Sunflower Challenge: Week 14 July 09

It’s all over.  The race has been run and the sunflowers are exhausted.  There is no growth to report this week.  The petals are falling and seeds are forming.  This will be my last sunflower post.  Good fun while it lasted and last year’s seeds had an outing.  Home compost was used and pots from the shed were found.  All in all a no cost project that gave a focus to the week.  I couldn’t always post on Wednesday and Thursday became my day of choice.  So here it ends. 

Last week there was more wind to contend with and number five fell head first into the water butt.  I belatedly decided that a brick would help to keep things stable. 

 

 

 

The plants have languished in the final week and the finishing heights are  Number One: 97cms – Number Two: 114 cms – this one was the first to flower and is now dropping its head very determinedly.  It could be on its way out.  Number Three: 150cms, Number Four: 162cms and Number Five : 180cms. 

Thanks for the idea  @GardeningGent.  I shall be there on twitter for the judging day on August 16th.  Looking forward to seeing those with a little more stamina! 

Sunflower Challenge: Week 13 July 02

Just pretend it’s Wednesday, even if it is Thursday.  Here’s the latest news.  Following the heat we had some very windy days here and calamity came a knocking.  Knocking all pots over.  Fortunately no damage was done but the sunflowers had to spend a good few days huddled in a corner out of the worst of the winds.

They have all flowered and one or two are looking a little frayed around the edges.  I fear this bonny crew will be finished before judging day.  

And here’s this week’s heights: Number One: 97cms – Number Two: 114 cms – this one was the first to flower and is now dropping its head very determinedly.  It could be on its way out.  Number Three: 150cms, Number Four: 162cms and Number Five : 180cms. 

Challenge details

Judging  day: Sunday August 16th,  Categories are: Tallest, Largest Flower, Best Looking, Most Bees on a Flower at the Same Time, Strangest/Funniest and Best Junior Entry.

This has come from a great idea put forward by @GardeningGent.  Sow sunflower seeds on April 1 and then report weekly updates. Mine are from a variety unknown seed packet left from last year.  All seeds were sown in peat free compost and then moved on to 10 litre pots filled with home made compost and a sprinkling of Fish, Bone and Blood. 

More to come next Wednesday or possibly Thursday. 🙂 

Sunflower Challenge: Week 12 June 24

I’m determined to post on a Wednesday, so here is a very hurried update.  I’m spending most of my time keeping them well watered in the heat of this week!  Two lovely sunny flowers to report and some meteoric growth.

 

 

And here’s this week’s heights: Number One: 88cms – Number Two: 115 cms, Number Three: 148cms, Number Four: 149 cms and Number Five : 171cms – the biggest leap forward this week.  

Challenge details

Judging  day: Sunday August 16th,  Categories are: Tallest, Largest Flower, Best Looking, Most Bees on a Flower at the Same Time, Strangest/Funniest and Best Junior Entry.

This has come from a great idea put forward by @GardeningGent.  Sow sunflower seeds on April 1 and then report weekly updates. Mine are from a variety unknown seed packet left from last year.  All seeds were sown in peat free compost and then moved on to 10 litre pots filled with home made compost and a sprinkling of Fish, Bone and Blood. 

More to come next Wednesday or possibly Thursday. 🙂 

Sunflower Challenge: Week 11 June 18

It seems that I like posting on Thursdays.  It seems I often get distracted on Wednesdays.  I don’t why but if it works, it works.

There was an interesting development on Monday as number two plant tipped its flower head forward and by Wednesday the flower had begun to open.  I hope it hasn’t peaked too soon.  There’s a long way to go until August 16th.

Here’s this week’s heights: Number One: 70 cms – a surge from the 48cms of last week,  Number Two: 110 cms – this is the one that has almost flowered, Number Three: 140cms, Number Four: 137 cms and Number Five : 15 4cms – another one that has had a surge  in growth.  

Challenge details

 

Judging  day: Sunday August 16th,  Categories are: Tallest, Largest Flower, Best Looking, Most Bees on a Flower at the Same Time, Strangest/Funniest and Best Junior Entry.

