Six on Saturday 7th September

I thought I should check in with a Six this week because we’re on holiday for the next two Saturdays so I most likely won’t get chance to do one, and then we’re rapidly approaching October which means fewer trips out of the back door and less exciting developments au jardin when I do brave the cold and dark.

I’ve been out there for half of today trying to tidy up and prepare for the colder months, so I took a few snaps that I thought you guys might like to see. Be warned though, random they definitely are, eclectic you might say since they all came from our garden, but that is the extent of their coherence.

Number one is an early birthday present from my in laws.

They’ve discovered somewhere that makes these in all sorts of different animal forms. I chose a kingfisher because I like the colours. I attached it to the fence in the middle of our garden today. It’s next to my raised beds so I’m hoping it might scare the birds away from my fruit and veg next year.

Speaking of fruit and veg, number two is potatoes. I finally got round to emptying my wheelbarrow which was full of the compost from the potato bags which I harvested earlier in the Summer. When I tipped it out I discovered that I’d missed some.

I assume it’s still ok to eat these. They look fine now I’ve cleaned them up, although I have no idea which of the three varieties which I grew that they are. I grew Maris Peers, Charlotte and another variety which escapes my memory for now!

I also planted more Charlottes today. I got them a few weeks ago but have only just got around to planting them, so they’ve chitted quite a lot so I hope they’ll still grow. They’re supposed to be ready in time for our Christmas lunch!

Moving on to number three, and following on from my garden wildlife post last week – cobwebs!

For some reason I ended up behind the greenhouse and the sun was shining right down the garden and was making the cobwebs twinkle.

It’s normally really difficult to get decent snaps of cobwebs, and these are still not great, but I was pleasantly surprised with how well they showed up in these with the sun highlighting them. I didn’t see the occupant of the webs. The poor spider is much maligned, but if I was one I think I’d still feel superior, I mean, can you spin your house and do your food shopping all out of your bottom? Nope, me neither!

Back to the home produce for number four. There’s not much left growing now but I do have these still to come.

I think they’re leeks, but it’s possible there might be a red onion in there. My lolly stick labels got bleached by the sun so I can’t see what I sowed in this particular line. If they are indeed leeks, then they’re supposed to be ready to harvest next month, which looks unlikely to my novice eyes! Everything seemed to either take longer to mature than the packets said, or didn’t grow at all so maybe they’ll be ready next Summer!

Number five is something I’ve been trying to identify for over a year, so far to no avail. I picked it up on a sale table in B&M Bargains for £1.50.

Not the best picture of it, but you can see the shape of the leaves. A couple of people have suggested it might be a Cotoneaster, but I’ve now had it over a year and it hasn’t produced any berries. I actually feel quite attached to it, despite not being on first name terms with it. It very loyally hung around in its pot whilst I tried to determine what it was so I knew whereabouts to plant it, and since I took the plunge and planted it out (still not having a clue how big it would get) it seems to very stoically deal with being surrounded by fallen leaves and living behind the raised beds receiving minimal attention. It looks healthy and it’s definitely grown so, even if it retains its John Doe status, it’s more than welcome in my garden.

Number six is one that I was waiting for completion to post, but now I’m concerned that completion might happen while we’re on holiday, so I’m posting now so it doesn’t miss out.

Sunflowers!

I’ve nurtured these since I sowed them in April! I sowed eleven seeds, ten of them germinated and were planted out back at the beginning of the Summer and since then they’ve got slowly picked off (by what means I don’t know!) so I’m left with these two.

The smaller one that has flowered is just under six feet tall. Its flower is a little raggedy Anne but I love it nonetheless because it’s the first Sunflower I’ve ever grown and it looks ever so cheerful out of our back window.

You can see the seeds starting to form in there.

The big ‘un is over seven feet tall! I was standing under it to take this photo and this is my view (I’m five foot four). We’ve had to tie it to the Sweet Pea wigwam to keep it standing because it’s so tall. You can see the bud forming up there, but we go on holiday in less than a week and I think we’re going to miss it opening. My Dad’s cat sitting so I’ve asked him to take a photo if it flowers while we’re away. I definitely think there’s some kind of time delay in our garden – everyone else’s Sunflowers flowered week’s ago. My theory is not enough sun due to next door’s forest!

