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Welcome to my gardening blog

 

I love sharing my love of gardening, all its ups and downs, its challenges and successes. I also love sharing what little I've learned - and there is so much more to learn! If you want to share anything, please post at https://www.facebook.com/gardenwithoutdoors/.

end of April 2017

There's a magic moment in Spring when a ceanothus is covered with beautiful purple-blue flowers. (Scarecrow's not too bothered)

ceanothus

and the lilac has those exuberant blooms

lilac

I was looking at the centaurea montana to see how they were doing and how many buds and was surprised to find a cat hidden in the flowerbed. I didn't even know he was there!

I kept those delphiniums in that pot to avoid slug damage. It was on a table last year. I'll see how it does this year, so far so good and some small buds.

delphinium in pot with buds

that centaurea montana flower has opened up

centaurea montana

I finally shoe-horned those self-seeded centaurea into the flowerbed, it's not like on GW where there's loads of room to plant!

flowerbed

close-up of the centaure in the centre

I had these pots from last year. I tend to put plants in pots when I don't have room anywhere else or want to keep them away from slugs. The on the left foxgloves and lesser knapweed but on the right I was so happy to discover more centaurea montana. The pot in front has knautia Melton Pastels. In the flowerbed, chicory.

pot to the right of those above, last year's lupins

lupins in pot

In additon to that chicory visible next to the pots above, I have 2 more. 3 should be plenty, they're pretty big plants!

chicory

In that flowerbed as well is a clump of iris which sadly did not bloom last year, must research how to revive it.

iris

I must admit I get confused between ranunculus and anemone. The younger plants I have aren't a problem as the leaves are quite different and I have them labelled but this flower from last year I'm not sure which it is and googling doesn't help as I think they look quite similar. Maybe I need to spend more time researching.

In the morning the flower is closed.

In the afternoon after being in the sun for a while.

this year's new ranunculus, catnip (nepeta cataria) seedlings in 2 of the pots

ranunculus small plants

I had to move the anemones around so don't have them all in one pic but they are at the bottom of the pic below with quite different parsley-like leaves.

I can't find the plant label for this water plant in my pond right now but it looks very ranunulus/buttercup to me

2nd week in April 2017

Centaurea Montana, one of my favourite plants, this year's first flower

centaurea montana

the centaurea montanas have self-seeded, a couple in this pot that was nearby, planting them in the flowerbed is one of my many outstanding tasks

centaurea montana self-seeded

self-seeded cerinthe surrounded by green alkanet (also one of my favourite plants) and erigeron karvinskianus in the background

cerinthe green alkanet

the muscari are almost finished for this year but these were in the shade and blooming a little later than ones that were in the sun

muscari

another of my favourite flowers, the humble pansy, I have bought and grown from seed many pansies but this plant self-seeded all on its own

pansy

I love the purple shoots of this hosta. I've kept my hostas in pots to avoid slug damage - with variable results.

hosta purple shoots

final curtain for the auricula theatre for this season

auricula theatre

auricula theatre

Little Princess tulips

Little Princess tulip

Little Princess tulip

Little Princess tulip

Little Princess

my back garden is covered with green alkanet and the bees are loving it! It's like this each spring. The green alkanet dies back in a few weeks in time to make room for other plants so I am happy to leave it for the bees as there are not that many other flowers in bloom yet.

green alkanet

beginning of April 2017

the curtain is about to come up, the performance is about to begin - in the auricula theatre

auricula theatre

close-up of the top shelf

auricula theatre

close-up of the middle shelf

auricula theatre

close-up of the bottom shelf

auricula theatre

This is the best I could do with the auricula theatre. It's been challenging as so many things turn out to be. Next year I want more purple flowers. I need to buy some but I have no idea when or where. The plants above I purchased at the local garden centre when they weren't in bloom so had no idea of colours but they've been useful to get started with. I also think I need to use the shorter pots, as are 2 above. The shelves are a little low so need shorter plants and pots.

tulip Whittallii

tulip Whittallii

snakeshead fritillary with the tulip Whittallii

snakeshead fritillary tulip Whittallii

I can't stop taking pics of these Silver Parrot tulips. I can't quite get the perfect pic. There are so many good views I want to capture and finding it difficult to fit them into the same pic.

