first flower of 2018

My first flower of 2018, polyanthus


the polyanthus seedlings are distinctive with that wrinkled first true leaf (the 3rd leaf on the seedling), I grew the plants above from seed last year so got to know the seedlings

polyanthus seedling

polyanthus seedling

I love buds, sometimes even more than the flowers. These are rosemary buds. My rosemary has been blooming on and off through the winter.

rosemary buds

St Pancras Old Church and the Hardy Tree - January 2018

Happy New Year

I seem to be in St Pancras Old Church Yard quite a lot taking photos, I thought it would be nice to present it properly - and the Hardy Tree. In the centre background is the Crick Institute which is behind the British Library on Euston Rd, London NW1. On the left background is just a bit of St Pancras Station. This historical church and churchyard has survived, against the odds, extremely close to central London.

St Pancras Old Church Hardy Tree

St Pancras Old Church sign

st pancras old church

hardy tree

hardy tree

this is the west side of the Hardy Tree, in the background is a new wall they erected when working on the railway lines out of St Pancras Station, just peaking above the wall are the gasometers they've moved and re-erected as part of the canal redevelopment

Hardy Tree west side

north side of the Hardy Tree

Hardy Tree north side

east side of the Hardy Tree

Hardy Tree east side

south side of the Hardy Tree

Hardy Tree south side

an old twisty tree, corkscrew hazel? in the churchyard

tree St Pancras Old Church

stonework St Pancras Old Church

I first saw butterbur in the churchyard


mahonia, unlike mine with rather flat sprays of flowers, this one has upright branches of flowers

mahonia St Pancras Old Church

horseweed, in the background is the coroner's court / mortuary that was built in 1886

horseweed St Pancras Old Church


late scabious

the fatsia japonica have striking seed heads developing this time of year; this one is in the churchyard of St Pancras Old Church

fatsia japonica St Pancras Old Church

another burial ground, St Andrews, off Grays Inn Rd

euryops pectinatus

another burial ground, St George's Gardens, and a view of what I seem to see wherever I go: the Post Office Tower

St George's Gardens

a close-up of that euphorbia; I'll go back to see it in bloom


the euphorbia with aucuba in the background

euphorbia and aucuba

another view of the Post Office Tower, from St Pancras Lock

Post Office Tower from St Pancras Lock

from the flowerbed near there, I'll check what that is but I love the cage around the bud -update- rudbeckia?

back in my garden, late scabious surrounded by spent globe thistles and sea holly


I was trying to capture the buddleja at each side of the bridge when I noticed the interesting graffiti; I couldn't fit the whole bridge in one shot

Camden Rd bridge buddleja

Camden Rd bridge buddleja

ivy seed head

ivy seed head

Autumn 2017

PLEASE do not re-use cut plastic bottles as cloches for plants in the garden.

This is a horrible result. Animals, in this case a fox, can get caught (later died). Please consider everything in your garden carefully.

Image may contain: plant and outdoor

(Mama Cat Trust Fox Rescue)

Cosmos on a gorgeous sunny day, 22-9-2017 first day of autumn, Avenue Gardens, Regent's Park. I didn't notice those shiny buds until I was at my pc - I love them. I must go back for another pic.

cosmos Avenue Gardens Regent's Park

phlox, I love the colour and scent but in my garden the slugs love them too, also in Avenue Gardens

phlox Avenue Gardens Regent's Park

I'm not sure what this is (yet) - Bidens? can't find the exact one.

Scarecrow and the yucca flower

yucca flower

the angelica I planted earlier this year won't bloom until next year but it looks like it's gotten well-established


a wall of wall lettuce

wall of wall lettuce

Plants Behaving Badly

hanging out at my local watching a giant crane (and London is a land of cranes at the moment so that's saying something) working on a building site by the Regent's Canal in Camden Town - and looking at weeds

close-up of those weeds, left to right wall lettuce, smooth sow thistle, dandelion and oxalis throughout

weeds Quinns

epic fails

new building, new garden with bamboo - and a giant dandelion! the largest I've ever seen, round the corner from me, London NW1

dandelion and bamboo

It's about 50 cm across

giant dandelion

a public area planting that's going a bit wrong, that bramble, not the thickest I've ever seen but going in that direction, Hampstead Rd, London NW1


the russian vine is consuming the sign for Warren Evans which is not readable now, Camden St (Camden Road station in the background)

russian vine

the Virginia creeper is escaping, nearby road, London NW1

virginia creeper

that squash my neighbour is growing has taken over that tree

squash in tree

ridiculously small window boxes, not enough soil to grow much of anything and how do you reach them to water them? nice collection of horseweed, Whitechapel, east London

window boxes

Seeds want to grow no matter what. I can't tell what they are but I'll pot them up and see. Probably deadnettle, maybe snapdragon.

