Six of Saturday 17th August

I missed last Saturday’s Six because I just had to tell you about the hedgehog rescue and subsequent camera purchase instead. It was still garden related, but not a Six.

I’m afraid I’m going to inflict a couple of photos of yours truly on you this week, just because I was so pleased with my success that I had to take selfies to mark the fact that I. Grew. These! Obviously the sun and rain and photosynthesis had a part to play blah blah blah, but I grew these!

So, what shall I start with for number one *scrolls through phone to check photos*. I think carrots.

Apologies for the lack of make up – I find the plants and other inhabitants of my garden aren’t fussed whether I’ve made an effort or not (in fact, the mozzies can’t get enough of me!) As an aside, I don’t know if it’s the angle of that photo, but my décolletage looks bony and I have cheekbones. Whoop – thank you Slimming World! Another stone to go …. ish.

Anyway, carrots! They’re not massive carrots, but they’re Nantes 5 seeds which I think are supposed to produce smallish carrots. Apparently they’re supposed to be early carrots, but I, being inherently impatient, thought they took AGES to grow. I don’t think I thinned them enough because some are hardly developed at all. There’s a good lot in the bed still growing so hopefully they’ll get a bit bigger now I’ve made space.

Straight on to the second selfie for number two.

Blueberries! This is the third Summer I’ve had this blueberry bush and it’s the first time it’s cropped! Oh happy happy day. When I bought it, it had three blueberries already on it, and that was it for that year. Last year it grew lots and lots of green berries, but they never matured into blueberries. This year it got all the green berries again and I thought that was all I’d get again, but they ripened into all these lovely, juicy blueberries. Hooray! These babies will be going in my overnight oats next week. Yummy antioxidants.

No more selfies today, I promise!

Number three is my tomato plants.

2BD5B187-9AF2-442A-B5B8-62741B32573F

These are supposed to be stripy tomatoes, but they don’t seem to be doing much of anything yet. Everyone else I know who grows tomato plants has had loads of fruit already, but my plants don’t even have any flowers yet! The stems are very thin too so I’m not even sure they’ll be able to support fruit. Staking will be in order if they get that far. The weather seems to be rapidly getting colder so I’m not hopeful for these. I don’t even like tomatoes, but I just wanted to grow one stripy tomato!

Continuing on the edible theme for number four – is this an olive starting to grow on my olive tree?

782BAD81-92BE-4C85-A138-D3FD60DECDF9

There are a couple of these that I’ve only noticed today. I didn’t think the tree would fruit in this country, preferring a Greek climate (quite sensibly, I feel, so do I!) but it’s definitely doing something. Maybe it’s just some random berry.

Number five is rocket.

3500E736-6019-4E11-85D1-8B0BCD99E3C7

Doesn’t look much like rocket at the moment because the seedlings still have their cotyledons but some of them are starting to grow their true leaves. I only sowed these seeds a couple of weeks ago because Adam Frost, when he was standing in for Monty on Gardeners’ World, said it wasn’t too late, so I thought I’d have a go.

For my sixth, and final point I’m going to leave the fruit and veg and show you my patio bed. This is the one I created back in the Spring to cover a weird gap in our patio.

This is what it looked like in March …

img_3257

… and here’s what it looks like now.

267F3AAE-47A9-45EB-986E-BB9F9F295D1F353A7A1C-5B44-4D14-AB41-37EC7BD591A6

I think I need to compare those side by side.

Wow! I didn’t realise how much the Hebes had grown, and I didn’t think the Cordyline had grown very much at all. I knew the Stipa Ponytails had, but wow (again) I’d forgotten how little they were. These were one of the best bargains I’ve found for the garden. They were 50p each in B&Q last year, but they’ve thrived in our garden (despite being kept in their pots for almost a year!) There were loads of them on sale for 50p but I could only carry two. I so wish I’d gone back and bought, like, ten! I love how willowy and wafty they are.

I did some more planting out today so there’s hardly anything left in my waiting bay now – I’ll have to do my rounds of the garden centres to restock! Maybe I’ll be able to show you that next week. If you’re interested to read any other Sixes, check out the Propagator’s blog.

TTFN.

All about the animals

This week has had a distinctly animal theme, even more so than my normal weeks!

First up I have to mention that it was International Cat Day on Thursday. I remember celebrating this last year while my blog was in its infancy. I didn’t have time on the day this year to do a blog post (because we had a very nice man from Hillaries round to price up some blinds for the bay window in our living room) but I posted this picture on Instagram in recognition.

48792EFF-3793-434D-8EBD-013279AADEE6.jpeg

The main picture is one of my favourites of our girls. I love how they’re cuddled up together on my Eeyore teddy but both looking round to have their photo taken. Aren’t they beautiful? The kitten picture was taken in the first week that they lived with us and they were already completely settled in (and we were already utterly in love with them). They were eight and a half weeks old here. They were completely fearless as kittens – that didn’t last! These days Tink seeks refuge in the corner of our living room as soon as anyone dares to touch the hoover and Olive makes short work of the stairs in pursuit of safety under our bed whenever anyone knocks on our door!

I’m going to jump back two days now to Tuesday morning. Anyone who follows me on Instagram or Facebook (or pretty much anyone with whom I’ve come into contact this week) will have already heard or read about my hedgehog drama.

I was later than usual leaving the house on Tuesday morning for reasons involving a key, my car bonnet and some chavvy-scumbag-waste of oxygen (that’s the more polite version of the moniker I was using for much of this week!) I don’t know what made me decide to pop down to the greenhouse to check on my tomato plants, but I did and I’m thankful to the God of luck or hedgehogs or fate or whatever it may have been.

