Friday, 20 September 2019

A few days without rain... yeah!

We had a lovely day day of sunshine yesterday and today is warm and sunny too.  Sadly that won't last but at least it has been nice weather to do some gardening in.  I have been ripping out a few old rather scraggy looking ferns that were just filling some space until I got some new plants.  So some lovely new ferns have now been planted out, some of them have coppery tones, some are small spreading ones, one is silvery coloured and one is for a hole in the wall.  Can't wait to see how they come on next year.  I really wanted to tackle the viburnum bodnantense dawn as some of the older stem/trunks are very gnarled and really aught to come out but I will have to be patient and do that late winter/early summer after it has had it's main flowering season.
I finally managed to get a quick snap on my phone camera of the Speckled wood butterfly.  Wow are they flighty!  I have spotted quite a few speckled woods this year  and as far as I know they have green caterpillars.  I also spotted a  Grey dagger moth caterpillar (just molting it's skin I think).  It brings back childhood memories of when I used to sit beneath our very small tree in our back garden, with my collection of these these bright caterpillar on my face! I know it was a strange thing to do, but at least I put them all back where I found them. 

wildlife,
Pararge aegeria (speckled wood butterfly)

wildlife,
Acronicta psi (Grey dagger moth) caterpillar

Monday, 2 September 2019

More of the same...

sunshine and showers.  For the last couple of months it has been showery weather, but you never know if you are going to get a quick sprinkle of a shower, or a heavy ninja shower.  Some parts of the garden are moist, whereas the areas under the tree canopies are so dry they are cracking up.  I am going to have to get the hose out even in the rain!  Lots of plants going over now but some are hanging on.

It was the Duddingston Kirk Garden Club Annual Flower Show at the weekend and it was a great day.  Jolly hard work but worth it all in the end.  Back in April I photographed my streptocarpus and button fern plants and some snails.  I entered those at the show and woohoo...the streptocarpus won 1st prize in that class, and the button fern won 1st class in the foliage pot.  My pot of leaf celery won the pot of herbs class, and the snail photo got me 2nd prize in the photography class.  I also got a prize for my handicraft but did not do very well on my vases of perennials, vase of foliage, and single rose.  It was nice to see the riot of colour of all the entries for the floral art and vases of flowers.

Early one morning in august, I took a quick snap, with my phone camera, of a couple of foxy visitors.  I always like to see them in the garden. They don't come into the garden very often now.   I haven't been quick enough to get good photos of the butterflies, but again, I got a quick snap, with my phone camera, of a peacock butterfly as it rested on the path in front of me.  All those lovely flowers and it settles on the path.

I have been trying to get to grips with my mirror-less camera so took various shots of a cactus flower as it went from bud to full flower.  These flowers go over very quickly, sometimes lasting just a day, but they smell absolutely wonderful, filling the whole conservatory with scent just from one single flower.  I have only ever had 2 flowers on the same cactus at one time.   The hoya bella has strange little flowers that feel quite waxy and give a lovely scent, but he petals look almost furry.  Previously I had a hoya bella that was quite compact and I hung it up so that I could see the flowers that dangle  facing downwards. but I was given this one which is more like a triffid with only a few very long stems and not many flowers.  I am not sure what to do with it really - I could wrap the long stems around a frame I guess.  The cyclamen in the conservatory are starting to wake up and flower now.  The big old one is much slower at waking up but I am so glad that it is still alive and well.  It may be old and craggy but it flowers well.

Well it is sunny at the moment but we are getting ready for the next lot of heavy rain. Sigh!

plants,
Pot plant section at the Duddingston Kirk Garden Club Annual flower show.

Duddingston Kirk Garden Club Annual flower show

wildlife, foxes,
2 foxy visitors

wildlife, butterfly,
Peacock butterfly

seedheads,
Clematis seed head

plants, flowers,
Cactus flower bud

plants, flowers,
Cactus flower from beneath

plants, flowers,
Cactus flower throat

plants, flowers,
Hoya bella

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

July, in between ninja showers...

