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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

 

May 2022

It has been so dry, no rain for weeks. The only up side is fewer slugs.

green alkanet laughs at lack of rain - and isn't bothered by slugs, the bees love it, I love it, if nothing else is looking good in my garden, those brilliant blue green alkanet flowers are looking great - my essential garden flower

green alkanet with bee

green alkanet with bee

the hostas are benefitting from fewer slugs

hosta

hosta

hosta

melancholy thistle buds

melancholy thistle bud

melancholy thistle

melancholy thistle

giant scabious I grew from seed, started last year, 2 plants, one large in the middle and smaller top left, self-seeded claytonia in the pot as well

giant scabious

my acanthus, which did not bloom last year, think because the slugs destroyed the bud, but with fewer slugs this year, a bud has developed and survived

acanthus bud

monkshood and self-seeders

I have a pot with a few seedlings which I thought were delphiniums but then I thought maybe monkshood and delphiniums as 2 looked quite similar but the 3rd was a bit different, then I put the pot next to my monkshood (see next photo) 

Putting the pot next to the monkshood has been a revelation, the front two seedlings definitely look like monkshood, not sure why the taller one looks a bit different but will just have to see how it develops. I did have 2 monkshood plants there but one has not come back this spring. Actually I don't think it came back last spring but it's a miracle this one has and collecting and planting seeds seems to have been a success. Will have to see how they develop and whether they actually flower one day. Not sure how long they take to mature.

monkshood

fringecups seem to have self-seeded

fringecups

fringecups

and the veronica longifolia into this pot of selfheal

veronica longifolia

rosettes and first beaked hawk's-beard in bloom

The first beaked hawk's-beard (Crepis vesicaria) in bloom this spring that I've seen. Sadly just on the other side of that low wall was full of common whitlowgrass and thale cress and hairy bittercress last year but it's been sprayed with weedkiller and there's nothing.

beaked hawk's-beard Crepis vesicaria

across the road is guaranteed to be hoary mustard (Hirschfeldia incana)

hoary mustard rosette hirschfeldia incana

hoary mustard hirschfeldia incana

hoary mustard hirschfeldia incana

hoary mustard  hirschfeldia incana

other rosettes include: bristly oxtongue (Helminthotheca echioides)

bristly oxtongue Helminthotheca echioides

shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)

shepherd's purse Capsella bursa-pastoris

hedge mustard (Sisymbrium officinale)

hedge mustard Sisymbrium officinale

and some beaked hawk's-beard (Crepis vesicaria) with lots of fat buds

beaked hawk's-beard crepis vesicaria

beaked hawk's-beard Crepis vesicaria

London Rocket

I haven't seen London rocket (Sisymbrium irio) much before, if at all, but found this in Whitechapel. Camden is much too tidy and weedkillered to allow it.

The first time I saw it (19-3-2022) it was only leaves.

london rocket sisymbrium irio

london rocket sisymbrium irio

7-4-2022 in bloom

london rocket sisymbrium irio

london rocket Sisymbrium irio

london rocket Sisymbrium irio

london rocket Sisymbrium irio

23-4-2022 with seed pods

london rocket sisymbrium irio

london rocket sisymbrium irio

london rocket sisymbrium irio

london rocket sisymbrium irio

other East End rosettes: catsear on the left and 5 beaked hawk's-beard (Crepis vesicaria)

as above, a catsear on the left, beaked hawk's-beard and a dandelion on the right

tulips, muscari and auriculas

the auriculas are starting to bloom, this is my favourite one

a forget-me-not has self-seeded in one of the auricula pots

a few days later

auriculas

I love Professor Rontgen tulips and although I try different tulips, I come back to this one.

Professor Rontgen tulips

I got these as an impulse purchase at Sainsbury's, labelled "Pink Parrot", they don't look very parrot-y to me but they bloomed and look good.

Pink Parrot tulip

I love the purple glaucous colour of the Hermitage tulips before they open

Hermitage tulip

Hermitage tulip

Hermitage tulip

tulip Hermitage

the Hermitage tulips and growing with the muscari, below with a bee

bee on muscari

the bees are liking the muscari, one of the few things I have in bloom at the moment

bee on muscari

a few days later, all the Hermitage tulips in bloom and the bright orange replacing the glaucous purple of the buds

Hermitage tulips

I buy sea holly regularly because I love them but so do the slugs and snails so they don't last.These eryngiums Big Blue looked fab at the garden centre. I couldn't decide between the  well-developed buds almost blooming and the huge one so bought both.

eryngium Big Blue

I have 2 Magical Blue Lagoon sea hollies left from last year, this is one. Some nepeta around it, attracting the cat there.

this is the other, with a scabious self-seeding in the pot

I moved some pots around to see what's growing and Rocky has come to a pot of nepeta. Lone anemone above. Had many more last year. They don't seem to last, not in my garden anyway.

giant scabious I grew from seed last year, seems to be doing well, I removed the green alkanet from the pot, also need to remove a winter purslane and beccabunga which have self-seeded

giant scabious

monkshood, I had two but only 1 seems to have survived

monkshood

marsh mallow I grew from seed a few years ago, I see a hogweed has self-seeded and purple toadflax?

close-up of those purple toadflax ? from above, will have to see for sure what they are when they bloom

The pot these fringecups were in broke last year so they were sitting on top of the soil awaiting repotting which I finally got around to this week. They aren't looking great but they're still alive. I hope they'll recover enough to bloom again one day, maybe not till next year?

fringecups

Rocky

Scarecrow and Victor

green alkanet / foxglove / comfrey / borage / salvia sclarea

All these (green alkanet / foxglove / comfrey / borage / salvia sclarea ) have similar textured leaves and at times can be difficult to tell apart. I have all these in my garden so I recently took photos of each for comparison.