- update -

I planted those seedlings above and yes, they are indeed deadnettle

deadnettle seedlings

another damn yellow composite, I am going to study these in more detail and try to come to terms with them, Warren Evans courtyard car park, London NW1

damn yellow composite

damn yellow composite

damn yellow composite

underside of one of these damn yellow composites, Camden Rd, London NW1

damn yellow composite

these damn yellow composites could turn into my life's work and it's only 1 page in my wildflower book!

damn yellow composites

not sure if this is creeping thistle or another, will go back and look at it further


I think it is creeping thistle. It's just a small example, just off Camden Road, 15-9-2017.

creeping thistle

creeping thistle flowers

one of the foxes knocked a large pot over revealing these slug and snail eggs, I've mushed all those I could, they rolled away and were difficult to get

slug and snail eggs

The Hardy Tree

You can't get too close to The Hardy Tree (in St Pancras Old Churchyard) as there are railings around it so this is the best pic I could get of the fascinating fungus growing amongst the gravestones.

white and black fungus Hardy Tree St Pancras Old Churchyard

wider pic of the fungus in situ

Hardy Tree St Pancras Old Churchyard

I dearly love "my" foxes but they are naughty when they dig things up. I noticed a very small echium Blue Bedder which had self-seeded and bloomed. By the time I went to take a pic it had been dug up.

echium blue bedder self-seeded

I'm still trying to figure out all these Damn Yellow Composites, a hoverfly on one.

hoverfly on damn yellow composite

I saw that growing in this walled car park / courtyard which is a nice protected environment for plants.

walled car park courtyard

you can only go in when the shop is open (and the gates are open)

I have finally, after weeks, if not months, of photographing the emilia, got a shot in focus.


new flowers from the scabious, more appreciated now as there's less in bloom

scabious blue cushion

scabious blue cushion

just the time for the Japanese anemone, they require zero attention and suddenly late in the summer start blooming

japanese anemone

first flower from one of the lupins, in the colour I prefer


unlike this colour which is "okay", at least there's a bee on it

lupin with bee

Chinese Lanterns

I tackled repotting the Chinese Lanterns first as they seemed most in need. The spreading stems became clear when I started removing them from the seed tray.

chinese lantern seedlings

I had to move those middle two plants together as they'd spread to the adjacent cell in the seed tray.

chinese lantern seedlings

additional stems forking from the main stem, on the right one just starting can be seen

chinese lantern seedlings

chinese lantern seedlings

I don't know what happens with them next. How long to flowering? When do those forking spreading stems turn into new flowering stems? I put about a dozen in this black trough.

chinese lantern small plants

half a dozen in this green trough

chinese lantern small plants

another half dozen in this trough which had a verbascum in it already

chinese lantern small plants

The final half dozen in this pot. I have a lot of Chinese Lanterns! Why are they so great? They put on a magnificent display, the slugs don't eat them (although I see something has) and they are tolerant of the shady conditions in my garden. I want to see if they are as tolerant of being in a pot.

chinese lantern small plants

A reminder of the Chinese Lanterns fruiting. These are the ones I collected the seed from last year and sowed this year, growing into the small plants above. I took these photos today (4-9-2017). BTW this flowerbed is north-facing with a fence behind covered with jasmine, ie it's shady.

chinese lantern fruits and flowers

the green lanterns, above and below, will turn orange

chinese lanterns fruit and flowers

chinese lantern flower

While out front with my camera I snapped my yucca flower, just opening, I prefer it when the buds are closed and it looks like a giant asparagus. I think it only blooms when there's been a hot summer which there has been the last few years but with global warming maybe it will bloom every year now.

