Jobs for the Autumn

Another job for the autumn (or earlier) will be to hack out this laburnum branch, which has cracked and is now dangling right over the wildflower patch.

Laburnum needs pruning

I’ve been pulling out a load of grass and bindweed which has come up on the bank at the back of the garden.  The foxglove seedlings are still there (and are quite a bit bigger) but look as though slugs have eaten quite a lot.  They are meant to be really poisonous so perhaps that’s why they haven’t disappeared altogether.

The fennel will also need cutting right back – it’s taken over the rose garden a bit.

Think we’ll have to think of something to cook with fennel bulbs

The heucheras will need pruning too, once they’ve stopped flowering.  Most of the ones I put on the bank have died but this one is still going well.

Bees love this

There are some orange bulb flowers that have come up and are very pretty but I have no idea what they are.  If you know, please could you tell me?

Mystery plant. Pretty though – rather Autumnal

Measuring our feet at home

The other day I ordered a foot measurer from Clark’s, via Amazon.  This was my husband’s idea – he is rather horrified by the price of children’s shoes and wants us to measure the children’s feet at home and then order last season’s shoes online (probably through EBay).

Here is my foot

It goes from a UK size 10 (kid’s) to a size 10 (adult’s).  According to the instructions, you enter your numbers into the “sizecalculator” section of the Clark’s website and it will give your or your child’s size.  Except typing that in leads to here, which seems to give almost no information on widths.  My feet are about 24 cm long, which gives a shoe size of 5.5 – except they are also 21 cm wide so a UK 5.5 would be agony.  I usually wear either a UK 6.5 or 7.

I am loathe to describe this as a not very useful purchase.  So I will measure the boy’s feet at the end of the summer (my daughter wears a UK size 8 so it is too small for her).  And then I’ll take him to a normal shoe shop to get measured by someone who knows what they’re doing.

However, the berries have started

I am absolutely loving some of the berries that have started appearing.  These guelder rose berries look even better in person.

Guelder rose

The honeysuckle has now stopped flowering and has berries.

Honeysuckle berries

The brambles (evil, mutant plants that are determined to make my garden into the one out of Sleeping Beauty during the hundred years’ curse) have also started producing blackberries.  I did try one and it was a little too tart – but in a week they should be amazing.

These have come into our garden from next door. It’s probably okay to pick a few, right?

One plant that hasn’t produced many berries is this is the blackcurrent.  I think it is too overshadowed by the guelder rose – I’ll chop that back once we get into Autumn.

It feels as though summer has happened too early this year

Or is it only my garden?  The buddleia are starting to go over, as is the lavender.  I don’t usually clip both back until the end of August.


Although there are lots of bees still on on the lavender, all the wizened bits are making it less attractive.  One thing that do like is the globe thistle.

Here it is

The plant itself is not very pretty (well, it is a thistle) but the flowers are superb and the bees seem to love it.  Once it has gone over, I leave it for a while then chop it back.  It is a nice, hardy, drought tolerant plant and comes back each year.

Surprisingly, the bees don’t yet seem to be interested in the sea holly.  Maybe they’re still enjoying the lavender too much.

This looks GREAT – but no bees

They also seem to still like the six hills giant nepeta – but really, it does need chopping back a bit.  I am a bit reluctant – Monty Don has said that it starts flowering again once you chop it back but it doesn’t do so when I do that.

Six Hills Giant – now looking a bit tired

The thing is, once everything has stopped flowering, what happens in August?  We admire the berries and that’s about it?  The leaves start to fall?

Hydrangeas are still doing well – some aren’t fully in flower yet.  The Strong Annabelle is starting to turn brown though

Apple tree and the compost bin

Apple tree

Our apple tree is covered in apples.  Most are looking super but a few are rotting on the stems.  Those tend to have holes where wasps can get at the delicious contents.

Like this

If I were a better, more committed apple grower, I would thin them out.  But I’m not so I haven’t.

There are loads

Those that have ended up on the ground have started to wreck the grass so I’ve been putting those in the compost bins.

I don’t know what that white bloom on the skin is – probably mould of some sort

The compost bins are now looking pretty good.  Mine has loads of compost and compost worms (the wriggly, red ones).  I gave it a stir the other day, which was most satisfying.  Perhaps I’ll actually put some of the compost from it down onto the garden.

Here it is
Here’s my husband’s dalek – with loads of apples

Stuff for the children to get on with during the summer holidays

We’re now one week into the summer holidays.  And it’s going okay so far.  We don’t have any visitors this week but some are coming (with their children) next weekend.  It’s nice to have a bit of time to just chill.

One thing we’d been saving up to do here was to build this model volcano.  My son bought the kit at the school summer fair but, as it takes a few days to make (and quite a lot of MESS), we said that it would have to wait until we were in the IoW.  To begin with, you make the volcano itself using a mould and some Plaster of Paris (takes a couple of hours to set but we gave it a day).  Then the children need to paint the thing (very messy – also, non washable paint).  Then, once that is dry, you put in a load of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar (and some red food dye, if you have it – we didn’t) to make the lava.  Presumably, this is what children do for Science Fair projects in the US.


We’ve done a bit of piano practice (me and the boy).  He is only doing about ten minutes at a time so I am not quite up to Amy Chua standard just yet.

We’re also doing a bit of handwriting practice.  Although his report was super, it did say that he tends to write some of his letters and numbers in a really peculiar way.  Reading between the lines, this is not yet a problem but probably will be once the class starts doing joined up handwriting.  So I bought this book from Amazon:

A mum friend recommended this

He’s going through this book one page at a time (takes maximum seven minutes).  I don’t really care if he has nice handwriting (mine has been atrocious all my life) but it is a problem if people can’t read it.