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 20th July

I trundle along through life, as one does, trying to make the best of the virtues with which I was lucky enough to be born and appreciating the opportunities and joys which come my way but I’ve always been of the opinion that I missed my vocation (who hasn’t?) The problem was, I didn’t actually know what my vocation was. Well, folks, I think I may have found it this morning! Far too late to do anything about it (mortgage to clear, holidays to book, plants to buy) other than use it to brighten up my life and living room, but it’s quite a revelation to have found something that I appear to excel at without really trying, and which I really enjoyed. Of course, you good people might disagree once I reveal the product of my new found talent (self esteem, it would seem, I do not excel in) but I’m very pleased with it so I shall studiously ignore any criticism!

It started off when I went for a pootle around the garden to snap some photos to use for a Six post and I noticed that my Sweet Peas had produced more beautiful flowers. Monty Don advises to cut your Sweet Peas every eight to ten days to ensure a steady stream of blooms throughout the Summer, and I only gathered my first posy on Monday so I wasn’t expecting more just yet.

This was my first display.

They really don’t last long. They’d mostly faded when I looked this morning.

I was really enjoying my pootle, checking out progress in my veg plot, marvelling over the colours in my Coprosma and squinting at the tiny purple flowers appearing on my Callicarpa Bodinieri (which I assume will give rise to its purple berries in Autumn), but it started to drizzle so I got on with cutting my Sweet Peas (which is number one of six).

521AE2DF-98AF-4385-9CC2-2603806C7B90

I got quite a good bunch, as you can see, but as I was gazing at them and drinking in their heavenly scent, I thought to myself, some yellow would really look good with these to break up the pinks and purples and highlight the whites, why don’t you get yellow Sweet Peas?

So, I decided to add some and headed for my Coreopsis Grandiflora. As I wandered down the garden my Ox-Eye Daisies waved at me in the breeze. Yes! I thought, daisies look stunning in bouquets, so I gathered up both (number two).

E70FE97D-3170-47F0-8FA4-581806ABDB90

As I headed back up the garden to collect my Sweet Peas, my eyes were drawn to my Cosmos. Apt, I thought, given that my Sweet Peas and Cosmos were raised from seed side by side in the greenhouse (number three).

D6DBF549-82EA-4130-A2A7-F2A3D39F32F1

The colours in the Cosmos bring together the colours in the Sweet Peas and the Coreopsis perfectly. I love those little star shaped stamens.

We have an abundance of hardy Geraniums in the back garden. More and more every year as they self seed to their heart’s content. I may have to divide some of them somewhen, but for now I decided to include them in my posy as a nod towards their ever presence. They are quite attractive with their veins of dark purple. Another plant that is self seeding all over the place is Oxalis. Considered a nuisance by some, we don’t have enough of it (yet) for me to be troubled by it. These two pink pals are number four.

141788C2-7E66-4D79-81AB-838B6D513AE9

Any good bouquet has a Rose in it. I hesitated at first, because I do love my Roses as nature intended them, but after umming and ahing for a while I decided that the two Roses which best matched the colour scheme had enough blooms to spare a couple for my display, so here’s number five.

957DDAB6-235D-42BB-994D-A23AE8F7A96D

Do you spy my little green snips in the background? These have come into their own recently – they’re perfect for the delicate little cuts needed for Sweet Peas and their tendrils.

Finally I decided that if weeds will insist on making repeat appearances in the garden, so much so that I can’t possibly keep on top of them, then they may as well make themselves useful. Number six, then, is wonderfully weedy!

E2B645CD-5291-421E-82FC-BC434B0936E4

One of these isn’t a weed it’s one of my Hare Tail grass ears that I got from Gardeners’ World Live, but it seemed to fit with the the rest of these goodies so I included it. Apart from that, there is normal grass and a flower from Herb Robert, but I don’t know what the blue and yellow flowers are. The yellow looks like a tiny Cowslip (but definitely isn’t) and the mystery blue is lovely and delicate. Several of them have appeared in our path.

So there you have my Six, and soon I get to reveal the finished arrangement, but first a couple of ‘along the way’ photos.

D19E6EDD-AF51-46EF-8177-DC75D98A6ACF

I love this. It reminds me of place mats that you used to get in the eighties and nineties that had drawings of plants with their scientific names written on in scrawny writing. I’m sure most households of my family had some of these (and I suspect some still have – waste not want not).

2E9712BC-7CFE-4B8C-9497-1A7FE50A3308

Here they are all bunched up, as they were when I brought them in.

And now, the big reveal ….. drumroll …..

I really need to get one of those light box things for taking photos rather than having to balance tea towels on various kitchen utensils to get a decent background!

Here they are in situ, up high on the wall because the Sweet Peas at least are toxic to cats, and even if they weren’t, I don’t want my beautiful arrangement to be chewed by feline teeth! I hope you’re not disappointed after all my self indulgent hype up!

I couldn’t decide whether they looked better with or without flash so I’ve included both. The two on the left are with and the one on the right is without.

If you want to check out more Sixes, pop over to the Propagator’s page and have a snoop in his comments.

Toodleoo.