My Garden

My small suburban garden…

Better Late Than Never…

mag1

I have to admit that due to my disappointment regarding the lack of colour and wildlife in my small suburban garden during 2015 I’ve been reluctant to venture outdoors to see if anything ‘exciting‘ is happening. However, determined that there WILL be some colour out there this year, I’ve recently purchased a large pack of 425 summer flowering bulbs and had the rather tedious task of planting them into the tubs and borders this afternoon.

daffs

Much of the garden still looks dead, but there were a few signs of life, much to my surprise. The mild winter has brought forth magnolia blooms, the mini daffodils are flowering and there’s even a couple of pink hyacinths in flower. The yellow primulas are attempting to flower but are far from impressive, and the crosuses failed to appear at all, although the buddleia is predictably producing plenty of healthy-looking shoots and leaves.

hyacinth

After all my hard work it’ll be interesting to see if anything other than californian poppies and alyssum grows this year. Only time will tell…

What Winter…?!

geranium

Despite it being 29th December, the unseasonally mild weather means my Small Suburban Garden is beginning to look rather more like spring that it ought to. Why do I have geraniums and lobelias in flower outdoors?

jasmine

berries

The jasmine, which I savagely chopped back a couple of months ago, has new foliage and still has an abundance of black berries. There’s a ton of parsley available for harvesting and although the chives have gone to seed, the mint has reappeared.

parsley

magnolia

As always, the buddleia is in leaf, and the magnolia is now covered in small furry buds. I’m not quite sure why the seasons are all messed up, and I do hope that it won’t interfere too much with the insects that I hope to be seeing next spring and summer. I guess that all we can do is wait and see…

Not Much to Write Home About…

Picture 003

After the disappointment of a lack of flowers and wildlife in my Small Suburban Garden this summer I admit that I’ve rather neglected it in recent weeks, however, I did venture outside for a look round this afternoon. Clearly it’s still quite mild for the time of year because I have a few alyssum and lobelia dotted about. There’s also a couple of late marigolds. The buddleia are sprouting new leaves despite me severely cutting them back, and the parsley remains defiantly strong.

Picture 002

A couple of weeks ago I decided to cut back some of the jasmine that had overgrown around my shed guttering, but now it just looks a bit of a mess. It’s uncovered some rotten wood on my fencing and the bee hotels I put out there several years ago now need replacing. Those are jobs that will now have to wait until next spring. There’s a few bright orange berries on the magnolia and shiny black ones on what’s left of the jasmine. Hopefully the birds will enjoy those.

Picture 008

The wild cherry tree looks very autumnal against the blue sky and after sweeping up dead leaves the garden does look a bit tidier, although there’s only so much I can do (it’s not a ‘magic’ broom!)

Who Stole Summer…?

Picture 061

Apart from a few sunny days here and there, there’s really no evidence at all to suggest that summer actually arrived here this year. The majority of days have been gloomy and overcast, and my Small Suburban Garden has looked pretty much the same way. The floral extravaganza of wild flowers I was hoping for simply didn’t happen, just a few Californian Poppies and a couple of marigolds. The cherry tree succumbed to blackfly and I’m not entirely sure it’ll still be with us next year.

Picture 020

The buddleia bloomed but failed to attract more than a passing large white butterfly and a stray bee, although as I was cutting it down this afternoon I was joined by several Red Admirals and a Painted Lady – better late than never I guess. One of the signs that autumn is upon us is the white flowers on my chives – which are actually one of the few things currently cheering up the borders.

Picture 034

Will we get an ‘Indian Summer’ this month? Time will tell…

That Don’t Impress Me Much…

begonia

Well actually, my small suburban garden doesn’t impress me at all this year! I can’t remember the last time I was so underwhelmed with the lack of floral displays and I can’t help but wonder if Mother Nature is to blame for the fact that I’ve only seen a couple of small white butterflies and one solitary peacock on my buddleia so far this so-called ‘summer’. The fact I got excited at seeing a single ladybird on a dead poppy just about sums up my desperation.

love

I had hoped that by scattering a ton of wildflower mix into my borders that it’d provide a fabulous and colourful haven for wildlife, however, apart from the obligatory Californian Poppies and a couple of ‘love in the mist’ there’s been practically zilch growing there. The only decent colour I’ve got is from a Tom Thumb fuchsia and some begonias that I’d actually thought I’d killed off by leaving them outside all winter.

buddleia

The parsley is providing me with plenty of leaves for salads, as are the chives, but apart from that I’m extremely miffed at the lack of anything interesting out there. I’m now pinning all my hopes on some late flowering. Fingers crossed…

Could Do Better…

lobelia

While my North-facing front garden, which has mostly been left to Mother Nature, is currently an extravaganza of wild flowers of all shapes, sizes and fabulous colour, my South-facing back garden remains a major disappointment. While there are some nice bright Californian poppies and a couple of apparently self-seeded lobelias, most other plants are not really performing as well as I’d hoped.

cherry

The honeysuckle looks and smells gorgeous, as does the white jasmine, and the red jasmine has been constantly covered in bees (shame none of them have chosen to nest at chez moi again this year), however, the newest cherry tree has suffered terribly from black-fly and had yielded just one sad and lonely cherry, and there’s also just one marigold!

