Early summer flowers

Last autumn, I planted some bugle.  This had failed before but these have done very well.  I absolutely love the colour of the flowers.

Bugle
Bugle

I’m going to stop bleating on about euphorbia very soon (the other day I made my Mum admire it over FaceTime) but this is looking terrific (and is covered in insects).

Euphorbia
Euphorbia

Garden in early summer

So, you were right – my garden (on the whole) has not died over winter.  Although I have had to replace a few things, lots have sprung back.  In particular, I love this euphorbia.

Euphorbia
Euphorbia

There’s something really brilliant about a green flower.  The plant immediately on the right is a globe thistle which flowers in the late summer (I think) so I hope that once the euphorbia is past its best, there will be something else to admire.

My roses have not flowered yet but a couple of the bushes have (small) rosebuds starting.  I’ve done some weeding here.

Rose garden
Rose garden

Last year, I sowed poached egg and love-in-a-mist seeds in a flowerbed, which were glorious when flowering but looked rather terrible the rest of the time.  This year, I sowed them in the bare patches in the rose garden in a (probably vain) attempt to discourage the weeds from taking hold.  Plus honeybees absolutely loved the poached egg plants last year so I don’t want to deprive them.

Violas, lavender, nepeta and sea holly
Violas, lavender, nepeta and sea holly

We ended up buying a load of violas at B&Q, which planted along the box hedge (it looks as though a few poached egg plants are coming through too but not enough to be a problem).  I’ve also planted a couple of smaller lavenders in the main part (from memory, “Arctic snow” and “Grosso”) along with a nepeta (doing surprisingly badly but perhaps it just needs a summer to get going) and a sea holly.

Now, I tend to be a bit snobby about violas (supermarket flowers!) but these are actually very nice – and I’ve noticed a few bees on them.  Sometimes I wonder whether I should have only planted blue and purple violas but then this bed would be a sea of blue and I think there is a limit to how tasteful a garden should be.  Plus the yellow ones are doing really well.

Visa questions

On Saturday, we went to the zoo with our friends N and H and their kids J and L (L is only a little baby though and slept most of the time).  I love the zoo – the kids can safely zoom about on their scooters without too much danger (although there are zoo vehicles, they seem to be used to small children).  While I was there, I had a little looky look at the plants they have – never looks scruffy so I assume that they have a team of gardeners.  Also, they plant to attract bees and butterflies which is what I try to do.

Euphorbia!
Euphorbia!

I just love this photo of a load of euphorbia – I’ve always liked euphorbia, I find the idea of green flowers really exotic.  Even the euphorbia weeds that come up are beautiful.

Separately, my friend M and I are going on a weekend trip to St Petersburg!  We are very excited – my last childfree weekend away got cancelled because my husband broke his ankle.  So far, I have booked the flights and given BA both sets of passenger information.  M has booked the hotel.  So far, so good.  However, I’ve also been having a look at the visa requirements – basically, you need a visa to visit Russia for any length of time, unless you are on a cruise.

It’s rather amusing because on the visa form, you need to list all the countries you’ve been to in the last ten years.  For countries outside the EU, this is no problem – I have stamps in my passport.  For countries within the EU it is a bit more tricky and poses a few questions:

  1. If I went to France but flew into Geneva, do I also need to list Switzerland?
  2. If I was skiing in France and one day skied into Switzerland, do I need to list Switzerland?
  3. In any case, exactly which years did we go to Switzerland, France, Italy etc?  I only started using Facebook in 2007 so don’t have great records.
  4. For heaven’s sake, did I and T get married before us or after us?  What year was that?  Ugh.

We also need to get a Tourist voucher / Tourist confirmation document stamped and signed by an authorised person at the hotel (I think M will sort this), a passport photo, a copy of the eTicket and bank statements to show that we have some money.  Also about £100 in visa fees etc.  Still, these are extremely First World problems and my being surprised is just the result of being spoilt – some people live in countries where they have to provide this sort of information every time they go to another country.

Good luck to all the people waiting to see what primary schools their 4 year old will be going to in September.  Today is National Offer Day and people in London and Surrey will get their emails after 5pm (I think some people outside London have already found out what schools they got).

Spring!

So, I have DECIDED that it is now Spring.  Officially, I think this doesn’t start until the 1st of March but my little daffodils are now out and there is blossom on the trees.  Plus some of my rosemary is flowering beautifully.

Spring!
Spring!

I’ve just had a deliciously hard prune of my buddleia and hydrangeas (last year, one of my hydrangeas went all summer without flowering and I suspect it was because it hadn’t been pruned).  Of course, they could now die but I can’t help that now.  It looks as though my gardener has already done the roses so I texted him to thank him.

I’ve also had a tidy up of my flowerbeds.  It looks as though you were all right and the nepeta has now started to revive itself.  I hope that the calamintha nepeta at the front does too.  Unfortunately, the euphorbia has also perked up (my husband hates it).  I’ve decided that I need some sea holly (the perennial one) to plug in some of the gaps.

A little while ago, I bunged some sweet violet seeds in trays in my cold frame.  The seed packet didn’t really give instructions so I winged it.  Nothing seems to have happened so far but then perhaps it takes longer than a couple of weeks for those to germinate.

Things that have died and things that may revive in the Spring

I think all my euphorbia has died.  My husband will be happy about this – he thinks it’s a messy plant that takes over; I do see his point but I rather like it all the same.  When it gets to Spring, I’ll have a think about what to put in its place – perhaps some sea holly?

Euphorbia - this was GLORIOUS in summer
Euphorbia – this was GLORIOUS in summer

Looking round the garden, I also think my Dutch Honeysuckle has died.  I bought this because it’s meant to be more shade tolerant but I think that it’s probably too damp a spot for it.  It’s now a load of wood with about three leaves on.

Dutch Honeysuckle - it's dead, no?
Dutch Honeysuckle – it’s dead, no?

If my honeysuckle is dead, what should I plant instead?

My lavender looks as though it may be suffering but is not dead – at least not yet.  It could really do with some time with no rain.  I know that sounds spoiled – I’m sure quite a lot of the north of England could do with no more rain.

Lavender
Lavender