Six on Saturday 3rd August

Evening all.  I’m a bit late to the party today! I spent the day sitting in the hairdressers’s chair, then perusing a garden centre and then lounging on what is one of today’s Six.

Unusually, four of today’s Six, whilst being in the garden, aren’t actually alive. Wait! Are bananas alive once they’re harvested? Hmmm ….

As I’ve mentioned it, we’ll start with the banana for number one.

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Despite planting as many butterfly attracting plants as possible, like the Buddleia above, we still don’t get very many butterflies fluttering into our garden, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I’ve been leaving some bananas to ripen in our kitchen for more than a week and today ….

…. I hung them in the garden. Anyone who’s ever been to a butterfly farm will know that butterflies adore bananas. This may be a really bad move and I might just be attracting flies or squirrels, but I thought it was worth a try.

Second inanimate object, that I mentioned above for number two, and one that I think necessitates an apology from me. We now have this luxury in our garden.

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The reason for the apology? It was delivered a week ago yesterday, I got it mostly put together and then it started raining …. and it pretty much hasn’t stopped since! It’s the universe punishing me for daring to purchase such an extravagance. Our gardens needed the rain though, right? It’s still not completely erected – it has a canopy to go over it. Assuming it’s dry tomorrow I’ll get that done. It’s so blissful sitting on it. It’s going to be my go-to Summer crochet/kindle/daydreaming location. Unfortunately it’s too far from the house to pick up our WiFi so I won’t be blogging from there.

Numbers three and four are some of today’s garden centre purchases. Firstly, we invested in a new bird bath. We had one already, but it’s tiny and we really don’t get many birds in it. In fact, the most popular visitor to it is next door’s cat to quench his thirst! It’s a small bird bath so is perfect height for a parched feline – we’re going to leave his watering hole in situ and hope the birds realise there’s a new public baths available for them. The new one is not only much more attractive than the old one, but it’s much taller so I don’t think the cats will bother with it.

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The second purchase I want to show you, I’m really pleased with. I’ve been eying up an ornament in Notcutts for a few weeks now that I’d absolutely fallen in love with, but on which I really couldn’t justify spending over a hundred pounds. It’s a little dragon and he’s having a snooze and his tail is draped over his nose to keep it warm just like our cats do. It’s so very cute, but really, over a hundred pounds for a garden ornament? So much money!

Anyway, I stumbled over one pretty much the same in Dobbies today for a third of the price, so hubby bought it for me (imagine happy face emoji!!)

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I haven’t decided where he’s going to permanently nap, so for now I’ve left him under the care of my little wellington-booted froglet.

I’m going to move on to living things now for my final two points.

First is a Calendula that I grew from seed that is also being supervised by my rainy day froglet.

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I don’t feel that these Calendula are particularly successful. I think maybe I left them in pots too long and they’ve gone really leggy. This pot doesn’t really fit in my straw sheep, but I shoved it in there a couple of weeks ago  just to fill a space and now it’s flowered for me.

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Although the whole plant is a bit lanky and awkward, the flowers are pretty. It hasn’t completely unfurled yet.

Finally, my Rose Hot Chocolate. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this one before. It was a gift from my Mum not long after we moved into our house.

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It had its first flower a few weeks ago and it’s been going strong ever since. In fact, it’s never been so prolific before! I normally get two flowers and then one more towards the end of the Summer if I’m lucky!

It’s not done yet either!

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I pruned it reasonably hard earlier this year, after it had flowered the first time which I thought would be detrimental to future blooming this year. Obviously I was wrong as it’s producing beautiful and fragrant flowers.

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Hope you enjoyed my mostly non-living Six (although the jury’s still out on the banana question). If you want to check out other Sixes, pop over to the Propagator’s blog for links.

Happy Birthday To me

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Green Girl Gardener is a whole one year old today! Where has that year gone? I knew it was coming up because about a month ago my iPhone calendar reminded me to ‘cancel WordPress if not using’. I just swiped it away, and that made me happy because it meant I’d been successful in my venture.

