ju1i3's blog

my front garden mid-May 2019

My previous post was all photos of my back garden, today they're all from my front garden.

honesty seed pods / "coins"

honesty seed pods coins

field / corn / red poppy, I did try to grow these from seed  but it proved impossible, these are from small "wildflower" plants the garden centre sells for a short time in spring, these have done well, they've self-seeded from the plants I bought last year

corn field red poppy

greater knapweed is another plant that is difficult from seed but this may be the one plant I got from a packet of seeds or maybe one of those small plants from the garden centre, anyway, I only have the one plant currently

greater knapweed

so when I saw these are the garden centre in the "wildflower" range, I bought another greater knapweed, the slugs almost destroyed it so I was holding off putting it in the ground, not sure how to protect it

greater knapweed



allium, christophii I think


my cat Polly Pocket with another allium

My Cats in My Garden

Scarecrow and Victor, that gorgeous ceanothus in the background, white-flowered tree to the right, makes a nice combination

Victor on the table I've been working hard to clear with some seedlings, so there's room for cats

Scarecrow enjoying the space on the table

the cats are competing for this position in the flowerbed, one of the few places in the garden free for them to sit / sleep, foxglove buds to the left

centaurea montana, Victor in the background

the day before, before the centaurea montana was fully open

allium Purple Sensation with Jeffrey in the favourite spot in the flowerbed in the background

Jeffrey in "the" position, hovcrfly in front

self-seeded echium Blue Bedder in the garden next door I look after, why couldn't more have self-seeded ? my seedlings suffered from damping-off so sadly no new plants this year unless the recently re-sown seeds grow pretty quickly

echium Blue Bedder

I was worried where the bees would feed once the green alkanet is finished and no echium Blue Bedder but I realised the nepeta will be in bloom soon and I have a few good-sized plants, lots of buds (I do so love buds)

nepeta buds

monkshood has buds also

monkshood buds

scabious coming into flower



some fat, numerous buds of creeping thistle nearby

creeping thistle buds

first ranunculus in bloom


Bees and Auriculas


I am so glad I have some bees in my garden, perhaps not that many, but some at least. I don't know much about different kinds of bees but saw some interesting ones today, must find out more about them.  This bee on the green alkanet looked quite red but it was rather difficult to get a closer shot than this.

bee on green alkanet

A black bee on honesty, which has turned out to be a real bee magnet. I don't recall ever seeing a black bee before.

black bee on honesty

black bee on honesty

there seem to be some white bits

black bee on honesty

A different kind of bee on green alkanet. I always notice things on my pc while looking at my photos which I didn't notice in the garden, what is that insect at the top? what is that plant top right in the background? I don't even recognise it. I think it's the same bee in the next three pics.

bee on green alkanet

bee on green alkanet

another shot of that bee, not the greatest but hopefully enough for identification

bee on green alkanet

I saw another bee with huge pollen baskets but could not get a shot in focus.



Some of my auriculas are in bloom so it's time (past time) to think about their display but the auricula theatre idea is not going to plan. This one which I bought recently (this winter/spring?) is the perfect size. I love the colour. They don't have many for sale at my local garden centre but they had a few of these.


the auriculas which are blooming but they are too big for the classic size as the one above for a theatre-type display


the one on the left below, I dislike the colour, the ones on the right have no buds, hopefully the one in the middle will be an acceptable colour but it's also too big


all my auriculas, divide some I guess, feed the non-blooming ones? Auriculas can be a lot of work!



The globe thistles will take over if I left them. I moved them all out of this flowerbed but I see there are a few more. I find it difficult to move plants but I need to make the effort.

I've moved the globe thistles, leaving my beloved centaurea montana. I see a few self-seeded fox and cubs which I originally bought as small plants in the "wildflower" section but they didn't have a chance because they were shaded over by other plants. I'd also banished the green alkanet - just from this small area - and they are encroaching as well. After they flower I'll deal with those.

fox and cubs seedlings

fox and cub seedling

fox and cubs seedlings

the fox and cubs had self-seeded in a pot and produced runners which I only noticed recently when I've been trying to tidy up the pots on the patio

fox and cubs runners

I've potted them up and I'll see how they do. Which will bloom first, these or the ones in the flowerbed?

fox and cubs runners potted up

this is why it's so difficult to see everything but I am trying to sort them out

I found the hyssop in there, stripped by slugs, but it's coming back now. It has some leaves. I grew these last year from seeds I bought in Seoul.


