ju1i3's blog

Welcome to my gardening blog

flowerpot for a pillow

I hope I can share a little of what I've learned - and there is so much more to learn. Let's learn to love dandelions! and all those wildflowers that are so helpful for bees.dandelion

If you want to share anything, please post at https://www.facebook.com/gardenwithoutdoors/.

Victor using a flowerpot for a pillow


I'm sharing these signs I made for free as I feel so strongly about saving bees (and the planet), message me on Facebook or email (julie@gardenwithoutdoors.org.uk) with your UK address and I'll send you one.

Rosettes Sept 2020

I saw a lot of rosettes yesterday, some before the flowers grew but some with flowers where the rosette was still there.

Shepherd's purse, quite variable. Sometimes there's no rosette at all when it blooms but this one has a full rosette and flowers in the centre.

shepherds purse

I saw a lot of hoary mustard, some just rosettes and some with flowers and rosettes and some with flowers but no rosette.

These hoary mustard have both the rosette and flowers.

hoary mustard

hoary mustard

hoary mustard

these are just the rosettes

hoary mustard

hoary mustard

hoary mustard

hoary mustard rosette

hoary mustard

hoary mustard

hawkweed ox-tongue and hoary mustard without obvious basal rosettes

hoary mustard, hawkweed ox-tongue and buddleja along the railway line with the Post Office Tower in the background

I saw a few bristly ox-tongue, some flowers with bees. The leaves have those distinctive blisters.

bristly ox-tongue rosette

bristly ox-tongue rosette

bristly ox-tongue

bristly ox-tongue flowers with bee

bristly ox-tongue flower with bee

horseweed (Erigeron canadensis) rosette

horseweed erigeron canadensis

hawkweed ox-tongue (Picris hieracioides) rosette

hawkweed ox-tongue

hawkweed ox-tongues  with no visible rosette

hawkweed ox-tongue

hawkweed ox-tongue

Geranium molle rosettes

geranium molle rosette

geranium molle

Autumn hawkbit (Scorzoneroides autumnalis), rosette with flowers

autumn hawkbit

with all this surrounding growth, the rosette / leaves are not visible

autumn hawkbit with bee

autumn hawkbit

autumn hawkbit, to the right shepherd's purse and an autumn hawkbit rosette above that

autumn hawkbit Scorzoneroides autumnalis

late summer flowers

the recent rain has brought some new growth: the salvia sclarea var. turkestanica has some new flowers and buds, scabious in the background

salvia sclarea turkestanica

closer view of those buds, I don't know if there's time for them to open

salvia sclarea turkestanica

a hollyhock self-seeded in the pot with the melancholy thistle, I didn't want to disturb either so I left them both


the sage I grew from seed recently is doing ok but it won't bloom this year, random snapdragon in the pot and I see some verbena bonariensis which I see self-seeding a lot

sunflower in bloom - amazing as the first bud was eaten by slugs but the plant came back and produced a new one, bee enjoying it

sunflower with bee

nepeta cataria with bee

japanese anemone

leaf comparison: foxglove, borage, comfrey, green alkanet

It's a common problem to differentiate between foxglove, borage, comfrey and green alkanet before flowers appear. I have blogged about this before but I saw queries online recently and happened to notice I had all four in my garden yesterday so was inspired to take photos and blog again. This is a particular challenge if there are no flowers (all the flowers are quite distinct). 

I happen to have a green alkanet (bottom) below a comfrey (top) which makes comparison easier. This is my only comfrey and it's in bloom so ID is easy. Green alkanet is variable so further examples below.

comfrey and green alkanet comparison

closer view of the comfrey


I do love green alkanet and at a certain point in the spring my back garden is covered with it so I have decided it is not necessary or possible to have it in pots (it would soon be in every pot!) as well so I have pulled this one out of a pot. The green alkanet leaves have a bristly feel unlike the soft foxglove leaves.