green alkanet, smaller leaves below are nepeta

green alkanet Pentaglottis sempevirens

green alkanet Pentaglottis sempevirens

foxglove

foxglove Digitalis purpurea

sometimes the leaves are very textured

foxglove Digitalis purpurea

often have that lighter colour in the middle

foxglove Digitalis purpurea

foxglove Digitalis purpurea

comfrey, leaves longer and thinner with a distinctive pattern

comfrey Symphytum officinale

the comfrey 10 days later

comfrey

borage (Borago officinalis)

borage (Borago officinalis)

clary sage cultivar (Salvia sclarea var tukestanica)

Salvia sclarea var tukestanica

Crepis vesicaria (beaked hawk's-beard) and friends

In Whitechapel yesterday there was a lot of Crepis vesicaria - more than I tend to see in Camden. Any small plants I do see in Camden, tend to be mown down before they bloom. I'll have to make a trip to Whitechapel in a couple weeks to see if these are allowed to survive and bloom.

crepis vesicaria

Crepis vesicaria in the foreground, abandoned detail of the Bishopsgate goods yard viaduct which is on the right, railway line on the left

Crepis vesicaria Pedley Street Bishopsgate goods yard

crepis vesicaria

lots of buds

Crepis vesicaria

cow parsley

cow parsley

narrow-leaved ragwort

narrow-leaved ragwort

fodder burnet (Poterium sanguisorba subsp. balearicum)

fodder burnet (Poterium sanguisorba subsp. balearicum)

fodder burnet (Poterium sanguisorba subsp. balearicum)

fodder burnet (Poterium sanguisorba subsp. balearicum)

fodder burnet (Poterium sanguisorba subsp. balearicum)

and in Islington, shepherd's purse

shepherd's purse

thale cress

thale cress

narrow-leaved ragwort

narrow-leaved ragwort Senecio inaequidens

some rosettes

winter purslane (Claytonia perfoliata)

winter purslane claytonia perfoliata rosette

winter purslane claytonia perfoliata rosette

Jersey cudweed (Helichrysum luteoalbum)

Helichrysum luteoalbum jersey cudweed

hoary mustard (Hirschfeldia incana)

hoary mustard (Hirschfeldia incana)

hoary mustard Hirschfeldia incana

nettle-leaved bellflower (Campanula trachelium)

nettle-leaved bellflower Campanula trachelium

nettle-leaved bellflower Campanula trachelium

Crepis vesicaria

beaked hawk's-beard Crepis vesicaria

ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris)

ragwort Jacobaea vulgaris

 

 

coltsfoot and hollyhocks

Online, people can be quite dogmatic and if one is not totally confident they can be swayed by them. I am quite embarrassed to say, I was one of those unconfident gardeners and listened to someone telling me to remove the coltsfoot in the garden next door I looked after as they considered coltsfoot very very invasive. I came to regret that and have developed more confidence in my gardening and am happy to grow what I want, regardless of other's views. I kept hoping the coltsfoot would grow back but I effectively killed the coltsfoot.

I decided I would grow some from seed or buy plants. I found some coltsfoot plug plants at British Wild Flower Plants, here repotted in small pots. With coltsfoot, flowers appear first and then the leaves after, so here they are in bloom or seed.

coltsfoot

I bought 10 hollyhocks as bare-rooted plants, repotted in these 9 pots. I guess I put 2 in one of the pots. Some look better than others. I'll see how they do. It's freezing cold so not the best time but I can't help that.

hollyhocks repotted

hollyhocks repotted

so many of my bulbs don't last long but these snakeshead fritilary have lasted and bloom every year, also one of my dandelions which I am going to try to identify

snakeshead fritilary

muscari latifolium and tulips

muscari and tulips

honesty

honesty

I do find it difficult to resist picking up something in the garden range from Sainsburys when I pop in. I like lily-of-the-valley and had some in the garden but it seems to have died in recent years so for this small price I thought I'd try them.

sainsburys lily-of-the-valley

they are completely hard and dry and appear dead - quite disappointing but I soaked them and potted them up, hoping they might have some life in them

sainsburys lily-of-the-valley

green alkanet and surviving seedlings from last year

I love green alkanet but enough is enough. It has completely taken over my pot of melancholy thistle. I guess I might have removed it sooner if I'd realised but it seems to have grown very quickly. I removed it and tried to replant them. They don't really like being disturbed like that so I'll see if they survive.

green alkanet melancholy thistle

I'm happy to see there are some melancholy thistle plants surviving under that green alkanet.

melancholy thislte

Rocky had to investigate.

He also checked out the hosta pot that I also removed a green alkanet from.

and the pot of marsh mallow, there's also some marsh mallow in the ground in front of the pot and green alkanet nearby, stinging nettle and an Acanthus spinosus which was savagely eaten by slugs last year so didn't bloom, maybe I can remove the slugs this year? I find that's the only method that works

marsh mallow

I only had 1 seed germinating last year from a packet of Centaurea montana seeds. Happy to see it survived, must plant it out.

centaurea montana

I only had 2 surviving giant scabious plants from a packet of seeds last year. About half a dozen had germinated but the slugs got some and foxes damaged some and a few days ago Rocky knocked this tray of pots off the table so it will be amazing if this blooms this year but I hope it will. Oops, I see a snail on a chicory seedling - must remove that.

I also notice a borage has self-seeded in the Centaurea dealbata (happy to see has survived) pot along with a dandelion.

I always have a lot of small scabious (Scabiosa columbaria) self-seeding in the garden. This is one from last year that I potted up and it's blooming, even in this freezing weather. It snowed yesterday.

small scabious

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