Easter 2019

bee on green alkanet

green alkanet bee

there is green alkanet all over my back garden and I love it! the bees love it, it will die back in time for other plants to take over

green alkanet

my monster honesty is at it's peak and also attracting bees


I was trying to organise my pots and water every one in this dry weather and I see the stem of that honesty is enormous at the base. I'm wondering when it started. It looks like it's been growing for a while, I guess since last year at some point. That's why it's managed to get so big.

my comfrey is in bud

comfrey in bud

just to the left of the comfrey I saw Victor in the shade near the fence, the gap in the fence is convenient to the foxes who come and go through it into my garden

at one point he'd been laying in the sun, I guess it got too hot, one of my sea holly plants next to him and nepeta to the left

I see Scarecrow has gone next door to lay in that space which I just cleared by pruning the cherry laurel. That huge stump to the left is left from it being cut down. As no one else pruned the shoots back I thought I better before it gets to huge tree proportions again. I asked my neighbour first so he wouldn't freak out at me being in "his" garden. He said "ok" - he has his moments.  

at one point he went amongst the pots to find some catnip (he is in the middle)

this shows him more clearly with at lease 3 pots of catnip (nepeta) visible

I got on the stepladder to water the seedlings and check the plants on top of the greenhouse

while up there I discovered Scarecrow under the honeysuckle

I also saw the anemone or ranunculus has buds (I always get the two confused - I'll have to check last year's photos and see if I can establish what this is). One pot is looking good the plants in the other pot has been stripped by slugs before I got it off the ground and hopefully away from the worst of the slug damage.

Polly Pocket was attracted to it as well but she was too shy to come all the way down so I put a pot of catnip on the stairs for her.


The only place I've seen pink-sorrel is a walled cemetary in east London. It's formed a perfect dome .


Looking inside the dome, one can see why. All the stems are unbranched and grow directly from the ground.

pink-sorrel inside dome

Pink-sorrel flower close-up


in the cemetary was also Oxford ragwort

oxford ragwort

also there I saw veronica arvensis, only the second time I've seen this, the flowers are tiny

veronica arvensis

veronica arvensis flower close up

middle of April 2019

It is cold! so it's been difficult to do much in the garden but yesterday I started to do a bit and after working for a while I warmed up. I just had to pot up the last nepeta and that led to repotting some other things.

I grew scabious Perfection Blue from seed last year. I got 5 plants from the packet of seeds (not terribly impressive) and they've been in pots since. These three highlight what happens to pots in my garden. They are invaded by self-seeders. Left, a large verbascum rosette has taken over. Two on the right, snapdragons which I like but they can't take over my scabious. There are violas there as well but hoping they are small enough to co-exist.

scabious Perfection Blue

I repotted each of those (and the two others in pots of their own. I left the violas with them.

The pots are so large, I put the nepeta (new from Peter Nyssen) in with the scabious and another nepeta I had. It's small so I guess it's a nepeta cataria (catnip) I grew from seed but I'm not absolutely certain.

scabious pot

In that pot behind, there's also scabious from the garden centre last year. I buy whatever I can in the "wildflower" range and last year they had small scabious and scabious columbaria? Thought they were selling them as two different plants. I'll have to check. Anyway that pot is full of scabious. To the left another large pot with a nepeta fassennii from last year. In the back, the beginning of the globe thistles on the right and in the centre a self-seeded veronica which also got a globe thistles - they will take over given half a chance but the bees so love them so I try to accommodate them in my garden, as many as I can. One of my more successful plants grown from seed. 


this is the sunniest part of my garden so I cram in as many pots as I can on the patio

that honesty is amazing, the stem is so thick - and a gorgeous colour

honesty and orange tulips

One my my hostas, in pots, shoots just showing. Of course, the pot is also being taking over my self-seeders, in this case forget-me-nots.


Further back in the garden, the left flowerbed which I've tried to keep clear for other things but the green alkanet is encroaching and a foxglove has made itself at home. A few centaurea montana are left - the main plants I planted. I see another two globe thistles have self-seeded. I must move them or they'll take over.

further along the back garden on the left,

that same section of the garden facing the fence

facing the back of the garden, taken over by green alkanet at this time of year

beginning of April 2019

Red tulips left from last year. Behind on the left, monkshood - amazingly surviving from last year. I've had it before but it didn't survive.

red tulips

The honesty just starting to bloom, tulips from last year amazingly blooming (I don't find bulbs last too long), in the background lots of green alkanet, self-seeded violas and snapdragons.

a few days before when the honesty was just in bud, amazing thick stem of an honesty on the left, parrot tulips on the right, Professor Rontgen I think

snakeshead fritillary

snakeshead fritilary

I found my ranunuclus corms. It's a bit late I think to start them but hopefully they'll catch up and bloom at some point this summer.

ranunculus corms


another shot of that amazing honesty

I always love having pots of nepeta, as do the cats. Some nepeta left from last year are looking good but there are two fresh ones I just potted up (from Peter Nyssen, a bargain at 3 for £5.40 (I think)). My cat Scarecrow.