marigold

Along with the buddleia, the mint, chives, rosemary and parsley are all doing ok but as for everything else…well… things can (surely?) only get better…

Stormy Weather…

cali

After thunderstorms you usually get some nice, fresh air; however today we just have that clammy feeling. I don’t think that my Small Suburban Garden is enjoying the current climate either, as my aquilegia is now covered in greenfly, the cherry trees are laden with black-flies and the Miracle Gro Flower Magic seeds I lovingly scattered in the borders all those weeks ago have so far yielded a few Californian poppies and not much else.

bee

The jasmine, both white and red, are now flowering profusely which has attracted lots of bees. Unfortunately, for the second year running not one of those little creatures seems to want to make it’s next in any of my 3 carefully constructed bee hotels.

aqua

The mint and buddleia are thriving, but then again they always do. All in all, I’m not (yet) very impressed. I’m hoping that things will improve soon…

Looking Good…

DSCN0003

The sun is shining and all appears to be going according to plan in my Small Suburban Garden. The wildflower seeds I scattered in planters and borders a few weeks ago are beginning to grow (although they’d stand a better chance if the local cats would stop digging them up) and the polyanthus have decided to flower.

DSCN0002

The wild cherry trees have blossomed and now it’s time for the not-so-wild cherry to do the same. The magnolias have flowered, and now there’s a ton of white petals to sweep off the paving slabs on a daily basis. The mint is thriving and I appear to have acquired a lemon balm (or at least, that’s what it looks like at the moment).

DSCN0008

I’d been collecting up random seedlings from around the garden and shoving them all in one planter, and now I have some white alyssum and some pink stocks. This is coming up to an exciting time in the garden and I can’t wait to start seeing bees and butterflies returning. Hope it’s soon…!

DSCN0010

Magnificent Magnolia…

DSCN0014Well, one of the magnolias is in fine fettle while the other (smaller) one is lagging behind in the flowering department. There’s also still some miniature daffodils along with some rather ragged looking yellow primulas and 3 pink hyacinths. It’s good to finally see some flowers in the garden.

DSCN0001The wild cherry has begun to bud and I can see a few small leaves about to appear and the buddleia is beginning to grow again (although it’s remained in leaf all winter).

DSCN0018

The mint, rosemary and thyme have survived the winter, as predicted, and the recent rain has filled the water butt so I can keep the wildflower seeds I recently scattered in the borders and planters nice and damp. Fingers crossed that 2015 will see a good display of colour in my small suburban garden.

DSCN0006

The Sun Is Out, The Sky Is Blue…

…the garden’s full of pussycat poo….. (Or it WAS until I removed it!)

DSCN0002

It’s very spring-like outdoors today and my small suburban garden is now looking tidier after I spent an hour shoving dead leaves and other garden litter into the compost bins (not the poo though!)

DSCN0009

The mini daffodils (dwarf Narcissus ‘Tête á Tête’) are all out and are looking pretty and there’s a few yellow primulas also in flower. The mint and rosemary are all starting to re-grow although the thyme is still looking a bit under the weather.

DSCN0005

I’ve taken all of the geraniums from the planters and have put them into the front garden, and the planters are now full of Miracle Gro Wildflower Mix in the hope it’ll give me a beautiful display throughout the spring, summer and even early autumn. Fingers crossed it’ll attract the bees this year.

I Spy With My Little Eye…

…something beginning with “L“.

Picture 014

It’s a beautiful, bright, sunny February day with barely a cloud in the sky, but I was still a bit surprised to see this little chap sunbathing in my small suburban garden as there’s still a very distinct nip in the air.

Picture 021

Most of the plants haven’t over-wintered particularly well although predictably the geraniums are determined to stay alive. The white jasmine still has some flowers, along with it’s small, shiny black berries, and the magnolia is sporting some furry buds on it’s branches.

Picture 009

Mini-daffs, crocuses and hyacinths are beginning to poke through the soil next to the yellow primulas, so it seems that Mother Nature is trying to let us know that spring is on it’s way. The sooner the better I say!

Freezing February…

DSCN0001

Blimey, it’s cold! My Small Suburban Garden never looks great at this time of year, but this year it seems to be suffering particularly badly. The jasmine remains determined to bud no matter how low the temperatures go but there’s not much else willing to brave the chill.

DSCN0003

A few crocuses are beginning to poke through the soil, maybe even some daffodils and hyacinths, and a couple of primulas are out, but so far it’s a pretty poor show. The geraniums are beginning to die off and rot, there’s dead leaves all over the place and even the fairly hardy rosemary isn’t looking very happy.

DSCN0005

The buddleia are, as ever, oblivious to the seasons and have new leaves appearing and the mint is seemingly indestructable, but the whole place lacks colour at the moment. Hopefully in a few weeks time we’ll be over the worst of the winter and we can finally look forward to spring.