yucca flower

the sea holly seedlings in the seed tray were next in need, after repotting I put them on top of the mini greenhouse to keep them away from slugs

sea holly seedlings

I have gathered up all my remaining seedlings, having repotted a few as necessary, some I don't recognise. Sea Holly top right and bottom left, aquilegia top left, bramble or blackberry middle top, honeysuckle? to the left of the bramble at the top.

close-up of that seedling bottom right - update - in a couple days it's become clear it's a verbena bonariensis

unknown seedling

September 2017

I can't believe it's the first of September! How sad the summer is almost over although the morning glory is at it's peak. The purple flowers are the vigorous Grandpa Ott, the odd pinky one is another variety which has only just flowered.

morning glory

the sunflower from birdseed dropping to the ground has bloomed, honesty to the right, aquilegia and cranesbill to the left, lots of green alkanet and chickweed

sunflower from birdseed

a new flush of knautia flowers

knautia buds

and fresh flowers from a white scabious and an echium at its base

scabious and echium

this is that pot back in May, it's taken 3 months for the scabious to bloom, I think the echium must have bloomed and died back but the one above I don't know if that's the centre one below or another one - that self-seeded?

scabious and echium

I was feeling a bit overwhelmed in the garden yesterday so decided to do what I do best: make a list and take photos. I have two main tasks, 1. pots that need repotting and 2. pots that need planting in the garden. I have a ridiculous number of sea holly small plants now but don't want to plant them out yet as the slugs will devour them and I have no place to put them! so I want to repot them until I decide.

Tray 1 with small and large pots with sea holly and some forget-me-nots self-seeding and no doubt other things. Looks like a globe thistle towards the back. (I notice things at my pc when processing a pic which I didn't notice in the garden.) Two pots of hyssop and two of majoram from the garden centre. Thought some late flowers would be nice for the bees - so much is finished in my garden. Herbs are just about the only affordable thing at my local garden centre (£2.49 each / 5 for £10). Not sure where the herbs are going so will just repot.

Tray 2 with sea holly and I see mallow, hollyhocks, teasel as well as the forget-me-nots self-seeding and uh oh a plantain there I missed. That last one is the only one I will dispose of.

Tray 3 with smaller sea holly seedlings/small plants still in the seed tray. I think I have enough sea holly!

my tray of chinese lanterns, still in the original seed tray (is that a cheeky enchanter's nightshade at the front? - update - no just part of the chinese lantern plant)

chinese lantern seedlings

Pots to plant in the garden, on the left fox and cubs which self-seeded in that pot. A few fox and cubs self-seeders there already that didn't get anywhere as they were overwhelmed by green alkanet which I've now cleared and hope to keep that small space free of it. On the right veronica, embarrassingly still in the pots they came in. Dierama small plant at the back which I grew from seed.

fox and cubs

self-seeded verbena bonariensis in a pot which I figure should be planted out

more veronica which I at least repotted but it needs to be planted properly in the garden now

a wider view of that flower bed (on the right), I tried moving the globe thistles, one still there at the front

a new one self-seeding this year, I'm going to try moving that, centaurea montana on the right - that's what I want there

globe thistle centaurea montana

another thing growing in that flowerbed

cat in flowerbed

August 2017

last week of August, I have a second flush of flowers from the scabious, both purple:


and white:




the morning glory are really just getting into their stride

morning glory

morning glory

morning glory

the cyclamen coum is blooming and the slugs haven't eaten every bit yet

cyclamen coum

I find it very difficult to dig up plants - even if it's for the greater good. This flowerbed was overwhelmed with green alkanet, which the bees and I love but enough is enough. I'm going to try to keep just this small area free of green alkanet and let the fox and cubs, centaurea montana and the dierama I just planted to grow. That lavender pot was blocking light was well so I'm moving that.

