ju1i3's blog

Chinese Lanterns

In January, the brilliant orange of the Chinese Lanterns is fading, leaving a skeleton around the seed pod.

chinese lanterns

I have tried planting the seeds but not in any controlled scientific way. I tend to throw collected seed into any old pot with other seeds and other plants. Not surprisingly I have not noticed anything of the chinese lanterns but I am going to try again this year doing it properly. From what I see, these have spread by roots and without those annoying bluebell clumps which I removed a few years ago, they are doing very well.

chinese lanterns

I collected some of the lanterns which contain the fruit with seeds. One thing I hadn't noticed before is the slugs! so many of them had traces of slug slime and slugs themselves on them. They were eating the orange covering. As those inner orange fruits dry, the seeds are released. The two top right are just showing the seeds in them.

chinese lanterns with seeds

I was hoping I might get flowers on the prostrate rosemary I bought last year as very small plants and it looks like there might just be buds. I'm very excited - and impatient for them to develop and open - if indeed they are flower buds; maybe they're just new leaves. (Sadly my camera is just not focussing properly to show them more clearly.)

rosemary buds

The cold weather is not stopping this one from blooming. I know it's hard to see but this one has beautiful purple/blue flowers and has done on and off since I bought it, regardless of the temperature.

flowering protrate rosemary

difficulties of urban gardening

My front garden is both too tidy and too messy, there's both room for a homeless man to roll out his sleeping bag and have a kip along with rubbish from the neighbour making him think it was okay? Seeing him in the morning was the last thing I expected to see in my garden!

on the other side of the garden . . . the chinese lanterns at at their peak

chinese lantern

chinese lantern

chinese lantern

Chinese Lanterns

the self-seeded borage is in bloom


borage with the blooming rosemary in the background


the rosemary is still in bloom

rosemary in bloom

rosemary in bloom

close-up of one of the rosemary flowers

rosemary in bloom

cerinthe and borage in bloom, spent flowerspikes of agastache and spent sedums flowerheads

close-up of the cerinthe flowers from above


the snapdragons are still in bloom


with all those pots shown above, I have little room to plant more bulbs but I find if I want a decent display of even a few bulbs I need to buy fresh so a few daffodils and tulips have gone into new pots, a bit boring plastic ones but at least I can move them around easily when they are in bloom (end of October, fine for tulips but perhaps a little late for the daffodils)

mid-October 2016

Victor sitting in the centre of the back garden

close-up of Victor, looking ever so serious

the time of year for the chinese lanterns in the front garden

that sycamore stump in the middle keeps sprouting and I keep cutting the sprouts back - difficult at this time of year because I don't want to walk on and damage the chinese lanterns

this cyclamen coum has been eaten by slugs but has some flowers left

cyclamen coum

this clycamen coum is not far from the one above but it has even more slug damage, still has a few buds

cyclamen coum

I think of borage as being a spring/summer flower but these self-seeded plants have buds, I'll see how they survive as it gets colder

borage buds

beginning of September to mid-October

It's a shame snails can look so cute when they are SO destructive. I found 3 snails and a huge slug in this small watering can when I went to use it to top up my bulb pots in the cellar.


the nasturtiums are still blooming



blue green alkanet flower in the background


About a month ago now (mid-Sept) the snapdragons were at their peak in this flowerbed, to the left my new rhubarb and lots of green alkanet starting and some foxgloves (one in centre above the snapdragons). Hard to tell apart but I have lots of both so very familiar with them: foxgloves have very soft leaves, green alkanet have textured rough stinging leaves.

snapdragons in bloom

one lone blue cornflower in bloom on those brown stems

late blue cornflower

I was surprised to see the comfrey in full bloom mid-October, all summer the bees were on it every time I saw the flowers, sadly no bees right now


While I was at the back of the garden looking at the comfrey I was reviewing my sad-looking compost pile. Apparently Camden (my local borough) is moving onto rubbish collection every other week, recycling collection every week and charging for garden waste so thinking I need to do more composting. I'm not sure I have enough material for composting to break down stems like ivy but too much for a small pile like this so I need to improve it, so far, not sure how.