it is muggy, sunny, and hot.  Lots of my plants have some kind of rust or mould on them..  The meadow sweet, verbena bonariensis and a few others have powdery mildew.  Some of the roses have rust and black-spot.  Some huecheras have rust.  I have sprayed the roses again, and have just given them their final feed so I hope they will pick up a bit.  I have taken off most of the rusty leaves form plants, but the powdery mildew can be quite stubborn  I am having the constant battle with the humongous slugs and have resorted to using some 'Sluggo' near my new delphiniums as I am sick of my new plants disappearing overnight.
Normally at this time of year I see loads of bees covering the purple lavender, veronica and agastache out in the front garden but this year there are only a few about.  The agastache to the left of the mahonia is devoid of all leaves courtesy of slugs and snails, while the ones at the right side are fine. The purple loose-strife, persicaria, hedge woundwort, verbascums, geraniums, delphiniums, cat-mint and a foxgloves are still attracting bees and other pollinators.
I finally moved the old bird-bath plinth from the patio as it was falling apart and found it had been a good home for the green cellar slugs (which are good guys) so I let them find a new home behind the patio plant pots.  I found a cricket on the garage wall (horrid photo taken with my phone) which was nice.  We used to hear crickets when we first moved here, but haven't seen or heard any for years now so maybe they have come back this year? All over the garden are lots of tree seeds: mainly sycamore keys and tiny silver birch seeds.  They really make the place look untidy but I have finished dead-heading and weeding for today and I am off out to enjoy the sunshine before the next lot of torrential rain due tonight (along with thunder and hail so they say).

plants, flowers,
Lavender

plants, flowers,
Veronica spicata 'Royal candles'

plants, flowers,
Persicaria affinis superbum

plants, berries,
Sorbus  hupehensis Pink pagoda berries

plants, flowers,
Delphinium cameliard

plants, flowers,
Verbascum chaxii album

Old bird-bath plinth

wildlife, slugs,
Green cellar slugs (Limacus maulatus)

wildlife, snail,
Grove snail (Cepaea normalis)

wildlife,
Cricket?

plants, seeds,
Sycamore keys (samara)

Sunday, 14 July 2019

New plants...

for the widened border.  I have been shopping at MacPlants again to fill in some gaps in the border. For a nice soft purple and yellow combination there is Nepets junior Walker and Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam'.  Along side some Cosmos Xanthos (which I had in pots on the patio).  A couple of Leptinella squalida 'Platt's Black' for a couple of corner areas.  I had planted some Ammi visnagi but the massive slugs got them (one seedling survives).  These massive slugs are such a pain and even all the wool pellets I put down are no deterrent what so ever.  These slugs have destroyed half a dozen honesty, all my blue poppies, primula vialii, the ammi, knapweed and loads more besides.  I do a slug patrol every morning and pick loads.  They curl up into a ball to prevent being eaten, and I have found some almost the same size as a golf ball!
The milk churn was moved to a corner in the bed to make a focal point and I didn't have a pot the correct size but ended up putting a bronze grass on a plastic saucer inside the churn, which is held up by a wooded support underneath.  It looks great just now.
We moved the bench that was sitting under the tree canopy (overhanging from the golf course), which was collecting loads of bird droppings so was rather dangerous for anyone sitting there.  It is still in the stumpery area but under clear skies so much nicer for resting on.
There is still more planting to be done, and moving plants about - which probably shouldn't really be done just now but some are now in the wrong place.  They used to edge the border but now that the  borders are wider they need to be moved to the new edge.

plants, flowers,
Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam',  Nepeta Junior Walker
plants, flowers,
Cosmos bipinnatus Xanthos
slugs, wildlife,
huge slug curled into a ball
slugs, wildlife,
huge slugs
slugs, wildlife,
slug on the wool pellets
plants,
Carex commons bronze in milk churn
plants,
Carex commons bronze (diff view)
stumpery,
bench in the stumpery


Friday, 5 July 2019

Woohoo... Fab new path...

means easier access, wider borders, more plants, and less messy wheels when I do come in from the garden.  Easier on the shoulders and arthritic hands too.

The lovely landscapers from Gardens by Water Gems did a terrific job of the paving around the main garden.  I was having a lot of trouble pushing my wheelchair over the thick, usually soggy, grass, which was very uneven with dips and bumps all over the place.  The existing paving had only been put on sand and had subsequently sunk over the years.  When stretching sideways to weed or dead-head, I was in danger of tipping out of my chair.  Many thanks to Michael, Heath and Karolina for their jolly hard work in getting it level, pointed and very neat.  They had to work with old slabs and new slabs, partly in the scorching heat along with a few ninja showers,  and managed to make it all work out.  Come the autumn we will be following Heath's advice about re-locating the Rhododendron in to the corner, and planting an Enkianthus where the Rhododendron was, and chop the top off the Pieris and see if we can make it bush out a bit. Now that I have wider borders I can move the Irises a little closer to the slabs.  They flowered last year in June but so far I don't see any flowering stems on them this year.  I have a few plants that have been sitting waiting in pots on the patio that can fill in a few gaps, but I can't wait to get to my favourite nurseries to buy some new ones too. The slabs just now make the garden much brighter and somehow more open.  Most of the planting in the borders are bulbs and perennials which will die down during the winter but at least we will still have the green ivy up the walls and a few evergreen shrubs and ferns to enjoy.  I do need to find something nicer for the milk churn.  The pigeons keep landing on the grass and squashing it.  Possibly a variegated ivy to tumble down the sides for all year round, or I could plant it up with different plants each season?  I will now bore you with lots of photos of slabs!

