants (grown myself and bought) which I'm not sure where to put.

self-heal

self-heal

moving the pots about reveals these slugs, the white things are their eggs, those of a sensitive disposition, look away now, I wrap them in a paper towel and cut them in half and the eggs get smashed

slugs

 

one of the intermittent shoo fly flowers today, they don't last long and there aren't that many of them but today when I went outside to take photos, there was one looking beautiful

shoo fly flower

a scabious that self-seeded, maybe small / columbaria scabious?

scabious flower

September 2019

The yucca was here in the front garden when I moved in. The leaves are incredibly spiky so I guess it's good for security in front of the window but it's never been my favourite. In recent years, the hot summers seem to have brought on flowering (I don't recall it flowering in the first years I was here). This year the flowers are earlier and there are two rather than the usual one spike. When photographing them today I noticed bees which I hadn't realized were visiting it. Suddenly I like it a lot more!

yucca with bee

close-up of that bee in the photo above

yucca with bee

yucca flower with bee

Purple loosestrife I bought at a garden centre as my pond was a bit depleted. Only 1 plant of something like this is required - it's amazing.  Looks like some veronica beccabunga is growing. I had it in the past but thought it was gone. It had spread so much I pulled the runners out and I seemed to have done it too much but it survived. On the right, just visible is a water avens I bought at the garden centre at the same time as the purple loosestrife. I look forward to flowers next spring. The pond is a preformed plastic one with a leak so some serious repair / replacement it required. Other plants that haven't survived are a yellow flag and cat tails but now I see the beccabunga I will look for shoots and maybe they're there since the overwhelming calla lily has been removed.

purple loosestrife

I didn't plant any chicory seeds this year but maybe this enormous "dandelion" is a chicory seedling? I'm not sure. Comparing to previous years' chicory seedlings, it doesn't have any upright growth but maybe it's early yet. It would be nice as I didn't even think about planting chicory seeds. I'm going to wait and see. If it's just a dandelion - the bees will have and early (or late) dandelion.

photobombed by a cat - as usual, this has self-seeded in a pot, possibly autumn hawkbit?? one of my naughty squirrel visitors has disturbed the pot, like the foxes, which can be so destructive, they are so cute and I put nuts out for them - and this is how they repay me by burying them in my pots!

In spite of savage weeding and spraying weedkiller my neighbour has not succeeded in totally obliterating the soapwort - thank goodness. Why he ripped everything out of that flower bed - but left a broom, a bucket and other rubbish, I don't understand. The cherry laurel stump is also growing and will be out of control in no time. I pruned it earlier this year but despite him banishing me from the garden, he is not pruning it himself. 

close-up view or the closest my camera can get anyway

end of August 2019

another flush of greater knapweed flowers

greater knapweed

the Chinese lanterns are turning orange (the greater knapweed is just to the left of the front path just out of shot)

chinese lanterns

the flowers are so unnoticeable (green lantern underneath which will turn orange in coming weeks)

chinese lantern flower

I have the final few plants I grew from seed. Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica, obviously aren't going to bloom this year. I finally planted them in larger pots.

the slugs had been eating them before so not sure how they'll do in the pots (3 round, 1 square), in the pots I can put them more in the sun when I've cleared some spent plants

salvis sclarea turkestanica

These meadow clary (Salvia pratensis) are surprisingly small, also in smaller pots,

meadow clary

thought I'd try them all together in the this very large pot. I can always divide them next year. Anything in small the pots the foxes are playing with, taking next door, etc. so needed to get things planted, even if into pots rather than in the ground. In the ground I worry about slugs.

meadow clary

Rudbeckia Green Wizard which I bought a few years ago (previous attempts growing from seed were unsuccessful but maybe because of my aggressive slugs), I hadn't planted it out but still the slugs got to it, I moved it off the ground / out of the way and it grew back but the slugs got to it again, the cycle was repeated a few times. At some point I managed to put it on some shelves away from the slugs and it grew back the last time and I planted it in this larger pot. I still can't put it in the ground and not sure where to put the pot long term but it is now on some tall shelves. Can it bloom in a pot? I don't know but I'll see next year I guess.

green wizard

This is my last delphinium small plant (of 4 ) that I grew from seed earlier this year, the slugs got the others; also in the pot is my last melancholy thistle. The slugs loved them! This pot is also on the tall shelves. I have another packet of melancholy thistle seeds to try again.

