Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Flora

X IS FOR ?



X FACTOR !

We were delighted to see a familiar face at a garden festival this weekend. This is the most aptly named Flora who is one of Liverpool's famous and fabulous superlambananas. I am sure that you would agree that she undoubtedly has the X factor !

X marks the spot this week at ABC Wednesday hosted by Denise Nesbitt.

Monday, 29 June 2009

"Summer In The City"

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When thinking of my June post for VP's 'Out On The Streets' topic my initial thoughts drifted in the direction of the nearest roundabout. However the fact that it's a veritable sea of red hot pokers just now, prompted me to venture slightly further away, so I took myself off to Liverpool ,camera in hand last Monday.

Venturing into Liverpool city centre during the last few years has involved living dangerously. The city skyscape has been filled with a plethora of cranes and its streets with a myriad of construction plant. My shopping excursions have been nightmares with JCBs hurtling towards me from all angles. The noise of banging and pneumatic drills have been a constant irritation and my nerves have been on edge. Instead of lingering I have been beetling back to Lime Street Station as quickly as my short and stubbies allow. Slowly though the building of the new city centre retail/leisure area known as Liverpool ONE has taken shape and the development opened its doors to the public last autumn. Despite the recession customers have flocked in and now Liverpool has moved to fifth in the nationwide league of retail destinations.

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Linking the newly development to Liverpool's waterfront is an area known as Chavasse Park. Chavasse Park in the city centre was originally set aside as a park in the 1980s and covered an area of between 2-3 acres. It is named in commemoration of Noel Godfrey Chavasse - a doctor and one of only three men to have been awarded the Victoria Cross twice. The park was excavated in 2004 prior to the start of the Liverpool ONE project. The park was reinstated on top of a new 2000-space underground car park.

Although I have been shopping in Liverpool ONE before this was my first excursion into the new park. It was a damp and murky Monday morning so there were not many people about. The planting certainly appealed to me - a variety of hardy perennials, grasses and shrubs which already looked well established. I found it difficult though to imagine what it will look like in the colder months of the year. Was there enough of an evergreen background ? Are there any winter flowering plants and bulbs? The entire area was immaculate - not a drop of litter to be seen. Whether this was because it was a Monday morning remains to be seen. I thought that it would be a most pleasant spot to eat my lunch during the summer if I was working nearby or a tourist looking for somewhere to picnic. However when I think of parks children come straight to my mind but I did not see any evidence of their needs being catered for. I did not come across a designated playground area or any particular child orientated feature. This could be an oversight on my part - after all it being term time there were no children about for me to notice what they were up to. I will need to return to investigate this and also hopefully to see the fountains in action as they were sadly not working.

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So I will be returning to Chavasse Park later this year on a mission and will post a follow up report. Watch this space ! Meanwhile I will keep my eye on that roundabout - perhaps by September 'Out On The Streets' it might be less of a horror show.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Feeling Rosy - The Sequel



Back in January I wrote about the arrival of a parcel from Peter Beales Roses - it contained a couple of bare - root plants. They did not fill me with great confidence at the time but from those twiggy sticks I now have roses ! Here is 'Blush Noisette' - now in flower. The other occupant of the parcel
'Felicite - Parmentier' is tantalisingly near to opening, so a photo will follow in due course.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Lettuce Eat Let Us !



“Never pride yourself on knowledge. Remember; even a head of iceberg lettuce knows more than you do. It knows whether or not that light really does go out when the refrigerator door shuts.” ~ Anonymous.


No prizes for guessing what is on the menu this weekend - yes it's LETTUCE ! Lettuces 'Yugoslavian Red','Lobjoit's Green Cos' and 'Delicato' all photographed at the allotment this week.



Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Mersey Morning

W IS FOR?



WALL,WATER AND WINDOWS !

~ on a damp and murky June morning near the river Mersey in Liverpool. Why don't do you wander over to ABC Wednesday and wonder at some wonderful posts all featuring the letter W.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

"Who Knows Where The Time Goes?"



"In summer, the song sings itself." ~ William Carlos Williams

So here we are almost at Midsummer's Day ! In the words of the Fairport Covention song oh so beautifully sung by Sandy Denny, "Who Knows Where The Time Goes?". It has been a showery summer solstice here but the forecast is promising a dry and warm week.

As the year goes on I am failing somewhat with my intention to maintain some sort of gardening diary both on this blog and elsewhere. I especially wanted to try to keep more accurate records of what I have done at the allotment. So once again I am unsure of when I planted my garlic, onions and carrots etc. and exactly when they should be ready to crop. I think that for another year that it will be a glorious guessing game. The 'Feltham First' peas are coming on but in trying to establish whether the peas are ready I am eating a fair few podsworth. However they are deliciously sweet and going down well. I wish all crops were like strawberries as it is so obvious when they are ready for eating. They are ripening thick and fast at the moment so each trip to the allotment usually sees me coming home with enough to feed the two of us. I have also been invited to top up with next doors as well, as they are on holiday so there is certainly no shortage of strawberries. I had a good session at the lottie yesterday where I weeded for England. I am trying to make sure that the plot is tidy as possible well in time for the July inspection. It was last July when I got the dreaded letter. I am trying to gets things as tidy as possible before then and also before holidays call.

