beginning of May 2020

It has finally rained. What a relief. I hope we continue to get regular rain.

My water avens (Geum rivale) is blooming. I have a new-found love of geums. When things get back to normal I hope to get a geum Totally Tangerine for the garden and a marsh marigold ( Caltha palustris) for the pond.

water avens and green alkanet

Here is a wider view, there is a pond in there, small and shallow but some water for the water avens, yellow flag iris and purple loosestrife.

water avens and green alkanet

first flower on this scabious and buds, I have lots of scabious as it's one of my favourite plants

scabious columbaria

I've been working hard trying to tidy up my pots and planting out what I can but I have to accept that this spot in the flowerbed is not available.

I'm getting annoyed about slugs and snails again. I'd had a good clear-out in March and I initially seemed to have fewer but my hosta is being eaten and I am not willing to accept that. I have moved the hostas close to the path so it's easier to remove the snails. I went out last night but didn't fnd any. I need to go out a bit later I think. It wasn't full dark. I need to try to do it every night. Good news though. I found that two-colour hosta under the ivy and it's only a little slug-eaten. I didn't even realize it survived.

hostas

two other pots I had hostas in I have replanted with hellebores as the hostas had not survived

hellebores

just to the right of those 2 pots above, I have fringecups - with buds! I am so glad this survived the winter, it had been looking quite poorly but I repotted it and it's perked up and has buds so I'm really pleased

fringecups

end of April 2020

It's so dry and no rain. We went from raining every day to no rain at all, what is going on? I have a lot of pots and have to water them every day or other day or every 3rd day? That's aside from the seedlings that need watering most days.

I do find certain things in the garden stressful - and worrying about seedlings is one of them. But I also try to organise things and find a solution so the other day I thought, tackle these seedlings so I planted out 3 of them (see my seeds page for more info). Another thing I do is look under each pot every day and remove any slugs. I did have a good clear out a few weeks ago and removed a massive number of slugs and snails, including from my mini greenhouse, and it's really helped reduce the damage to plants and seedlings. I guess the dryness has helped as well.

sainsburys seedlings

another thing I'm trying to do is put the seedlings in the mini greenhouse to avoid squirrel disturbance, they've basically destroyed any seedlings here, not that there were that many (I've thrown a few more seeds in) and now try to be disciplined putting them away in the evening

I also thought why am I growing on small plants I don't even want? I could share with neighbours but that is often stressful. I've shared before but no one seems to swap they just want stuff and are so unreliable about collecting and even bringing a bag to put them in.

I have enough globe thistles and I have enough small plants for my neighbour so decided to stop potting them up and dispose of those I don't want. I find disposing of plants challenging, in some ways, I'm a novice gardener. So no more globe thistles. Or wild basil. I'm removing from pots these plants (wild basil, forget-me-nots, red deadnettle, wood avens, etc) I don't want and just putting them in the garden - on top to save digging or just putting in the compost pile (globe thistles).

globe thistle seedling

With fewer smaller pots and fewer seedlings, watering should be easier. I have lots of pots with self seeders and am trying to make better use of them. This one has forget-me-not, a wood avens and I discovered nepeta in the middle.

as I removed the wood avens and obviously disturbed the nepeta, releasing the smell, Jeffrey was attracted

I'm working on planting out anything I can and these two pelargoniums (out of the skip at the garden centre) were still in their original pots and needed to be planted. Glad I did, they are now blooming.

this iris was also a garden centre special (out of the skip)

iris

I planted some alliums last fall and wanted to share them with my daughter-in-law but sadly, with lockdown, I can't.