August 2019

I came back from holiday (on Hayling Island - lots of plants seen, will post photos in coming days) and see the rain had encouraged some new flowers.

the chicory has a new flush of flowers - which a bee is enjoying

chicory with bee

chicory with bee

the bought sea holly plants on the right, mostly brown but a few newer flowers, my seed-sown sea holly on the left, mostly green still but ones in front of the ladder turning blue and some fresh nepeta faassenii flowers and ox-eye daisy

sea holly

some completely new echium Blue Bedder plants - in bloom

echium blue bedder

echium blue bedder

a new knautia macedonica

knautia macedonica

and snapdragon

snapdragon

before I went away, the globe thistles were in full bloom and attracting bees

globe thistle with bee

globe thistle with bee

globe thistle with bee

globe thistle with bee

I guess the bees eventually go to the veronica longifolia but it's not their first choice but I love the purple flowers

veonica longifolia

before I went away I had a new water lily in bloom

water lily

I grew these hyssop from seed last year, finally in bloom this year - but white instead of purple flowers I was expecting

hyssop white flowers

hyssop white flower

hyssop white flower

speaking of bees, I had them on the musk mallow

musk mallow

the scabiosa Perfection Blue

scabiosa perfection blue with bee

lesser knapweed

lesser knapweed

lesser knapweed with bee

and looking back I see bumblebees were on the globe thistles end of July

globe thistle with bumblebee

globe thistle with bumblebee

first flowers of the marsh mallow I grew some seed

marsh mallow flowers

end of July 2019

Thank goodness it has cooled down and we've had some rain. The bees have been enjoying the flowers blooming in this hot weather.

lavender

lavender with bee

nepeta cataria / catnip / catmint

nepeta cataria with bee

Japanese anemone

japanese anemone with bee

globe thistles

globe thistles with bee

passionflower

passionflower with bee

More flowers for bees at Flowers for Bees page.

The cloudier weather has made it easier to take some photos; it had been difficult to photograph this white hyssop flower in the bright sun.

hyssop flower

I grew this hyssop from seeds I bought in Seoul, sown last summer, eaten voraceously by slugs but 3 plants survived because I've kept them off the ground away from the slugs, and now the first flowers. I wasn't expecting white flowers - thought they'd be purple. The photo on the seed packet had purple flowers but maybe there's something in the text that says "white". I'm learning Korean but not up to reading the seed packet yet but I'll look for the word "white". The pot on the right kept getting knocked over and peanuts buried in it by squirrels so it doesn't look so good and no buds.

hyssop

Two plants that didn't bloom at all last year because of the drought and heatwave: crocosima and agapanthus, but thankfully blooming this year.

agapanthus

agapanthus

crocosima

crocosima

mid-July 2019

the bees (bumble and honey) - and hoverflies - are loving the artichokes

artichoke with bees

artichoke with bees

passionflower with bee

goat's-rue by the canal with a bee

goat's-rue with bee

goat's-rue with bee

goat's-rue with bee

goat's-rue canal lock

My greater knapweed seem to be struggling a bit, I guess the environment isn't great, a shallow flowerbed that isn't watered enough (I can't water the garden except for pots) but at least a bee is there.

greater knapweed with bee

Two of the meadow cranesbill I grew from seed are finally blooming. I've had intermittent flowering from the few resulting plants.

meadow cranesbill

meadow cranesbill

The Chinese lanterns turned out to be easy to grow from seed. A few in that trough, which ideally I'd put next door for my downstairs neighbour but the upstairs neighbour is so horrible and refused me access to the garden (even though it's shared with the downstairs neighbour). I can't carry it through her flat.

chinese lanterns

One of my teasels in the back garden is blooming. Some self-seeded next door but that neighbour cut them down (and everything else, he even sprayed weedkiller - I am so upset).

close-up of the flower

teasel flower

view of the entire plant

teasel

at least in the front next door he hasn't started cutting anything down but maybe it's only a matter of time, teasels and artichokes

teasel artichoke

another view of them, not sure which is better

teasel and artichokes

water collected in the teasel leaves

teasel with water

hollyhocks used to be the star of the garden next door but the hollyhock weevil seriously reduced numbers, I am trying to grow some replacements from seed but the slugs are seriously damaging the seedlings, I am going to try keeping them in pots until they are larger and maybe able to survive? mugwort to the left

mugwort hollyhocks

field scabious I grew from seed

field scabious

After this garden was completely destroyed with building work, I sowed some green manure seeds  onto the bare earth. These seed pods must be from the few surviving plants of the tare / vetch. I'm going to try sowing some of the seeds.

vetch tare seed pods

the verbascum thapsis appeared on its own

verbascum thapsis

this poppy also found its way on its own

poppy atlantic

best buys from the garden centre - out of the skip, santolina and pelargonium

Santolina rosmarinifolia

.pelargonium

July 2019

I have some Chinese lanterns. After the drought and heatwave last year affecting them badly I wasn't sure they'd survive. Thank goodness this year has been wetter and cooler.