I'm still intrigued with red plants and what causes them. I have lots of forget-me-nots as they are a very stong self-seeder and I like them (ie I don't pull them out) but I have never seen one so red-tinged as this one. Coincidentally the nasturtium on the right is one of the darker-leaved variations I have. Does that have anything to do with the forget-me-not? I don't know.

red leaved forget-me-not

I love rosemary with flowers and have not been able to get them to flower so I bought this prostrate one in flower, the only reasonably priced rosemary in flower I have come across, presumably because it's small.  I have re-potted it once and it's filled this pot so needs re-potting again.

rosemary with flowers

it was sitting in this flowerbed but I moved it to photograph it more clearly, I hadn't even noticed the lesser knapweed self-seeding in the pot until I looked at the photo

rosemary with flowers

Having found one small prostrate one in flower, I though these prostrate rosemary might be quicker to flower. Waiting to see.

prostrate rosemary

At the end of the summer I am preparing for my bulb forcing (see gardenwithindoors), beginning with tidying up the patio. In the background to the right are some more shelves for the garden I bought on ebay.

I painted those shelves and started getting my hyacinth vases organized. As soon as I put that small table there, Bear had to jump up on it.

hyacinth vases

When I checked on the Green Wizard rudbeckia I saw the slugs have now found it, must get it off the ground but so far nowhere is safe. I'm investigating hanging some pots on the fence.

green wizard rudbeckia

green wizard rudbeckia

One of my outstanding tasks was to sort out this chicory which I grew from seed. The pot it was in I had put on another pot not realizing what would happen.

The roots went down into the lower pot and out the bottom of that.

I took off the bottom pot relatively easily.

I could not remove the upper pot unless I destroyed all those roots so I cut it off the best I could, leaving the bottom of the pot between the roots.


I chose a reasonably clear space in the garden so I could dig a large hole to accommodate those long roots.


The other chicory plants I had already planted in the garden. The slugs had initially eaten all the chicory seedlings but luckily there had been a few out of the way which they hadn't gotten to so I ended up with 5 plants. I feared the slugs would eat the chicory plants when I put them in the ground but either I managed to removed enough slugs or they only like the fresh growth but the chicory are still there and appear undamaged.  (They look like giant dandelion, the clearest one is at the back, there's also one front left and right.) They're biennial so will bloom next year.


the nepeta is looking good, the bees love the purple flowers


mid-August 2016

I found myself at a garden centre last week and couldn't resist the 4 perennials for £10 offer: another sea holly which looks so healthy and beautiful next to one of my self-seeded ones, a green wizard rudbeckia which I have attempted at least twice from seed without success, a sedum which I thought would be good in this hot dry weather needing less watering and a hosta as my current ones are like lace from slug damage.

sea holly

green wizard rudbeckia

pics of sedum and hosta to follow

oenothera versicolor, not bad for a self-seeder


even more morning glory flowers every day

morning glory

the snapdragons are producing flowers of various colours, this colour is my favourite

pink snapdragon

this rose appeared to be half-dead earlier in the summer but it's come back and flowered, in 10 years it hasn't grown any larger and produces only 1 flower

rose bud

these are my roses shown to compare sizes, the orangey one above is quite small, the pinky one is very large behind, would be even larger if I didn't prune it, I don't understand why that foreground one is so small and never grows taller

one oenothera versicolor that has self-seeded this year, a couple years ago I had dozens self-seeding from just 1 plant that bloomed the previous year, I will need to remove the flowers after wilting before the seeds escape, surrounding the oenothera are verbascum seedlings, again from only 1 plant I had a couple years ago

oenothera versicolour

this is my seed-grown delphinium, I put it up on the top shelf to keep the slugs away from it but the nearby morning glory strangled it



an update on some of my seedlings: that oenothera in the middle before I repotted it, the chicory behind it looking like giant dandelions (must get them planted in the ground but worried about the slugs), nepeta on the left, polyanthus to the right of the nepeta, scabious on the right, so far just upright leaves

