New plants for my birthday

Sorry it’s been a while.  We are on half term and yesterday was my birthday.

We did a few things yesterday and one of them was to go round a garden centre – I needed some more coriander and dill (both had bolted) and while I was there, I also picked up some hyssop, chervil and basil (Greek, Genovese and Black).

I also wanted to tackle the bed nearest the kitchen door, which has a hideous slug / creeping yellow buttercup problem.  I ended up getting another sea holly, six marigolds, two petunias (one black, one purple and white) and some thing I can’t remember the name of.  It is quite possible the slugs will eat the petunias but maybe they won’t.

Before I planted all that out, I sprayed the creeping yellow buttercup with some noxious weedkiller.  Then I had an attack of guilt and became I had killed the entire bed.  So I got the hose out and watered the whole bed down.  Then I did what I did last time and dug the yellow buttercup out with my hand fork.

Flowerbed with new plants and without the yellow buttercup (for now)

One thing I did notice when I was planting the new sea holly is that there seemed to be three little sea holly plants already in the bed.  I will be amazed if they are actually sea holly plants (because plants I like don’t tend to reproduce, only ones I hate – like the yellow buttercup).  However, I have moved them (one to the middle of this bed and two to another bed) and will see how they do.

I love marigolds but was always convinced that they would clash with all my other flowers.  However, I am past caring.  As long as the bastard slugs don’t eat them, I will be happy enough.  The pelargoniums have only just started to recover.

My kind husband also got me another cold frame (because, once I repotted my foxglove seedlings, I didn’t have room for them all.  Then the slugs ate most of the ones outside the cold frame).  I got some yellow foxglove seeds and sowed them in a tray with normal compost.  I’m not sure how they’ll do – there were only about 65 seeds in the packet (the packets of ordinary foxglove seeds have about 1,500 in there) but I hope that two or three will come through.  I’ve never seen a yellow foxglove.

Flowers from my husband’s mum

Rose garden

Yesterday, I had a morning pulling weeds out of the rose garden – my hands are scratched to buggery, even though I wore gloves most of the time.

Some of the weeds I kept – in particular there was a load of deadnettle that bees seem to like so I left that.  However, all the grass, stinging nettles and some weed that I’ve only ever seen in the IoW but which gets everywhere came up.  I filled a builder’s sack with it all.

Afterwards, I put wood chips down in the gaps.  The lavender plants are, on the whole, doing very well (and all but one are enormous) but they will do better without a load of goosegrass and grass clinging to them.  A couple already have (small) bracts coming up.

One thing that has done well is a thyme plant.  As the rose garden is walled and sunny, I assume that it is a bit more sheltered than the rest of the garden.  Usually thyme dies here but this is looking super.

Thyme in the rose garden

The roses have buds but also, sadly, aphids.  I hate using chemicals but I might have to.  Unless we get a plague of ladybirds.

Roses
More rose garden
Yet more rose garden

Spring?

Last weekend, we went to the IoW.  Although it is still winter (at least until 1 March), quite a few daffodils and blossom were out.  I even saw my first bumblebee (I was in the kitchen and didn’t have my camera or I would have taken a photo).

Primroses!
Primroses!

The primroses are looking very pretty.  Last year I planted a whole bunch of more exotic primroses – so far they haven’t appeared.  Perhaps it is a bit early or perhaps they just haven’t survived.

Little daffodils
Little daffodils

The little daffodils are out and the big daffodils are appearing.  I haven’t seen any sign of the alliums – I don’t think they came back last year so perhaps it is the wrong spot for them.

There are quite a few beds that are an utter disgrace.  Weedy, full of grass, just plain looking awful.  When it stops raining, I will sort those those out.

The meadow once cleared

So here is a picture of my meadow, now that all the plants have been cleared and taken to the dump (I ended up filling two big builders’ sacks).

Meadow
Meadow

It will look like this all Autumn and Winter (basically, terrible) and then will perk up once we get to Spring.  I still have a few foxgloves, which I hope will flower next year.

I’ve also weeded the lower garden (the one with the Acers) and the herb garden and have put the shredded bush clippings on top to try to suppress the weeds somewhat.

Lower garden
Lower garden
Herb garden
Herb garden

I have made one awesome discovery – the violets I’d put in the lower garden have (on the whole) survived!   They were just hiding behind a bunch of weeds.  This is good news, I’d assumed the slugs had got them.

