19 Jul 2014

A river runs through it

Oh boy, it's hot. And I'm so grateful that I'm not in a car, travelling down to the seaside (one of the options for my weekend).  Or on a bus. Or a train. No, I was in the garden yesterday since early o'clock, having woken in the night to the sound of tumultuous rain and a tremendous thunderstorm. As I'm on the second floor, the roof level guttering runs along ceiling level, making the rain sound like a trickling river running through the flat. It's one of the best features.  Rain means softer ground; more rain (forecast) means plants and seeds will get off to a good start - once I've protected them with anti-slug wool pellets (which, by the way, work).  Rain also means the garden gets a good soaking, a long overdue watering which I'm hard pushed to provide without a tap in the garden.

I had a walk round the garden with my camera on Thursday evening because I realised that my plan for integrating flowers among the veg growing is working, with little flashes of colour appearing all over and bees buzzing happily around. These are the photos taken (sorry, not all in perfect focus as it was fairly late in the evening); today more purple has appeared as the phlox paniculata has unfurled its petals. Never mind the sunshine and heat - this is what my summer is about.


The oranges:

Hemerocallis, nasturtium, calendula
Bupleurum, nasturtium, nasturtium
nasturtium & courgette flowers, succulent (gift so no idea!) nasturtium
sunflower, Milkmaid nasturtium, Blue Pepe nasturtium


The pinks:
Vetch, anemone, blackcurrant sage
Dianthus caryophyllus (pinks), Dianthus barbutus (Sweet William), purple artichoke
Primula, sweet peas, pansy


The purples and whites:

Chive, Eryngium, sweet peas
Lavenda angustifolia, delphinium, Polemonium (Jacob's Ladder)
Centaurea montana (cornflower), echinacea (soon to flower), 
Phlox paniculata
Thyme, alliums (last year's onions, great for bees), feverfew



And, of course, the veggie greens!

Broad beans re-sprouting, potatoes
Bush beans (Canadian Wonder), Indigo Rose (black) tomato (just forming)
Pea flower, Physalis (Cape Gooseberry)


38 comments:

  1. What a wonderful way of showcasing all the beautiful plants in your patch! The orange ones are very representative of the current hot conditions too. Luckily I was not working yesterday, because it would have been very unpleasant on the Tube. We have had heavy rain over the last two nights, which has given the garden a very welcome soaking. Unless you're prepared to spend AGES on it, watering by hand cannot achieve the same effect.

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    1. Because I now have to connect up FOUR hoses to reach the nearest tap (!), watering by hose or hand is arduous and time-consuming so I have a system: at the weekends, the garden gets a good soaking and the two water butts (ex-council waste bins) get filled. I then hand water from the bins during the week. That's the theory anyway, although last weekend (when v hot so the garden needed the water) someone kindly kicked my water bins over, thus undoing all my work. Grrr. :(

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  2. Oh, it looks wonderful! Less success with the wool pellets here, my echinacea seedlings proved just too hard to resist for those damn molluscs. I hope they're still itching..

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    1. After posting this, Jessica, I spoke to a neighbour who, like you, has had no luck with the pellets. My plants are still resisting although I admit to going out at dusk to pick off the chancers. It's belt AND braces with slugs this year!

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  3. So colorful! I've try to combine flower and veggies in my raised beds, but it didn't do well. I think you have done a great job on it.

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    1. Thank you, Endah. I try a variety of flowers and veg but most of my flowers are grown to be attractive to pollinators such as bees and butterflies. The herbs and perennials do particularly well here with a mix of sun and shade but plants are always happiest with their roots given the freedom to expand into soil, rather than being confined in a pot.

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  4. Fabulous vignette Caro! Your plants surely look happy with all the heavy rain and warm weather we're having!

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    1. Thank you, guys! I try my best and yes, those lovely lovely downpours did the garden the world of good plus I was immediately on slug alert to double the benefits to the plants. Heh, heh.

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  5. What a wonderful, and colourful, selection of flowers.As you say that's what summer is all about for us gardeners.
    Happy gardening. Flighty xx

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    1. Thanks, Flighty - I know you love a few florals mixed in with the veg yourself! Some of the flowers are quite tiny but, as the ads say, every little helps! :) xx

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  6. Lovely flowers - no heatwave here, no torrential rain or thunderstorms yet either just rain and wetness.

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    1. I'm constantly amazed at how the weather can be so different just a couple of hundred miles to the north of us. I'll be getting more familiar with Yorkshire weather soon as my son is due to start at Leeds uni in the autumn and no doubt will want a few lifts to and fro! No doubt your allotments and garden are looking lush with all the rain - I'm actually quite envious!

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  7. Blimey that's so effective showcasing them in colours like this - no wonder you are loving Summer (bar the sticky humid bit!) I've only recently discovered how beautiful artichokes can look!
    Happy colours and happy days!

    Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thanks, Annie! I was inspired to showcase the flowers like this as they looked brilliant against the black background and grid format of iphoto on my mac. You'll see from my next post that my purple artichoke has flowered and it's definitely a 'Blimey!' moment - everyone's been commenting on it! Thanks for linking in your post! xx

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  8. Oh how beautiful it's all looking Caro. We've had similar weather here too, and I love the sound of rain beating down on the skylights. A deluge last night and more today, and thunder loud enough to rattle the windows. Wonderful. And as you say, the plants have all had a really good soaking. It's back to hot weather tomorrow though I think. Just right for the allotment barbecue. Hope you have a good Sunday. CJ xx

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    1. Gotta have a few flowers in the summer, CJ! Although I never pick them - I leave the flowers for everyone to enjoy. Oh, except the sweet peas which NEED to be picked so I can justify that! I really want to have more flowers growing so am constantly trying to squeeze a few more in. Wish we were allowed barbecues here, I even won a bbq in an online competition but apparently the healthy & safety rules have to be obeyed … :( It's been v hot all week here but I'm hoping for a mini-deluge this afternoon if the forecasts are correct. Cxx

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  9. Replies
    1. Thanks, Ian! You'd know, you're a dab hand yourself!

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  10. I'm totally amazed at how many beautiful flowers you have in between your veg, I thought it was all veg! They are all so pretty in so many colours and shapes, delightful!

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    1. Ah, thank you, Pauline. The 'all veg' would have been true a few years ago as I stuck to veg in a raised bed system when we started to use the garden as a group. However, since I've managed the gardens, I can't resist adding a few pots of things and planting up bare soil so the garden has expanded somewhat!!

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  11. Wow....looking at these pics was like opening a book on flowers! So many delightful blooms there it must look so wonderful. I totally agree, this is what summer is about, long may it last. I like to hear the rain at night too, I find it so soothing.xxx

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    1. Thanks, Dina, that's a lovely compliment! There are just a few flowers mixed in with all the green veg and herbs so each little splash of colour is very special to me. I find that the sound of rain is very comforting and will lull me off to sleep; reminds me of living by the sea I guess and hearing the waves… Cxx

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  12. What a lovely selection of flowers - I like the fact that you are adding more and more colour - a feast for the eyes and the tum of course.

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    1. I can't help myself, Elaine. Just today I thought I'd pop into the local garden centre after dropping my boy off at the start of a trip; I only meant to have a look and get some inspiration but spotted some lovely Erysimum at the back in the sale. How could I resist? So, one more perennial will be planted out. That's how it goes … :) Cxx

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  13. Beautiful picture... your garden must be looking fabulous at the moment. No wonder you'd rather be there than anywhere else.

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    1. I do love to pop down first thing in the morning before anyone else is about. It really gives me a lift to see the garden in the summer. Even more so if there are a few raspberries or beans to nibble on!!

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  14. I love it Caro. I was wandering around my little patch the other day and realising how much I love the chaotic combinations of flowers and veges. I will now always have marigolds and nasturtiums, but you inspire me to go for more perennials too. And scented things for cutting... I must look in to those wool pellets, perhaps they would save my hostas!

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    1. I agree, Janet - I'm definitely one for an edible garden. I'd miss both the flowers and veg if they weren't there so have to find room for it all! I love the way that the nasturtiums just bring themselves back every year, I've even ended up with a new colour (salmon pink), probably due to cross pollination. Love it!
      Hold fire on the wool pellets. They've worked for me but not for a neighbour so I'm now hesitant to recommend them unreservedly. They certainly help but I think total vigilance is needed!

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    2. Oh rats, I had high hopes for wool pellets.

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    3. I've lost hostas that were planted into the ground. They bravely appear in the spring and have been munched into oblivion within a few days. I'll try the wool pellets next spring to see if they make a difference but I've heard the only way to successfully grow hostas is to put them in a pot - you could always do that but place the pot amongst other shrubs in the border; with the right pot, it might look rather nice! Large established plants don't seem to be bothered so much - I've seen fantastic hostas in the open ground in Regent's Park this year.

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  15. I specially like the brash flash of the oranges.

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    1. Thanks, Lucy. I couldn't decide which grid to put in first but decided that the oranges were perfect for the summer sunshine we're having!

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  16. Fabulous. I haven't got the veg/ornamental ratio right at all, though I came home from holiday to find poppies popping up in my potato patch, a much welcome splash of colour.

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    1. How lovely to have late poppies, Jo! Mine have all finished for this year but I had help from a neighbour in sowing a lot of wildflower seed, including poppies, last weekend. Really hoping that those all come up, should look glorious next year!!

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  17. Lovely to see the flowers amongst the vegetables. I think your thunderstorms have headed in our direction today, it's a relief after so much heat, and so good for the garden. Sarah x

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    1. We had thunderstorms here today also, Sarah. Hot, hot sunshine in the morning then the skies swiftly darkened and, within minutes, a deluge of rain. I think I was the only one smiling! Much cooler last night and this morning, such a relief!

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  18. Oh those collages speak of much sunshine and warmth Caro and I imagine that there are many bees, butterflies and other insect life enjoying such a variety of flowers. Interesting to read about the anti - slug wool pellets. I had my hand on a box in Wilkos the other day but decided against as they were surprisingly heavy and I had quite a bit of shopping already. Will have to propel myself back there. Slug numbers have been horrific here this year.

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    1. Slugs have been apocalyptic here as well, Anna. I've used belt and braces in my slug clearing tactics this year but I felt that the wool pellets worked in protecting the seedlings that I put out, long enough for them to get established. Now if only I could find something that works against aphids - they've moved from the broad beans to the french beans! Gah!

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Caro x

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