I am also regularly picking bunches of sweet pea 'Matucana' from the plot which scent the hall. The flower bed there is filling out nicely now. The top photo shows penstemon 'Evelyn' and cerinthe major. In the same bed are cosmos 'Purity',nasturtiums, asters, teasels, a Japanese anenome and a stipa gigantea still very much in its infancy.

On the subject of tempus fugit, I have been very remiss in not thanking the lovely Joanne of Joanne's Cottage Garden for the 'Renee Award' which she kindly bestowed upon me - my very first blogging award! :



This award is the "Renee Award" which was created by Bella and Ces in the UK, in honour of their friend Renee.In Bella's own words "This is a brand new award and I have the pleasure and honor of spreading the seed and watching it grow. I hope it finds it's way to those who are like Renee: the acorn, a small package becoming a tall and sturdy oak, giving more acorns, becoming tall and sturdy oaks, giving acorns.”

I should pass this award on to five other bloggers but find it impossible to narrow it down to you. I am sure that I will still be in the spirit of the award if I pass it on to all you lovely people who visit this blog regularly, with thanks and appreciation for all your comments. My apologies for being rather remiss about replying to comments of late. Hopefully this should improve now that things are slowing down growing and planting wise - there's more time to draw breath.Thanks muchly for the award Joanne !

Friday, 19 June 2009

A Gentle Occupation



I am enjoying these long summer evenings sitting on the edge of the wall indulging in my favourite gardening occupation ........... deadheading hardy geraniums. I have two of these particular plants which are now quite substantial in size. They make tidy hummocks at least eighteen inches tall and a couple of feet across. I am not sure which geranium it is and my hardy geranium reference book seems to have gone adrift in the bookshelf. A sanguineum perhaps? Maybe somebody might be able to help with identifying them. They always appear slightly pinker in photos than they do to the naked eye. There is something that I find quietly satisfying about this task which I try to do on a daily basis. It's amazing just how quickly the seed heads appear if any escape my attention. I wonder what gardening tasks give fellow bloggers most pleasure? Well I must away. A thunderstorm stopped me in my tracks yesterday evening, just as I was going out for my daily fix so I must wither and snip.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Happiness is Heart Shaped

V IS FOR?



VAN WINDOWS!

On a recent overnight stay in our campervan, we could not help but smile at our next door neighbour's most lovingly crafted windows :)

Visit ABC Wednesday for some very vivacious views on the letter V.

Monday, 15 June 2009

GBBD June - Slip Sliding Into Summer

 
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“In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day.
No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.”


~ Aldo Leopold


Without a doubt May is my favourite month of the year in the garden but June follows not far behind. May's glowing chestnut candles, frothy cow parsley and an abundance of aquilegias are being replaced by a motley collection of hardy geraniums and astrantias. If you click on the above photo mosaic you will magnify the individual photos. I have had some of these plants so long now that I have forgotten what they are and have long lost labels and details of what I planted where. Here goes where I can provide positive id :

Top row - left corner - astrantia 'Roma' - this was bred by Piet Oudolf and is sterile unlike many of the other astrantias that I have in the garden. They are too successful at seeding themselves and I have plans to extricate a good few later this year. I have also decided that these plants have a distinct aroma of a wet face cloth that has been left to fester, so another positive reason to be ruthless.

Second row - left - geranium pratense 'Splish Splash' and right - pimpinella major.

Third row - astrantia either 'Hadspen Blood' or 'Ruby Wedding, centre - digitalis alba.

Bottom row - geranium clarkei 'Kashmir White' which is one of my favourite hardy geraniums.

This time of year the garden also benefits from the borrowed landscape of dog roses and elderflowers which grow in the large uncultivated area of land to the back of us. Yes, summer is definitely on the scene !

You can enjoy more June blooms here at May Dreams Gardens .