I removed the green alkanet seedlings and hope the fox and cubs seedlings in the middle will have a chance next year. They didn't this year. The lower left corner are my centaurea montana.

the garden is looking dry and sparse but Victor isn't too bothered, so much bloomed early because of the hot dry weather

in looking at the pots more carefully I see a small red unexpected poppy

red poppy

a close-up of that

red poppy

there's a new nasturtium in bloom and in looking at it I see a tiny viola has appeared

nasturtium viola

a close-up of that viola


I noticed another tiny viola had appeared


purple morning glory flowers appearing daily (they only last a day)

closer view of that lupin, that plant has had a number of smaller flower spikes, keeping the pot off the ground to keep them away from the slugs that love them


the crocosima Lucifer are finished and I thought these smaller ones were as well but a few late flowers have appeared


the Michaelmas Daisies are early this year, I presume because of the hot dry weather

michaelmas daisy

they are growing around the Chinese Lanterns

michaelmas daisy

the Chinese Lanterns are early as well, I already have orange lanterns, as well as green ones (which will turn orange) and flowers (which will turn into lanterns)

chinese lanterns

another greater knapweed flower

greater knapweed

Japanese anemone, doing really well this August

Japanese anemone

lots of buds

Japanese anemone

Japanese anemone

and lots of flowers

Japanese anemone

this one small viola has had lots of flowers (I grew from seed and it has nothing to do with the "Pansy" pot behind from the garden centre which I'm just reusing, would have moved it if I realised it would be in the pic)

black moon viola

it's a bit sprawling

black moon pansy

this pot had a foxglove crowding out the hosta so I removed it, now it has a teasel doing the same thing, with lots of water it has grown enormous in a very short space of time

teasel hosta

Emilia javanica Irish Poet, the seed packet makes them look neat and upright

Emilia javanica Irish Poet

but instead they are sprawling and very small flowers relative to the size and number of leaves

Emilia javanica Irish Poet

I noticed these caterpillars on the under a nasturtium leaf.

cabbage white caterpillars

a close-up of them and googling reveals them to be caterpillars of the cabbage white butterfly

cabbage white caterpillars

mid-July 2017

My camera can't capture this but the artichokes are a magnificent purple and they are in my garden, the garden next door and the one next to that. Front gardens have a lot to cope you: rubbish and recycling (dry, food and garden waste), rodents, litter, traffic, dogs, pedestrians. Plants have to be tough to cope with it all. Gardeners have to be tough to cope with it all. Last time I was out there planting the hollyhock seedlings the woman next door threw her cigarette butt right into the flowerbed where I was working, while I was working.

front garden with artichokes

a morning glory ended up in the front garden next door

morning glory

I have struggled with the greater knapweed. It's not nearly as resilient and prolific as the lesser knapweed. The position is also not great, too near one of the artichokes. I did try seeds this year. Not a single seed germinated. Will look out for plants and try another and plant it in a better jplace.

greater knapweed

this year all the morning glory are the result of self-seeding from the plants I had last year and unlike last year they have single flowers opening up in various places, they are gorgeous but last a brief time - just one day? I'll have to keep track

grandpa ott morning glory

early this morning the cats were desperate to get out into the front garden, at 5:15 it was still a bit dark but I wanted to capture the scene

front garden

yesterday it was a hot sunny day so the bees were out in force on those artichokes, this one, closest to the door (as shown above) being shorter is easier for me to take a pic of it from above

bees on artichoke

the bees are also loving the lesser knapweed

bee on lesser knapweed

bee on lesser knapweed

bee on lesser knapweed

I saw a bee on the snapdragons but my pic only captures it just to the left of the flower, just under the verbena bonariensis on the left

bee snapdragons

taking this pic of a butterfly on the lesser knapweed took great patience waiting for it to land so I could get the shot in focus

butterfly on lesser knapweed


the globe thistles are just starting to bloom and the bees (two different kinds) can't wait to get to that nectar

bees on globe thistle

Scarecrow is blissfully enjoying being in the garden, being in the sun and near the catnip.

cat with catnip

those hollyhocks I planted at the end of the garden next door annoyed one of the neighbours (it's a garden shared by two council flats, I guess he thought if he wasn't planting something nobody was going to, what a nasty thing to do do dig up a flower for no reason, he got the smaller plants as well)


this was BEFORE


Polly Pocket in the catnip

cat in nepeta

a butterfly enjoying the catnip as well, comma butterfly I think, just googled it

butterfly on catnip

Scarecrow in the flowerbed using a brick for a pillow, catnip in the foreground

cat and nepeta


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