Wot, No Snow…?

geranium

With half the country under a white blanket of the cold stuff, my small suburban garden remains unaffected. The sub-zero temperatures have managed to kill off the begonias but I’m not at all bothered. I did toy with the idea of digging them up and over-wintering them again but to be honest they’re 80% leaf and they don’t attract the bees and butterflies very well. Next spring I shall plant mostly wild-flower seeds in the hope that my bee hotels will once again become popular.

jasmine

The geraniums, as ever, never cease to amaze and are still in flower. The white jasmine clearly thinks it’s spring again as it’s in bud (quite mad really). The buddleia has also grown new leaves and my lovely new fuchsia is also showing signs of new flowers.

garden

This time of year, the garden is far from looking its best and all around are soggy brown leaves and dead stems, but the magnolia has also decided to join in with the springtime theme and has produced some furry little buds on it’s branches. Will it all end in tears? Only time will tell…

Damp and Dreary…

DSCN0002

Although it’s mid-November, the temperatures remain remarkably mild, which has extended the flowering season somewhat. The geraniums continue to bloom in abundance, although I’ve had to snip off a few mouldy flower heads due to all this dampness.

DSCN0004

The jasmine is clearly confused as it begins to blossom once more, and there’s even a stray alyssum flowering in between the paving slabs. There’s some honeysuckle still out and the chives and parsley are both present and correct.

DSCN0011

The buddleia, which I cut back a few weeks ago, has new leaves and the mint, which I also chopped down, is thriving. I suspect that within a couple of weeks we’ll see the first of the frosts, and that will mean digging up the begonias to protect them over the winter, but for now I shall enjoy their big, beautiful flowers for a while longer…

Autumn Arrives…

DSCN0015

My small suburban garden is looking rather worse for wear after recent high winds and heavy rain. The begonias took a real battering, poor things, and there were terracotta tubs upturned, spilling soil on the concrete slabs. Soggy, brown leaves are in evidence, as if we needed any further proof that autumn has indeed arrived. The jasmine is playing host to numerous spider webs, which look quite pretty in the early morning sunlight.

DSCN0002

A lovely fuchsia, given to me by a dear friend in July for my birthday, is currently in it’s third bloom, adding a fabulous splash of colour beside my back door. The geraniums are still going strong and there’s signs of primulas poking through the soil at the far end of the garden.

DSCN0010

The chives and parsley are now in seed, and the rosemary, mint and thyme are all looking a bit worse for wear. I really do need to keep a close eye on the weather forecast now as the begonias won’t tolerate sub-zero temperatures and if I want a gorgeous display next year I’ll need to dig up the tubers and keep them warm and dry until the spring.

Bye Bye Buddleia…

DSCN0002

I only intended to trim off the dead flowers from the buddleia, but then I figured I’d be chopping it all down for the winter within the next few weeks so I got it all done sooner rather than later! There were hardly any new blooms on it anyway, and any passing butterflies can feast themselves on mint and chive flowers instead.

DSCN0012

The begonias are looking splendid, as are the pink geraniums. The magnolia has bright orange berries which add a bit of colour to the far end of the garden. A few primulas are beginning to poke through the soil, as if any proof were needed that it really is autumn now…

DSCN0016

Was That It?!…

DSCN0006

We’re just a few hours away from September and I have to say I feel rather cheated out of a decent summer this year. Although there’s been several butterflies, numbers are down on previous years, and bees have been almost completely invisible. Apparently snails are thriving – or so it seems by the destruction of the leaves on my cherry tree despite my best efforts at removing the little pests.

DSCN0007

You can’t go far wrong with geraniums, and mine are no exception. The begonias have done unexpectedly well too, but other plants have been well below par. The buddleia is a disappointment as is the red jasmine (both should’ve attracted the bees but both lacked significant blooms).

DSCN0012

The mint was a good idea as it’s now filled the wall planters after I replaced the lacklustre lobelias. It’s also beginning to flower, which is good. The chives are putting on a great display as always.

There’s rumours of an ‘Indian Summer’ but I won’t be holding my breath…

Dragonfly Days…

DSCN00004

I love hazy summer mornings lazing around in the garden. At the moment, the butterflies are still enjoying the buddleia, although bees remain conspicuous by their absence this year. I’ve just started to see a few Southern Hawker dragonflies making an appearance.

Picture 011

The begonias are now almost all in flower and although the majority of those which survived the winter in the shed are red, at least 1 white and 1 yellow are now in flower.

Picture 014

I was lucky enough to be given a fuchsia (Tom Thumb) as a birthday gift and it’s now in bud for the second time, which is fantastic as I’ve never owned one before. The pink geraniums are also flowering and looking lovely.

Picture 019

The chives have begun to bud and a few are about to flower, so very soon there will be pretty white flowers along an otherwise bland wall. The mint in the wall planters (which replaced the failing lobelias) are thriving. Long may it last…

Hot & Sweaty…

Picture 020

The humidity seems to have drained all the energy from the garden, as well as me. Sweat seems to pour from my skin simply by sitting still and the plants look quite sorry for themselves, despite copious amounts of expensive tap water applied daily.

Picture 005

I’d used a fair amount of Miracle Gro on the buddlias but even though there’s more blooms than last summer they’re still not attracting the quantity of butterflies and bees of previous years. While I’ve seen lots of peacocks, red admirals and tortoiseshells, as well as a few gatekeepers, I’ve only spotted one comma and one painted lady so far. Even whites are few and far between!