allium bud

allium bud

in reviewing the alliums, I see one of the allium schubertii's buds has withered (right below) before it got started

allium schubertii

there's a close-up of it

allium schubertii

these alliums are looking good but not sure what kind of allium they are, I can't remember

alliums

in reviewing my pots I see some that need a better use, I don't need a pot of ox-eye daisy, I have loads in the front and it's not suspectible to slug damage so that's going in the garden

ox-eye daisy

and I don't need a pot of wood avens, even if there are some other things there as well, that's going in the garden

these also went into the garden except the knautia bottom right

I love nepeta and realize I have a lot of it, 6 large pots in all and a few smaller pots

nepeta

nepeta

(forgot there's another pot of nepeta back left) I also love scabious and had one languishing in a small-ish pot - why not appreciating it? so planted it in that large pot with one of the echium vulgare which I love ("wildflower" from the garden centre, seed sowings of echium vulgare have yielded very little in the past), when those forget-me-nots to the right have finished (I've seen bees on them) that pot will get something new

here are some of the pots, scabious top left - bit crowded, should probably repot, middle top sea holly (and one below it) - from the garden centre last year and the slugs and snails haven't attacked it this spring so so happy about that - but where are any others in the garden, sure I had more, nepeta top right, those big fuzzy leaves on the left are salvia sclarea var turkestanica, poppy seedlings (must thin them out!) bottom and poppy small plants on the right

I've got 2 pots of lupins but no sign of a flower spike, must feed them, they've been in the same pots for a while

Eastern Rocket - watching it develop

I first saw some uncertain rosettes locally back in March 2020. It looks like hedge mustard - but it's got some furry leaves in the centre. I was lucky enough to get some expert advice pointing me in the direction of Eastern rocket.

eastern rocket rosette

that hairy furriness really threw me

eastern rocket

as it developed it looked like the eastern rocket I was more familiar with

eastern rocket

then it developed those very long fruits so distinctive of Eastern rocket

eastern rocket fruits

eastern rocket fruits

looking back at these 2 unknown plants from March 2019 - at a place I did not find it easy to get back to, I see they were early Eastern rocket

eastern rocket

eastern rocket

Speaking of Brassicaceae in this road, I'm suddenly seeing both Eastern rocket and thale cress here where I haven't seen either before.

eastern rocket and thale cress St Pancras Way

this thale cress has none of the initial basal rosette left

thale cress

this thale cress still has the basal rosette

thale cress

Railway Lands - a pedestrian bridge

I've mentioned this pedestrian bridge over the railway and how it creates a sheltered environment for self-seeding plants, hoary mustard, narrow-leaved ragwort, hawkweed ox-tongue, red valerian, etc, etc.  And there's a view of the Post Office Tower.

railway bridge Camley St

hoary mustard rosette and a dandelion with the Post Office Tower in the distance in the background

hoary mustard Post Office Tower in background

this is the only place I've seen narrow-leaved ragwort

narrow-leaved ragwort

and the only place I've seen geranium rotundifolium

geranium rotundifolium

spectacular hawkweed ox-tongue rosettes

hawkweed ox-tongue

red valerian before blooming

red valerian before blooming

and after blooming

red valerian

stairs leading up to the bridge

nature taking over viewed from the stairs leading up to the bridge

final part of the stairs

I was very surprised to recognise these stairs in a music video, Shampoo's Trouble, https://youtu.be/unv3GQidxEs at about 2:20, NB the stairs have had the fencing reinforced since the the video was filmed

April 2020

I have a few flowers the early bees are visiting, including cerinthe

cerinths

honesty, green alkanet, forget-me-nots and muscari

tulip Whittallii Major, I love orange species tulips

tulip whittallii major

a lone Little Princess I have from a previous year

Little Princess tulip

Pansy Beaconsfield flowering on and off

pansy Beaconsfield

a fringecups I bought last year, I am hoping for flowers this year but I guess it's not going to happen as no flowering stem even starting slightly

fringecups

I found this plant in this pot and had no clue what it was so took a photo and while looking at it carefully, realized it's a rudbeckia Green Wizard I got a few years ago (after failures with seeds because of voracious slugs), I hope it can really get going this year - maybe even flowers!

rudbeckia green wizard

nepeta mussiniii I bought back in February or March when there was so little in the garden centre; I love (as do my cats) nepeta and I have pots of it all over the garden mostly nepeta faassenii but also nepeta cataria

nepeta mussiniii

I have at least 2 sea holly starting to grow. I should have more in the garden but these two from the garden centre last summer (Magical Blue Lagoon) are the only I see. I've bought sea holly before as small "wildflowers", grown them from seed both bought and collected but they just can't seem to survive the slugs who adore them!

