Six on Saturday 22nd August

Hey there! Hope everyone survived the wind yesterday (meteorological, of course, not gastronomical!) We have some really tall, thin trees at the bottom of our garden (must find out what they are) and I just love the rustling sound they make in the wind, and as my home office overlooks the back garden, that was the soundtrack to my Friday.

I was afraid that the wind would scupper the homemade plant tourniquet that I fashioned on Thursday! This is my first point.

On Thursday afternoon sitting in my home office, I was forced to watch in silence (because I was on a conference call) as a squirrel climbed up my second tallest Sunflower until its weight overcame it and it snapped over. To add to my dismay, it then picked one of my Sunflower Teddy Bears and sat on the fence post nibbling it without a care in the world!

Anyway, conference call duly completed, I hot footed it out to the garden to see if I could salvage the toppled Sunflower. It’s days away from flowering and I really want the poor thing to fulfil its floral destiny. So, I made sure its bottom half was securely inside the metal support, then added a taller bamboo support and tied it securely in a couple of times and then wrapped the snapped part in gaffer tape. I then had to sit and watch yesterday as the wind buffeted it all day. I was expecting by today, for its leaves to be wilted, but so far it seems to be holding up. Fingers crossed enough goodness is getting up that stem to allow it to flower on.

Moving on to the greenhouse and I finally have what looks like tomatoey success appearing in the tomato jungle!

I’ve no idea what type of tomatoes these are as I got the labels mixed up when I potted them on, but all the plants have flowers so hopefully I’ll get some of each of the three varieties that I planted. Just need it to stay warm enough for them to develop. To be honest, given how late I sowed them (because I changed my mind about growing them) I’ll be happy if I just get one tomato! As you can see, they’ve completely taken over my greenhouse. I was intending to take some cuttings to get myself some free plants, but there’s no room!

The only thing I do have room for in there is my pepper plant.

This is one of the first two peppers that grew on the plant weeks ago and I’ve left it and left it to ripen because I prefer my peppers any colour other than green, but I was starting to doubt that it would ever change colour, so I was delighted to see this morning a very definite red tinge to it! It’s a bit tricky to see in the photo, but if you squint at the back of it, you may just see the redness developing. it’s tied up to any support I could find in the greenhouse because there are seven peppers growing on it, so it’s somewhat top heavy. Hooray!

Continuing with the veg theme for now, I harvested my carrots this week – isn’t there something very satisfying about the pop with which they come out of the ground?

They’re not the biggest carrots in the world, but they’re mine and I grew them so I’m happy. We had a couple with a chicken dinner in the week and they were delicious. I haven’t brought myself to eat the one with legs yet because it’s cute, but I guess I should steel myself to chop it up and devour before it’s too late. If feels like we should have some kind of ritual death ceremony for it.

Moving back to the non-edible, and I have quite a few seed heads around the garden. Some of them may have already scattered themselves but I might be able to harvest some seeds to save for next year.

Left it right, we have Aquilegia (which itself, self seeded from somewhere unknown), Welsh Poppies which were a beautiful yellow (also self seeded on our bistro) and Nigella which I grew from seed and which flowered beautifully, but somewhat short lived. I have to decide whether to save these seeds to grow more next year, or whether to keep them to use in the kitchen – they’re delicious stirred into rice.

Finally I’m going to finish with one of my favourite flowers of this year as it probably won’t last much longer now that the weather’s going decidedly Autumnal (sob!)

Delightful, dazzling, delicate Dahlia. I really think I could become a Dahlia enthusiast if I had the time and space to dedicate to them. As it is, I satisfy myself with buying one or two each Summer and enjoying their gorgeousness for a couple of months. This year I’ve enjoyed this one more than usual because it lives in a pot on our bistro where I spent much of my time furloughed and it’s right in my eyeline to the side of my laptop now I’m back in the home office.

There’s my Six. I’m off to do some cross stitch now while I wait for Tesco to deliver our shopping, then I’m off out for an afternoon tea with my best friend and, would you know it, we’re having it in a garden centre! I feel a purchase coming on!

As ever, check out the Propagator’s blog for more Sixes.


Six on Saturday 8th August

I’m popping in a little late this week with my Six because we were visiting the Confetti Fields in Pershore this morning. I think they’ll make up two of my six points today. I missed last Saturday because we were holidaying in Norfolk (and getting bitten by a dog on the beach, as it turns out, but I’m over my woe is me phase on that now!)

So, I’ll start with two Confetti Field points as I’ve primed you ready for them! It was a different experience there this year because corona virus scuppered their usual routine and they had to replant the field to bloom later in the year. This means the Delphiniums are shorter than usual (last year they were as tall as me!) but they were still super pretty, maybe not quite as impactful, but I still loved them.