This has come from a great idea put forward by @GardeningGent.  Sow sunflower seeds on April 1 and then report weekly updates. Mine are from a variety unknown seed packet left from last year.  All seeds were sown in peat free compost and then moved on to 10 litre pots filled with home made compost and a sprinkling of Fish, Bone and Blood. 

 

More to come next Wednesday or possibly Thursday. 🙂 

Sunflower Challenge: Week 10 June 11

Yes, I know it’s Thursday, honest I do.  The bin men come tomorrow so it’s a marker day.  Wednesday should also be a marker day as that is the day for reporting progress to @GardeningGent.  Sorry for going awol but it was cold and wet yesterday and other jobs were calling louder.  I hope this minor divergence does not disqualify me. 

Great excitement to report on the challenge. Continue reading

Six on Saturday: Reasons to be cheerful

Ignoring the awfulness of Thursday when, here, it rained all day with a real insistence there are reasons to be cheerful. I feel there is a sense of spring in the air. The garden is giving me strong signs that it is time to emerge from hibernation, open up the seed packets and get growing. This week I’ve sowed lupins, dahlias, a first batch of tomato seeds and three pots of basil seeds. I even gave the autumn sown ammi a brief outing in the sunshine.  There isn’t much new on the flowering front but progress is being made.

One

The clematis amandii ‘Apple Blossom’ has broken into flower.  This is it’s best side, further along there are one or two bald patches.  I hope these will fill out over the year.

Two

A small group of anemone blanda have deigned to push through again.  No sign yet of a new batch I planted in the north border.  I’m hoping a little more warmth will persuade them to show up.

Three

The fritillaries are dangling their lanterns again and reminding me that I must invest in a few more of these to make the impact stronger.

Four

The tulips leaves are marching on.  I particularly like these striped ones from ‘China Town’ 

Five

There is a rose to be seen! Battered by wind and rain but managing to look pretty even so.

Six

I was very happy to see some new growth on the alpine alchemilla.  I thought I’d lost this after the squirrels made short shrift of it when they planted a few acorns in the same spot.  Shame on me for being so despondent. 

The ground is still very wet, the weeds, particularly the bittercress, are enjoying the damp conditions and I’ll have to get to them soon before they find the energy to flower.  That means I’ll be in the garden which can’t be a bad thing.  And would you believe it, I’ve just had a delivery of 300 in-the-green snowdrops!  They are so late coming due to the poor conditions for lifting them from the fields.  That sorts out my morning.  Mr P has all the updates from other SOSers.  Plenty to admire and inspire! Cheerfulness all round I think.

Six On Saturday: A supermarket rescue and other joys

August is the month for destruction at the supermarket flower section. Rows of sad, wilting plants reduced in price, past their best but holding out the glimmer of hope for a rescue. For a pound I was tempted and brought one home. It was submerged in water and left in a shady place to rehydrate. Thankfully it did and here it is.

One

Leucanthemum ‘Broadway Lights’. I would have taken more but the others really did look past all hope.

Two

August brings the arrival of the late summer flowers.  This year this includes some late sown plants, the first of which is this cleome.  I have about a dozen of these dotted round in the gaps that also seem to appear at this time of year.  Some I pinched out to achieve a bushier plant with more flower heads, this one was left to grow straight up.

Three

My zinnias, that have been promising to deliver for weeks, have finally made it into flower.  More much appreciated magenta pink, although it looks more red here.

Four

This year I dug up several bits of the rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ to give to friends and to plant elsewhere in the garden.  The main plant has responded with even more vigour and makes a striking focal point for the late summer border.

Five

I have been waiting for sometime for the supposedly thuggish anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ to live up to its reputation and spread itself widely over the shady end of the garden.  It’s in year three and finally looks as though it is about to make an effort.  Perhaps this year the weather has been a little kinder.

Six

Rose of the week is ‘Scepter’d Isle, every time it flowered this year the rains fell and its lovely flowers were ruined.  Finally it can show off its elegant form, but briefly I fear as the wind and rain of today is giving it a good thrashing.