Notes on Identification

It's the time of year when things are starting to grow and it may be unclear what's what. Self-seeders green alkanet, comfrey and foxglove are all quite similar at an early stage. Add to that lesser knapweed, centaurea montana and it can get quite confusing. On the right with the longer leaves is comfrey. I know because it was there last year and the leaves are longer than green alkanet. On the left and behind to the right is green alkanet.

comfrey vs green alkanet

On the right green alkanet, especially easy with the blue flowers in bloom, foxglove in the middle at the back and centaurea montana at the front, large clump to the left and small clump to the right.

lesser knapweed in this pot with a few centaurea montana in the front

lesser knapweed centaurea montana

Bluebells and hyacinths can get mixed up but by April 1st all the hyacinths are in bloom or have finished blooming. The hyacinths below are not great plants as they were previously forced and I only just planted them out.  In the foreground below is a bluebell, not in bloom or even bud yet. It's one that got away, I've dug them all up from my garden as they formed huge clumps and got in the way of other things growing.

hyacinths vs bluebells

My neighbour has bluebells and in their garden, amongst the annual mercury and dandelions, they look nice. The leaves are longer and thinner than hyacinths.


Cerinthe and Pots

Cerinthe is one of those plants where you buy 1 packet of seeds and you have plants for life as they are a self-seeder but not invasive. All of these have self-seeded, last autumn and winter so they are ready to bloom early.




some of the plants can get quite large (green alkanet in there as well)


another plant for life from 1 packet of seeds is ox-eye daisy, haven't had flowers yet this year but lots of buds

this trailing bellflower (Campanula poscharskyana) has taken over this pot, I never planted it (in the garden or the pot), it was in the garden when I moved in


This pot started off with a meadow cranesbill I grew from seed but lesser knapweed has taken over and a teasel has decided it made a nice home. Teasel is another thing I grew from seed and I never need another packet of seeds again. They pop up regularly everywhere.

lesser knapweed

bugle (Ajuga reptans) is something I did try to grow from seed without much success initially so when I saw some small plants on sale late last year, I bought a few so I'd have some this spring

ajuga bugle

Seed Sowing

Results from seeds are so variable. I find things are either wildly successful or I can get only 1 plant from an entire packet of seeds. This pot and flowerbed reminded me of that today. The polyanthus are one of my more successful seed sowings, sadly not one of my favourite flowers, the seeds were just on sale. Self-seeded in the pot is a globe thistle. I got many plants from the packet of seeds and regular self-seeded plants ever since. I do love them as do the bees so they are a winner. To the right of the pot is my one greater knapweed (not to be confused with the artichoke with the large leaves). I've sown more than one packet of seeds but I don't think I got any plants. I think this lone one is a "wildflower" small plant from the garden centre. It's taken a few years to feel comfortable and I get a few flowers in a couple of flowerings in the summer now, or I did last year anyway. I love centaureas in general, greater knapweed in particular. Also to the right is a cerinthe which I always have self-seeding now. 1 packet of seeds, plants for life. A few are like that.


I sowed echium vulgare seeds a few years ago and got 1 plant which I planted in the front garden. Then nothing for a few years. Last year I got another plant in the back garden, out of nowhere. I suddenly noticed this today which I think is an echium vulgare, in the front garden.

echium vulgare

The small plants around the edge of the pot are self-heal, a wildflower I love (pansy / viola in the middle, another of my favourite flowers). I planted the seeds end of last summer and got a few plants and the slugs had a few. I seem to have a few left. They're rather small so I don't know if they'll bloom this year or not. I haven't grown them before.


monkeyflower on the canal

I first saw the small monkeyflower plants along a wet area of the Regent's Canal towpath: the gutter at the base of the wall where it's green from the plants self-seeding there. View from St Pancras Way bridge over the canal.

While walking along St Pancras Way and looking over the canal, I noticed a monkeyflower had self-seeded there on the pavement.


a close-up of that seedling


after seeing the monkeyflowers on that section of the canal, I noticed some by one of the locks near me (Hawley Lock)


and another younger one without that distinctive 3rd or subsequent leaf

monkeyflower  near lock


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