August 2016

the Grandpa Otts morning glory continues flowering, still no flowers from the other variety

Grandpa Otts morning glory

the water lily keeps flowering as well

water lily

surprisingly the red poppy (was supposed to be Seriously Scarlet but I doubt that) has a second bud


the bees are loving the buddleja in the front garden near the pavement

bee on buddleja

the last shrub I had in that position people passing pulled off every woody flowering stem, eventually ruining it, the buddleja was free!

bee on buddleja

this phormium bloomed recently


hollyhocks are the star of the garden next door


The ornamental artichokes are fantastic at this time of year.

artichoke flowers

They have spread next door and the next garden as well.

artichoke flowers

a better view of the artichokes next door

artichoke flowers

bees are also loving the scabious

bee on scabious

and the lesser knapweed

bee on lesser knapweed

the velvety buds of and "ebony" (of Ebony and Ivory scabious

Ebony and Ivory scabious

Liverwort: how bad is it?, can self-seeders grow through it?

I noticed this sprout in the middle (towards the left) and wasn't sure if it was part of the liverwort or something that was growing through it.


I pulled up the liverwort, the roots are like cotton wool, and that sprout does seem to be a separate plant.


As well as that original sprout I saw there seems to be another on the left, I will see if they survive - and what they are

A green alkanet has self-seeded against the fence amidst the sea hollies on the left, that is coming out, much as I love green alkanet I don't want it everywhere. The nepeta is blooming, the phlomis is still blooming and a viola has appeared in the small pot. A globe thistle has appeared in that pot of poppies. It's going in the flowerbed (to the right).

This sea holly, still in a pot, suddenly bloomed recently, there's another sea holly next to it that has not bloomed, also a self-seeded scented-leaf geranium which has not bloomed yet, a hollyhock and a snapdragon.

that slug-eaten sea holly is to the left below, I've put that copper tape in a ring around it to stop the slugs eating it

sea holly

a close-up of the sea holly inside the copper

mid-July 2016

My first morning glory in bloom.

morning glory

My first scabious in bloom, not sure if this is "House's Novelty" or "Ebony and Ivory" (obviously Ivory if it's that variety). Lots of knautia Melton Pastels in the background - they've been a great success. I do love pinchusion flowers.


a week later, more of the white flowers, none of the other colours sadly

scabious House's Novelty

the agapanthus are just starting to bloom

agapanthus and sea holly

the new sea hollies on the left are looking good but the one I previously had and recently put in the ground on the right is not doing well at all, sadly

sea holly

nepeta with buds and a few blooms just starting to open


more water lily blooms and a nice fat bud there are on the right

water lily

that fat bud starting to open

water lily

water lily

water lily

the patio next door has the most amazing plants growing in the cracks between the paving stones: agastache,


stem coming up from between the paving stones

agastache stems between paving stones

agastache stems between paving stones



I have moved some of my experiments with seeds to a separate page, Seeds, as I really wanted to know, easily, how long from sowing seeds until a plant flowers. I also wanted to show my lupins finally blooming here too. There are 2 more green buds to the back of that pot on the right. The flowers (and buds) are small as I grew them from seeds. These plants are from a spring sowing this year. I also had lupins in bloom recently from a late sowing last year. And I had a B+Q small lupin which grew enormously and flowered well, see mid-June 2016 below.


here is a close-up of that lupin flower


something very surprising, a surviving veronica sprouting


Before I had seen that veronica above I'd bought one with the sea hollies (4 perennials for £12). I usually get Royal Candles or something that looks good but doesn't last, anyway I thought this one, just called Veronica Spicata Blue, with that really strong stem looks tough enough to survive the slugs.


Close-up of that larger stem on the right, just now considering, why does it have that stem like that? Does it actually help it have any more flowers? Would it really help it survive the slugs? They slither up anything. Not sure my thinking on that is sound but will plant it and see how it does.


I planted the veronica in the flowerbed. Sadly I managed to break those 2 verbena bonariensis when I bent over to do the planting. (I'm the clumsiest woman in the world!)