Picture 002

The chives are beginning to bud, and the mint I used to replace the dying lobelias in my wall planters seem to have taken ok, but my three bee hotels remain worryingly devoid of any guests this year. At least the new pink geraniums in the planters look reasonably healthy and the begonias are mostly starting to flower…

Picture 016

Hot, Hot, Hot…

 

Picture 003

It seems that today is scheduled to be the hottest day of the year so far, which is welcome news indeed after all the damp, grey days we’ve encountered so far. Disappointed with my planters, I threw the remains of the marigolds and Californian poppies into the compost bin and replaced them with dark & light pink geraniums. Much nicer.

Picture 005

The lobelias were an epic fail too, so the planters on the wall are now filled with mint, and three of my terracotta tubs have also been re-planted with herbs (1 mint and 2 rosemary). The begonias have been surprisingly successful.

Picture 016

Despite the fabulous buddleias there’s a distinct lack of butterflies so far. I’ve seen a few peacocks, a couple of tortoiseshells and a large white. Bees are thin on the ground also. Only time will tell whether they turn up or not…

Summer Sunshine…

DSCN0012

After several weeks of warm but wet weather, the past two days have been utterly gorgeous – long may it last! The damp conditions haven’t been good for the marigolds, which now look a little ‘mouldy’, and the lobelias don’t appear to have enjoyed it much either and despite slug pellets the snails have munched their way through about a quarter of them. The ones in planters on the wall seem to have done better than those in the borders.

DSCN0004

However, the buddleias are on the verge of blooming which should bring the butterflies into the garden again with any luck. Haven’t actually seen that many so far this year. The geraniums which managed to survive the winter are in flower, and add a splash of red to the garden. The Californian Poppies have been the start this summer, and will provide plenty of seeds to ensure a good display next summer.

The parsley has now gone to seed, the jasmine is no longer flowering and the birds have eaten all of my wild cherries, but the begonias which I was almost sure hadn’t survived the winter are all looking very promising. Predictably, the ornamental poppies didn’t last long.

DSCN0009

My bee hotels remain devoid of guests, which is a concern as by now the tubes should be home to baby bees which will hatch out next spring. Hmm….

Red and Yellow and Pink and Green…

Picture 003

I really love this time of year, when the garden is beginning to fill with colourful blooms. I have a couple of ornamental poppies in the border which are always a pleasure to see. The tescos lobelias are doing remarkably well and really do look nice in the tubs. Two of last years red geraniums have survived outdoors last winter, proving how mild it actually was.

Picture 018

The jasmine has started going off a bit but the planters are stunning with marigolds, californian poppies, alyssum and lobelias. I’m still hugely impressed at quite how much self-seeded from last summer, saving me a small fortune on bedding plants.

Picture 012

The begonias that I over-wintered in my shed are starting to show promise, although it’ll be a while yet before I find out what colours they’ll be. Nine of the original twelve appear to have survived, which is more than I ever imagined. I’d like to see the orange and yellow ones but I suspect I’ll end up with reds and whites. We shall see…

Drink Up Me Hearties, Yo Ho…

Picture 005

This Bank Holiday weekend has so far seen a fair amount of the wet stuff, with more forecast for the coming days. Despite this, I’ve still had to water a few of my planters as the wind has a tendency to dry things out almost instantly.

Picture 006

The lobelias appear to enjoy a good drink (don’t we all!!) and a few of them are starting to flower. Both the white and the red jasmine are playing host to hundreds of bees, which is always good to see, and the plants that self-seeded from the wild-flower mix I bought last spring are coming along nicely.

Picture 008

The bright orange Californian Poppies are the current starts of the show and there’s also some white alyssum in the tubs for a bit of contrast. Two of the 4 geraniums that survived the winter are doing well (the remaining two are looking very unwell at this point) and the begonias are getting stronger by the day.

Picture 010

Although the rain is good for the garden, and saves me having to use expensive tap water, it’d be nice to think that June will bring forth a bit more sunshine. I guess that time will tell…

Make Your Mind Up…!

I thought that April was the month for showers, not May! One minute there’s blue sky and sunshine, the next the sky is black and either rain or hail (or both) fall out of the clouds.

DSCN0003

On a positive note, all this rain has done wonders for my Small Suburban Garden. The white jasmine looks astonishing with so many blooms and even the red jasmine has decided to flower – which the bees are thoroughly enjoying.

DSCN0011

The cheap lobelias I bought from Tescos last week are looking relatively healthy in the tubs and borders, and the parsley has almost doubled in size over the past 2 weeks. I appear to have 4 geraniums and 3 begonias that have survived from last summer, which is good, and the magnolia has surprised me by starting to flower again!

DSCN0020

The wildflower mix in the back garden continues to thrive, and with any luck I shall see a few flowers within the next week or so…

Bee Babies…

It seems that the Bank Holiday weekend sunshine has encouraged the last of my baby bees out from their nests, which is a huge relief. I never know for certain how they’ve fared over the winter until I can see the holes appearing in the muddy entrances to the tubes.

Picture 007

I have to say, I have never, ever seen so many flowers on my white jasmine. It’s quite astonishing (and smells divine). The red jasmine is lagging behind somewhat but should be in flower by June (fingers crossed).

Picture 010

The Miracle-Gro wild flower mix that is so impressive in the front garden right now is also lagging behind in the back garden, although I’m extremely pleased to see that most of last years flowers have self-seeded. I’m also thrilled that a few of the 11 begonias I believed had failed to make it through the winter in my shed. There’s shoots appearing for 4 of them, however, only time will tell what the final figure will be…

The Gift That Keeps On Giving…

Picture 001

Last spring / summer I waxed lyrical about Miracle Gro Wildflower Mix, and it really was something special. However, I have now discovered that due to self-seeding, many of the beautiful flowers I enjoyed last year are growing once again, with absolutely no help from me!