After I published my first post, hubby turned all Del Boy and declared that ‘this time next year we’ll be millionaires!’ Well I haven’t been successful in that way  (not that the intention was ever for that to happen), and I don’t even have that many followers/regular readers, but it still feels like an eminently successful year to me because I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every second of blogging. I’ve always been a closet writer (I still think there’s a novel in me somewhere) and this is a fabulous way for me to express myself creatively. It makes me happy to play with words, find the most amusing way to express myself, to conjugate to my heart’s content.

I think the blog has had its main focus on my gardening adventure, but I’ve also managed to bring other passions into it – crochet, cats, holidays, teddy bears, tennis. Hopefully I’ve provided some light entertainment on otherwise dreary days, and maybe I’ve even provided a little bit of education along the way (although probably not in gardening because I’m still right down the bottom of that particular learning curve).

I’ve found lots of fellow bloggers who blog on all sorts of subjects from crochet to mental health to cooking to travel, but most of all I’ve found fellow gardeners. Luckily (for me) most of them are far more experienced than yours truly and they’ve helped me identify mystery plants, they’ve offered tips and tricks either directly or through their own writing and they’ve opened my eyes to different kinds of gardening. I can honestly say that starting my little bloggy venture was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve complemented by space here with a Green Girl Gardener account on Instagram (@greengirlgardener if anyone’s interested) which allows me, when I don’t have time to blog, to share those random photos that I take when I pop out to check the garden before work, or when I spot a beautiful plant while I’m out and about or when I’ve created something scrummy with my own homegrown goodness.

I’m going to celebrate my first birthday by sharing some of my favourite photos from the past year.

I’ve tried to pick one photo from each month, but I’ve got so many photos that I love that I think I’m going to have to do another montage!

Above we have for July my Eupatorium (that had to be in there, didn’t it), Olive and Tink, our furry girls for August and my birthday planter for September. Then there’s the fox cushion I made for my mother in law in October and hubby and I in a cenote in Mexico during our November holiday. Next row shows my Hellebore flowering in December and my Christmas present greenhouse housing a hubby (a husband hut as my friend on Facebook quipped) in early January. Penultimate row is us with a friendly falcon in Malta in February and the Palace of Holyroodhouse during my trip to Edinburgh (which was also in February but I must’ve written my post in early March) and finally one of my raised beds all planted and netted in April, the iconic Universal globe on our fantastic holiday to Orlando in May and last but not least, the Confetti Fields that I visited in June.

Here we go again. Top row shows a Gazania which was the first sale table find that I blogged about back in July 2018 and an Eeyore house at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens which we discovered in August. Jump down a row to a wild pony in Sutton Park which we came across in September, I still remember how happy I was to have seen one because I was starting to think they were a myth, and my set of Clover hooks which revolutionised my crocheting life in October. Next up is a white feather in November which I think is my gardening expert Grandad popping down from heaven to check I’m not messing up the garden, followed by our yummy Christmas dinner in December, our furry girls keeping warm in January and me meeting my new baby niece in February. Fourth row shows a mountain of bears in March (that’s been added to since then!) and an elephant that I crocheted as a leaving gift for my boss when he retired in April so he doesn’t forget me and lastly a Gringotts vault at the Harry Potter studios in May and the start of my love affair with overnight oats as I started Slimming World in June.

It’s so nice to look back at these photos – yet another benefit to my blog. I also take more random photos when I get an inkling of an idea for a blog post and I find that quite often they evoke the strongest memories.

I’ll finish with a thank you. To all you lovely readers – friends, family, colleagues and fellow bloggers – thank you so much for reading, liking, commenting, complimenting and educating me for the last year. I really do appreciate it every time someone takes time out of their busy day to read my musings and ramblings, and I hope I can continue to entertain and perhaps amuse for a long time to come.