sea holly

Papaver dubium? / long-headed poppy

I've not seen it in person before. I hope to see it in bloom but in this position I never know if I'll see that.

papaver dubium

papaver dubium

papaver dubium

beginning of April 2020

Victor amongst the plants, snakeshead fritilary in front of him, auriculas above, muscari to the right (I have it all over the garden and the bees and I are loving it)

Scarecrow

view of both cats

First scabious in bloom - I love pincushion flowers.

scabious

wider view of that pot with the scabious

scabious

A small plant I got at the garden centre in February, Centaurea dealbata, Persian or perennial cornflower. It went from looking quite good to looking quite poorly, even the liverwort in the pot has died. I've never seen that die!

centaurea dealbata

March 2020

Finally dry enough to be in the garden, 3 of my 4 cats joined me, Victor using a brick for a pillow

Scarecrow enjoying the sun, typical plants in my garden: nepeta on his left, scabious on his right, hawk's-beard in front

Polly Pocket enjoying a pot of catnip (nepeta faassenii)

I was able to plant out some small plants I got from Peter Nyssen, scabiosa Perfecta Blue, one in the pot to the left, 3 in the pot on the right

scabiosa Perfecta Blue

I got 6 small scabiosa Perfecta Blue plants which varied a lot; 3 had well-developed buds and looked like they would bloom this spring / summer but 3 had stems cut and only side shoots and the monarda Cambridge Scarlet don't look like much but I don't know this plant well so will wait and see

scabiosa Perfecta Blue

1 scabiosa Perfecta Blue in the centre, 3 monarda Cambridge Scarlet around the outside

scabiosa Perfecta Blue monarda Cambridge Scarlet

2 in this trough with some struggling tulips

monarda Cambridge Scarlet

happy to see I have a few fox-and-cubs seedlings

fox-and-cubs seedlings

I have a few Laurens Grape poppy (which I grew last year) seedlings / small plants self-seeding and I didn't even plant any seeds yet

laurens grape poppy seedlings

my 1 surviving monkshood

monkshood

I grew primula from seed a few years ago (the seeds were on special) and they turned out to be reasonably easy to grow and survived. Not sure why this one is in the middle of the flowerbed. I think it must have self-seeded.

primula

as part of my tidy-up I found lots of slugs which I put on the compost pile so I'm hoping my plants will be less affected although not sure if these are the ones that feed on fresh growth or decayed matter

the magic of wild flowers in a disused cemetery

drift of white violets

white violets cemetery

more violets, white and red deadnettle

small flowers cemetery

white violets close-up

white violets

muscari

muscari

dome of pink-sorrel before the flowers have appeared

dome pink-sorrel

three types of viola are in the cemetery

wild violet

white violets

violets

some early Spring rosettes

a huge thistle rosette but not the usual spear thistle I see, I'd love to see it develop and flower but sure it will be mown down before that 

thistle rosette

bristly ox-tongue rosette

bristly ox-tongue rosette

prickly sow thistle rosette

prickly sow thistle

hawkweed ox-tongue rosette

mallow rosette

mallow initial rosette

nipplewort rosette

nipplewort rosette

hairy bittercress rosette

hairy bittercress

hedge mustard rosette

hedge mustard rosette

new Sainsbury's Seeds and Plants

I love trying products related to growing flowers, especially reasonably inexpensive - and conventient ones easily bought at Sainsbury's. I saw some new packs today at £2.50 each so bought 4 (£10 in total - enough for an impulse purchase). Next time I'll get a few more. I will try them all and share the results.

sainsbury's seeds and plants

backs of the boxes

sainsbury's seeds and plants

sainsbury's seeds

bottom of the boxes

sides of the boxes, some nice photos

other sides of the boxes

a few days later, my next trip to Sainsbury's

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