Silver Parrot tulips

Silver Parrot tulips

Silver Parrot tulips

Silver Parrot tulips

a week later and there's even more colour with the tulips

silver parrot tulips

silver parrot tulips

In the autumn when it's cold and I can't find anywhere to plant any bulbs I end up sticking them in wherever I can. I ended up putting some snakeshead fritillary in this delphinium pot as I could get a trowel into some bare soil. I think I need to plan outdoor bulbs a bit better.

snakeshead fritillary

close-up of that fritillary

snakeshead fritillary

honesty

honesty

cerinthe, self-seeding and blooming

cerinthe

I'm pretty clumsy and I managed to pull out a piece of Japanese anemone when I was trying to remove a spent stem. I pushed the piece into a pot in hopes it would root. A new shoot has appeared so it looks like it's growing.

japanese anemone

japanese anemone shoot

Some of my small foxglove plants this year, I have some most years, I just have to find somewhere to plant them all. I'm not sure if the smallest ones will bloom this year. In theory they should as they're bienniel and they started last year but I think the smallest ones probably need to grow larger and will bloom next year.

foxglove small plants

I was wondering what was happening with the anemone and ranunculus pots that had no sprouts so I poured out some of the compost to see if the bulbs/tubers were sprouting and I found something rather unpleasant. 2 pink ranunculus pots have fuzzy mould where the tubers should be and 3 (2 pink and 1 purple) of the anemone pots have goo where the bulbs should be - absolutely disgusting. Are these gooey bulbs soft rot? (I found "bacterial soft rot" at Wiki - sounds likely). Probably the most disgusting thing I've ever seen in the garden.

The other 14 or so pots are all growing and look fine. Having said that, one or two pots only have 1 small sprout so I need to check those. I used the same compost for all the pots, a mixture of potting compost, perlite and vermiculite. No signs of any problems when I planted the bulbs and tubers.

end of March 2017

the Silver Parrot tulips are blooming, rather early I think

Silver Parrot tulips

I've been tidying up the patio and it made that spot under the plant stand accessible to Scarecrow to lay down in the sun.

I'm afraid the cats take precedence over any plants or gardening matters to discuss.

I couldn't decide which was a better view of Scarecrow so including both.

I potted up the few cornflower seedlings I have. Some may be calendula. I will see as they develop.

cornflower seedlings

when the seeds are still present, seedlings are easy to identify, calendula:

calendula seedling

morning glory, bottom left:

morning glory seedling

I did have 4 hostas in pots, to keep the slugs away, but one was still attacked by slugs and had an enormous foxglove sharing the pot. That hosta has disappeared. This hosta is just coming up. I'm leaving those forget-me-nots to bloom before I remove them.

hosta

another hosta just coming up

hosta

hosta sprouts coming through on this one, again leaving the forget-me-nots to bloom before removal

hosta

has anyone else seen one of these? googling it, seems to be a juvenile New Zealand flatworm, I'm not sure what gardeners are supposed to do about them, if anything, will try to research further, about 4 cm long

juvenile New Zealand flatworm

mid-March 2017

I've gotten fed up with waiting for rhubarb "crowns" to grow (which didn't in the end) so investing in some decent-sized rhubarb plants. They need this season to establish so I can start picking next spring. My garden doesn't get enough sun to grow much in the way of fruit and veg but hoping it's enough for the rhubarb. They force rhubarb in the dark? so they must be able to cope? My sweet boy Scarecrow amongst them.

rhubarb plants

polyanthus pots I did for neighbours, this one also has lupins

polyanthus

this one also has a foxglove

some hyacinths and borage in bloom, lupin small plant from late last year's sowing to the right, sea holly both in pot and in the ground in the back, also the ubiquitous green alkanet, forget-me-not and snapdragons

borage and hyacinths

all the gardening essentials: seeds, trays to put them in, inc egg cartons, camera, coffee and Diet Coke - and a cat!

see my Seeds page for more about growing from seed

He's the naughty kit who chewed these catnip seedlings (2 on the right) so I planted some more seeds. There are 2 kinds of "catnip"/catnep/catmint, the basic herb nepeta cataria  which I grow from seed (I have never seen these plants sold at a garden centre) which has small white flowers and nepeta faassenii (eg Six Hills Giant) sold in the garden centre as an ornamental plant with purple flowers.

catnip seedlings

seems that every day Scarecrow is destroying more of those plants so I had to move them out of his reach. When I have a consistent supply I am happy for him to have them - that's what I'm growing them for - but they need to grow to a reasonable size or my seeds need to germinate better.

catnip seedlings

Usually those nepeta faassenii are larger plants in bloom at the garden centre later in spring but I noticed these in the herb section so decided to get some now and hopefully grow them into larger plants. I've also been curious to see which cats prefer, if either.

nepeta catnip

cat with nepeta faassenii

scabious small plant from sowing last year

scabious

I wasn't sure if it was scabious but from the side it looks more scabious-like, the way it leans over.

