Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Garden bargains

I've been really disorganised with my gardening this year and didn't get around to sowing any flower or vegetable seeds apart from carrots and a courgette. That was ok until I watched the Big Allotment Challenge and the urge to grow kicked in. As it's a bit late for sowing most veg now, I decided to pop into our local diy superstore to see if there were any seedlings left. Well, look what I found! Tomato and chilli plants reduced to 30p and yellow beans for 50p. I bought Dad a few plants too. I love a good bargain!

I think I've said a few times that I don't have a lot of space for growing, so the beans and tomatoes have been put into pots. I've always had far more success with tomatoes in pots anyway as they don't seem to appreciate being in the ground with the regular splashing they get during our typical English summers. The chilli plant will stay in the house: I've never grown one before so it will be trial and error.

My carrots are coming along nicely too as is the single courgette. I was so worried it wouldn't germinate and, now that it has, I'm obsessively checking it every morning to make sure it hasn't been demolished by slugs and snails overnight. I've been watching the blackbirds snacking on them and really didn't want to use pellets. However, the birds just aren't eating enough as the slimeballs have almost completely destroyed my echinacea. To give it any chance of survival, drastic action was needed so I scattered a few pellets. Next morning, it was surrounded by 11 dead critters - 11!

As well as the vegetable seedlings, I picked up another couple of bargain plants. The purple scabious ('Kingfisher Blue') was £1 and the dianthus ('Fire Star') was £1.50 - it smells heavenly.

I also splashed out the full price on this lovely miniature dahlia, 'Louise', which is such a pretty colour. It doesn't show up so well in this photo but the colour darkens from the centre outwards to give an ombre effect.

This was the view along the side fence in the back before I started planting. Yes, the patio desperately needs weeding but some of these are alchemilla mollis and campanula seedlings which I'm going to leave in. I like the scruffy-round-the-edges country style of garden anyway - well, that's my excuse!

Still loving the ladybird windmill too which sparkles in the sunlight and sends dancing light through the house like a glitter ball. If you haven't seen it yet, a video of it in action is on YouTube.

The chive flowers are just starting to open but we've been using the leaves for several weeks.

The geum has half a dozen flowers open with more to come. I'm loving the vibrant yellow which is a real shock of colour in the otherwise very muted palette in the garden.

In the front garden, I have lots of aquilegia, mostly pale pink and which self-seed everywhere, but there's also this crimsony purple beauty which appeared from nowhere.

The ceanothus is also in full bloom and buzzing with bees.

There are also flowers on the blueberry bush planted last autumn. It's still tiny so I'll be lucky to get a handful of berries. Nothing as yet on the red gooseberry though.

However, the most exciting things in the garden are these spotted leaves. In my second ever post in July 2012, I wrote about the flower I'd found emerging from a pot of hostas, and which turned out to be a common-spotted orchid. Last year there was no sign of it and I thought I'd somehow disturbed it/killed it when weeding the pot. I can't describe my relief and excitement when I noticed it a couple of weeks ago! There seems to be a flower spike in the middle so I'm optimistic I may have something to show you later in the summer. Fingers crossed!

We had a really quiet weekend as Chickpea had an assignment for college. Other than nipping to the supermarket, the only time we ventured out was for a quick wander round our local market town for ice cream and to gather StreetPasses. Street whats? There's a feature on Nintendo 3DS which allows you to 'collect' people as they pass you by on the street if they have the same feature switched on. When you collect someone, it tells you their name, where they come from, which game they've been playing and another random fact. Now I'm the world's least interested person in video games but this one has me fascinated. In our tiny market town on Saturday we passed someone from the Canary Islands! You can imagine how exciting it was in Verona passing people of all nationalities! Though, Andy from the United States, you really need to include your State so people can tick it off on their collectors map. OK, I'm sounding like a bit of a geek now but it's really interesting, honest!

Speaking of Verona, I haven't made much progress with sorting out the photos so you'll have to be patient a little while longer and put up with these ramblings instead. Enjoy your week. We were promised thunder and lightning today and I'm so disappointed that it seems to have passed us by - I love a good storm. x


  1. Blue Ceanothus!!! How I love it! My in-laws have it in their garden, and SOMETIMES when we visit in May, I have been able to see it.
    I LOVE your bargains of the potted seedlings and I can't get over how healthy they are, the gardening centers here just to not compare, not the ones in Georgia anyway.
    Slugs...we had a problem with them years ago and Richard read somewhere to put BEER in a small flat top lid (dig a small hole and make it level with the ground) then, the slugs will be attracted to the beer, they fall in and drown. It worked too! And perhaps the slugs died a happy death! HA! Love your English garden, I can't tell you how much! xx

  2. I love love love your garden photos! Soooo many beautiful blooms! It's so nice to see that we have some similar things growing in our gardens, but I'm equally happy to read more about ones I've never seen before - and now I want to find space for them in my garden...and death to all slugs I say, oh they make me so cross! I found copper tape and nematodes work wonders in my garden...Chrissie x

  3. Your garden is beautiful!! So many amazing flowers and plants. I hope that your veggies do really well and that the critters stay well away from them as Chrissie says, they make me so cross too!! xx

  4. Your garden is just such a picture! You have a lot of colour there, I think. I often buy the reduced plants in b&q - it's like a personal challenge for me to see if I can resurrect them and get something from them! x