I put the broken tops in a vase

luckily, after overnight in the vase, they've recovered a bit, I hope they'll bloom and be available for insects

verbena bonariensis

the verbena bonariensis is showing strong shoots after the main stem was broken

verbena bonariensis

I finally made an effort last night to go out and look for slugs - challenging as I usually go to bed quite early. There were loads - making a beeline for the sea holly and lupins. I wish I'd done it sooner. It was a busy half hour picking up slugs and a few snails which I put in a plastic bag, tied and threw away so no problems of killing them. - later - decided I needed to humanely kill the slugs so subsequent nights I now wrap them in a paper towel and cut them in half (sure Bob Flowerdew is right, that's the best way)

more Pink Fizz poppies

pink fizz poppies

pink fizz poppy

pink fizz poppy





I've had a few Pink Fizz poppies from the plants in this pot (above and left) but no Seriously Scarlet - so far. There are still a few buds.















one more poppy is about to bloom, I assume Seriously Scarlet, one flower from an entire packet of seeds, disappointing

Seriously Scarlet

This unexpected self-seeded delphinium is now in bud although it's still in a small pot and somehow I've managed to keep it away from the slugs on the table.


early July 2016

my 7 cat wonders of the world: 1. Socks' purr, 2. his tuxedo bits, 3. Victor's huge lion paws, 4. Victor's soft fur (5, 6 and 7 and more pics, recording to follow)

Socks with a purchased nepeta. Still trying to grow from seed/grow on self-seeded seedlings.


Maybe I'm being too pessimistic about my nepeta. Now that I have removed the sea holly seedlings (see below) from the pots I have the nepeta with plenty of room and after a feed I hope they will bloom. Polly Pocket certainly enjoyed sniffing it today. I also had a pot beautifully in bloom a few weeks ago. Not sure I took a pic but will look. I found a few seedlings when I was replanting it and they are around the edge of the pot on the left.


This self-seeded pot also has a decently sized nepeta with buds. I can either start a new large pot of nepeta with it or add it to one of those above. The tall plant on the right looks like honeysuckle, small plant bottom left looks like sea holly, underneath centre a viola and top edge verbascum? maybe the same on the left edge.

Sea hollies were one of the "4 perennials for £12" from Meadow Farm Nursery on Hayling Island (just a day trip this time). I bought 3 and when I got home I thought, right, now is the time I MUST research how to get better results. They need a deep tap root so I figure in the ground is essential rather than in a pot. All those small self-seeders are in pots - maybe that's why they aren't blooming, although this one is blooming and it's in a pot but I am going to find room to put it in the ground now. One of the things that sold me on these is how large and established they are - really thick tough stem which I think slugs will find challenging to affect so another reason I am happy to put them in the ground.

sea holly

the stems have this brilliant purple/blue from certain angles

sea holly

I'm feeling very brave. I put all the sea hollies from the pots in the ground. One that bloomed last year, on the far left I managed to break off the tap root by accident when I removed it from it's pot. I hope it will recover. I figure the slugs can't destroy the established plants although they did attack the seedlings/small plants but I hope those will grow into larger plants before much more destruction. I did cut back the blooming stems last year but I'm thinking that was wrong. How can the stems get so tough and thick in only one season? I figure the ones I just bought are older than this year. Looking online for definitive advice but can't find it. Will keep looking. The 2 sea holly small plants on the right are amongst the globe thistle seedlings. I hope they all have room here. A different paint colour for the fence is now required!

sea holly

my problem above is the sea holly recovering from a broken taproot, my problem below is the recovered leaves being eaten by slugs, I want to cry

sea holly eaten by slug

they've also eaten some of those nepeta seedlings - and leave that distinctive slug trail

the pot of nasturtiums is looking better and better, I see slug trails and damage on the leaves but the flowers don't seem to be seriously affected


3 water lilies this year, I don't think I had any last year, this one in bloom and 2 buds

water lily bud

water lily bud

my one delphinium this year but what a delphinium


a week later the cornflowers are looking magnificent, my developing auricula theatre (it's a work in progress) in the background - with a surprise auricula in bloom