scabious small plant

the anemone and ranunculus are slow to get going

anemone and ranunculus pots

this ranunculus is the largest

ranunculus

the green below is not an anemone but on closer examination, with those distinctively-shaped seeds, they are calendula seedlings

calendula self-seeded seedlings

close-up of the calendula seedlings, the calendula was growing nearby above and the dried seedhead dropped in this pot, unnoticed by me

calendula seedlings

these small poppy plants overwintered, I had planted the seeds end of last summer/autumn

poppy small plants

some more small plants from last year, foxglove on the right, scabious to the left, sea holly far left, Japanese anemone in the middle, 2 possible viper's bugloss at the bottom

these borage have been growing - and flowering - right through the winter, above (centre) and below (below right) are knautia small plants

borage

I was wondering how long the muscari seedlings and bulblets would take  to bloom and this very very small muscari bloomed already after less than a year in this pot. Also snapdragon self-seeded in this pot.

muscari bulblets

on the right is a rush which has self-seeded in this pot

rush seedling

my neighbour's forsythia makes a magnificent display

forsythia

Last year, both these hostas' leaves turned transparent and rotted (can't find a pic right now) so pleased they have come back. I will repot them and hopefully they will do better this year.

Fragrant Blue hosta

hosta

March 2017

This is the time when the gardenwithindoors overlaps with the gardenwithoutdoors, some bulbs which were intended for indoors are blooming outdoors. Those red tulips in the small tobacco jar were indoors but the aphids were so bad I banished it outside and now they are blooming. I had intended those muscari for indoors but never took them in.

a week later (after the next pic) those muscari are looking fab

muscari in blue and white pot

bulbs blooming

I had so many muscari in recent years and had so many seeds, which I tried planting but nothing happened, so surprised to discover these seedlings the other day. I don't know what's different about these, something about them, the conditions, the timing, made them germinate. Now I have to try to thin them and repot them. I wonder how long before they actually bloom, years I imagine.

muscari seedlings

I tried repotting those muscari seedlings and have made a bit of a dog's dinner of it. I had this idea of one seedling per cell but they are too fiddly and there are too many of them so I started putting clumps in and a few in a cell if I could. I guess the best way in future is a few seeds in each cell when I sow them. I never expected that amount of germination this time.

muscari seedlings

I planted all my spent forced hyacinth bulbs outdoors. That purple one in the middle decided to bloom again.

planted spent forced hyacinths outside

These are forced hyacinths from previous years blooming in the garden this year. Not so large but there's still life in them.

spent forced hyacinths planted outside

a week later and lots of those previously forced hyacinths are in full bloom, some rather small, but they are blooming

hyacinth

hyacinth

hyacinths

hyacinths

a close-up of one of those above, not sure which variety it was but it has the colouring of those Fresco hyacinths but I never bought them before so don't know

hyacinth

There were 8 or 10 hyacinths in that pot but doesn't look like it now. They weren't forced so what's their excuse! The small ones in the ground were forced from previous years.

spent forced hyacinths planted outside

self-seeded viola

violas in bloom

I am so happy I have flowers on my new rosemary from last year, one tiny flower is in the middle amongst the daffs. It's taken a year to flower but I feared it would be longer.

flowering rosemary

close-up of that first flower and buds

flowering rosemary

my other flowering rosemary which I bought in bloom a couple years ago

flowering rosemary

I received a £5 voucher from the garden centre and was going to put it towards more perlite and vermiculite, which I like to mix with seed compost, but at the garden centre I couldn't resist more ranunculus. That makes 3 suppliers to compare (unexpectedly). I wasn't really intending to buy so many or to do a formal comparison but it looks like I will. Soaked tubers today and planted them. Still awaiting first sprouts from the other 2 suppliers' tubers.

Taylors ranunculus

I'm not sure how so many seeds get into a small pot like this but they seem to have. I see grass, green alkanet, cerinthe, viola, lesser knapweed, foxglove, maybe centaurea montana. I will try to repot and give them all more room.

self-seeded pot

I was trying to get a shot of Bear (black and white cat) on the fence next door but he's just too far away but wanted to document how the garden looks now (in March).

3 of the polyanthus I sowed last year are in full bloom now, 2 more in bud, 5 plants in total from a packet of 100 seeds, not great but at least I got something!

polyanthus

February 2017

I was given a few snowdrops a few years ago by a fellow gardener and a few have bloomed recently. Most seem to be smothered with grass and weeds but it is the garden next door and I haven't cleared it recently. I pretty much leave it and it just gets on with it.

snowdrops

even though it's been so cold the lupin seeds are continuing to sprout up after being planted last summer/autumn

lupin seedlings

I bought the ranunculus and anemone from Sainsbury's and planted them the other day, soaking both for a few hours before. Those ranunculus sure look pretty dry and shriveled but will wait and see.

