greentapestry : July 2021

Saturday 31 July 2021

Dear Diary ~ Late July 2021


Here we are already at the end of July and thoughts turning to late summer and the autumn. I'm still dithering over my spring bulb order and need to make a final decision and get it off as soon as possible. I will probably order the majority of my bulbs from Peter Nyssen and a few odds and ends from Farmer Gracy.  Last year I ordered some narcissus bulbs from the latter and they turned out to be the plumpest narcissus bulbs I've ever seen. I'm also enjoying leafing through the tempting catalogue that you can pages from as Sarah Raven's  catalogues are always brimming with positively beautiful colourful combinations. 

Just a brief post today mainly for my personal records. A lull from full on seed sowing for now but the seed compost will come out again in September. I pricked out some 'Sooty' sweet william seedlings today which were sown at the back end of June and there is another batch of a different variety that are still to small to prick out.  I may fit in for some sowing more salad seeds though. We are now eating French beans, which were just morphing from flower to bean just over ten days ago or so, some rather delicious beetroots and cherry tomatoes. I've not grown my own tomatoes from seed for a while now but treat myself each year to some small plug plants from the excellent Simpsons Seeds. They offer a wide range of tomato varieties in all colours and sizes and their plug plants are always well packaged, happy and healthy. They also stock other vegetable plant plugs.We have just enjoy the third harvest of 'Charlotte' potatoes grown in bags this year. Each harvest has been enough for two meals and there are probably another couple of harvests still waiting. Not necessarily a cheap option but they have been delicious.  My shallots need lifting - they looked most promising in their early days but are not looking so brilliant now. The proof will be in the lifting sometime this week. 

We have had a fair bit of rain this week which the garden needed after the recent heatwave. Unfortunately there were two intense cloudbursts involved which did flatten some plants but no long lasting damage done.

Not much in the way of other news. I'm expecting an exciting delivery in the post next week but more of that next time round. The weather for the last week or so has been on the wet and cool side so I've not been out there in the garden as much as I would have liked to. Just in the nick of time we gave the new 'Bathsheba' roses a specific rose granular feed this afternoon. Their second flower flush is just starting with one or two flowers already out and plenty of buds to come. That's it for today - short and sweet. Next time I hope to say that I've ordered those bulbs. Does any one else dither just trying to decide what to include in their bulb order.

Monday 26 July 2021

IAVOM ~ Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow

It's another bunch of sweet peas in 'In A Vase On Monday' today. The flowers are coming in thick and fast at the moment so I'm picking every couple of days otherwise the flowers will soon turn into seed pods and then this year's display would not last as long. All the sweet peas were grown from seed sown in March and are getting a weekly seaweed extract feed. In the absence of any rain for a good ten days or more now as well as very hot temperatures for us they are also being regularly well watered. Rain is forecast for tomorrow and I think that the garden will be singing and my watering can arm will be highly relieved. 

The little hare that you can see next to my vase - a Kilner jar, maybe intended for a long cool summer drink, was discovered in the garden yesterday. Himself is in the process of embarking on some major brick repair work and found this hare buried under some ivy. It was that long since that I've seen it that I had no recollection of it all! It is looking somewhat sadder for it's experience and has lost a leg although it is still able to perch on the wall. I'm sure that it was not giving onlookers the evil eye in its previous existence. Another garden long lost dicovery was made last week which I will share another day. I wonder what discoveries lie in store this week in other Monday vases. Thanks to Cathy over 'At Rambling In The Garden' as always - she is sharing some bright sunshine in her vase this week.

Monday 19 July 2021

IAVOM ~ Butterfly, Flutter By

The word hot would describe today in a nutshell. Much as I would like to be a vision of loveliness in the garden, floating hither and thither all day in a flimsy dress, floppy straw hat perched on head with a pair of secateurs to hand I am a sticky glowing creature who is only venturing out at the moment in the early hours or after our evening meal. My Mediterranean genes have failed me. However I made an exception today and ventured out later this morning for a lightening snatch and grab raid of flowers to put in 'In A Vase On Monday' this week are : 

  • Buddleia flowers - this is an unknown variety which came to me as a cutting along with a darker flowered one from my late parent's garden. 'The Big Butterfly Count' is ongoing at the moment and these buddleias also known as a butterfly plants are usually covered with butterflies especially on very warm days. Most sadly that doesn't seem to be the case at the moment with the only butterfly visitors being Cabbage Whites. Where are all the others? Buddleias do self-seed but seedlings are easily pulled out, the foliage is nothing special but on the other hand they smell delicious and as well as usually acting like a butterfly magnet they do pull in other pollinating insects too.