Chinese lanterns

I gave in and bought sea holly plants as the slugs have attacked mine and the bees are all over them.

sea holly with bees

my one large sunflower, echium Blue Bedder behind to the right still going strong but the Lauren's Grape poppies behind are finished now pretty much

sea holly

a pleasing basket of violas, Chicky Chicks originally I think, although they've self-seeded and renewed themselves a few times, I don't really have anywhere to put a hanging basket which I'd planted for someone else who couldn't use it so it's just on a rung of that little table

viola Chicky Chicks

self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) I grew from seed

self-heal prunella vulgaris

self-heal prunella vulgaris

I didn't think my first sowing of self-heal seeds had survived the slugs (but they had) so sowed more seeds so I have 3 pots of self-heal altogether although those two at the front seem to have much darker leaves, I don't know why

self-heal

one Beaconsfield pansy grown from seed above and below along with another pot of it, a nice number of flowers right now but think it's only 3 or 3 plants - all I got from the packet of seeds

Beaconsfield pansy

the artichokes are starting to bloom

artichokes blooming

some artichokes next door to the right, just visible in the photo above, also some hollyhocks although a lot fewer this year after they were badly affected by the drought, heatwave and hollyhock weevil, I am attempting to grow some more from seed but the slugs are attacking them and I just don't have enough room to keep them off the ground and away from them

nepeta faassenii, garden catnip / catmint

nepeta

nepeta cataria, catnip / catmint

nepeta cataria

nepeta cataria

Summer 2019

Lauren's Grape poppy in bloom and attracting bees

lauren's grape poppy with bee

lauren's grape poppy with bee

the scabiosa Perfection Blue has finally attracted bees

scabiosa Perfection Blue with bee

speaking of bees, I saw these catsear locally with bees a few weeks ago, I just came across the photos and realised I'd never uploaded them

catsear with bee

birdsfoot trefoil top left

catsear birdsfoot trefoil with bee

I had one sunflower last year from seed seeds that came with something and this year I had one self-seeding, presumably from last year's.

sunflower

this is what happens in my garden, hydrangea (good buy from Sainsbury's, happen to be there when they'd put these out) surrounded by self-seeders, clockwise from top right: lesser knapweed, goat willow (just top visible), forget-me-not, ivy-leaved toadflax, dog violet and not self-seeded but prevalent in my garden, bergenia and Chinese lanterns in pots after my successful experiment growing them from seed

hydrangea

this also happens in my garden, sadly

I tried growing melancholy thistle from seed and although I had reasonble seedlings the slugs were fierce and I lost every one, this one appeared with some hollyhock seedlings but it too got attacked

slug-eaten melancholy thistle seedling

this also happens in my garden, I bought this rudbeckia Green Wizard as attempts from seed failed, before I could plant it out, the slugs got it, it grew back, slugs got it again, it's grown back again so I am reluctant to plant it out until it gets larger and I figure out where to put it away from the slugs, meanwhile lots of self-seeders! tiny poppy (which assumes adjusts its size to fit its environment), dog violet, snapdragons, deadnettle and verbena bonariensis

tiny self-seeded poppy

flowers - end of June 2019

I am having a very difficult week (so far been stung by a bee (excruciatingly painful), been aggressively confronted by a neighbour who says he doesn't want my cats in "his" garden (it's a shared garden) and having migraine auras everyday) so want to focus on my flowers for a welcome distraction.

The buddleja is blooming, haven't seen any bees so far but it's been raining on and off for a week. I did have a  (expensive) star jasmine at the front but passing people pulled off every woody flowering stem and it died so thought a free self-seeded buddleja was a great alternative.

buddleja

there's also jasmine which was here when I moved in and the fragrance is wonderful

jasmine

this senecio (yes I know it's brachyglottis now but it still is senecio to me) was also here when I moved in and although it's not my favourite, it makes a nice barrier to block the unsightly wheelie bins

brachyglottis greyi

the meadow cranesbill is blooming and there is still green alkanet

meadow cranesbill

moving to the back garden, the self-seeded poppy I assumed was a Black Swan which I grew last year, is not, not sure what variety it is, a fox-and-cubs is just visible to the right of it at the bottom

poppy

the small part of the salvia black and blue that has survived is blooming

salvia black and blue

a nasturtium self-seeded in a little dirt that accumulated at the edge of the patio

nasturtium

nasturtium flower

That echium I first thought was vulgare then Blue Bedder, I think is indeed vulgare. It looks different from the Blue Bedder now. The patio is crowded with plants so a bit difficult to see but it's in the terracotta-coloured pot, in front is a foxglove and a sea holly. I thought the sea hollies hadn't survived but some smaller ones in that grey trough (just visible) have buds.

echium vulgare

That echium vulgare is now easier to compare with the just starting to bloom echium Blue Bedder whose leaves are larger and more rounded.

echium Blue Bedder

a larger pot of the Blue Bedder with buds just starting to open

echium Blue Bedder

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