My husband is pleased with the oregano growing in the herb garden (it probably needs a prune soon).  The thyme is also doing well.  For some reason lemon thyme doesn’t do very well in my garden, despite being in a dry, sunny spot.  Do any of you know why this is?

Our lovely friends left this morning and another set of lovely friends are turning up at noon.  I’d better go and check the washing.

Rescuing my lavender

I’d rather let one of my flowerbeds get out of hand.  It had become overrun with creeping buttercup, which had smothered my arctic snow lavender.  I ended up pulling up all / nearly all the buttercup and cutting away all the dead bits of the lavender.

Disastrous flowerbed
Disastrous flowerbed

All the leaves you see are shredded bits of a bush that my husband pruned then ran through the shredder.  Pruning large shrubs is a bit like getting a haircut – LOADS comes off and you can’t see a whole lot that is different.

I am treating the shredded bits like bark woodchips – I have no idea whether this is a good idea or not.  The violas at the sides look terrible – I think I’m going to have to cut those right back and see whether or not they revive.

Gardening delight

The other day I got into some hardcore weeding.  I’d let quite a few beds get disastrously overgrown and it was rather a problem.  In particular, the bed with the broom had loads of long grass which is quite similar to broom itself and was swamping all the plants.  I hate grass, it gets everywhere.

To do some good weeding, I have to be in the right mood.  Fortunately, my children had repeatedly shrieked at me for minor offences (I want a banana, noooo I don’t want help peeling the banana, ARGH!!! my BANANA IS BROKEN – I WANT A NEEEEEWWWWWWW BANANA!!!, NOOOOOO! I SAID I DIDN’T WANT A DRINK!!!!!!) until I really got rather snappy with them both and said that they were NOT TO SHOUT AT MUMMY.  Then I went out to do some weeding.

While actually weeding, I found a bunch of slugs.  I found this surprising because that bed gets quite a lot of sea spray.  Ha ha ha, wait until winter, bastard slugs.  Then you’ll suffer.  I left them there.

Once all the horrible grass had been cleared out the beds, they were really looking rather nice.  I discovered that I have some blackcurrants.  I didn’t get any last year but perhaps that was because the plant was new.

Blackcurrants!  Should I leave them for the birds or pick them?
Blackcurrants! Should I leave them for the birds or pick them?

My guelder roses all have berries on too.  I don’t think you can eat those though.

Guelder rose
Guelder rose

It’s a funny thing, the summer holidays.  The children really miss the best of summer when they are in school (unless they go somewhere that breaks up for summer in mid June).  Historically, the summer holidays were actually so the children could help with the harvest.  So I suppose it makes sense that the berries are out in the first week of the summer holidays.

Best of all, I think I saw a snake in my compost bin!  It was dark and I only got a glimpse but that thing was too big and moved far too fast to be a worm. There are lots of insects in there right now so perhaps it is a good place to lurk if you are a snake.  I won’t stir the compost until Autumn in case there are snake eggs in there.

More weeding

Yesterday, we went to the Needles Park.  This is basically an old fashioned funfair – except that I think that I have never felt anything other than miserable there.  When it is quiet, it is desolate (or closed) and sort of spooky.  When it is busy it can’t really cope.

So, we queued for about 40 minutes to get my son a go on the zorbs.  Except, when he got to the front of the queue, the man said that as he wasn’t five, he couldn’t go on.  Yes, it was our fault for not paying more attention to the signs.  But he is five in a month and has been on the zorbs several times.  And he cried; proper big tears.  And I felt terrible (and irritable, I’d been standing in one spot for over half an hour).

Then we went for a terrific lunch (the food was terrific) at the Highdown Inn, where we did our best to win the Worst Family In The Restaurant award.

When we got home, I weeded the terrace, which I’d allowed to get completely out of control.  One of my hydrangeas is flowering beautifully but the rest haven’t flowered yet.

Hydrangea
Hydrangea

I thought I’d actually lost one of my hydrangeas but in the end found it in a load of long grass.  I ended up pulling up three builders’ sacks of grass and weeds (totally destroyed my hands on brambles and nettles) and uncovered it, along with some other things.

Here it is.
Here it is.

My buddleia (Black Knight) has flowered and is looking rather nice.  The Royal Red one only has one flower out so far and the white one hasn’t got started yet.

Black Knight
Black Knight
Royal Red
Royal Red