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: The first tulip is out and it is ‘World Friendship’

Cheerfully bright and looking very yellow in the sunshine, my first tulip of the year has arrived.  It is the aptly named ‘World Friendship’. A virtual high five to that! I’ve spent the week being very virtual – virtual meetings,  virtual events, virtual exercise and virtual language classes but I have also spent more time in the garden.   Here are six things that caught my eye.

One

The aforementioned World Friendship.  New to the garden last year and standing strong again this year.  Long may it last

Two

Narcissus ‘Bridal Crown’.  A few years back, when I was new to this garden, I squeezed a few of these into the border.  No real idea why and no particular plan.  They deserve to have had more consideration, either more of them or some other plants to work with.  On the ‘to do’ list.

Three

The first of the plum blossom is opening out.  This tree was in a bad way three years ago.  Oozing from a large split in the trunk.  The split is gradually healing and the oozing has stopped but last year the leaves withered, you can just make them out in the background.  I’m giving it one  more season to see if it can pull through.  I’ve lovingly fed it with bonemeal once a quarter and my fingers are crossed.  While it flowers like this there is hope.

Four

The tomato plants have been potted on.  I keep meaning to sow a few more seeds – some cherry tomatoes and some yellow ones.  That’s a job for the weekend then.

Five

During my morning fast walk round the garden I spotted a drop of pink under the rose bush.  Closer inspection revealed the first flower of geranium sanguineum var. striatum.  This seems very early and it is a little darker than usual, but hey, who’s complaining. 

Six

The online gardening community is doing a great job of keeping us all going. Thanks to Mr P for hosting the links to all the SOS posts.  I’d also like to give a thumbs up to twitter gardener @GardeningGent who is organising a Sow a Sunflower event.  I was very pleased to finally locate some seeds so that I can take part.  Sow seeds on April 1st – no joke- and post a weekly photo of progress.  I’ll  be there. 

Here’s hoping your gardening activities are helping you to spread seeds of happiness.  Cold weather forecast but I think it may be time to take the plunge and prune the hydrangeas. 

Six On Saturday: Harvest time

The high points of my gardening year are the June riot of colour and the September harvests. In truth we have been enjoying raspberries, figs and blackberries for a few weeks now. The erratic early summer weather did for one of my cucumber plants but the survivor put out enough cukes to keep the salad bowl well supplied.  There is colour in the garden thanks to the roses and phlox but this week is mainly a veg and fruit focus.

One

Dwarf French beans.  These are Safari.  This is the first time I have grown a dwarf variety and so far so good.   They have cropped well enough for me and taste good.  They don’t seem as squeaky as other French beans.  I’m freezing those that are surplus to requirements.  They are perhaps slightly fiddlier to pick than climbers from a wig-wam but I won’t have to untangle all that twine at the end of the season.  I sowed a second round a few weeks ago which I hope will give me a crop in October.

Two

Tomatoes in the greenhouse.  My greenhouse is in partial shade and the windows need a clean but temperatures still climb.  They have only just started to ripen in the last week or two.  There are  plenty of tomatoes but will they all ripen? These are San Marzano 2 and Tigerella.  I also grew Green Zebra, Golden Sunrise and Alicante.

Three

Onions, small but good enough.  The onions did better this year due to the higher rainfall.  I don’t plant many because  I never have much luck with stored onions.  I am sure these will be used up before they start sprouting.  The variety is Sturon and I will grow these again next year.  The red onions were even more diminutive and were used up very quickly.  They were growing in the rain shadow of one of the apple trees.  I will try to do better with the red onions – time to start the winter Japanese varieties now.

Four

The large fig tree has cropped well this year and for some reason I didn’t see the squirrels stealing the fruits.  Perhaps the wasps put them off.  Picking the figs had to be carried out with great care.  This tree is going to get the big trim over winter and it is much needed.  On Friday I watched the wind blow through the leaves with some trepidation.  I’m hoping we don’t get a big winter storm this year.

Five

It is apple picking weekend here.  This is because the next few weekends are taken up with other plans so it is now or never.  All the apples will be picked and taken off for juicing.  In a week or so I will collect the results.  I finally got round to buying a telescopic apple picker which I hope will mean less teetering on the ladder.

Six

There is one flower for the week.  This stray sunflower has  been brightening up a corner of the garden.  It is like a lighthouse shining through the dark, calling to the butterflies and bees.  I didn’t plant it and can only think that it came from the sunflower seeds in the bird feeder.  For which I am very grateful!

Apart from the great apple harvesting that has to be done this weekend I am hoping to make a start on some bulb planting.  I’ve not placed a big order yet but I have some crocuses and Tete a Tete daffodils to ease me in.  Planning for Spring has started.

Mr P  hosts the Six On Saturday meme and all the links to other posts can be found in the comments section.  September on show from gardens around the world.  Lovely.