There we are, I thought I might have to start up a Six on Sunday blogalong for a minute but I’ve made it. Check out the Propagator’s blog for more Sixes.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend lovely people.

Green Girl Gardener has a birthday

So I’m another year older, as they say, but actually, if you think about it, I’m only a day older since age is cumulative.

This time last year we were in Orlando celebrating my 40th birthday (all week I’ve been tortured by this on timehop!) This was my view as I entered my fifth decade.

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I loved 40. The second I turned 40 I felt like a whole load lifted off me. All of a sudden I felt perfectly ok with the fact that I don’t want to party till the wee small hours. That a great night out for me involves a meal and a couple of glasses of wine with good company. That a Saturday night in with a takeaway and a box set is an acceptable luxury. I developed a confidence and a happiness that came entirely from within that allowed me to concentrate so much more on the things that matter and to disregard the trivial. I became far less concerned with the opinions of others. I guess this naturally comes with age, but with me it literally happened overnight.

….. but now on to to 41.

My birthday was yesterday, but actually my birthday treats started the day before. I took the day off work and treated myself to a full body Swedish massage to kick the day off. I get emailed offers all the time from Bannatyne Spa but normally can’t manage to get an appointment outside of work time, but this time I managed to get one on my day off. What a great way to start a Tuesday!

Thoroughly relaxed, I slinked off home, ready to be picked up by my Dad to go and choose my birthday presents. Weeks ago I asked if my (now traditional) shopping spree could take place in Webbs Garden Centre this year instead of in a shopping mall. Dad was game for this as he hadn’t been to Webbs since we used to pop in there on our way to my Dad’s when I was a kid (work that one out then, hey!?)

Webbs is AMAZING! It has a Lakeland and a Hobbycraft inside it, and an incredible food hall which, if you’re lucky, gives away free samples to entice you to buy one of their wheels of cheese or pots of chutney or regional wines.

By the time we arrived, our tummies were telling us it was time for a little smackeral of something, so we bypassed all the amazing houseplants and averted our eyes from the Christmas displays and headed straight to the restaurant. Yum, jacket potatoes, not as good as Ted’s (because that’s not possible) but a pretty close runner-up.

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Tummies full, we headed outside for a trolley and the shopping commenced. I very nearly succumbed to a bear. It was a lovely bear, and very soft and cuddly, but I managed to drag myself away. Our house has its fair share of cuddly toys already so I left it for someone else to give it a home and I wheeled my trolley off to the greener part of the garden centre.

Look at all my lovely gifts.

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There’s a teddy bear! Our house may have its fair share, but what excitement to realise I can continue the bear obsession in the garden!

I’ve been wanting a Cordyline for ages so I made a beeline for those.

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This is definitely going to go in my new planter which was my present from my Dad and Carole.

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A wheelbarrow of grasses! These, along with Hebes, are my current plant loves. In there is Carex Testacea, Miscanthus Gold Breeze, Stipa Tenuissima and Juncus Spiralis. I love the way they wave at me in the breeze.

I never thought I’d have a wheelbarrow as a birthday present! This actually came from Homebase not Webbs. The ones in Webbs were proper galvanised ones and were super expensive! I needed a wheelbarrow, but Monty Don I am not, so a super expensive one was not necessary.

Juncus Spiralis, as the linguists amongst you will have worked out, is curly. Curly grass! How fun.

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I did get one indoor plant.

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The air plant in the shell on the end. This is to replace one of the succulents from my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding which didn’t make it. I couldn’t resist the little tropical fish.

I was at work on my birthday so I waited until I came home to open my cards and presents.

Look how well my friends and family know me.

F29ED728-B407-44B2-9650-66635D37E84BTwelve cards with cats on and a cat mug!

Both my brothers have got my number too.

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Pooh bear!

My friend continued the theme with this lovely Eeyore which I’ve clipped on to my handbag.

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And my husband knows how to melt my heart ….

….. with a card from my fur babies (and a Paperchase one at that!) Picasso eat your heart out!

He got me two floating charms for my Pandora locket …..

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Tiny and cute, huh? They look great in the locket (I already had Mickey).