ranunculus tubers and anemone bulbs

the next week I bought these Lily of the Valley rhizomes

Sainsburys Lily of the Valley rhizomes

The tulips in this dialene bowl are sprouting. I'm not sure what variety but maybe Silver Parrot. I didn't buy that many tulips but that was one kind I did buy. I think the bulbs in the rack of terracotta pots are muscari.

tulips in dialene bowl

I think these must be Tête-a-tête narcissus but I can't remember exactly why they ended up in this pot. Looks like an anemone as well. The pots in the background on the right are the anemone and ranunculus I just planted. Not sure the best time to plant those but I know in the past when I've planted them in the autumn they grew leaves quickly which then just died back so this year I'm trying February but I did notice some in Sainsbury's yesterday that said plant March - May so maybe I'm a bit early but confirms autumn is not the time. (Even though I did order some anemone and ranunculus with my hyacinth bulbs, no doubt I will be tempted to try those Sainsbury's ones).

narcissus tete-a-tete

I think these are Little Princess tulips in the blue and white pot at the front but my records aren't complete so will have to wait and see for sure.

small tulips

Sadly my large SylvaC pot which I left outside this winter has broken. It did have a crack before but that didn't seem to be a problem. I think those are Tête-a-tête narcissus but again, will have to wait and see. I see there's deadnettle growing through them.

SylvaC pot with frogs and lizard

Looks like this anemone has been eaten by slugs already. The slugs survived the winter.

slug-eaten anemone

the anemone in this pot seems to have been out of the way of the slugs, agastache just sprouting to the left

anemone small plant

Concentrating on plants the slugs don't eat seems the best bet. I see 2 slug-eaten seedlings left front of this pot yet the viola is untouched.

viola seedling

my seed-grown polyanthus also seem to be uninteresting to the slugs, as does the foxglove

seed-grown polyanthus small plants

as are these scabious

scabious

violas are great self-seeders, this one is growing right through this prickly sow thistle

viola growing through prickly sow thistle

Seeds

It's time to start thinking about seeds. I have some seed I collected last year, eg borage, nigella, etc (will check what seed heads I have), some seed packets left from last year, eg cornflower and scabious and I carefully chose 5 kinds to buy. If I want to track them carefully I can't do too many:

  dierama, monkshood and echium blue bedder (aka viper's bugloss)  tried all 3 before without success but having one more final go before I give up and just buy plants if I want them

  meadow cranesbill and greater knapweed, think I've tried both before without much luck but can't remember how carefully

 

Chinese Lanterns

In January, the brilliant orange of the Chinese Lanterns is fading, leaving a skeleton around the seed pod.

chinese lanterns

I have tried planting the seeds but not in any controlled scientific way. I tend to throw collected seed into any old pot with other seeds and other plants. Not surprisingly I have not noticed anything of the chinese lanterns but I am going to try again this year doing it properly. From what I see, these have spread by roots and without those annoying bluebell clumps which I removed a few years ago, they are doing very well.

chinese lanterns

I collected some of the lanterns which contain the fruit with seeds. One thing I hadn't noticed before is the slugs! so many of them had traces of slug slime and slugs themselves on them. They were eating the orange covering. As those inner orange fruits dry, the seeds are released. The two top right are just showing the seeds in them.

chinese lanterns with seeds

I was hoping I might get flowers on the prostrate rosemary I bought last year as very small plants and it looks like there might just be buds. I'm very excited - and impatient for them to develop and open - if indeed they are flower buds; maybe they're just new leaves. (Sadly my camera is just not focussing properly to show them more clearly.)

rosemary buds

The cold weather is not stopping this one from blooming. I know it's hard to see but this one has beautiful purple/blue flowers and has done on and off since I bought it, regardless of the temperature.

flowering protrate rosemary

difficulties of urban gardening

My front garden is both too tidy and too messy, there's both room for a homeless man to roll out his sleeping bag and have a kip along with rubbish from the neighbour making him think it was okay? Seeing him in the morning was the last thing I expected to see in my garden!

on the other side of the garden . . . the chinese lanterns at at their peak

chinese lantern

chinese lantern

chinese lantern

Chinese Lanterns

the self-seeded borage is in bloom

borage

borage with the blooming rosemary in the background

borage

the rosemary is still in bloom

rosemary in bloom

rosemary in bloom

close-up of one of the rosemary flowers

rosemary in bloom

cerinthe and borage in bloom, spent flowerspikes of agastache and spent sedums flowerheads

close-up of the cerinthe flowers from above

cerinthe

the snapdragons are still in bloom

snapdragon

with all those pots shown above, I have little room to plant more bulbs but I find if I want a decent display of even a few bulbs I need to buy fresh so a few daffodils and tulips have gone into new pots, a bit boring plastic ones but at least I can move them around easily when they are in bloom (end of October, fine for tulips but perhaps a little late for the daffodils)

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