Back to the 1980s

Things finally seem to be moving more quickly in the garden, which is a relief. I’ve been feeling the weeks tick by with growing fear that summer will be over before I know it, with things never really getting going thanks to the cold and wind that have so far made the season disappointing.

But I have renewed hope from seeing the first flowers on my Lychnis coronaria (rose campion). This is a perennial I bought in my first year of making this garden (2013), as a £1.50 seedling from the garden centre. It had one of those little labels with a picture and description of the potential plant, which give only a small clue as to how it’ll turn out in your particular setting and against the rest of the planting.

Since then it’s become a reliable friend. The velvety silver stems stand upright – even up here on windy ridge – and produce simple single blooms of an intense deep pink. With regular deadheading and a bit of feeding it flowers and flowers throughout the summer.

This is the third year of its life in the garden, and the third position it’s tried – right next to my yellow climbing rose. I thought this would create a strong contrast. I was right, and they seem to intensify each other by their proximity. But it’s like a homage to the 1980sin my border, and I’m not sure I like it!

Pink and purple are neighbours on the colour wheel, yet my sunny geum and lavender make a calm and classy combination in the front garden, while the lychnis/rose parnership is eye-poppingly bonkers.

Talking of geums…I have these yellow beauties (Lady strathdene) in my back garden too, and they’re combining well with the first sights of more new blooms: what I think is penstemon plum jerkum, and geranium versicolor
In other news, the deep red team of dahlia and japanese acer is looking great in a previously-neglected part of the front garden – especially against the crisp and cool greens of crocosmia foliage and my wonderful hostas.

…which is just an excuse to tell you how bloomin’ chuffed I am that my hostas haven’t yet been munched by slugs and snails. The copper barrier around the pot, and moving it away from the mollusc bridge that is the garden fence, has worked a treat so far.


Windy ridge

This is the description I saw a facebook friend (and fellow allotmenteer) use to describe where we live. It’s entirely appropriate, and the plot is certainly feeling the effects this year.

As I’ve mentioned several times (yawn), this year is last chance saloon for sweetcorn. I’m pretending to be ruthless, to scare them into production, but I’m giving them every chance of success.

First I bought seedlings, rather than sowing myself, then I potted on and hardened off – waiting for the worst of cold to pass before planting up at the plot. Then I ordered some mesh to protect them from the worst of the winds.

[Did I ever?! I’ve got enough of the stuff to go round the whole flippin’ allotment! And it’s a right arse to wrestle with and cut off what I need.]

So here are the little darlings in their special shelter. They’re looking really good so far, so fingers crossed for some cobs!

The climbing french beans next to the sweetcorn have been looking very sad and not putting on much growth, so I’ve now swaddled them with some mesh too – and hopefully they’ll start going for it.

The difference the wind makes is shown pretty clearly by my two wigwams of sweetpeas. Top picture is furthest from the windy side – growing strongly and already producing some flowers.

Bottom shot is the wigwam that was – admittedly – planted a bit later, but they’ve been properly battered and are feeling the effects.


I’m considering protecting these little fellas with my never-ending supply of mesh – but do I really want a bright green fence all around the plot?

Maybe the wind could just stop winding for a moment, and give everything a chance…

In a Vase on a Monday

Red hot, but not a lot!

My first dahlia flower popped up at the weekend. It’s from a tuber I [barely] looked after over winter, having sown seeds of the variety Bishops Children in spring 2014.

The crazy big Pom Pom dahlias aren’t really my style, but love these striking single blooms in deepest red. They’re going to look great alongside my red Japanese acer in the front garden.

Also in the ‘vase’ – a glass (now chipped) that belonged to my Granny – are a couple of stems of bulking agent (photinia) and some geum Lady Strathdene which is sending up fabulous frilly yellow flowers on bobbing stems. This is their first year, grown from plugs, and I think they’re going to become a firm favourite in my borders.

A small sunny collection, to match the small amount of sun we’re getting!

In a Vase on a Monday is run by lovely blogger Rambling in the Garden. Join in!

Pick of the Week – garlic

Hold on to your hats, because it’s the second instalment of Pick of the Week!

I was chuffed to see fellow blogger Gardening Hands joining in from the Southern Hemisphere last week. Hello down there!

Pickings are still slim on the plot – everything is on go-slow thanks to the cold, windy spring and early summer – but this week I had a special harvest.

I’d almost forgotten about my garlic (Germidour). I’ve never grown it before but it’s been modestly plodding along since before Christmas.

I hadn’t even read when to harvest it – so it was lucky my allium expert neighbour was working his plot on the same day as me this week. He told me that when a few of the lower leaves have dried up they should be ready to dig. And they were!

The following day Miss MBaF and I worked together to dig them up (me) and lay them in a lovely line all along the path (her). I gathered them back together and popped them in the boot of the car – and the pair of us giggled at the incredible stinkiness of the short drive home.

The bulbs are a good size, and have a lovely purple tinge to the leaves. Now I’m leaving them to dry out before working out how to string them together.

In a Vase on a Monday

A bit of floral repetition from last week, but hey ho, I’m enjoying this flower stuff.

Sweet Williams, Scabious and Geraniums from the allotment (the latter growing ‘wild’ in the overgrown bit at the back).

I’ve never seen Geraniums described as a good cut flower, but I think they’re the star of the show here. Maybe they’ll be shrivelled by tomorrow – but it was nice while it lasted.

In a Vase on a Monday is run by lovely blogger Rambling in the Garden. Join in!

A promising combo

It’s a dank drizzly evening here, but despite the weather I’m excited by a very promising little combo in the back garden border. 


The predominant palette in the border is/will be purples/pinks with contrasts of yellow. 

But this little trio of dark horses is doing it for me right now. Clematis Niobe (gifted from a neighbour on the arrival of Miss MBaF 3 years ago), sedum Ruby Glow and a heuchera whose name I forgot/lost. 

Both the heuchera and clematis have been sadly mistreated in the past – ignored, neglected, moved, nearly binned. 

But finally they’re in the right place, and will be left in peace to do their thing. 

Happy Saturday all. X