As I approached the greenhouse I gasped because there was a hedgehog sitting looking at me. I was so happy for a millisecond as I snapped a photo to see a hedgehog, but almost immediately thought, why aren’t you running away from me? It was moving so I knew it was alive.

F95B17BB-4521-4A1A-A585-E35443B9E03D

Then I realised it had got trapped in the netting round our strawberry raised bed. Oh no, no, no! I started running around in a similar way to Rabbit when he realises Pooh Bear is a wedged bear in much tightness, and in his front door, no less! I got scissors from the greenhouse and started gently trying to free him.

The netting came away reasonably easily from his back as I carefully snipped away, but as soon as I’d freed him slightly he must’ve got some room to move and he adopted typical ‘I’m a scared hedgehog’ pose and curled up into a ball. I went and put gloves on at this point because I needed to pick him up to detangle the netting from his little feet. I was so scared I was going to hurt him, so I really lightly tugged at the little bit of netting that was left but it came off without having to apply any force.

I put him back down and ran back to the house and got some water and hedgehog food that I was given in my goodie bag from Gardeners’ World Live. I had no idea how long he’d been there so I didn’t know if he’d be hungry and/or thirsty. I sat back and tried to be completely silent so he’d think I’d gone, to see if he uncurled and tried some food or ran away, but he didn’t. I think the poor thing was just petrified after his ordeal.

It was approaching time for me to leave, and I had no idea if he was injured at all, so I decided I’d take him to the vet. If he stayed there curled up all day I didn’t know if a fox or cat or even a squirrel or bird might attack him. I already felt guilty enough for not having been careful enough with the netting in the first place to let this happen, I didn’t want a hedgehog massacre on my conscience too.

Luckily we’ve been somewhat remiss with keeping on top of taking our bigger recycling to the tip, so I had a box in the kitchen.

34622ABC-BA95-4E85-9E07-1F9795336E36

I scooped him up and threw in a few hedgehog snacks just in case and trundled up to the vet. I didn’t go to our normal vets because it’s further away and I didn’t want him to be stressed out any longer than necessary. I think he’s upside down in the picture. Poor thing.

I rang the vet later in the day and he’d been walking around and eating. Phew! I offered to collect him and release him back in our garden (now the netting has been safely removed) but they said he’ll go to a hedgehog sanctuary to be monitored for a couple of days and will then be released again. Let’s hope by now he’s happily snuffling around someone else’s garden.

I was a bit concerned in case he was a she, and there are babies around somewhere wondering where their mum’s gone. It seems, according to the oracle that is google, that hoglets are reasonably self sufficient pretty soon after birth so hopefully all is ok. I decided to invest in a camera to install near where I found the hedgehog just to see what might be wondering through and around our garden.

I found this one on Amazon for a pretty good price.

EC8C6CDD-E058-4911-A04D-FF303059E499

How irritating! It’s now on a lightening deal reduced by £7.51! Oh well, we wouldn’t have the last two nights’ photos if I hadn’t bought it full price.

I made the mistake of sitting on the swing chair straight after fitting it to the raised bed so we got some pictures of me!

Me in relaxed mode, me in deep social media concentration mode and me joined by the man of the house!

We did however get some pretty decent animal pics. There were several pigeons.

We even got the elusive Jay.

E73004C7-3D72-41E0-BBFF-9737E307F551.jpeg

Not the best of photos but better than anything I’ve managed to get thus far because Jays don’t seem to be as brave as pigeons and magpies. The camera’s set to 5mp so I think I’ll change to the maximum 12mp to try and get some better images.

By the way, have you spotted the deliberate error? I’ve changed the time settings now!

We had a feline visitor. This is a new cat to the area. There are actually two of them, both black and white – siblings I’m guessing – but I think this is just one of them.

We almost got the perfect close up …

A9048241-9C88-4917-B4CE-C7B81B68A31E

… but only almost!

I’ve saved the best for last.

84E45E97-4386-4E6B-8696-3B5C4F1F1662

What a handsome young fellow!

I’m amazed that we didn’t capture any squirrels because there’s pretty much always one there when you look out. I guess they spend a lot of their time on fences and up higher.

We did manage to catch the Greater Spotted Green Girl Gardener!

F0AFFE05-0DCB-47A6-916D-E9E48750B2C7

It’s impossible not to get snapped when you go to retrieve the memory card!

Right, I’m off to put the prawn crackers that came with our Chinese tonight up there in the hopes of enticing some wildlife. A bowl of water might be a good idea too. I really want to snap another hedgehog or even a badger. That would be amazing!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend folks.

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.

519C704A-0BD4-45F9-B61F-CF30BBD1552E

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.

CD2E270D-4DE5-448A-8F36-69D206587C2D

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.

20528732-C8D6-43B3-96BA-6292C3E7C48EA0615ED2-EF6C-4F92-8DB4-7060B991ED46

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!!)

CE176EA3-6624-4475-AE45-830CC5ACE1C1

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.

CFD56129-2F97-448D-856A-E50983C7B242

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.

DCC96AF5-A4D9-49F5-A9A7-3881A31D3921

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.

4C68086A-27D2-4687-AD90-2351C5450A62

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!

FA8CE5B0-93AB-4731-AEEC-B00386007211

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.

B9B6165A-8CBD-4508-8FF2-DC724D2779BF

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.