first auricula

I have just one auricula in bud middle of March of the 11 auricula plants I bought last year. I was hoping to do an auricula theatre but I'm not sure I can now. I feel very strongly that we all have to do what we can.  I think it's very easy to feel guilty or inadequate by the media's unrealistic expectations. Even if we just have a few pots of flowers that's ok! We don't need to "grow our own" - unless we want to. I know my garden is much too small for that and doesn't get enough sun. If I can get out and plant a few seeds, keep the weeds at bay and enjoy growing "something", I try to be happy and satisfied. The auricula theatre will have to wait for another year.



first outdoor bulbs and some other flowers Spring 2014

My first Viola this spring




The first crocus outdoors are always so exciting but it's very difficult to capture in photos.


these purple hyacinths (Delft Blue I believe) are just ready to burst



moving beyond bulbs (and it's stopped raining!), my first green alkanet

one of my first campanula


As the rain has finally stopped I've looked at what is coming up and seen lots of weeds! I thought I had eradicated the ground elder but found a few "seedlings", of course, spread by roots underground. And a few other seedlings which are easier to see now as so few other plants are growing. It's useful to know what the smallest seedlings are so that the weeds can be removed asap so I have added more images to the Weed Guide.

pots of weeds

I had assumed these weeds next door were buddleja and were growing directly on the wall but when I asked the builder who was working up there to remove them he told me they were in a pot. I used the camera to zoom in to identify them and I see they are smooth sow thistle. Why someone would want those in a pot on a "balcony" (don't know what else you call this feature), I've no idea.

smooth sow thistle

yucca in flower



I was surprised to see this yucca in bud some weeks ago, just as it was getting cold. Now it's in full flower. I guess once it starts, it's going to finish.

The end of the leaves are extremely sharp so I had to trim it extensively before I started painting the front of the house.

So it's survived the cold, the hard pruning and, as you can see, the scaffolding. It's a real survivor.


I thought that was an excellent episode of Gardeners Question Time broadcast on November 22nd from Shrewsbury. Peter Gibbs was a great host and put everyone at ease with none of the animosity displayed by Eric Robson towards Bob Flowerdew (listeners notice such things!). Peter made such a nice relaxed atmosphere a number of comments got applause - more than I remember from any other episode. Well done GQT.


my mahonia is looking great at the moment

more self-seeders

a huge artichoke that self-seeded itself

self-seeded artichoke

Here are some great self-seeders: another artichoke, another cerinthe and lots of borage. Note to self: tidy up the pots, etc in the background before taking a pic!

self-seeders artichoke cerinthe borage

While I've been looking at borage today I decided to look at others' photos at google images. Three of the photos there on the first page of results show green alkanet and not borage - some from nurseries selling the plant! and using the wrong image to identify it. Obviously a plant that is often misidentified. See green alkanet at my weed guide.

germinating seeds

Waiting for seeds to germinate can get so tedious and I've had so many discouraging failures, I was gratified that these lupin seeds which I collected from my few lupin plants germinated so quickly. Those white stick labels are the seeds I previously had in this tray, neither of which germinated at all, so I decided to just put the lupins on top.

lupin seedlings


I've had a number of cerinthe self-seeding this autumn. This one has grown to enormous proportions which I've never seen in cerinthe. I don't know why and I don't know what it will do in the spring - another "wait and see" plant.


flowers in bloom now

Surprised to see certain flowers in bloom in the garden now in October, although the mahonia is not surprising as this is the time it does bloom and share that wonderful scent.



These small sunflowers have recently produced a new batch of flowers.

small sunflowers

Japanese anemone

Japanese anemone

another auricula


The Borage has gone completely mad recently. I haven't seen this in over a year as it was a building site until recently.



The borage has self-seeded extensively.



This is the only sunflower in the front garden that bloomed and it's been rather late.


Below  is the first Pickerel Weed that bloomed this year. I would have thought it would have bloomed earlier in the summer but it didn't.






pickerel weed

I still can't get over the auriculas blooming this time of the autumn. I thought they were early spring flowers. I haven't grown many before but I bought a dozen of them (which had already bloomed in the spring) for an auricula theatre next spring and 3 have bloomed so far this summer/autumn.


iris foetidissima seed pods

It's time for the iris foetidissima seed pods to split open.

iris foetidissima seeds

This yucca is just producing a flower bud now. It seems like it should have earlier but I guess it needed to bake in the heat over the summer before it was ready.

yucca flower bud


wood avens


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