Hollyhocks are one of those plants that are so reliable and resilient like hyacinths. This one has survived the building site.


This one has survived being on the edge of the building site.

This one self-seeded in the "weed garden" next door.


unexpected auricula

I'm keen on period style flowers so wanted to create an auricula theatre for the spring. Knowing how hit and miss growing from seed is I thought I'd buy some plants to ensure I have some at the right time. I saw plants at the garden centre recently which had obviously already bloomed earlier this spring but I thought I could get them now and I'd have them ready next spring. I was very surprised to see this plant in bloom today. I didn't think auriculas bloomed at this time and I don't know what I've done to encourage them to bloom again.


buying perennials when sowing from seed is difficult

These veronicas are one of those perennials very difficult to sow from seed. I bought the Royal Candles variety a few years ago but they didn't come up this year and I do love them so decided to invest in a couple more plants. The garden centre also had Ulster Blue Dwarf which looked very attractive so I bought one of each.

Veronica Ulster Blue Dwarf

veronica ulster blue dwarf

Veronica Royal Candles

veronica royal candles

This was in my Weed Guide under mystery plants but now that buds are appearing I think I had a few flowers on this last year and it's either greater or lesser knapweed which I had forgotten. I don't seem to have any pics of it from last year - very remiss of me especially if I'm not taking better notes.




This suddenly appeared in the garden next door. It looked a lot like a foxglove before the flowers opened this morning. Now I can see it looks like a verbascum which I don't see anywhere around here so I have no idea where it came from. I don't know much about them so don't know if they are a known self-seeder.

mystery bulbs

I had these in a pot until recently. They didn't flower but have been growing strongly (the leaves are ridiculously long) the last couple years so when I was emptying my pots recently I was curious to see what they were. Having removed them I still don't know! I assume they are tulips but I'm not sure. They didn't get enough sun maybe? I didn't add anything to this photo to indicate scale but the single bulb in the middle is huge. On either side are clusters of similar bulbs. So why haven't these flowered and why did one grow so big and 2 others grow into a cluster of bulbs?


campanula with bee



I have so many bees this year. Their favourite plants appear to be green alkanet (pictured below with a bee), ceanothus, foxglove (pictured below) and campanula (pictured left).






essential garden plants

chinese lantern flower

I have finally gotten a photo of a chinese lantern flower that's in focus. It's been very difficult I think because there's so little contrast but I'm not sure. They aren't very noticeable flowers and the plants look like a weed but wait until those orange "lantern"s appear and it's a fantastic display.

chinese lantern flower

red snapdragon



These snapdragons have proved to be great plants. I grew them from seed and they are back the next year - something so many plants bought from the garden centre don't do.

The yellow ones are amongst the green alkanet which as usual is popular with the bees. I have it all over the garden but hate to thin it while the bees are loving it.



yellow snapdragons

iris foetidissima

iris foetidissima

iris foetidissima

bees going mad for the ceanothus

It's hard to capture but the bees are going mad for the ceanothus. I've never noticed before just how much.


growing lupins from seed

I still have some lupins left! The slugs have eaten quite a few but I have liberally sprinkled slug pellets. If I didn't I wouldn't have certain plants. I've grown lupins from seed 2 or 3 times before but only a few survived. I don't think any of those few survived from last year. I guess if the slugs didn't get them the cold did.


neighbours weeds

I've just been reading Bunny Guiness' article about weeds in the Daily Telegraph. I certainly agree with her that it is well-worth pulling out weeds before they flower and set seed as that seed causes so many more weeds to sprout in the future that can be eradicated before they even begin. This practice is so much more effective if you don't have close neighbours like one of mine whose garden (pictured below) is completely overgrown with weeds. I have weed seeds blowing over from them no matter what I do. Luckily it isn't directly next door, although close enough. I took this pic from my front garden.

neighbours garden

Still adding to my Weed Identification Guide. Everything is going a bit mad in the garden with this warm weather at last, including the weeds.


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