Saturday, 31 July 2021

Six on Saturday - End of July 2021

 Another month has whizzed by and still 'he' is asking if there are any gardens open in the locality this weekend, all those years of training are paying off!  In the meantime this morning he shall no doubt pass a constructive comment as we look out of the conservatory window as we enjoy our leisurely breakfast. We have undertaken a top to bottom clean of the conservatory this week, and although we sweep up loads on insects each day, there were still some in hidden corners.  He is even adept at catching butterflies in his butterfly net.

1. No lack of all manner of flying insects in this garden, including bumble bees, hover flies etc.  It is not surprising as we have so many plants with the just the right sort of shaped flower for them. Although a little 'dark' in the middle of the bed, the long spires of tiny flowers on the Teucrium hircanicum are humming with the sound of wings. I would be exhausted if I were to join in with any bumble bee watch.


It will probably get moved and having just looked up Teucrium hiranicum on Beth Chatto's site, I have an idea to place a few seedlings amongst the silver plants in the front garden.  Again with so many of my plants, I find the leaves very attractive.

2. The Eryngiums this week have been the bee magnets par excellence. Here the stand of Eryngium Silver Ghost stand sentinel on the edge of the gravel garden. 


Each little flower on the cone is visited

3. On the other side of the sitting circle 
Eryngium Planum Tetre Petra has had the blue rinse treatment, without even having to bend its head over any basin.

Eryngium Planum Tetre Petra

4. As for the little eryngium Bourgatii, she will shortly pale into insignificance as others around start to shine, so this is her moment: though with its silver and white patterned leaves, it is usually admired by me, at least, as soon as her leaves emerge.

Eryngium Bourgatii


5. Erigeron karvinskianus 'Lavender Lady' is enjoying its new sunnier position.  Since getting her last September at the Bishop's Palace plant fair, this little plant has been moved, and is now getting on with putting on a great show.  When I first grew the pink/white erigeron, I found that it did not seed that freely, and found that it grew pretty well from cuttings which I just placed in the garden soil not far away.  This coming week, I'll be doing the same with Lavender Lady, and see how successful that will be, at least, compared with growing from seed,  and waiting to see what its flowers are like, I shall have the same coloured flowers within a few weeks.


6. You could be lulled into thinking that it is all grey and silvers, wake up put on your sunglasses, Storm Evert is past, the cucumber plants have been picked off the floor, plants stakes will be straightened this morning. I have Dahlia David Howard growing in a pot close to the house, the safest place away from slugs....


I read "‘David Howard’ is a miniature dahlia, with mid-orange flowers set off to perfection by the intense bronze foliage. It’s an ideal variety for a large pot or container." It was just love at first sight for me, when I first saw it, many years ago.

I mentioned this to my friend Alison, and she said that as she had some she would save me a tuber. I was delighted to receive this one a few weeks back.  It works well with some other plants close by the house, and those may well be the topic for next week's SOS.

Some of the SOSs that link with each week with the Prop have very large gardens, and can't be doing with moving things around, or have enough space to grow most of the plants they are currently interested in.  I always love to read posts and pick up tips or just admire or commiserate. The Prop is on holiday this week, but has still set up the buoy, marking the space around which we can set up our regatta.

Monday, 26 July 2021

In a Vase on Monday - last in July

Another months skips by, time seems to be speeding up.  Again we have had a week that has been too hot.  We close windows and curtains not as in winter to keep the cold and dark out, but to keep the heat out and the sun from shining in.  However this is on one side of the house, and one o'clock marks the change, and we open windows and curtains on one side, and shut them on the other.

Yesterday evening I spent some time before dinner clipping back a few plants.  The geraniums had grown as far as I wanted, in fact further, they are now cut back, and a few flowers form Geranium Rozanne started off  today's vase. 


I think this is the first time I have used English Mace (Achillea ageratum), that is the stem at four o'clock.  I bought it for its name and now read it is quite a useful culinary herb, so I shall try and use some and report back. I've found a recipe for Chicken and this will be our main meat dish this week.

Another herb which I don't think is a culinary one is the double flowered Chamomile: Chamamelum nobile 'Flore Pleno'.  However it must rate as one of my favourite plants on account of the smell it gives off when the leaves are crushed. If only I could bottle that scent.

Another non culinary herb:  Marjoram Bristol Cross.  It has yet to grow the long watch chain flowering bits which extend as more and more flowers open.  

Finally just one of the white Scabious: Scabiosa caucasica 'Perfecta Alba'.  I noticed that I had broken one stem in bud as I was dead heading the roses, and this morning it has opened.  Last year when a rather poorly performing plant was moved, I thought the petals were rather thin, and had expected to be disappointed this year, with the plant despatched, but the flowers are growing strongly with more robust petals. 

I'm joining in with Cathy to see what her ramble through her garden has come up with. As I read her post I realise how different the weather can be within a hundred miles or so, here we have had thunder and lighting and rain one nice, poor Cathy must be having to water still. Today we are having wall to wall sunshine again!

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Silver Street Farm

 In the afternoon of our HPS tour of two gardens, we drove to Silver Street Farm, Uffculme in Devon. From the road the fine yellow lime washed house at first glance, could be any farmhouse, but step closer and you will soon become aware that this can only be a garden, belonging to a family, where design, plant choice, and maintenance is excellent


The inner garden beyond the front door, which has two fine Rosa Mutabilis each side, is bordered by  listed railings.  These encloses an area of very interesting planting. 

