ju1i3's blog

always nice to get back to the cats

It's nice being away but also nice to get back to the cats.

The place where I stay on the south coast has a fantastic clump of erigeron.


These pink flowers are in the front garden. I don't know what they are.

I posted a pic of this last year as well. I still don't know what it is.

I don't know what this is either.

Back at home, I picked a sprig of that catnip which she played with and it's on the mat next to her.

more about front gardens


Even if we're on a main road (I'm on 4 London bus routes), we can have beautiful front gardens. The ceanothus is looking great right now. I have 4 and they all bloom at different times. I showed the foxgloves on the right (below), this one is on the left. On the doorstep is a nepeta which I bought as I don't seem to have much luck with seeds and wanted my cats to have access to cat nip if they want. There's another in the back garden.

The best addition to a garden ever: 2 cats.

cats in front garden

cats in front garden

I just can't get enough of these foxgloves. From what I saw of early Chelsea coverage yesterday, foxgloves feature strongly in the show gardens - a classic beautiful flower! I'm glad they're being appreciated.


I can just see an iris foetidissima next door in the photo above. I have some blooms in my garden.  I never noticed before but this morning (couple days later, 22-5) these are buzzing with bees, as are the foxgloves, aquilegia, comfrey and ceanothus but especially the green alkanet. They seem to love the sun being out.

iris foetidissima

iris foetidissima

Some of the buds before they bloomed.


It's interesting to see my garden from next door and the garden from next door. I never remember so many iris foetidissima in bloom since I planted them 2 or 3 years ago (will have to check the date). That ceanothus I think looks better from next door.  Those hollyhocks look ready to burst into bloom soon.

front garden

A cerinthe self-seeded right next to the wall, not the best place to grow. I'm going to try to move it.


A foxglove and lupin in the back garden.

foxglove and lupin

The magic time when the iris blooms. They don't last long but while they're in bloom they're beautiful.



Here are the iris in situ surrounded by aquilegia and green alkanet and a stachys on the right.

iris and aquilegia

The thyme is in flower.

thyme flower

The chives are in bloom. I love these flowers.

chive flowers

front gardens

I love foxgloves. I always have some in the garden, whether planted myself or self-seeded. I was so pleased to see these, in my garden, in the garden next door (planted by myself) and the garden after that from a plant I gave my neighbour there. I love that continuity.

foxgloves in London front gardens

My cat Polly Pocket loves laying in the sun in the front garden.

centaurea montana

Centaurea montana which I planted a few years ago. Grateful to see 2 plants have survived. Not sure how many I had originally, sure at least 3. This is one of those plants that I tried from seed a few times but gave in and bought plants in the end.

centaurea montana

the "wildflowers" already in our garden

I'm not sure what happened to this. I thought it was really interesting but when I looked for it this morning it was difficult to find.


Our weeds are wildflowers. We just need to pick and choose those we like best.  As she says "Yarrow, tansy, ragwort, toadflax, mulleins, mallows, clovers, willow-herbs, dead nettles, comfreys, speedwells – all are wild flowers. "

I certainly love some plants that are considered weeds but I don't think anything is going to induce me to leave the dandelions, herb robert and bluebells in my garden. My garden just isn't big enough to have thugs takeover - and I don't like them! We need to grow what we like, keeping an open mind - and thinking about the bees!

green alkanet

green alkanet - flowers early before other flowers get going and the bees love it

This is one of my versions of the Great Piece of Turf (I have so many - almost any pot or patch of ground). I see Nigella but not sure what else, esp the large one in the middle. Will leave them all until they are recognisable.



I am struggling to get the red poppies to grow yet I have other wild flower poppies self-seeding like mad. (There's one of those pesky bluebells!)

orange poppies


The lily-of-the-valley seem to be a law unto themselves. I tried to plant these within the brick circle around the tree trunk (the inner brick circle with moss) but  these have decided to spread into the path (just to the right of Socks) rather than around the tree. No idea why. And why don't they grow from corms? No idea. I could only get these from the growing plants sold at Christmas, and a generous neighbour who had them growing like weeds.



I was in the garden trying to take some detailed pics of forget-me-nots, camera still in my hand, when the fox jumped over the fence and onto the wall to make his escape as I disturbed him so I just pointed the camera and snapped.

I love foxes. I hear about urban foxes getting very bold but the ones in my garden aren't. They run away whenever people are about. Luckily they never seem to bother the cats.






bluebells: native or foreign invaders?

I first wrote this 2 years ago to the day. Was reminded of it by a reader's email. I still don't want them in my garden but in other gardens nearby, and, of course, in woodlands they are nice. See 2 recent photos at the end.

I thought it was about time to research what kind of bluebells I've got, as I've got so many! Every time I look in the garden I see more and I've been digging them up like mad. I've used a few different web sites to find out more info. The 2nd photo looks more native as it has flowers on one side and the stem curves over. The others are very upright (typically foreign). None of the flowers seems to have much scent but it was only today that I made an effort to smell them (scent is typically native). The sites did say many many bluebells are hybrids. My pollen appears to be white (native) but I don't know if that's the pollen or the anthers I see in my photos. I've seen white, pink and blue/purple bluebells in the garden. Colour variation seems to be more foriegn. My bluebells have some native and some foregin characteristics so all-in-all I think they are probably hybrids.



bluebells 2 doors down mid-April 2016

bluebells urban garden

bluebells back garden next door mid-April 2016

bluebells urban garden

and the next garden along


Victor jumped over there as soon as I started looking at the bluebells

planning for an auricula theatre

These are the auriculas a week later. They are changing so quickly. They are mostly in bloom now. Only the one on the bottom shelf, on the far right has no blooms and no buds, out of the 17 I bought.


I didn't buy any specific varieties (what do you want for 1.99 from the garden centre!) so when they turn out to be nice colours, it's a bonus. A number seem to have quite a lot of meal or farina on them (not sure the best term as I'm quite new to auriculas). I'm watering them by placing them in a tray with water. That's causing the tidemarks on the pots. I must brush them off.


Some of the plants came with more than one in the pot. I'm wondering if these are two different colours or if the one on the left will look the same when it blooms.


I bought the plants, I had the terracotta pots, I had the shelves, now I need to sort out some sort of roof or cover to keep the rain off them to make this display into a real "theatre".


Red Poppies

I'm still waiting for red poppies. I planted loads for the centenary but haven't seen a single seedling yet. These orange ones self-seeded.

orange poppies

The vinca has been fantastic this year - more flowers than ever. Showing if off with Socks is a bonus.

Socks and vinca


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