The vaguely green-fingered thoughts of a rambling rose.

It's Been a While

Between work, study, holidays and life in general, the garden has taken a back seat I'm afraid.  We did however manage to finish pulling down the tree.

The upper most part of the tree proved to be a little more difficult than imagined as we had weekend after weekend of windy weather.  What seems like a breeze at ground level feels like a gust at 30ft!

These huge cones were the size of The Man That Can's hands.  I'm not sure that they liked being messed with either.  They really are as spikey as they look and if that's not enough to put you off, they were extremely sticky.  The sap from the branches doesn't come out with your average wash either!

The final cut was a tricky one.  We strapped rope to it, and with me pulling with all my weight and The Man That Can doing his best impression of a tree surgeon, we brought the final limb crashing to the ground....

...Missing the greenhouse by a gnat's breath!  I think it was the scariest thing we have ever done in the garden!

Of course once it's on the ground, then it needs cutting into bite sized pieces in preparation for disposal.

Not a very old tree by all accounts, despite its grand size.

Now all we need to do is tidy up the 'dead' area.  The idea is to grow ivy up wire fencing to create an evergreen screen.

It's safe for the girls to come out and play again now.  (L-R) Hedwig, Lola and Fawkes.

As winter approaches and tales told of another early and harsh winter, we have taken the opportunity to move the hen house back up to the yard, closer to the house while we have the time.

The first frosts are due this week, so if you haven't already, try to bring in your tender perennials.  Once you've had your first frost, it's time to plant out your tulips.  I had a huge bag gifted to me last month.  Proper Dutch Bulbs, direct from The Netherlands and our Dutch friends!

It is Summer, yes?

Only this week there have been reports of the odd frost!

Of course now the schools have broken up for the summer, those long summer holidays of our own youth just don't seem to compare.  Did we not have long lazy days in brilliantly warm sunshine?  Did we not have storms breaking out in the night that went on for hours triggered by these long hot days of summer?  Did not these storms finally break as the dawn chorus began only to be followed by yet another glorious summer's day?  Now our children are faced with days and days of damp squibs.  Of days more reminiscent of late autumn than summer.  Cool, cloudy outbreaks of drizzle.  The wail of "I'm bored, there's nothing to do" seem to crop up much sooner than in our day.

The only reminder that it is actually summer as I enter this into the blog is that of the flowers.  Ok so they may allow a week or two either side, but my Daffs still flower in the spring and the lilies still bloom in summer.

Hydrangea.  I should try to adjust the settings on my camera.  The blue isn't showing as intense as it should.

Allium buds about to break, towering above my perpetual flowering prims.

A single daylily.  There aren't many buds forming on this plant yet, but it's still a relatively young clump so maybe next year will be the year it shines.

Poppy capsule ripening.

It's been a good year for poppies.  Perhaps the warm dry spring did the trick.

The Man That Can and I decided this would be the year to begin replacing the grand fir tree.  It's a beautiful specimen but for our size of garden it isn't ideal and it's beginning to ruin the lawn.

This being a neglectful year has thrown up some interesting plants.  This is a flower head of one of the onions I grew last year!

I've seen this plant somewhere before.  It's an interloper, but I don't know if it's a weed or not.  Time for some research.

Ice plants.  Doing really well this year.  I took some from my in-laws garden last year.  Loved by the bees and butterflies, it's a pretty variety. 

Another interloper, this snapdragon has probably been 'dropped' by a bird.  This often happens and I've had all manner of colours crop up.

They've really flowered their socks off this year, but since we've not had suitable weather I've been sharing the lilies with members of the family.  They're strongly scented but one spot of rain and the pollen spoils the pristine petals.

The harsh winter hasn't done my two Passiflora climbers any favours.  I'd almost given up completely on them but here they are, end of July and they've finally begun sprouting from the base. They may not flower this year though.

Shrub bed.  Their third year now and they've really pulled themselves together with the exception of the Red Robin.

Another task to be fitted in between showers is a good trim of the privet.  A good sharp hedge makes a fabulous foil for your plants.  It also makes a very efficient windbreak boundary.

Now where did I put my glass of Pimms?

Early July

It's not been a very sunny July so far, but it has been warm and wet.  The lawn is loving it, although The Man That Can can barely keep up with the mowing - you can almost see the grass growing!

The garden has taken a bit of a back seat while we concentrate on inside the house.  Life goes on though, as you will see.  This bold red poppy is one of a number that the Bumblebee scattered around the garden back in the spring.

Gloriously scented rosa Jacques Cartier.  Our two rose bushes have really thrived in this mostly shaded part of the front garden.  They barely have any direct sunshine during the colder months.  In the summer, the sun reaches them between 3 and 8 pm.  The sheltered spot obviously suits them and both have had more blooms this year than all the years we've had them put together.

The blue flowers of  Hydrangea seem a wee bit small this year, but they are plentiful.

I've gone for a yellow/white theme in the baskets either side of the front door this year, with lemon/white Petunias, white Pelargoniums and bright yellow Bidens to cascade over the sides.

Unfortunately, I haven't had very much success with bedding fuschias this year.  Has anyone else noticed a problem?  They're very stunted, and the flowers are reluctant to open fully.  It's having quite an effect of my various baskets around the back and side of the house.  The hardy fuschias seem ok so far though, thankfully, although I did lose one to the winter.


Just when you thought it was safe to relax in the garden with a glass of something you fancy and enjoy the sensory month of freshly mown lawns, the swifts screeching and the colourful blooms of the season, out of the corner of you eye you spot something out of place.  A weed.  A flower that needs deadheading.  Aphids on a tight rosebud.

Does a gardener ever really stop for very long to enjoy their hard work? 

I think that might be why I like to record it in my blog.  I can then look back and compare with previous years and help to plan for the future.

Exams are almost over, so I'll be able to give the garden the TLC it deserves soon.  I have noticed however that this years' flowers appear to be smaller than usual.  I'm not sure if that has resulted from my neglect or the weather.  Something to look back on in the future?