Picture 004

Although the planters in the South-facing back garden have only just started to sprout foliage, with the promise of flowers to follow, my North-facing front garden (especially my window boxes) have been in bloom for the past few weeks. I am very much enjoying the view from my kitchen window as I spot alyssum, stocks and wallflowers along with Californian poppies.

Picture 008

The tiny patch of ‘waste-land’ by my front door was glorious a year ago, and that too is filling up nicely with all manner of wild flowers. Long may it continue…!

Easter Bank Holiday Monday…

Picture 016

 

Picture 023

After a damp and dismal Easter Sunday, the sun has come out and along with it are my baby bees! I’ve never actually seem them emerging from my bee hotel before so it was quite a thrill to watch them taking their first tentative steps outside my old baked bean tin this morning.

Although we did have rain yesterday the ground remains parched, so I reluctantly used the watering can to freshen things up a bit. The white jasmine has never, ever had so many buds and I look forward to seeing it in full bloom soon.

Picture 005

The wildflower mix that I waxed lyrical about last year has self-seeded and already there’s alyssum and Californian Poppies growing in the troughs. Hopefully my small suburban garden will now begin to flourish…

No April Fool…

It really has been gorgeous weather today. The white jasmine looks like it’ll blossom within a week or so and the smallest of my two magnolia has finally flowered. The red jasmine remains stubbornly without buds. I hope it’s just a late starter this year as the bees go mad for it.

DSCN0003

The wild cherry blossom is all but gone, however, for the first time I’ve actually got blossom on my newest cherry tree (bought two years ago from Tesco). I even have several plants growing from where I planted my Wild Flower mix last spring. Clearly some of the plants self-seeded which is excellent news.

The bees show no signs of emerging from their hotel, which is slightly worrying as I felt certain this lovely sunshine would be ideal for them to hatch out. I expect they’ll do it in their own time.

I’ve harvested my parsley and chives and they were delicious with my salad at lunchtime. Hopefully that was the first of many home grown meals…

Hello Spring…

Picture 001

I always look forward to seeing the cherry blossom on my tree, and now, despite the cloudy sky and forecast of wind and rain for later, it’s finally bloomed and I can say without fear of contradiction that spring has officially arrived in my small suburban garden.

The buddleia are in leaf, the magnolia has been out for a couple of weeks and the white jasmine looks on the verge of flowering. The red jasmine is lagging somewhat behind and I hope that it soon bucks up it’s ideas as the bees adore it.

Talking of bees, mine are still safely tucked up in their bee hotel by the water butt, however, I guess it won’t be long before they start breaking free through their little mud front doors.

Picture 011

My gorgeous daughters gave me some seeds at xmas (nemophila, lobelia, sweet peas, morning glory, buzy lizzie and gazania) so I’ve sprinkled these around the borders and tubs. I know that these are meant to be lovingly cultivated into seedlings and then carefully placed outdoors but I simply don’t have the time or the patience.

I’ve also now planted out the begonia tubers which I dug up in the autumn, although they felt a bit soggy and the newspaper I’d hoped would keep them dry was quite damp. I suspect that none of them will grow, but time will tell…

Boing, Boing, Boing…

That’s the sound of spring! Well, it is in my head anyway.

Picture 003

It’s the warmest day of 2014 so far and it’s fabulous. The magnolia is in bloom, which always gladdens the heart, and I’ve seen more ladybirds in the space of ten minutes than I did in the whole of 2013.

Picture 007

The mini daffs are looking very pretty, as are the pale yellow primulas. I even saw a couple of butterflies fluttering overhead. Unfortunately they were gone too quickly for me to identify them but it’s a very good sign to see them about.

Picture 016

There’s much to do in the next month or so; the shed door needs sanding and painting with preserver, the fence needs another coat of preserver and there’s decisions to be made regarding this years bedding plants.

Picture 020

But for now, the sun is shining, the sky is blue and I couldn’t be happier. Long may it last…

Picture 022

Has Spring Sprung…?

Despite yesterday’s cold, wet, windy weather, today it’s positively spring-like, with blue skies and sunshine. The primulas are beginning to flower and the jasmine and magnolia are in bud.

DSCN0002

The parsley, chives, rosemary and thyme have all managed to survive the winter and are providing some greenery. Crocuses are beginning to show the promise of flowering and the tete-a-tete daffodils I planted, which had already flowered on my kitchen windowsill, appear to be attempting to flower a second time.

DSCN0009

The buddlia is as strong as ever and I’m hopeful for a decent show of blooms this summer. The baby bees remain safe in their house by the water butt.

DSCN0012

There’s still a nip in the air, and there’s dull and wet weather forecast for the week ahead, but for now I shall begin to enjoy what appears to be the changing of the season…

Wet and Warm…

DSCN0002

Well, maybe not warm but I’m reliably informed that it has been mild ‘for the time of year‘, and this does appear to be the case.

