“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember“
I’ve just about managed to scrape together my Six for the week; possibly I’ve repeated at least one from last week, but I have to go with what I can find. We’ve had quite a few bouts of heavy rain the last few days, which has done no end of good to the garden but probably hasn’t found its way into the Jerusalem artichoke pots so I may be watering between showers later – just to stretch my legs after prolonged sitting at the computer now my OU course is open to view, though not to work.
It is quite warm this morning; though ominous clouds are gathering there are flashes of tempting sunshine and I can see a final raspberry ripening on the bush. (In fact two artichoke pots have just blown over and had to be rescued and tethered back in place – so I ate the raspberry while I was there.)
First up, a decent picture of the verbena bonariensis, or one flowerhead at least. Apologies that the cosmos etc is out of focus.
First, a huge thank you – and a Gold Star – to Lisa over at Lisa’s Garden Adventure who identified my Christmas/Easter/Whatever cactus from last week’s SoS as a Thanksgiving cactus, Schlumbergera truncata, aka the false Christmas Cactus. As Thanksgiving in America is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, it should be in flower by the 25th of that month. I printed a label for it that goes all the way round the top of the pot!
Look what popped up in one of my pots while they were moved to the edges of the patio! Not one but TWO nasturtium ‘Labybird Rose’ plants. I just wish there were more (I sowed six seeds in this pot) as the colour is rather nice but a bit lost against the terracotta of the pot. They didn’t last long before something ate them.
A long ‘diary’ and the final one for 2021. All is not yet safely gathered in. I’ll leave the tomatoes to ripen on the vine as long as I can; he plants are still producing flowers (which I keep cutting off), though they are nothing more than bare stems and clusters of unripened fruit.
The days (and nights) are warm enough for now; in a week or two I’ll harvest the outdoor tomatoes and bring them inside to finish off. The greenhouse ones should be okay for a little longer but collected by the end of September.
These seem to be doing OK, despite the cooler weather and darker days of the last week in July. I’d already removed what side shoots I could see/reach and some of the larger leaves. I’d rather have a smaller crop of larger tomatoes, than a large crop of small ones that take weeks to ripen indoors. There are plenty of flowers yet to form and – inside the greenhouse – several hover flies buzzing around (which saves me using the duster to pollinate them!
August has been a long month, concentrating as we were on house and garden maintenance; not so much gardening, more prettifying the area around the garden by painting exterior walls and paintwork, as detailed here and here. A month that, as it neared the end, found us running out of energy and time to do the things that had to be done.
Tuesday last week found me painting the other side of the gate and the frame around the garage door, which I wasn’t looking forward to as it is fiddly to get at. The old paint was flaking off and required a lot of preparation before I could start. But it’s done now (though with the garage door half open I did spot a couple of patches where the brown paint hadn’t covered the blue; but they’re underneath the dips in the door and can’t be seen when it’s down. I can live with that for a couple of years).
After days of rain showers and cooler weather since finishing the front path and drive, and getting on with painting exterior walls at the back of the house, if was time to turn our attention to the back garden, beginning with the Sunny Patio.
Instead of the cool and cloudy mornings of the past week, this morning is a fine one. Greeted by the sun rising above the Potting Shed at 6.20 (the time I rose; the sun had been ‘up’ much earlier), we had an early breakfast and, as I type, my husband is sealing the final section of the lower patio. Thank goodness for the high pressure sitting above the UK and keeping rain away.
I’m keeping away from the smell of the patio sealant by finishing off this Six on Saturday post and reading other posts throughout the day. This month has been full-on maintenance and sprucing-up outside. There aren’t many flowers left in my garden – the obligatory fuchsia or ten, some of the surviving wilfdflower mix hidden beneath grasses. There’s an autumnal nip in the air of an evening and a touch of condensation in the windows in the morning. Let’s move along swiftly.
This summer, I moved the Christmas/Easter/Whatever cactus from the dining room to the sitting room. Both windows face the same direction – west-north-west – and both receive the same amount of late-afternoon sun (though at slightly different times due to overhanging trees), yet this is the best I’ve seen this plant for some time. It is dark green and glossy with plenty of new growth.
When I write my posts, I refer to certain parts of the garden by specific names. I thought it might be helpful to share the position of those places within the back garden as a whole. The first three images are from my study window, the last is from my husband’s study.
We follow the garden clockwise; from left to right – a few degrees away from a straight north to south as makes no difference.
First we have the Log Store (with the large pots on the roof); the Bucket/Coal Shed (a project earlier this year); the Potting Shed (previously a pergola and decking built in 1999 and covered over about fifteen years ago after one too many footballs from next door). The trees are not mine and were planted around ten years ago.
The hot weather has been good for the potatoes; only the Pink Fir Apples are lagging behind, but they are maincrop so that’s not an issue.
This time last year, my potatoes were much further advanced, with some showing flowers on 18th June 2020. Then, I grew Swift, Desiree and Pink Fir Apple; so it’s probably a combination of weather and different varieties that’s put me behind.
Last year (2020), a while after the end of the first lockdown, we ventured into a discount store (Home Bargains) for some essentials – including 2 tins of white exterior gloss paint. I had plans for painting the back gate, the garage side door and my husband’s shed door.
A wet and cold day here in North East Wales, and probably for most of the UK. Today’s forcast is rain until 1 pm, rain showers between 1 and 6 pm, light rain between 7 and 8 pm, and cloudy thereafter. Thank goodness I took these photos as the opportunity arose last week.
What better place to start than with this image of a Southern Hawker dragonfly I ‘rescued’ when she got stuck under the (clear) roof between the house and garage and caught up in cobwebs. I took this photograph balancing on a stepladder with the pole holding the sign in one hand and manipulating the phone with the other, while my husband cowered inside the garage door. I’d estimate her at around 3 inches long, wingspan similar – and those wings were noisy (you can hear the sound in this short video I found online. You’ll need to set volume to around 36% to hear it.)