I am heart-broken by this poppy (Pink Fizz). I have struggled to get the poppies to this point: sowing the seeds, repotting twice, getting them away from the slugs, only to see this one with numerous buds whither and die! Why?

dying poppy

it's most frustrating that the flower actually developed, I pulled it open to see it, it sure wasn't going to open on its own

wilted pink fizz poppy flower

other poppies in the pot still look good although only a few, fast diminishing, plants from 2 packets of seeds (Seriously Scarlet and Pink Fizz both Papaver somniferum varieties from Thomson and Morgan)


then a few days later some proper flowers appeared

pink fizz poppies

This pot of nasturtiums has been amazing. I was going to move it but it had wrapped a tendril around a honeysuckle branch on the right near the shelves so it was determined to stay right there. It must be happy because it has been blooming like mad. This pic is from a week ago but it has even more flowers now I think.

nasturtiums and borage

one of my few slug-surviving cornflowers, how do wildflowers (in the wild) survive if the slugs love them?


A lone viola flower this year. I haven't planted any seeds for a while and I haven't been nurturing any self-seeders so this has done it all my itself. (small foxglove plants behind and a deadnettle with a pink flower)


setting the froglets and toadlets free

with the froglets hopping around and desperate to get out of their bowl on the table I had to put them free by the pond

I was wondering if some might be toadlets rather than froglets

I put them by this corner of the pond

one on the above left looks very froglike, the one clinging to the plant basket covered with mug looks less identifiable as frog or toad

there's one in the water at the bottom that looks less developed

they're a lot smaller than I thought they'd be when I let them loose

In a pot, off the ground on a table on the patio, the delphinium is blooming and doing great. I never thought I'd have a delphinium again. Last year's seeds did not yield a single surviving plant and the self-seeded small plant from this year is below amongst my rants about slug damage. With a £2.50 small plant impulse purchase from B+Q and a spare pot from freecycle I decided to give it a go. Glad I did. The bees are loving it. Hard to see but there's a bee on a flower below.

delphinium with bee

A view of the entire plant. I didn't even notice Victor on the stairs next door in the background when I took the pic, only when I was putting it on my computer.


Just on the other side of that fence/wall, the patio next door has a self-seeded passionflower in the gaps between the slabs (just out of view). It's been there for a year or two. I finally thought it might be nice growing up to and along the top of the fence. I cobbled together a simple piece of twine for it to climb up, tied to a brick at the bottom, up to the pipe and over to the first fence post. It will rot in no time so I hope by then the vine will be up to the fence and I'll sort something else out (Monty Don would be appalled).  

update on the poppies, some are still alive and have buds


some are slug-damaged and as good as dead

one that was slug-damaged before did not get planted in there with the others as it seemed to be dead as that one above but it's revived being away from the slugs

one of the poppies in that pot isn't a poppy at all but a scabious I mistook for one


mid-June 2016

Slugs and Their Destruction

I have had enough and my method of coping with these situations is to do research and document so I will try to do both related to slugs. My plants have suffered relentless destruction this year and I have had enough. This lupin was looking beautiful June 11th - multiple flower spikes, 2 pink flowers visible and numerous green ones before they changed colour.

lupin BEFORE destruction


lupin AFTER destruction

this is on the patio next door and I hadn't gone over there for a few days but looked over the wall by chance (June 21st) and I could see, even without my glasses, how severely damaged it was

lupin after slug destruction

I found various slugs and snails under it and around it:

Spanish slug

spanish slug

the underside of those Spanish slugs

spanish slug underside

out-stretched spanish slug

spanish slug

grey field slug

leopard slug on the right (grey slug from above on the left), I'm not sure how damaging the leopard slugs are, apparently they eat other slugs, as well as our young plants

leopard slug

yellow slug


I have used slug pellets in the past but I hate seeing that massive gooey mess of dying slugs afterwards and apparently not all the slugs that are attracted are damaging, some of the slugs eat decaying material (will research which ones), aside from the fact I don't want to poison my froglets, birds or any other animals in my garden. Bob Flowerdew cuts his slugs in half - I tried it recently - not for the faint-hearted, but he also feeds them to his chickens so not sure when the cutting is required.