  • Occupant two is a new to me dahlia called 'Senior's Hope' which I have fallen for and will definitely include on next year's list. 
Thanks as always to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for encouraging us to share our pickings on a weekly basis. I'm living dangerously now and heading back out again to try to harvest some salad potatoes to eat this evening. Hope that everyone else is having fun either in or out of the sun and that you have a myriad of butterflies in your garden.

Saturday 17 July 2021

Garden Diary

Once again time is running away with me as it is coming up to a month since my last diary post. The weather was disappointing during the second half of June and first half of July - cool and showery. However it has been slowly perking up for the last few days and today is an almost perfect summer's day. If anything it is too hot for me and venturing out to potter is limited to early mornings and evenings. Apart from the sun the pollen is high and all the biting insects seem to be homing in on me as soon as I set foot outside. Oh well you have to take the highs with the lows and the sun is certainly welcome.

It doesn't seem that much has been happening as far as gardening jobs are concerned apart from weeding, weeding and more weeding.

We have had our first strawberries which were delicious but sadly a good number went mouldy in the rain. After weeks of looking pristine the French bean leaves are now looking rather tatty and mollusc shredded. The beans themselves are in flower and a few are now morphing into discernible beans. The beetroot are plumping out rather nicely, shallots will be ready to pull soon but the 'Sunburst' pattypan squash so far seems all leaf and very little in the way of pattypans. I've grown these for several years now and they are usually prolific. However this is the first time I've grown them in the garden. 

We've had the first crop from the 'Charlotte' salad potatoes which were delicious with some bacon and broad beans. This is the first time that I have grown them in a potato planter bag and I made the mistake of planting too many in each bag. I think that the two bags I planted are too congested to produce a good number of potatoes but those that were harvested were in an immaculate condition and looked better than some of those grown at the allotment over the years.

The lockdown border has come to a bit of a standstill. I think that I'm dispirited by seeing the marestail taking off again after my initial culling. However I must grit my teeth and continue to suppress it the best I can. I have bought three more 'Totally Tangerine' plants to go in there and need to get them in soon especially as new flowers will soon be opening on them. Now I'm in search of penstemons and phloxes in purple or lilac shades. I had quite liked the look of penstemon 'Plum Jerkum' when I saw it online but I came across it accidentally yesterday afternoon in a local garden centre and decided it was much too dark so that was a useful discovery. No I didn't buy anything for once - the main purpose was meeting up with two old friends and very pleasant it was too sitting in the sunshine under a canopy and chatting.

In other news the new 'Bathsheba' roses looked beautiful when they flowered but didn't seem to last long or look good when they went over in the wet spell. Their fragrance wasn't as strong as I had hoped for so the jury is still out. It is described as being repeat flowering though so I'm keeping my eyes peeled for new buds. 

A rest from seed sowing apart from another batch of lunaria 'Chedglow' of late but I'll soon be checking the seed tin to see if I need to order anything for September sowing and then of course the bulb order needs to go in imminently.

Finally for the first time ever I've managed to grow sunflowers at least as tall as me! Sunflowers are one of those plants I've sowed many a time usually to see them gobbled up by molluscs when they are still tender young plants but this year sees a trio of sunflower 'Procut Plum' about to open. I'm most excited indeed. 

Monday 12 July 2021

IAVOM ~ The Sweetest Pickings

Of all the flowers I cut to bring into the house sweet peas remain my all time favourite and of course the first pickings are always occasion to celebrate. This year's are later by a few days than last year possibly because of the cool spring. They were sown in the middle of March and include 'Gwendoline','April In Paris', 'Erewhon', Earl Grey,  and the in my book best for scent 'Matucana'. Every year I think that perhaps I should have sown a couple more varieties but I think that I will now be returning to more or less the same nucleus of varieties each year. A couple of plants have still to show their colours so I'm hoping that this week's predicted warmth and sunshine will do the trick. In the meantime these elements are in very short supply today and apart from an odd short dry but damp spell it has been raining for most of the day hence the indoor photo. As I cut the stems in the damp spell I could inhale and smell the scent drifting through the air. Pure bliss! 

A big thanks to Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting. Do have a peak at what Cathy and other participants have in their Monday vases this week.

Saturday 10 July 2021

June Musing ~ Rosy Thoughts


"The serene philosophy of the pink rose is steadying. Its fragrant, delicate petals fully open and ready to fall, without regret or disillusion, after only a day in the sun. It is so every summer. One can almost here their pink, fragrant murmur as they settle down upon the grass 'Summer, summer, it will always be summer."

Illustration - by Gustav Klimt.

Words - by Rachel Peden.