A thoroughly domestic evening

I’m just going to state the obvious to get it out of the way!

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I’ve been in ice cold air con most of the day, which you would think would be a good thing, but in reality it means you spend the day freezing various body parts off and then it feels like you’re literally walking into a furnace when you leave!

Still, it’s not as hot here as it is on the continent. 44° in France according to my friend and colleague today! That’s dangerously hot! I was over there earlier this week. Luckily I left before the mercury topped forty, but it was still insanely hot! Incidentally, I’ll share my triumph with you. I had to drive all the way to Antwerp from home! It’s a REALLY long way!

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I was a bit apprehensive about it. Actually I was a lot apprehensive about it. So much so that the majority of my preparation involved planning the journey rather than the meetings I was going for! I’ve driven on the right hand side of the road before, but only on holiday without any time constraints, never on my own, never so far and never in a right hand drive car!

However, I did it! I made it all the way there, and back, and I didn’t get lost, I didn’t drive on the wrong side of the road, I didn’t crash, nothing bad happened at all! It was fine.

Just recently our little Olive has worked out that she can jump up on our stairs banister post and boy does she look proud of herself when she’s up there.

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Proper pleased as punch she is! That’s how I felt when I got off the Eurotunnel in Folkestone and realised I’d done it, and with a fair amount of aplomb too! This has opened up holiday possibilities. I’ve already looked up Disneyland Paris!

Anyway, on to the business of the day. Work all day, blah blah blah, but then came home and went straight out into the garden to check progress. I ended up doing some harvesting.

The Sweet Peas had gone mad again!

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I don’t know how Monty Don manages to only cut them every seven to ten days. I’m doing them twice a week. It’s a good job really because they only last a couple of days once cut anyway. I understand now how my grandparents used to grow so many! They used to sell posies that they’d grown and cut at the top of their drive with an honesty box. I remember, as a child, the rows and rows of wigwams in their garden covered with Sweet Peas.

I also spotted that one of my Calendulas grown from seed had sprouted a flower. I’m not really counting these as a success because they’ve gone so leggy but I was pleased to see a flower.

I decided to cut it and bring it in to go with the Sweet Peas so I can enjoy it with some of the flowers that are still hanging in there in my arrangement from the weekend. We have another beautiful display, and the living room smells divine!

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As well as the flowers, I also harvested the last of our potatoes, the Charlottes, and lots of the petit pois. It’s so satisfying growing your own produce.

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I was practically skipping around the garden like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz (not wise in this heat – felt quite dizzy).

I dragged myself away from my outdoor haven to the kitchen to make use of some of my spoils. Despite it being fifty million degrees, we decided to forge ahead with our plan to cook chicken curry from my Pinch of Nom cookbook. As luck would have it, we’d run out of rice so I did Slimming World chips in the air fryer made with our Charlottes.

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Amazing! They were so much nicer made with Charlotte potatoes than whatever Tesco baking potatoes are. They really tasted like chippy chips only less greasy.

I shelled my petit pois while the curry was simmering away.

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Anyone know if you can do anything with the pods? I wonder if you can make a soup or a vegetable stock.

When the curry was nearly ready I popped a handful of petit pois in.

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OMGeeeeeeee! It tasted amazing, if completely inappropriate for the heat!

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I can see that this is going to become a regular in the Green Girl Gardener household! Thank you Pinch of Nom – I don’t know what I ate before you came into my life!

Just proofread my post. How many times have I mentioned the heat? British through and through!

Time for beddy byes (or more like time to go and lie in bed lamenting the heat, whilst keeping the duvet firmly over me, possibly with one leg out, because we Brits are far too prudish to sleep uncovered, until it’s time to get up again to go and complain that oh well, that was probably our Summer, until the next heatwave when I shall repeat from the beginning of this paragraph. Such is the nature of an English Rose!)