The winds are picking up here, all the pots that stand on a wall have been moved down to the ground and the fig tree is swaying wildly in the winds.  I wonder what will be left standing for next week’s six.  Seems like the perfect day to catch with some SOS reading.  All the links can be found on The Propagator’s blog and reading his contribution is a good place to start.  Wishing you and all your gardens a safe weekend.

 

 

Six On Saturday: Sorry, Sunday!

A late posting this week due to unexpected 48 hour lurgy having struck.  Feeling better now but the task of planing out the main crop potatoes does not sound that appealing.  I think they can wait another week.  I’m hoping to have the energy for planting out the sweet peas, dead heading the daffs and sowing a few annuals.  If the thought of gardening is exhausting you too go to The Propagator’s blog  for armchair gardening or the inspiration to get out there for real.  Here’s my six for the week.

One

IMG_3496

The first of the irises have opened.  These were divisions from a neighbour’s garden at the old house, brought along in pots when we moved and now in their third summer in this garden.  They are putting on a better show than last year so perhaps they truly feel at home now.  Just in time for another division?

Two

IMG_E3495

Six on Saturday is a good thing to get involved with!  Thanks go to Sedums, dahlias and hayfever for sharing their enjoyment of the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens some time back.  It went onto the list of places to visit and this week was ticked off.  It’s a fantastic place with a series very impressive glass houses.  Thanks also go to the Rivendell Garden blog for regularly sharing alpine plants in his sixes.  Having spotted armeria maritima last week what chance did I have when I saw three pots of the stuff for sale in the plant shop.  Purchase made.  The alpine section at the Botanic Gardens is also very much worth a visit.  In fact I may have to do a separate write up – I must be feeling better.

Three

Before heading off to Edinburgh there was an intensive spell of 5 minute gardening to be done.  Of course it always takes at least half an hour but I did manage to get the first rows of rocket planted out and this year’s new try out – edamame beans. These were an impulse buy when I was picking up my compost for the summer sowings.  The beans have to be boiled for 10 mins to kill off the toxins!  I thought they were the healthy option.

Four

IMG_3499

This interesting collection is the result of sowing 45 seeds of euphorbia oblongata last summer.  Only four germinated and very late in the season.  I had really given up on them but somehow they struggled on so I potted them up to overwinter them in the greenhouse.  They have all made very different progress. One fatality.  I’m keeping them in the greenhouse for a few more weeks before they go outside but their place in the garden has been lost.  They were intended as the underplanting for the Darcy Bussell roses.  I’ll scout around for a new corner for them.  Looking at them here I am tempted to pinch out the tops.

Five

IMG_E3500

The first of the lettuce seedlings are ready to be moved on.  I will plant some in the greenhouse and some outside.  These were sown at the end of February if I remember rightly.

Six 

IMG_E3501

I found this growing on the compost heap and with a gardener’s optimism planted it up.  I am hoping it is sweet woodruff.  Any thoughts?

Well that’s my lot for this week.  Back with a bit more vim next week.  Those potatoes must be planted by then.

 

Six On Saturday: Returning friends and small beginnings

I hope I’ve said this before because it needs to be said.  Thank you to  the Prop   for starting up this meme and for keeping us all in order.  There’s much to be gained from taking a look at all the posts that are contributed and there is a lovely supply of help and support on offer, so take a moment to stop by.  Thanks to everyone last week who pointed me in the direction of gauras and pennisetums.  I always thought that grasses were not for my garden but now I think I have the perfect place for them.  Time to move on to this week’s six:

One

IMG_2877.JPGCutting back plants after flowering really can work.  The alchemilla mollis which were sheared to the ground have come through again and at this time of year they look beautiful with their dressing of early morning dew.

Two

IMG_2884This is Geranium ‘Brookside’.  It roamed through the garden in early summer, knowing no boundaries and so cutting it back when it finished flowering caused me no stress.  The plant needed to be tidied up.  This week I noticed it was flowering again.

Three

IMG_2878Also starting up again are the seedlings of Nigella, love in a mist.  I have a carpet of them which I should probably be thinning out and sharing around the garden.  But I might just leave them all here to keep the weeds down and see how they come through next year.