Monday 5 July 2021

IAVOM ~ 'Flowers In The Rain'

"I'm just sitting watching flowers in the rain
Feel the power of the rain making the garden grow
I'm just sitting watching flowers in the rain
Feel the power of the rain keeping me good"

It's been one of those days when after some heavy rain over the weekend there has been the occasional glimpse of blue skies and sunshine but also intermittent showers too. We did need a decent amount of rain though so it's doing a good job. The watering can has laid idle for a couple of days too. In my vase this week are mainly perennials which have been growing in the garden for a long time and a couple of annuals. The contents are:
  • Rosa 'New Dawn' - I had to have a few goes at picking a couple of stems only to be met with a shower of sodden petals but was eventually successful. She is the first rose we planted and although I regularly threaten to behead her as she does suffer from blackspot she has survived. This year she has a particularly good show of flowers.
  • Almost impossible to see but there is some alchemilla mollis in the vase also known as lady's mantle. This perennial as I'm sure you will know does have a tendency to self seed rather vigorously unless you are quick off the mark and remove the flowering stems as soon as they go over.
  • Some astrantia flowers but I have no idea of what variety they are. They do have a slightly off putting aroma about them but not everybody's nose picks it up.
  • The purple daisy like flowers are kalimeris incisa 'Charlotte'. This is an excellent trouble free perennial which has never seeded in my garden yet so I wonder if it's sterile. I bought my plant in 2014 and have divided it and intend to do so again. It has opened in the last couple of weeks or so and will go on for some time. It's a great magnet for pollinators and unlike asters isn't affected by mildew. There is a white flowered kalimeris too which I would like to track down.
  • Finally a couple of September sown plants in the mix - orlaya grandliflora and daucus carota. 
My post title comes from a song by 'The Move' that came on the radio with perfect timing yesterday as I was on the treadmill. The vase an old favourite passed on to me by my mother.

As always thank you to our generous hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for enabling us to share our vases each Monday. I'm looking forward to being inspired tonight by glimpsing what's in other people's vases. I must also mention that I'm also looking forward to watching the indomnitable Carol Klein's programme on Channel 5 later tonight in which she will be visiting the beautiful gardens at Wollerton Old Hall in Shropshire throughout the seasons. A notebook and pen will be by my side for both activities.

Saturday 3 July 2021

Visiting Time ~ Wollerton Old Hall, Shropshire

The idea initially was to write a diary update post but a weeding marathon was what came to mind when I thought of what has happening in the garden recently. I'm sure that there have been other activities but I will reflect and come back to do a diary post sometime this week. Instead a few words and photos from a visit to one of my favourite gardens that we made a couple of weeks ago or so. I've visited Wollerton Old Hall several times over the years both in the company of himself and also with the local horticultural society that I belonged to for a good few years. 

Funnily enough my last visit to Wollerton was also in June. It was seven years ago and not the ten or so himself reckoned and it was also following a very long and cold spring. It was the beginning of June and there were still tulips in flower and daffodils at a nearby garden! This time there were the roses I had hoped to see last time. Roses were climbing up the exterior of buildings that greet you when you arrive and were also in evidence throughout the garden. The rose on the left of the photo below is 'Wollerton Old Hall" but I don't know what the pink rose is. I imagine that most of the roses are probably peaking now. 

You can read more about the garden here  but in a nutshell it's described as being set around a sixteenth century hall and is a formal, modern garden on an old site. 

It covers four acres and is composed of a number of garden rooms richly planted with perennials, shrubs and some beautiful trees. It is especially renowned for its plantings of roses, clematis and salvias. The garden has a small nursery attached to it where you can buy many of the plants grown in the gardens including rosa 'Wollerton Old Hall' bred by David Austin and of course named after the garden. I already have the rose but did make a couple of salvia purchases as well as a thalictrum 'Hewitt's Double' which I've grown in the past but it has long since disappeared. There is also a tearoom with both indoor and outdoor space where you can enjoy a light bite or  more usually in our case a cuppa and a slice of delicious cake.

We called there after a couple of nights away in the camper van in Shropshire and had a dull but dry day for our visit. All visits needed to be pre-booked at the moment but that was easily done online and the garden is open on a few days each week. 

It is a combination of the setting and also the exquisite planting that appeal to me as well as the fact that the garden is beautifully maintained. It was busier than our last visit but still quiet enough to find the odd nook and cranny completely to ourselves. I would return tomorrow if I could. That's unlikely but we do hope to get back there later this summer.

All the photos in this post were taken on my most recent visit but you can see photos from my previous post here

If you can't get to the garden yourself you may be interested to hear that Wollerton Old Hall is about to feature on the excellent series 'Great British Gardens With Carol Klein' on Channel 5 on Monday 7th July. In each hour long programme Carol visits one garden throughout the seasons. This will be episode 4 in the present series but you can still see the others on catch up. I'm now trying to work on himself for a trip to Coton Manor in Northamptonshire which looks out of this world. Hope that you are able to visit some beautiful gardens this year.