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Buzzing



No, I am not talking about the sounds that emanates from those fuzzy foggie-toddlers but about the way I felt after attending a propagation workshop at my local nursery last Wednesday. Lodge Lane Nursery is run by Sue Beesley who won the BBC Gardener of the Year competition back in 2006. It is about a 15 minute drive away from home and an excellent source of perennial plants. Earlier in the year whilst browsing the RHS website, I noticed that Lodge Lane was running a series of propagation workshops. I thought that I would give it a go, as although I have done reasonably well in growing from seed and taking cuttings, I had my share of some abysmal failures. Sadly the spring workshop was already fully booked but there were two places left for the summer event, so I quickly booked one of those places. The morning just flew past. It started with a talk from Sue which was very informal and interactive. We then had a break for refreshments but still talked propagation. It was interesting to see Sue's notebook where she records details of seeds grown, cuttings taken as well as deliveries of plants from external sources. This was followed by a whizz round the garden to take propagating material. Back under cover to do some hands on work and put what we had learnt into practise. I came home clutching cuttings of exochorda macrantha 'The Bride', buddleia alternifolia, physocarpus 'Diablo', a golden leaved philadelphus, an anonymous but very sweet smelling buddleia, prostanthera (not sure which one) and a lonicera insularis. Alas no photos of the garden as just as we started to walk round the rain started to fall but it was looking most beautiful and full of colour.

All in all a most enjoyable and inspiring morning. I came home raring to yield my secateurs but instead had to get ready for a short trip away from home. I got back this evening so no doubt I will be looking to snip away merrily forthwith. From what I can gather each of the workshops has a seasonal bias - the spring session covered growing from seed in more depth. I will be looking out early in year to see if these sessions are repeated and hope to attend another one. I will try to put a few notes together later this week with some of the points that Sue covered.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

'Home Sweet Home'

U IS FOR ?




ULTIMATE DES RES !

We came across this lovely hobbit home at the Gardeners World Live Show in June 2002. I wanted to move in immediately :)

This is my post for ABC Wednesday where U will come across other folk uttering on about the letter U.

Monday, 8 June 2009

From The Plot

I worked at the allotment today where I put in a five hour session stopping only for a bite to eat. Came home feeling weary but heartened as there is all sorts going on :

First peas a podding ~




Strawberries plumping up and blushing nicely. I am growing two different varieties. Yesterday I was able to pick one of each, divide them and share with himself :) Hopefully there will be enough for a bowlful each in a few days.



Sweet peas - I picked the first few sprigs last week and today there were enough for another small vase. These are the most delightfully scented 'Matucana' which I sowed last November in the greenhouse ~



Back tomorrow weather permitting to plant sweet corn and climbing French beans. Will sleep well tonight.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Rain Stops Play



Today's more or less incessant rain put my allotment plans on hold. I was hoping to plant some sweet corn and 'Purple Tepee' French beans but will have to see what tomorrow brings. On the plus side we were in need of the wet stuff and it has given me a chance to catch up with some domestic chores. So tonight I am looking forward to sitting down to a good read. First on the menu is the June edition of 'The Cottage Gardener'. This little quarterly magazine is one of the benefits of membership of The Cottage Garden Society.

The aims of the society are 'to promote interest in cottage gardens, both past and present, to further the use of those plants associated with cottage gardens and to assist those wishing to create or maintain such gardens'

To use a phrase borrowed from Garden Faerie - the magazine is a 'mish-mash' of articles about cottage gardening as well as book reviews, recipes and a letters page. I have had a quick look at the newest edition which includes articles on roses, the Egyptian Fayoumi (a breed of chicken) and an article about the virtue of green leaves. There is also a description of the mechanics of the society's excellent seed distribution exchange. I have grown some lovely plants from this and earlier this afternoon noticed Patient Gardener's success with a seed obtained from the exchange.

I also have the June edition of Gardens Illustrated to peruse. This edition is the 150th edition of the magazine and is includes a celebration of cottage gardens.

So that's my Saturday evening entertainment all mapped out possibly with a glass of wine to hand. Fingers crosses for good planting weather tomorrow.

Friday, 5 June 2009

'New Dawn'



'When the bee comes to your house, let her have beer;
you may want to visit the bee's house some day.'

~ proverb from the Congo



The first flowers have just opened on my 'New Dawn' rose, where this fine fellow was enjoying bathing in yesterday's evening sunshine.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

May Day

T IS FOR ?



TRIO!

Here the last day of May was a taste of summer - very warm and sunny. I spent it at a Plant Hunter's Fair where our garden club had an information stand. It was held at local tourist attraction part of which is an old walled garden. I had a meander round the garden in the afternoon and came across a trio of Ts. The first was the tree in the lovely gate in the above photo.

The second - a froth of thalictrums :



Last but not least three little pigs desperately seeking shade like the rest of us !



Take a trip now to ABC Wednesday where you can enjoy more takes on the letter T !

Monday, 1 June 2009

Garden Blogger's Muse Day - June 2009




Adlestrop

'Yes. I remember Adlestrop—
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop—only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.'


~ Edward Thomas 1878 -1917

This poem brings back fond memories of childhood summer day trips by steam train. Days when it was still possible to open a train window and just listen to the outer world. My high cloudlets were photographed late yesterday afternoon - the moon is afloat amidst them.

More June musings can be enjoyed at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago hosted by Carolyn Gail.