The Garden – 2023

Herb Robert

Sadly I lost my Dad in November last year, just over two years after losing my Mum, so as you can imagine the garden has been my last priority for a while. As a result it has reverted back to it’s pre-lockdown state, although in some aspects that hasn’t been such a bad thing.

Wild Flowers Galore!

White Foxgloves

The influx of wild flowers this year has been phenomenal, with columbines, herb robert, forget-me-knots, kenilworth ivy, foxgloves, buttercups, and fox & cubs (the flowers, not an actual fox and cubs!) to name a few. They have been attracting so many bees, butterflies and other insects, it’s so lovely to see. A single white Foxglove appeared last year, so at the end of the season I let it self-seed, and this year we have two of them so far. There is another plant right next to them, but I have no idea what the is yet. I shall wait until it is flowering and do a reverse image search on Google. It’s where I do most of my plant identification, although I have on occasion got some obscure results, taking another photo usually gives me the correct answer.

Fox and Cubs

Fox and Cubs

Most of the garden planters are now over run with the Fox and Cubs but this year I’ve just let them do their thing! I haven’t had the heart to just get rid of them. Knowing that the garden will be taking a bit of a backseat this year too, it’s nice to have some colour in the garden, even if it wasn’t me that put it there! The Herb Robert is another plant that has appeared from nowhere, last year there was a small amount in the corner of the patio, and now it has spread like wildfire! From doing some research it can be used for a lot of ailments, including rubbing the fresh leaves onto skin as a mosquito repellent. The flowers and leaves are also edible, and can be used in salads, or to make a tea. I haven’t been brave enough to do either yet though.

Strawberry Plants

Hanging Basket Strawberries

I haven’t let nature do all the work this year though, I have planted up a couple of hanging baskets with strawberry plants. It’s something I had wanted to try for a few years, and as the strawberry plants in barrel didn’t survive the Winter, now was as good a time as any. They seem to have taken well, with plenty of flowers and fruit making an appearance so far, they are still green, but I am looking forward to when they ripen. I am hoping that because they are in hanging baskets the slugs won’t get to them, but not too sure if the birds will take a fancy to them once they turn red!

Rhubarb in Flower

Rhubarb Flower

The lockdown rhubarb was doing well, it had started flowering again this year, the only rhubarb plant I have ever seen in flower, but I had to remove them so all the energy would go into producing the fruit stalks. Removing the flowers resulted in a hollow stem in the centre of the plant, which had gradually filled up with rain water. The water had become stagnant which resulted in the leaves turning red and the stalks were wilting. I ended up cutting off the hollow stalk, so hopefully the rhubarb will grow back nice and strong, so I can make a lovely rhubarb crumble!

Self-seeding Sweet Peas

Sweet Pea

The annual self seeding Sweet Peas have made their usual appearance, I just need to get them to grow up the fence instead of growing across the grass! I keep saying every year I am going to put something there for them to climb, but only remember once they have appeared! There are a mix of vivid pink and pale pink flowers, and the smell is always amazing. The number of flowers it produces is astounding, so there are always plenty to be able to cut some to go in a vase.

Pink Climbing Rose – 2020

Rambling Rose

The pink climbing rose is more meandering everywhere then climbing, but it is flowering and smells lovely. Although it will definitely benefit from being cut back in the Autumn. I will either try to construct some form of frame or trellis for it to climb up for next year, or get it to climb up the Cherry Tree growing beside it, I think it will look lovely, as the roses are deep pink and the Cherry Blossom is light pink! There is definitely an accidental colour theme int he garden, with most plants ranging from pink through to purple, with a splash of yellow and orange thrown in for good measure.

Cutting the grass has been more of a chore than usual this year. When the weather finally brightened up I managed to get the front garden cut, but the following day the mower refused to start. After changing the spark plug, topping up the oil and checking the fuel, it would splutter into life then cut out! It turned out to be the carburettor choked up with gunk, not surprising as we have never had it serviced since we got it, which we think was back in 2015! Now it has been serviced it runs like a dream, so most of the back garden has been cut, I quite like the long patches I’ve left for the time being, as it has wild flowers in, which of course the insects are loving. But, I know that too will need cutting at some point, but I’ll leave it as long as I can to help the garden eco-system flourish. As long as I can hang out the washing without it being draped in the long grass I am happy.

The patio is fairly tidy, and is the home to many of the wild flowers, we just need a small patio table and a couple of chairs to be able to sit out and enjoy the Summer evenings, listening to the bird song and drinking a G & T (or a glass of wine). Every morning and evening the same Blackbird sits in the tree at the bottom of next doors garden, singing his familiar song.

The potting shed needs a clean out, I’ve spied a few big spiders in there wearing hob-nail boots, so they will have to be evicted, or at the very least relegated to a corner where I can keep an eye on them!! A lot of the gardening tools have migrated to the brick shed, so will have to moved back up to the potting shed when I get around to the sort-out. So much to do in the garden and both sheds, but always something cropping up putting it off for yet another weekend.

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