DSCN0003

After numerous grey days the sun has finally shone, so I popped outside to inspect my small suburban garden. Predictably, there were piles of soggy leaves in the corners to sweep up, and a decidedly un-spring like nip in the air. However, the small shoots of the crocuses have broken through the soil and there are a few ragged but colourful primulas in flower.

DSCN0009

Two weeks ago I chopped back the parsley so I could enjoy it in my cheese & onion sandwiches, and regrowth has been swift. The buddleias have optimistic shoots and both the rosemary and thyme have so far managed to survive (famous last words).

DSCN0012

The magnolia has its furry little shoots and the bee house seems to be holding up – keeping it’s precious contents safe until spring. Fingers crossed…

Wot No Snow…!

DSCN0001

It’s 20th December and despite the doom and gloom predicted by the forecasters it’s remarkably sunny outdoors today. Of course, it’s far from sun-bathing weather but nonetheless it’s actually jolly nice.

I have a few hardy geraniums still hanging on in there, and the buddleia (as ever) seem to think it’s springtime, along with a few primulas flowers to add colour to an otherwise brown theme. I chopped back the lobelias, chives and wild-flower mix last week and swept up the inevitable leaves, but apart from that I’ve done very little to my Small Suburban Garden in recent weeks.

DSCN0013

The bird boxes remain stubbornly empty, but hopefully they’ll be used next year.
The red jasmine has a few remaining glossy black berries for passing birds and the magnolia is sporting it’s furry buds now.

DSCN0009

The garden table is now covered over for the winter and the BBQ remains unused in it’s spot by the shed. Oh well, that’s it for another year…

DSCN0017

Autumn Sunshine…

DSCN0007

After several decidedly damp days it was a treat to be outdoors in the sunshine today – long may it last! Blue skies and a bit of warmth on your face can do wonders to lift the spirits at this time of year.

The buddlias had been past their ‘best before’ dates for some time, so I figured now was the time to chop them back for the winter. There hasn’t been a single butterfly in the garden for the past couple of weeks now, and only the occasional bee.

DSCN0006

Other than the wonderful wild-flower mix, the real starts of the show have been the begonias, which are still offering plenty of colour to an otherwise brown and soggy scene.

DSCN0002

Sweeping wet leaves has been a chore, but needs must. The chives have now gone to seed, which I shall sprinkle in various corners of the borders in the hope of a few extra flowers next summer. The jasmine is sporting some juicy black berries, which I hope the birds will enjoy. Despite the fabulous sunshine there is the familiar nip in the air and I suspect it won’t be too much longer before the bad weather arrives…

After The Rains…

Yesterday was a total washout. Not only did the temperature drop dramatically but it poured for hours and hours. There were also strong winds, so when I stepped, with some trepidation, into my small suburban garden this morning I wasn’t entirely sure what I might find.

DSCN0007

Thankfully, the fence remains upright and plant damage appears minimal, if a tad wet. Predictably there’s red geranium petals everywhere and several of the begonias have been de-flowered, but all-in-all I’m quite relieved. There’s a soggy mass of wet leaves in various corners which will need to be swept up but that’s about it.

DSCN0009

Some of the water droplets actually look very pretty, especially on the begonias. The chives have started to lose their white flowers in favour of seed heads and they look structurally fascinating. Unfortunately, there are very few flowers left on the buddleias so it won’t be long before I have to cut them back for the winter…

Thunderbolt and Lightning, Very, Very Frightening…

DSCN00003

Wow! What a storm we had last night! The begonias took a battering and there were quite a few flower heads to pick up off the floor when I went outside this afternoon. There’s leaves everywhere from various trees and bushes and everything’s now looking windswept.

DSCN0004

However, the lobelias have decided to finally buck their ideas up and are making a last-ditch attempt to impress. The torrential rain has also seen the wild-flower mix perk up, with some new California poppies and more alyssum.

DSCN0008

I figured we’d be in for some ‘interesting’ weather when I saw that the sky went orange about 6.30pm yesterday evening. There were a couple of rainbows beforehand which were very pretty but were a sure sign of the schizophrenic conditions that were to follow…

Dull, Dull, Dull…

Picture 012

I’m not entirely sure what the weather forecasters meant by ‘Indian Summer’ but I suspect it involved rather bluer skies and substantially more sunshine that we have at the moment.

There’s only been one or two butterflies on the buddliea for the past couple of weeks now, although there have been more bees. The lobelias are hanging on in there, as are the geraniums, but they looking past their ‘best before’ date.

Picture 002

The chives are in full flower though, and standing tall and proud. The wildflower mix has a few remaining California poppies, cosmos and alyssum but there’s nothing to get excited about on the honeysuckle or jasmine.

I’m highly impressed with the begonias. Having never grown them before I wasn’t expecting great things, but they have thrived. That’s something that will definitely go on the shopping list for 2014…

Picture 005

And Now, The End Is Near…

DSCN0002

The weather forecasters kept telling us that Thursday 5th September would be a scorchingly hot and sunny day…. but on Friday we would see a drop of 10 degrees or more and rain! They’re using the ‘A’ word (autumn) and that’s NOT what I want to hear, obviously. I accept that the daily ritual of watering isn’t my favourite chore (especially as we have a water meter) but I still have two geraniums which have yet to flower and the buddleia has (in my opinion) not yet reached it’s full butterfly capacity. It seem so unfair. There’s plenty of life left in the begonias and the wild-flower mix has even got it’s second wind.