Eryngium agavifolium

Beyond the railings and spilling  into the drive, a dry grit garden has been achieved with  a range of plants such as this Crambe maritima: sea kale and further along a fine Ballota Pseudodicta.


The listed railings have been cleverly used as a feature through which Rosa Albertine has been woven,  with other roses and clematis. Large planted pots offer interesting planting up at eye level, and shaped shrubs would offer great winter structure.


Large pots of many types are used both in the front and the back gardens.

Here the broad-leaved glaucous Euphorbia myrsinites revels in the sun and good drainage.



The red rose climbing up the corner drew my eye, with its small deep red flowers, it was perfectly chosen to offer a colour contrast with the painted render. Red Rosa Chevy Chase and Climbing Lady Hillingdon, invite you to the far corner and beyond into the back garden.


Large areas of lawn close to the house offer open areas and views to the beds beyond.


The back of the house and barns offer excellent verticals against which to plant roses.


Bordered on one side by a shallow but fast running stream, the are various directions you could choose to walk it, we walked across the grass and took the path through the long border.  I've seen this way of giving in effect three long edges along which plants can be viewed rather than the one if just one very wide border was in place.


There was still much to come in full bloom, however meanwhile, tall pale yellow flowered Cephalaria gigantea and the scalet heads of Lychnis chalcedonica were repeated along the beds, with blue and purple colours from hardy geraniums and salvias.


Over to one side  a tranquil seat backed by a bed of grasses had a mound of chamomile so enticing, had it been my garden, I would want to lie out on it.


The veggie growing area is tucked behind the hedge beyond the long border and in a corner high up is the  tree house, from which I am sure the children will have a full view of the house and gardens.


I have not covered every border or crook or cranny, and there is much more to explore, and this is a garden for all seasons. In the large yard, close to the house, even the children's pony has a fine rose growing above its stable.


This is Alasdair Camron's family home where he has showcased how  paddocks and farm land can be laid out and planted to offer a wonderful environment.  Alasdair built up and heads a successful London Based Internationally acclaimed team that designs, builds and maintains high-end commercial garden spaces, as well as domestic and public settings.

Silver Street Farm is Open twice a year under the NGS



Saturday, 24 July 2021

Its been too hot - Six on Saturday - 24 July 2021

 Its been too hot to garden, well to garden all I would want to.  However as it was also too hot to mount any expeditions, it meant that I had more early morning time to potter, to water and to prune.  Shrubs in the front garden have been pruned, so much so that I had to go to the tip rather than wait for the green bin collection.

1. We have been taking all our meals in the garden this week. Its in the garden: so just sitting out in the garden counts, doesn't it?

Pasta with home made pesto, yellow and green courgettes, garden peas, goats cheese and bacon pieces.


2.  Yellow courgettes.  I grew two plants of Courgette Atena Polka F1 from seed.  Compared to the two green plants they are seriously underperforming. Although there are male flowers, the females are not swelling properly.  However if you catch them day two after flowering about the size of a large thumb, they are fine. What is going wrong with these?

3. Green Courgettes Patio Star is growing in the ground and as far as now are without fault.  

4. Grow your own Basil from the grow your own tomato and basil soup in a match box Christmas present is doing well, and was the basis for the green pesto.  



A few young nasturtium leaves, mint and basil leaves were whizzed up with cashew nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, etc..or and home grown garlic.

5. Home Grown Garlic is now nicely dried off.  It had to be brought into the utility when the temperatures rose far too high in the garden shed.  For now they are hanging in a nice airy place.



6. I have a few peas from the short row, nice and tasty, but the plants are suffering in the heat.  When podded the large handful went into the braising courgettes to make up our Friday evening Pasta Supper.

6b. Just in case Number one is out of order:

Cucumber Burpless

When he who is indoors has finished washing up and tidying, and I did go in and help as it was still so hot,  I might just have a rest with some cucumber slices over my eyes.  

After I had exposed my two Cucumber Poinsett plants to the cold and rain, and caused them to pop off its clogs and die, I quickly started up a couple of Cucumber Burpless seeds I had left over from a previous year. Even though it was just this tiny cucumber on Monday, yesterday I harvested it full size, as I thought it may damage the plant in the heavy winds we had forecast for last night. This morning I noticed that the next one is  swelling nicely, so from now on it will be a lovely cooling cucumber every few days.  The two plants are only growing in two old David Austen Roses green rectangular pots. 

I bet there will be some veggies being posted this week, but it will also be great to see what is looking good in not just The Prop's garden but in those of other blogging friends.  I'm joining them.


Thursday, 22 July 2021

Why We Sleep

I borrowed this from the library after my friend and recently retired GP recommended this one to me.  I am already sleeping far far better than I have done for a number of years, maybe I am just getting better and therefore sleeping well, or am I sleeping well and as a consequence feeling better?


 Having worked many years ago, with and been responsible for people who worked shifts and were obviously, to me, seriously sleep deprived, I would suggest this is a book that ought to be read by Personnel and Safety Managers everywhere.