I pruned some ivy yesterday and it was full of snails (Cornu aspersum). I realised I didn't have a decent pic of the snails I see in the garden as I usually stamp on them (an easier disposal than slugs) as soon as I find them so I threw a few from the ladder into this container that happened to be on the patio table. They're trying to make their escape but I was off the ladder with the camera before they disappeared.

I found these eggs on the top of the compost in a pot. I don't know if they are slug or snail eggs. This group of eggs is bout 2 x 3 cm.

slug eggs

I've had cirsiums before and the slugs had not destroyed them like this (those are untouched globe thistles in the background).

I have managed to save some plants by keeping them in pots and off the ground. There's been some slug damage but not catastrophic for some plants that have managed to get large enough before the slugs attacked.


but I am running out of tables, shelves and places to put plants off the ground away from the slugs so I'm trying putting the sea holly on this upturned pot

some plants are fighting back hard when they can

this sea holly is growing new leaves after being slug-damaged and then moved off the ground to a table on the patio

sea holly

The sea holly have self-seeded a lot over the last few years but - getting them to bloom is a mystery to me and - the slugs are eating them, a lot. This pot has a number of sea hollies, only 1 flower stalk (brown stem, middle top edge of the pot).

sea holly

some extensive slug munching

sea holly

sea holly self-seeds so much and so easily, there are 2 plants self-seeded between the slabs of the patio next door

sea holly

I just noticed another seedling

sea holly seedling

2 stalks, left and right, show where leaves were eaten off this delphinium small plant but more are growing in the center now

even one of that lupin's surviving flowers is growing after the slugs were removed


one plant that does not seem to be bothered much by slugs, verbena bonariensis, close-up of the flower

verbena bonariensis

white foxglove and fox and cubs

The verbena bonariensis I bought a few years ago were slow to self-seed but last year (or the year before) they started to. I had these 3 seedlings which were getting large enough and ready to be planted in the flowerbed. On the left is a woody remnant of one of last year's plants which has fresh growth. That tall plant in the middle is shown to its full height in the next pic.

verbena bonariensis

The stem is quite long (62 cm). That slanted stem in the background is 125 cm and has buds at the top just beginning to open (pic to follow).

verbena bonariensis

I had 2 more large-ish verbena bonariensis seedlings to put in the front garden which I did yesterday. The slugs don't seem to trouble them much but they didn't tale long to start on these. I think they're getting desperate.

verbena bonariensis

I had a verbena bonariensis self-seed in this pot. It is now too large and too well-established to move it without damaging it or the lupin - and I daren't put it in the ground or the slugs will destroy the lupin, as they did with one of the flower spikes, on the left.

purple lupin

to show the entire height (92 cm) of the verbena bonariensis

verbena bonariensis

I put those 5 scabious ("Ebony and Ivory" and "House's Novelty Mix" but not sure how many of each) small plants in a pot together. I hope the flowers will be indicative of which variety. That unknown plant in the black pot on the left (number 19 of the unknowns in the Plant Identification) I thought looked similar but on careful examination I can see it is similar but not a scabious or not one of these.

scabious ebony and ivory house novelty

I also put all the poppies together in their own pot, not a lot from 2 packets of seeds.


the first borage flower bud is open

borage flower

update on the chinese lanterns in the front garden

1. on the far right of the flower bed

chinese lanterns

2. going left

chinese lanterns

3. next view going left, blank spot in the middle

chinese lanterns

4. far left

chinese lanterns

Some flower buds (such as these knautia) will open even after the stems are cut, but some like hollyhocks don't like being cut at all, this hollyhock stem was broken that's why it ended up in a vase, I would never cut a hollyhock - they don't like it!

cut hollyhock

In rearranging some pots I inadvertently created a slug stairway to the plants on this table. I lost the seedlings on the left. The foxgloves survive the slugs, as do the globe thistles in the pic below.

These globe thistle seedlings have been just fine on the ground - at slug level.

globe thistle seedlings


Subscribe to RSS - ju1i3's blog