DSCN0006

I decided to spend every moment physically possible in my small suburban garden on the off-chance that the weathermen, and women, got it right for once, and I’m glad that I did. Friday has indeed, brought a marked drop in temperatures, a boringly grey sky and some of the wet stuff.

Whether this really is the end of the summer or if there are a few more fabulously sunny days left of 2013 only time will tell….

DSCN0007

Giant Chives…

DSCN0004

Despite the fact that the nights seem to be drawing in quite fast now, daytimes have seen several gloriously sunny weather recently, which is very much appreciated.

The small tortoiseshell butterflies are all over the buddleia, with the odd peacock, painted lady, white and comma occasionally visiting. However, the lack of red admirals is quite unusual and very disappointing.

The wild-flower mix is now looking quite straggly and I suspect it won’t be long before I have to remove it to the compost bin, but it’s definitely something I shall grow next year.

DSCN0003

The red geraniums are finally putting in a good show, as are the multi-coloured begonias, but the lobelias really haven’t been up to scratch this year, despite my best efforts.

Neither the red or white jasmine flowered as much as I’d hoped, although the honeysuckle bloomed well. Both the thyme and rosemary have so far survived but the current stars of the show are the chives – they’re enormous!

Bizarre Butterfly Behaviour…

DSCN0009

As I stepped outside this morning I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of several tortoiseshell butterflies appearing to be sunbathing on my paving slabs! Their wings were fully out and they just sat there.

DSCN0002

The weather is warm, and overcast with sunny spells, so I can only assume that they are actually trying to keep warm during the cloudy / breezy periods by resting on whatever they can find that’s been pre-heated by the sun.

DSCN000_3

Strangely, none of the peacocks, small whites, large whites or commas are remotely interested in participating in this odd behaviour – just the tortoiseshells. I even had one sunbathing on the tray for the BBQ! At one point there were 5 on the floor and I had to be careful where I stood. Never seen THAT before…

DSCN0003

The Butterfly Bush…

DSCN0006

There’s finally some interest in my buddleia! So far this week I’ve managed to see several small & large whites, some painted ladies, a couple of commas, a few tortoiseshells and lots of peacocks. No red admirals as yet but it’s early days.

Picture 009
I also spotted a female southern hawker dragonfly on it, and am now on the lookout to spot an elusive male. Even though one shrub in particular is blooming, the other large buddleia is still very much behind schedule, as are the 3 smaller ones.

DSCN0018

The pots of lobelias and geraniums are forever in need of watering, as is the wild flower mix. The petunias continue to flower although I feel they’ve never reached their full potential.

Better late than never, the white jasmine has got a few flowers on it, although it’s a very poor show.

Picture 023

I’d been neglecting my chives, and have only just noticed the ones I planted alongside the fence are thriving and look like they will flower very soon. I look forward to seeing those…

Sunshine and Showers…

DSCN_0001

These past few days have been very dull and overcast, with the occasional thunder-storm thrown in for good measure! The temperature remains very humid and despite the rain all of my pots and planters need to be watered twice daily to prevent my fabulous wild flowers and geraniums/lobelias from wilting.

The buddleia is finally in bloom although so far I’m unimpressed with the volume and variety of butterflies it’s attracting. I’ve seen several cabbage whites, an elusive peacock and a couple I couldn’t identify as they didn’t stay long enough for me to have a proper look. Fingers crossed that once more flowers come out I shall see lots more. My buddleia does seem to be several weeks behind everyone else’s this summer, for some strange reason.

I’ve spotted my very first ladybird for 2013! These should have come out in abundance in the spring but with the dreadful weather I was almost certain they’d all been killed off. Obviously, I would hope to see hundreds more in the coming days, as black-fly seem to have had a field day on my marigolds and cherry tree leaves in their absence, but we shall see…

DSCN0010

Stormy Weather…

DSCN0002

They say that all good things must come to an end, and so it would seem that the recent glorious sunshine has now made way for the inevitable storms. Good news for the water butt, which has remained empty for the past couple of months, but anything with delicate petals, such as Californian poppies and geraniums, have taken a battering.

Temperatures remain in the mid to high twenties, making it incredibly muggy outside. This hasn’t put off the bees who are head over heels in love with my lobelias, especially the dark blue variety. Some of my tardy geraniums are beginning to flower and the petunias are in bloom (although still not looking 100% healthy). I appear to have a rather snazzy red and white striped double petunia in the mix this year, which looks like one of those lovely strawberries & cream sweets (Campinos).

Still not many butterflies about, although I’m hoping that once the buddleia flower they’ll arrive in abundance. We shall see…

DSCN0007

Phew! Wot A Scorcher…

Picture 004

We appear to be in the middle of a ‘heat-wave’ and I, for one, don’t want it to end.
We’ve had such an awful time weather-wise that this blazing hot sunshine is just the tonic. I’m having to water the garden thoroughly every evening, but even the fact I’ve got a water meter isn’t making me wish for rain (yet!)

The wild flower mix continues to thrill me with new things every day and one of my begonias has finally decided to flower. Hopefully the others will follow. I remain disappointed with my white jasmine. By now it should be a mass of fragrant white flowers but it’s simply a whole load of greenery and about 3 actual blooms. The geraniums are very nearly flowering (bright red by the look of the buds) and I’ve now had to tie up the ornamental poppies so the seed heads can dry off.