green alkanet

another example of green alkanet

green alkanet

more green alkanet

green alkanet

these are foxgloves which had self-seeded and I planted them in this flowerbed (behind is a bedraggled hollyhock leaf), the foxgloves are soft unlike the green alkanet which have a bristly feel


another foxglove


I happen to have a borage at the moment as well. They do come and go more quickly than the others. The initial borage leaves are more distinctive. This one is from an established plant in bloom.


another borage leaf


more borage


July 2020


I have forget-me-nots self-seeding in my garden every spring, in bloom generally March and April. I never knew exactly which type but looking now, seem to be wood forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica).


they have distinctive leaves


I was surprised to have this new plant self-seeding with different leaves but something about it said forget-me-not. It has finally bloomed and appears to be Chinese forget-me-not (Cynoglossum amabile) which I've never actually seen before. No idea where it came from. 23-7-2020

chinese forget-me-not Cynoglossum amabile

a few days later, 26-7-2020, more buds have opened

chinese forget-me-not

this was it a few days previous before it bloomed, with quite different leaves from my usual forget-me-nots

chinese forget-me-not

As the season progresses, my lack of bees is becoming more pronounced. No bees so far on my globe thistles - usually a real bee magnet or my new monarda Cambridge Scarlet, which I haven't grown before but I understood it was attractive to bees.

monarda Cambridge Scarlet

just recently I'm seeing a lot of hoverflies, on the hollyhocks (also have seen bees on them)

hollyhocks with hoverfly


scabious with hoverflies

a bit overexposed but there is a hoverfly on one of the flowers

nemophila snowstorm

earlier in the month, bees on the centaurea dealbata

centaurea dealbata

hoverfly on the centaurea dealbata

centaurea dealbata

echium Blue Bedder with a bee

echium Blue Bedder

cornflower with bee

cornflower with bee

sea holly with bee

sea holly

sea holly with bee

sea holly with bee

June 2020

This has been a very difficult time with hot dry weather. It finally really rained this week but how long the effects of that last, not sure. The slugs are back wreaking havoc. The only positive thing about the drought was fewer slugs and snails.

The poppies have been amazing for the bees. "The" plant of this spring. in the background, sea holly, echiums vulgare and Blue Bedder which the bees are visiting but as long as there's a poppy in bloom (sadly they don't last long) that takes the bees' attention.

lauren's grape poppy with bees

the melancholy thistle is blooming and has had a few visits from bees but I guess I just don't have that many bees, sadly

melancholy thistle with bee

viper's-bugloss (Echium vulgare) with bee, knautia macedonica and nepeta in the background

vipers bugloss echium vulgare with bee

the salvia sclarea var turkestanica is blooming but so far I have not seen a bee visiting, sadly

salvia sclarea var tukestanica

the nemophila is blooming, first flower of the Penny Black

nemophila Penny Black

Penny Black on the left, Five Spot on the right, the two are wildly different in their seed germination, each pot was one packet of seeds


my first veronica flower of the season




centaurea dealbata

centaurea dealbata

echium vulgare on the left and echium Blue Bedder on the right, Lauren's Grape poppy

echium vulgare and echium Blue Bedder

hollyhocks (teasel to the right, artichoke behind) sadly crawling with hollyhock weevil


I loved seeding bees on the monkshood this week

monkshood with bee

a bee has climbed right inside a flower, bottom left

monkshood with bee

monkshood with bee

identifying small seedlings

I like to identify the smallest seedlings so I can keep what I like and remove those I don't and not fill up pots with seedlings I don't want. I have about 10 pots that seemed to be all self-seeders rather than something I planted, I'm not sure why. There's a lot of repitition as each pot has attracted a lot of the same self-seeders.