Due to the later opening, they’ve also added a huge area of Sunflowers.

They were just delightful and they’re attracting millions of bees. It seemed like each Sunflower had at least one bee bumbling around in it. Perhaps you can get some perspective on the size of the flower heads from the bees in the first pic.

The buds were enormous! I’m very envious – my Sunflower Teddy Bear are starting to bloom, but my Autumn Beauties are still some way off. I don’t think we get enough sun in our garden.

Moving back to our garden now and I feel it’s been far too long since I’ve shared a photo of my Eupatorium – probably my favourite plant in the garden.

It hasn’t grown as tall as it did in its first two years of existence. I guess there’s time yet. It’s still gorgeous. I just love the contrast between the purple and dark green of the leaves. I should take some cuttings.

My next point is a comparison of two hanging baskets.

On the left are new Begonias that I ordered during lockdown and on the right are last years plants that somehow managed to survive the Winter. I can’t actually decide which looks better. Last years have certainly not grown as big as they did last year, and they took a long time to get going. The new ones have gone quite leggy but have produced beautiful blousy blooms.

I’m going to end with two veg points.

Tomato flowers. Finally! I sowed these late and feared I’d get no fruit, but it looks like they’re going to do me proud. I don’t like eating tomatoes but I do enjoy growing them.

And some runner beans to finish. This is my first year of growing them and I’m amazed at how quickly they go from tiny baby runner beans to proper full sized beans. They taste soooo much better than shop bought too.

So there you have it, my Six for this week. Don’t forget to check the Propagator for more links.

Six on Saturday 25th July

Can’t remember when I last did a Six, and next weekend we’ll be (hopefully) sunning ourselves on a Norfolk beach, in a socially distanced manner, of course, so I won’t be blogging.

I just managed to pop out in between rain showers to take some photos to share, and decided that this week I’ll focus, again, on emerging flowers and veg. I’ve split it equally down the middle and gone for three floral treats and three edible delights. I think I may well have shared some, if not all, of these before, earlier on in their journey, but I find it interesting to see the progress. Hope you do too.

First up is Sunflower Teddy Bear. I’ve got several of these that I grew from seed in the greenhouse. Planted out now, they’re only about a foot tall, and this one looks to be the closest to flowering. Quite excited about these because they’re not your stereotypical Sunflower bloom.

I seem to have found a much more suitable place for growing Sunflowers this year. Last year I grew a really tall variety only, and of the fourteen that I planted out, only two made it as far as flowering. The others all got knocked down – I think I inadvertently planted them in a fox/cat run route and the poor things got bashed and trampled on. This year I’ve planted them next to a trellis-like fence and with additional supports for the tall ones and so far (touch wood) they’ve all made it with just the odd slug nibble along the way.

Next is a Zinnia, also nurtured from seed in the greenhouse. I did think to myself when I got the greenhouse, being somewhat fickle of nature, I hope I stick at this now I’ve gone this far. So far so good – greenhouse is now an essential part of my life.

My only knowledge of Zinnias prior to this venture was from the song ‘There’s a sucker born ev’ry minute’ from the stage show Barnum.

If I import at monumental cost
A lady, fair, whose head was lost
While crossing railroad tracks to pick some zinnias
Who has no ears or eyes or nose
And wears pink tights instead of clothes
If that ain’t worth a buck my name ain’t Phineas.

Well I’ve lost my head to these before they’ve even bloomed. Isn’t that bud pretty with the promise of something so special to come some time soon?

My final emerging flower is a Nigella.

Definitely not far off a blooming delight, and again, what an attractive bud. There’s something of a prehistoric look about it. I almost expect those little green hints to be the claws of a tiny dinosaur just clawing it’s way out into the world (although hopefully not – not sure the garden’s big enough for dinosaurs!)

Moving on to the edibles and my first courgette is tantalisingly close to being ready. I’ll keep an eye on it so I don’t get a marrow! There are another couple well on their way too. If anyone has any good courgette recipes other than stir fry and ratatouille, please let me know.

Next is a new one for me. I’ve never grown runner beans before but I’ve had some success with my first attempt. There aren’t hundreds of beans growing, but I do have a few. I’m looking forward to these – homegrown always tastes so much better than shop bought.

Now I know I’ve definitely shared my pepper plant before, but there’s progress! The first two peppers at the bottom seem to have halted so maybe they’re not going to get any bigger, but I’m leaving them because I prefer them orange or red.

I was excited to see this morning that there are at least another three peppers growing on there now too. You can see one top right at the back, one top left and if you look carefully another just below that one at the back. There are still flowers too so I may get even more. I’ll keep everything crossed that they ripen soon so I can harvest.

Don’t forget to check out the Propagator for more Sixes.

Until next time TTFN 👋🏻.