The lobelias are making a nice display in the pots and the petunias, which I moved from the wall planters and subsequently wilted, are beginning to make a come-back. I’ve seen a few butterflies; cabbage whites, tortoiseshells and some brown hedgerow types, but nothing stays still long enough for me to take a photo. Hopefully that will change once the buddleia is in flower…

begonia

Morning Glory…

DSCN0002

And afternoon delights! It’s my birthday today and there’s really no better way to spend it than to sit in my small suburban garden surrounded by fabulous wild flowers.

DSCN0007

This evening I shall be enjoying the heady scent of the night-scented stocks while marvelling at the wonders of Miracle-Gro Flower Magic…

DSCN0010

Here Comes Summer…

DSCN0001

DSCN0004

At long last the weather forecast is predicting a ‘sunny spell’ and it’s all hands on deck with the watering can. My ornamental poppies have begun to flower and the lobelias are finally standing their ground. The geraniums are in full leaf but I have yet to see any evidence of buds, but at least the petunias add some much-needed colour to my small suburban garden.

The jasmine is still lacklustre but the honeysuckle is doing sterling work in attracting the bees. The begonias, however, appear to be copying the geraniums (all leaf and no flowers). I remain thrilled with the wild flower mix I bought and have been delighted to spot a marigold or two.

Due to the lack of a single ladybird so far this year, black-fly continue to destroy the leaves on my cherry tree (the wild cherry trees are thankfully unaffected). After seeing ants crawling all over it I researched online, only to discover that the ants were harvesting the black-fly eggs (yes, gross!) and were actually protecting them from other predators (in the absence of ladybirds I’m wondering what else might be interested in eating them). I felt I had no choice but to use ant powder to remove the unwanted ‘farmers’ and physically remove all affected leaves one by one. Whether this will put an end to the black-fly only time will tell…

Best In Show…

DSCN0008

Back from a 7 day holiday and I have to say my small suburban garden has grown more than I ever expected. The red jasmine is in need of a trim, the lobelias are beginning to flower, a couple of petunias have decided to blossom, but the winner of ‘best in show’ award goes to my Miracle Gro flower magic mix!

There’s several stocks, californain bluebells and alyssum and a lot of foliage which I assume will eventually burst into flower if we ever see some sunshine.

The lack of ladybirds (have yet to see a single one this year) has meant blackfly is rife on my poor cherry tree and I’ve had to remove most of it’s leaves.

The geraniums remain unimpressive (a sign of cold/wet/dull weather) but I’m hopeful that they’ll be glorious late-comers. Time will tell….

Pretty Pansies…

DSCN0003

My small suburban garden remains devoid of much colour at all, despite it being mid-June. The red jasmine has started to flower (much to the bumble bees delight) but there are noticeably less blooms this year than last year. There are a few flowers on the thyme and one tiny, dark blue lobelia flower but everything else is just green….apart from two small clumps of pansies. These were the plants which I picked up for just 30p last October in tescos, and which provided me with colour in my window boxes month after month. When they finally succumbed to the snow I pulled up the few surviving plants and put them in a shady border, not thinking for one moment they’d thrive, but here they are! What pretty little things they are…

Busy Bees…

Picture 003

Picture 002

Picture 006

Well, we’ve finally got some decent sunshine and at last the red jasmine has begun to flower, along with the thyme. The bees have been so busy making homes in my old baked-bean tin house I decided to make another one (this time with a small cardboard container, covered in selotape to help with waterproofing). Last year there were just 4 bees living in there but this year there’s an increase in numbers and I may well hit double-figures!

Annoyingly, this weather has brought with it the caterpillars that love to munch on the leaves of cherry trees. I keep removing them (carefully as they give you a rash) but my poor foliage looks decidedly ragged now.

My donated lobelias sadly didn’t make it so it was off to tescos for some last-minute purchases. Four trays of 20 mixed lobelias for just £10, which I thought was quite a good deal. Lets hope this lot fair better…

Beautiful Blue Tits…

DSCN0001

(Click photo to enlarge)

These past two days have been unexpectedly warm and sunny (and it’s a Bank Holiday weekend – astonishing!) The red jasmine has buds but no flowers as yet, however the petunias which I planted out in the wall planters are doing very well – as are the geraniums. The new begonias look ok but I’m not really familiar with how they should appear as I’ve never grown them before. The lobelias, which should be quite hardy, are unfortunately looking seriously frail.

Controversial as it is, I’m glad I opted to put slug pellets out as I managed to count over 100 dead snails, all of which would’ve been happy to munch on my new bedding plants had I not stopped them.

My cheap (99p each) solar lights are perplexing. Every night it seems a different one refuses to shine, although it’s never the same one two nights in a row, so I’m not sure which one/s to replace. I bought the exact same ones last year and they were really good – maybe this years lights are an inferior batch.

The fat balls in the magnolia has begun to attract blue tits, and it’s a real joy to watch their antics, although (as I’m discovering) it’s incredible tricky to actually photograph them…

If you couldn’t spot the blue tit, I’ve zoomed in and cropped the image (below):

blue tit1

%d bloggers like this: