Friday, 31 July 2009

Ooooooh I do just love a bargain.

My First bargain this week was this little completely folding, painted hardwood, bistro set from 'Wyvale garden centre' I have had my eye on it for months. We didn't have a set anymore as the mosaic table got rusted and really old, now being used for my herb table (you can see it in the corner of the photo) anyway back to my bargain, it was in the sale for half price, so we couldn't resist it and it looks perfect in the garden.

Next bargain of this week was from 'Homebase' which was three perennial border plants all reduced from £6.99 each to £2.29 each, they just needed deadheading and dead leaves removed and a bit of a feed and already I have new flowers in 2 days.
The plants are : Alstroemeria 'Jazze Purple Rose' , Verbasccum 'Jackie in Pink' and verbascum 'Jackie in Yellow' all very beautiful. ( photo's below) Then after I had paid for them the assistant said that over in the corner there were plants for free for customers to help them selves !! so I had 2 Aubergine plants and 4 strawberry plants of a different variety to the ones I have. Amazing, now I have the bug and want to scout the garden centres for more bargains.

Alstoemeria 'Jazze Purple Rose'

Verbascum 'Jackie In Yellow'

Verbascum 'Jackie in Pink'

Dahlia 'Pink Giraffe' (a stunning plant)

Although this isn't a bargain buy, as I paid a lot of money for the original plant at Hampton Court Flower Show three years ago. I only had flowers the year I bought it, and after that it didn't do very much at all, so last autumn I dug around and found the tubers which had increased by then. I dried them and stored over winter, and this year I have got 6 very large plants from the original one, so I am delighted with the results as the flower is beautiful and great for cutting.


A few photo's of around the garden today. I am glad I worked on the garden this year as we have been enjoying it so much (weather permitting !!) the borders look full and the plants colourful.

Leucanthemum 'Algaia'

These have yet to go in a border, but I like to take my time as I often make mistakes and have to dig plants up and re position them.

Japanese anemones, they have literally taken over a huge corner of the garden and are very hard to keep under control, but they are lovely.

My surprise 'calendula' the tri colour petals are really nice.

They may be 'plastic' but they are very cheery and catch the light beautifully, I love quirky things around my garden

Blueberries, lots of fruit this year and next year should see a great harvest.

Sweet-peas, one of many in the garden.

Friday, 24 July 2009

I've learnt to plait garlic.

Below is my first Italian red onion, with the round courgette, all ready to go into a stir fry. I bent over the foliage on lot's of the onions today ready to dig them up at the week-end, or whenever they look ready to come out. I should be self sufficient with garlic and red and white onions until well into next year. That's providing they all keep well. I grew all the onions from seed as I read that they store better for longer than onion grown from sets, we shall see !!

I went onto the Internet and googled 'plaiting garlic' , I found a good site that had really clear instructions and diagrams, so printed it off and had a go as i want to store the garlic traditionally. Below is the first and final attempt, it was fiddly but worth the effort as it looks nice as well as being good for the garlic as the air circulates well and help preserve it for longer.

This is how the garlic started out, it had just been dug up.

Dry, clean and roots trimmed.

My first attempt at plaiting, it's trickier than you think.

I got better on the second attempt

And below is the link for the instructions and diagrams for plaiting your own garlic.



Nasturtium's, 'tom thumb'

French bean flower, 'Fasold'

A Squash flower, they are so beautiful.

First squash.

The sunflower hedge, 'Velvet Queen'

As you can see from this photo the plot opposite has been strimmed of all the tall weeds, it looks so much better.

The blue painted wheelbarrow that was given to me by Ken, another plot holder. I planted it up and it looks great.

Cosmos and dahlias

Dahlia 'Pink Giraffe'

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

I have my oomph back ! but perhaps you never knew I lost it ?

Here I am back in action after a horrible stomach bug. Why is it that simple viruses can leave us (or me anyway) mentally down and lacking in oomph, so much so that when I did finally have the energy to go up to the allotment, I took one look at the weeds, masses of growth on the veg, everything looked huge ! giant cabbages, giant sweetcorn, (could that really have happened in 3 days ??) and I almost gave it all up. Thank goodness I don't act on the spur of the moment, ever the cautious Cancerian that's me ! and anyway the council offices were closed for the day.

I should be rejoicing as the council have actually kept their word for a change (without the extra phone call ) and have strimmed and cut down all the weeds on the three plots around my own plot. It looks so good and spacious too. They just need to get on and give out the vacant plots to someone on the bulging list they have.