Four

img_2879.jpgIn the greenhouse I have managed to keep a tray of foxgloves and echinacea pallida seedlings alive and it looks like some potting on needs to be done.  Temperatures are on the up next week so they I hope they will put on some good growth once moved into a pot.

Five

IMG_2880Encouraged by the good example of others I decided to try some winter vegetables. I rescued a tray of rainbow chard and perpetual spinach from certain death and planted them out a few weeks ago.  The pesky slugs made straight for them but they have pulled through and growth looks good.

Six

IMG_2881Last November I planted out bare root roses in a new border and Darcy Bussell is still flowering.  I am impatiently waiting for the roses to become fully established but even in the first year the flowers have been rewarding.

I hope your garden or allotment is rewarding you and that we all manage to find a moment this weekend to appreciate them.

Six On Saturday: Oops I did it again

With temperatures again in the 30s I went away for the week.  Yes, I know.  No real gardener ever leaves the garden in summer, not ever!  I did the usual frantic watering, moving pots into the shade and putting everything on trays or saucers and off I went.  My garden is well past its best so I was really quite relaxed.  I went in search of inspiration from some of the great gardens of England and I found that they too had gone over plants, roses devoid of flowers and scorched lawns.  But some ideas for late summer colour were found and I returned determined to take more care of my phloxes.

But here is what is happening in my garden this week.

One 

IMG_2737

Rosa Natasha Richardson is in her second flowering and is looking gorgeous.  I’m very happy with the background of Agastache Black Adder but she needs something the other side of her.  I’m still looking for her ideal companion.

Two

IMG_2738

Sometime in May I optimistically sprinkled some zinnia seeds that came free with a well known gardening magazine and in the week I was away they opened up.  They were sown at the foot of the now towering tithonia and in amongst the Pentsemon Plum Jerkum.   They have given me an extra spot of late summer colour.

Three

IMG_2735

You would not expect me to visit three gardens and come away empty handed now would you? I nearly did as Hidcote had sold out of Agapanthus Navy Blue – a later flowering variety that’s now on my wish list.  Fortunately across the road at Kiftsgate I found a lovely pink Salvia microphylla Blush Pink.  It should flower into November and be frost hardy.  If it does I shall be very happy.

Four

IMG_2739

I left my tray of Ammi visnaga out in a shady/sunny spot hoping they might put on a spurt of growth.  I really don’t know if they are going to make it into flower but I am going to plant them out anyway and enjoy their feathery green foliage in amongst the white zinnias as planned.

Five

IMG_2740

My vegetable patch has struggled this year, falling foul of lack of rain and my feeble attempts to water it.  I harvested the onions before I left and put them in the potting shed to dry out – as if they needed that!  Small but delightfully formed I think.

Six

IMG_2741

The apples are also much smaller this year.  I received an email from my apple juicing farm telling me that this is the earliest apples have ripened in 12 years.  I still don’t think mine are ready for picking and I’m hoping that the welcome deluge of rain that arrived on Friday will give them an extra boost.  I also need to decide what to do with this poor specimen.  Do I shorten the leader and keep the laterals in tight or will the leader strengthen over time?  So much learning to be done!

The bulb catalogues are arriving and even as I review how to improve the August and September garden my thoughts are turning to Spring.  I am well and truly on the gardening roller coaster and on the whole enjoying it.

Be dazzled by the diversity of gardens that get shown each week by checking the links given on The Propagator’s blog You will see that there is an occasional ‘cheat’ and this week The Prop has smuggled three extras into his six.  There must be a sub section somewhere that allows that then!

The apples are also so much smaller this year.  I received an email from my apple juicing farm telling me that this was the earliest apples had ripened in 12 years.  I still don’t think mine are ready to pick and I am hoping that the welcome deluge of rain that came on Friday will give them an extra boost.  I need to think what I do with this poor specimen.  Should I cut the leader much shorter and keep all the laterals in tighter or will the leader strengthen over time? There is so much learning to be done!