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.

Annual Boosters

Evening all!

We had a stressful evening yesterday because it was time for that most awful of trips! Time to take our furry girls for their annual jabs at the vet.

Unless you have a very chilled out cat like our old cat Sherry, anyone who’s ever had a cat will sympathise with the ordeal of having to install your cat in his or her cat carrier.

We did everything right. We got the carriers out a few days before the appointment to get the girls used to them, and it appeared to be going quite well.

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Tink packed herself all ready to go, but unfortunately two days early! Olive curled up in the other carrier too but seemed to develop camera shyness so I didn’t manage to snap any evidence.

So far so good. However, yesterday, the day of the appointment, they knew! I have no idea how, but they knew something was going on and all of a sudden it became apparent why cat burglars are named after these beautiful furry escape artists of ours. Normally it’s no problem to pick up either of our girls but yesterday they wriggled, they stealthily slunk away and they used down right brute force!

I’m currently sporting the scars!

This was the work of Miss Olive.

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Looks like butter wouldn’t melt doesn’t she? Bless her, she was just scared. We gave up after the savaging and tried Tink instead. She wasn’t at all happy with the situation, but we managed to get her in the smaller carrier without further injury.

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Deep breaths! Back to Olive. We tried telling her it was for her own good but she didn’t believe us. We promised it wouldn’t be that bad and she’d be back home before she knew it, but she still didn’t want to go and kept running round the room with me trotting round behind her dripping blood as I went! Eventually I had the bright idea of putting a blanket over her and, boom, worked a treat. She was in!

See how they’re both studiously ignoring me and concentrating on something far less mean in the opposite direction.

We have to make sure they can see each other at all times when they’re in their carriers otherwise they panic and cry. The only time they’ve been apart throughout their four years was when they were spayed and had separate operations. Obviously they have times when they’re in different rooms, but they always know they could go to the other if they want to.

I didn’t take photos when we were actually in the consulting room – didn’t want the vet to think I was completely mad – but they were really brave. Olive didn’t want to come out of the carrier, having kicked up (literally) such a fuss about getting in! Not even a Dreamie could convince her! She curled her tail and legs under her and stayed that way no matter what the vet did! Tink was more brave. She came out with minimal coaxing but kept trying to seek refuge on hubby’s shoulders!

Anyway, ordeal over, they both got a clean bill of health and they’ve been jabbed for this year.

They both recovered quickly when we got home and assumed their usual sleeping and lounging activities with gusto.

It seems a real shame to put them through this every year. They’re house cats so are highly unlikely to come into contact with any nasties, and they don’t go to a caterie when we go on holiday. You never know though I suppose. We could move to somewhere in the future away from a busy road and it might be safe to see if they want to go out (although I doubt it – I have absolutely no intention of doing anything that involves a solicitor ever again if I can help it!)

I can look forward to the weekend now we’ve got this horrible event out of the way. It’s the biggest tennis weekend of the year – Wimbledon finals weekend!

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I’m not going to be able to watch the ladies’ final live tomorrow so I’ll catch the highlights but I’m fully intending to be ensconced in front of the telly on Sunday for the men’s final. Unfortunately, my fave, Rafa Nadal, got knocked out today in the semi-final by Roger Federer. I took the afternoon off work to watch it because there’s a finite time left in which these two champions could meet and play and I wanted to soak it up while I still have the opportunity. It wasn’t as epic as I was hoping it would be, and the result didn’t go my way, but it was a great match all the same. I’ll be Team Roger on Sunday now. Let’s go Roger, let’s go!

Toodles.