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And he got me a Newton’s cradle that I spotted in Flying Tiger a few weeks ago.

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I got some more gardeny gifts too.

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Garden centre vouchers and a Webbs gift card and a trug that contains gardening gloves, rustic plant markers and seeds with instructions on when best to sow them. The cactus card was from a special friend. I take ages choosing cards for other people because I always want to pick just the right one that they’ll love and that is relevant to them, so I always appreciate it when I receive cards that have been chosen with thought.

My Mum sent me a handmade bag.

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I haven’t decided what to use it for yet. It’s the right size for crochet hooks but it would be good for cosmetics too. Aren’t the fabrics she used lovely?

This month’s Little Box of Crochet also arrived on my birthday and it’s Oh. So. Good! Gaspworthy! More about that later when I have time to divulge its autumnal contents. The card was from a friend at work and I couldn’t resist including it in the photo because it matches perfectly.

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So, my birthday is over for another year and I’ve been so spoilt by my nearest and dearest and, as ever, it makes me so appreciative of all the wonderful people I have in my life who always find a way to make me feel loved and special, not just on my birthday, but always. Thanks guys, you’re the best – big squeezes to all of you.

Oh, and it’s not over just yet.  I have a meal out on Saturday night with some of my favourite people in the world and another on Tuesday with some more favourites, my oldest friends (in the chronological sense, they’re not all ninety!) and I get to meet up with my best friend at some point soon which we don’t manage very often.

TTFN.

Green Girl Gardener does some gardening

Afternoon lovely people who kindly take the time to read my ramblings. I do hope you’re all having a good weekend.

I’m aware that I have probably written more posts not to do with gardening than I have that are to do with gardening, which may seem odd given the title of my blog. It seems that I have quite a few passions, and they’re all spilling out on to my blog. I didn’t really realise this until I started telling you all about the things that are important to me. Quite simply, I’m writing down what happens to be falling out of my head at the particular time that I come to write. Hope you don’t mind!

Today, however, I have been at one with nature, revelling in what is probably one of the last times I’ll be able to get out there without freezing my toes and fingers off. It did try to rain a couple of times while I was out there, but it must’ve got annoyed with me ignoring it and it took its rainy self off in a huff.

What I really wanted to do was tidy up our newly created bistro area.

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This is what it looked like in early June. Crazy huh! This is after we’d paid to have someone cut back all the trees too! It took a lot of hard work to clear this, but I had a vision of how it could look, so I ignored the back pain and forged ahead.

I haven’t done any maintenance on it for a few weeks so first thing this morning it had quite a few leaves on it and fox poo! The fox seems to regard it as a giant litter tray!

Not a major difference, but you can see it looks tidier. It took quite a while to do that, I wish it looked more impressive! There is a massive difference between June and now though.

I pottered around after this and did some deadheading and general weeding. We have a delivery coming next week (weather permitting) and I wanted to clear the area ready for it. More on that soon. As an aside, I bought a hoe earlier in the year and couldn’t work out how it was better than getting down on your hands and knees and pulling weeds, but today, when I had a reasonably big area to clear it really came into its own.

After I’d turned the soil, a chirpy chappy came down to inspect the work and check if I’d turned up some lunch.

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These photos are zoomed in, but he was pretty close to me. If I moved too quickly he flew off into next door’s trees and sang beautifully for me, but would come back down once I was still again.

Now I have to admit to having had a near failure in the garden. A couple of weeks ago I decided that, as the hot weather had passed, it would be safe to plant out my Berberis which I bought from Hop Pocket out near Worcester. It had beautiful red leaves edged with gold ….

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…… but something has gone wrong! I don’t know if it didn’t like the kind of soil we have or if it was still too hot for it or if I gave it too much water, or not enough water, but today I decided to dig it back up and put it back in a pot to see if I can revive it. It’s still really prickly so I think there’s life left in it yet.

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The poor thing looks really sorry for itself and I feel like I’ve let it down, but I hope I can show you another photo in a few weeks of it looking much happier. If I succeed in nursing it back to health I think I’ll keep it in a container.

Gardening brings me such happiness and peace, but this is the downside, when something doesn’t work. Keep your fingers crossed for it folks!