Welcome to my gardening blog

 

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/.

 

 

Scarecrow enjoying the garden

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

giant crane Quinns Camden Town

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

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

brambles

the russian vine is consuming the sign for Warren Evans which is not readable now

russian vine

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

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.

another damn yellow composite, I am going to study these in more detail and try to come to terms with them

damn yellow composite

damn yellow composite

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

thistle

the fox 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.

emilia

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

lupin

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:

scabious

and white:

scabious

passionflower:

passionflower

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

viola

I noticed another tiny viola had appeared

viola

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

lupins

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

crocosima

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

crocosima

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)

AFTER

this was BEFORE

hollyhocks

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

beginning of July 2017

yes, the bees like the veronica, I wasn't sure as they didn't go to it immediately but since the echium, lupin and borage isn't so exuberant they've found the veronica

bee on veronica

veronica and echium vulgare

veronica echium

the second lupin flower, not as large as the first

lupin flower

I cannot get enough of the scabious buds

scabious blue cushion buds

scabious flowers and globe thistle buds

scabious Blue Cushion globe thistle buds

bee on scabious blue cushion

I can't stop taking pics of the scabious

scabious blue cushion

the sea holly is blooming, just starting to colour, at least some have survived the slugs

sea holly

the agapanthus buds are just starting, it's so dry even they were wilting, one looks like it hasn't straightened up since watering, everything in the garden is under stress with this drought

agapanthus

Victor on the patio under the catnip, both the purple-flowered nepeta fassennii and the nepeta cataria with white flowers

the white-flowered nepeta cataria

catnip nepeta cataria white flowers

last year I went out in the evenings and picked off the slugs and snails but this year I haven't been able to and the hostas really suffered, they're flowering but the leaves are like lace

hosta

hosta

hosta

I have morning glory popping up all over the place, nice contrast with the nasturtiums, chicory in the background

nasturtium morning glory chicory

end of June 2017

I'm a simple girl that still loves pansies (ok, I guess some if not all are violas). I see lots of self-seeders as well: verbena bonariensis, agastache, calendula, erigeron karvinskianus, morning glory and an echium vulgare.

violas

I thought the morning glory (self-seeded from last year's flowers) were quite small and I hadn't decided exactly where to put them so was suprised to see flowers.

morning glory

I decided to move that pot of scabious, in front of the globe thistles (still in bud) where there's more sun

scabious blue cushion globe thistles

just to the left of the globe thistles are some sea holly that have survived the slugs, sure there were more but at least I have some and to the left of those, the agapanthus in bud, no idea why one is so tall in comparison with the others

agapanthus buds sea holly

here's another morning glory, very small - and already blooming, climbing up an unknown plant, a handy living stake

morning glory

the sunflowers are blooming, well away from the slugs

sunflowers

sunflowers

close-up of that lower one, they're all different, from a free packet of seeds

sunflower

The chicory is covered with flowers.

chichory

chichory

Difficult to capture all the flowers in my pics.

chicory flowers

my first (possibly only) water lily this year

water lily

that half-barrel is falling apart, I had it from new about 12 years ago

that liner in particular is looking pretty sad, holes in it that prevent it from being filled any more

one of my last passionflowers for this year I guess

passionflower

moving to the other side of the fence, the garden next door, where the passionflower is growing from, it self-seeded between the slabs, now the stem is woody and quite chunky

passionflower stem

close-up of that stem

passionflower stem

at the end of that garden, the self-seeded teasels are looking great and just flowering, pyracantha to the left, snowberry to the right, hydrangea petiolaris behind right, bag of leaves from last year making leaf mould out of the way next to the fence

teasel

and on the other side opposite the teasel

cat on fence with verbascum and hollyhock

cat on fence hollyhock

just to the left along the fence, a rose with a beautiful colour flower (not well-captured with my camera sadly) and a single red stem which I find intriguing, why is one stem red?

rose with red stem

middle of June 2017

my first scabious Blue Cushion in bloom this year

scabious blue cushion

the lesser knapweed in the front is just starting to bloom, in the back, getting less sun, still in bud only

lesser knapweed

veronica flower spikes

veronica longifolia

Each year I have just one flower on my Indian Summer rose.

Indian Summer rose

in marked comparison with the Young Lycidas I bought at the same time which has dozens of flowers and is very tall (I couldn't even get the top in this photo)

Indian Summer and Young Lycidas roses

as those buds from the Young Lycidas above got heavier the branch leaned over

young lycidas rose buds

nasturtiums and calendula in the background

young lycidas rose buds

my cats are just as much stars of my garden as my plants and flowers, on the left are my cornflowers, well off the ground away from the slugs, Victor in the centre on the fence, on the right the sunflowers also well off the ground away from the slugs

cornflowers cat sunflowers

those sunflowers are just starting to bloom (on the pedestal to keep them away from the slugs)

sunflowers

close-up of that first flower (best shot I can get as it's so tall)

sunflower

the next day, I tried again to get a close-up of the bees on the lupin and I managed to take two pics showing the pollen basket on the bee's leg (orange bulge)

lupin with bee with pollen basket

lupin with bee with pollen basket

After seeing how much the bees are loving the lupins I decided I had to try to get my other lupins to flowering. I also have that smaller one shown below that is just blooming. The slugs have eaten some of my small plants but I have a few left. I need to pot them up *somewhere* away from the slugs, especially that large one that may flower this year.

lupin plants

the slugs can completely destroy an entire plant

slug-eaten lupin leaf

I repotted that larger lupin above in the green pot and the medium ones in 3 terracotta pots. That leaves 2 small plants I will repot. They're off the ground now and I hope the slugs will be avoided - and that they flower. I've also tried to go out after dark to collect the slugs and snails - good strategy last year. I wasn't able to do it this year until recently. Hope it's not too late.

lupins

I am running out of room to keep things away from the slugs. With the passionflower and honeysuckle they've reached the top of the greenhouse where I put seed trays. I've had to move those elsewhere. I'm going to try moving them in the evening and put them back in the morning to get some sun.

I do have that small table on the right but it's too small for much. I should get a longer narrow table to go on there. There's a table at the end of the garden but it doesn't get much sun but maybe for at-risk seedlings and small plants it may be worth it.

unlike the other veronicas I've bought in the past, this one has survived the winter and is blooming

veronica longifolia

on the far right the nepeta with the larger leaves is nepeta cataria (catnip) grown from seed, smaller leaved nepeta with purple flowers are nepeta fassennii bought mail order and some from the garden centre

brightly-coloured snapdragons in the middle, anemones to the left, few ranunculus including yellow ones

moving to the left echium Blue Bedder pots with echium vulgare/viper's bugloss between them, sea holly at the back in the middle, globe thistle in the back on the right

close-up of the echium Blue Bedder

echium Blue Bedder

the bees are regularly visiting the lupin, one just visible on the right of the flower spike, Victor asleep in the flowerbed, using a brick for a pillow

another view with a bee on the left side of the lupin

Scarecrow with the lupin

I had another lupin with green buds and was hoping it would be purple as well (I tried to only collect the purple seeds last year but was worried some pink ones got in) and it's just starting to colour - happy to see it's purple.

lupin buds

moving to the left of the flower bed, knautia in shades of pink, clump of lesser knapweed to the left, not in bloom yet, globe thistle to the right also not in bloom yet, green alkanet throughout, one rosebud right in the middle on a small rose that has never grown any larger and generally only has one flower on it each year

the borage is huge in the repotted "garden in a pot" with masses of buds which are just opening, nasturtium just blooming, small deadnettle in bloom, very small honesty and morning glory also in the pot

borage

my one peony in the front garden

peony

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