pot 1: largest is nepeta, underneath it, widest is poppy, top left is snapdragon, bottom is verbena bonariensis, bottom right is passionflower


pot 2: a number of red deadnettle, 3 verbena bonariensis, one on the right I'm not certain of


pot 3: clockwise from top left, verbena bonariensis, snapdragon, poppy, another poppy, another verbena bonariensis and wild basil


pot 4: clockwise from the top, 2 verbena bonariensis, common field speedwell I think, poppy, red deadnettle


pot 5: clockwise from top, snapdragon, plantain?, verbena bonariensis, poppy, forget-me-not and salvia in the middle


pot 6: same as pot 5 but from the other side


pot 7: red deadnettle at the top, poppies, foxglove bottom centre


pot 8 is 7 from the other side: clearer view of the shoo-fly on the right just under the foxglove


pot 9: clockwise from top left, snapdragon, poppies, viola (better view in next photo), verbena bonariensis,


pot 10: same pot as 9 but from the other side with a clearer view of viola at the bottom


Drought-tolerant Plants

At this time I am impressed by the flowers that are blooming without any water at all.

iris foetidissima

iris foetidissima

stachys byzantina, ox-eye daisy

stachys byzantina

will be adding more photos

end of May 2020

The relief about the rain was short-lived. Weeks of no rain and high temperatures. The only good thing about it, the slugs and snails seem to have been curtailed by this weather.

bee on a green alkanet

bee on green alkanet

first lupin in bloom and some buds coming below


lupin buds


I got this yellow flag iris last year. It was a small plant and did not bloom last year but I guess it's gotten established in the small puddle that is my pond and is happy enough to produce flowers. I look forward to those buds opening. I see a bee on a green alkanet I didn't even realize was there when I took the photo nor when I processed it until just now.

yellow flag

iris foetidissima, it's nice to have a few stalworts in the garden that will flower with zero effort on my part and regardless of it raining or not and regardless of how much sun it gets, I even saw a bee on one in the front garden

iris foetidissima

the melancholy thistle has required constant slug survelliance, it's the one plant I keep on my patio table but it has some buds so maybe I'll actually get some flowers this year

melancholy thistle buds

the first bloom in that huge red poppy that self-seeded in that pot

red field corn common poppy

the nepeta is blooming and it's tempted the bees away from the green alkanet, nice fat lupin buds to the left, foxglove just blooming, sea holly front right with flower stems, sadly one stem was destroyed by slugs, I was putting the pots on the table every night for a while but couldn't keep that up


I do find the seed sowing can get stressful but I feel I've turned the corner this year where things are a bit more manageable. The nepeta cataria (catnip) is potted up.

nepeta cataria seedlings potted up

I have 5 seed trays left, easier to deal with than the 10 I had before. 

delphinium, centaurea dealbata and rudbeckia Green Wizard on the top shelf, hopefully to keep them away from slugs and snails, if the Green Wizard actually blooms it will be my first after years of trying from both seeds and purchased plants, each time the slugs have had them

the slugs and snails have also been savage with the melancholy thistle so I am keeping them on the table

beginning of May 2020

It has finally rained. What a relief. I hope we continue to get regular rain.

My water avens (Geum rivale) is blooming. I have a new-found love of geums. When things get back to normal I hope to get a geum Totally Tangerine for the garden and a marsh marigold ( Caltha palustris) for the pond.

water avens and green alkanet

Here is a wider view, there is a pond in there, small and shallow but some water for the water avens, yellow flag iris and purple loosestrife.

water avens and green alkanet

first flower on this scabious and buds, I have lots of scabious as it's one of my favourite plants

scabious columbaria

I've been working hard trying to tidy up my pots and planting out what I can but I have to accept that this spot in the flowerbed is not available.

I'm getting annoyed about slugs and snails again. I'd had a good clear-out in March and I initially seemed to have fewer but my hosta is being eaten and I am not willing to accept that. I have moved the hostas close to the path so it's easier to remove the snails. I went out last night but didn't fnd any. I need to go out a bit later I think. It wasn't full dark. I need to try to do it every night. Good news though. I found that two-colour hosta under the ivy and it's only a little slug-eaten. I didn't even realize it survived.


two other pots I had hostas in I have replanted with hellebores as the hostas had not survived


just to the right of those 2 pots above, I have fringecups - with buds! I am so glad this survived the winter, it had been looking quite poorly but I repotted it and it's perked up and has buds so I'm really pleased



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