I think I slept more in the two days I had the bug than I would usually sleep in half a week, consequently I woke at around 4am this morning and found it hard to get back to sleep, so I got out my allotment notebook and made notes on all the crops I have grown this year (what an exciting life I lead !!!) I do have other interests honest !! and made comments as to which ones were successful and which ones I wouldn't grow again.

I also made notes to myself as to how many plants I should grow next year, as I grew far too many this year. There is only so much two people can eat and now my daughter has her own plot she doesn't need anything from mine.

I love giving to the neighbours, and would always have some over for that, but it's the time involved in the raising and caring first for the seedlings then the plants. So next year I have to be strict with myself and compost any extra plant's that nobody else wants.

A harvest from last Friday, runner beans, french beans (Fasold) I will be definitely grow these again, they are delicious, a yummy yellow courgette and my first cucumber from the lottie greenhouse.

Last evening's harvest, 5 courgettes, the round ones are delicious roasted. Runner beans, french beans and Cabbage 'wheelers imperial' I would really recommend this variety the hearts are solid and very light green. We had to compost the darker outer leaves as they had been munched by caterpillars. Oh I feel better just looking at that photo, how could I have even thought for a fleeting second about giving up the lottie patch.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Photo's from RHS Wisley

A selection of photo's taken last week at RHS Wisley

The Rose Gardens
The wild border

Turkshead Lilly (I think !)

Mixed border


Hemerocallis, 'Red Precious'

Rosa, Rhapsody in blue, 'Fantasia'
It looks more like purple to me !


Hemerocallis 'Red Suspenders'

Lemongrass growing at 'RHS Wisley'
I have never know them to grow this before.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

RHS Wisley - a gardener in training !!!!

Here we go another day's training.
Bertie's work is never ending.

Right ! let's check out the plants.

Hmmm ! I think I'll call this one a thingamajig !

OK Time for a break. Oh goody mummy's packed me some bread sticks, yummy !

Work finished now time to drive home.

What a sweet little 'strawberry'

Florence Rose

Monday, 13 July 2009

This and That, Odds and Ends.

One of my blogger friends, Moe, asked me if I bought anything at the flower show, well I was quite restrained ! but I did buy a few things, and here they are below.

I couldn't resist this Lovely 'french style' tin plant holder, it may never get outside however, as I like it in my kitchen !!

I have been after a Vietnamese coriander since last year, and now I have one. They are spicier and hotter tasting that the usual coriander and great in oriental dishes and stir fries. The plant is very attractive is fairly hardy, but needs to be overwintered.

I bought this beautiful Dahlia, only mine is only in bud, so no flowers as yet.

I also bought this Leucanthemum, 'Aglaia' every second person seemed to have one, so I guess it's one to look out for in the garden centres. I just liked it's unruly scruffy petals, bit of a hippy in the plant world if you ask me !!! I just haven't found a place to plant it yet, so re -potted it in a much larger pot for the time being.

I didn't buy this at the show, a friend bought it for my birthday this year. I love it and when I get around to it it's going to hang over the summerhouse in the garden.

My 'Lemongrass' I sowed five seeds all germinated and this one is thickening up beautifully, so I'm hoping to have fresh lemongrass this year 'maybe'. It's got a long way to go before being fully grown, the photo below is one I took at the flower show on the oriental garden.
Full grown 'Lemongrass'

My Herb table, the herbs are growing faster than I can use them, I need to dry some, or maybe freeze.

Sundays Harvest
The garlic planted in the autumn is an amazing size, my garage smells terrible ! so I moved them to dry in the mini greenhouse at the back of the garden. I will definitely be planting again in the autumn, a cold snap really makes the bulbs swell.

These five were pulled up over a week ago and are drying beautifully. I just have to learn how to plait them all now as I have about thirty garlics so need to store them well.

A half trug of peas. I left them too long and some were very big, but still tasty and useful for soups or in recipes. I have cut the plants down now and frozen all of the peas. I hate the job of shelling them.

This is the last crop of Broad beans, I had three carrier bags full, so gave a lot away to elderly neighbours. The rest I have frozen, next year I will cut back the amount of plants I grow, I really must get the hang of quantities. The plants are gone now and I have two free beds, which is just as well as my brussels and purple sprouting broccoli have to go in soon as the plants (individually potted) need to go in the ground.

I also picked a bag full of spinach and loads of french beans ( my favourite crop) which I never expected to crop this early, they are so delicious. So that's about it with the latest news on the lottie.

I hope all of your crops are doing well and the weather isn't to bad wherever you live.