This area is behind the raised bed and the grass was particularly bad here due to the overhanging trees casting a lot of shade. It only gets a bit of sunshine in the mornings in summer. There was a dip (almost a step) going from the slabs down to the grass. The shrubs are overhanging the single line of paving on the left.  The new slabbing is all level and brightens the whole area.  The shrubs now have more room to grow and I have access to the back of the raised bed too.

new slabs,
Behind raised bed before
new slabs,
Behind raised bed after

Between the arch is exactly the same distance but with the new paving looks so much wider.  The plants at the edge of the raised probably make a difference too.

new slabs,
Between arch before
new slabs,
Between arch after

View from the arch is an uneven lawn with a narrow border on the left.  I could only get my left hand wheel on the single path while the right hand ones had to cope with the thick, often soggy grass.  There was a lot of moss in the lawn.  Harry just could not get his head around a garden with no grass what-so-ever so I had to compromise and keep a tiny bit of grass.  (Glorified dog toilet basically).  I was hoping for a massive area for new planting.  Hey ho.

new slabs,
View from arch before
new slabs,
View from arch after

From where the Rowan is: this was quite uneven although you can't really see it.  The Hebe now has more room to spread a little more, and I am sure I can squeeze in a few more plants.

new slabs,
From Rowan before
new slabs,
From Rowan after

Some of the biggest differences in levels was in this area and up to the left beside the patio.  Now it is all level and much easier to get round.  I can weed that area more easily, and again a wider area for some of the bigger plants to spread  I need to have a good think of what to do with the area under the bird feeder.  The pigeons just flatten everything and have made a little path to get to the fallen seeds.

new slabs,
In front of pond before
new slabs,
In front of pond after

It is amazing the difference this path has made to this area.  I need to sort out the Heucheras and maybe move the Hellebore more to the front (it is getting too much overhang from the Tree heath.  I love how it looks now.  There was a huge dip here that always caught me out and gave me a fright.

new slabs,
Side of ramp before
new slabs,
Side of ramp after

This area here was where I had to go from existing big slabs down onto the grassy area and although the picture doesn't show it that well, it was almost a step down with a dip one side and a bump the other side.  Not very easy to negotiate back onto the slabs, with either tools or hose in one hand and maybe plants or a trug on my knees.   Now there is a very slight, gentle, easy to negotiate slope.  Nice big flat turning area too.

new slabs,
Between beds before
new slabs,
Between beds after

Now I know it looks like a huge expanse of slabs now compared to before, but it will soon be softened by some new planting.  I find it hard to imaging just now what it is all going to look like in wither when the perennials die back for their winter sleep.  The bright newness of the slabs will mute over time to a softer hue.  The evergreens will then be the focal points along with the naked tree of the golf course behind.

new slabs,
View from patio before
new slabs,
View from patio after

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Sunshine and slabs... Yay!

There is a bit of warm sunshine about with a few showers.  The slabbing is now under way so I cannot get access to the garden for the time being.  All very frustrating as I was ill last week and had neither the time nor the energy to get on top of the weeding and dead-heading before the landscapers started.  I am itching to get back out there as some of the plants in need of a bit of TLC. I haven't been able to do my slug patrols either, but, maybe all the upheaval has meant they are less active.  I can but hope.  I will have to just potter about on the patio for the time being, which means a lot of scraping between the slabs to get the weeds out, and scrubbing the wall near the bird feeder (mostly pigeon poo).  There are plenty of butterflies about now and I did get a nice photo of a Red admiral but just missed my chance to get a snap of a Speckled wood.  Too slow getting my camera out.

wildlife, butterfly,
Vanessa atalanta (Red admiral)

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Finally a little bit of sunshine...

in amongst the rain showers. The lawn is like a huge sponge, full of water, and every time my wheels go over it, it gets churned up so is like a quagmire now.  The sooner I get more paving the better. When the sun does come out, it brings the bees out with it.  They are everywhere.  Here is a list of plants in flower now that they visit: deutzia, heuchera, syringia, foxgloves, aquilegia, centaura, rhododendron, geraniums, daisies, thyme, hebe, saxifrages, cirsium, erigeron, geum, clematis and philadelphus.  The garden is literally humming with them.  I have been playing with my macro lens again trying to learn how to use my mirrorless camera.

plants,
Cactus buds

plants,
Aquilegia seed head

plants,
Honesty seed head

plants,
Sepervivum arachnoideum

plants, flowers, bee, wildlife,
Bee on deutzia

plats, flowers, bee, wildlife,
2 bees on Centaura

plants, flowers, bee, wildlife,
2 bees on Cirsium