update on some of the weedlings

first colour on the knautia buds

knautia melton pastels buds

comfrey flowers

comfrey flowers

comfrey buds

comfrey buds

lily of the valley

The idea was to honour the memory of my grandmother with one of her favourite flowers around this tree, marked by bricks (now sunken into the ground). Their growth is inconsistent - great bare patches and extending - but outside the bricks! Very uncooperative of them. I have to clear out other plants periodically, even if I love green alkanet I want a small patch of the lily of the valley.

lily of the valley

late bergenia flower


I pulled this pot of cerinthe out of the flowerbed. The mild winter has been great for cerinthe - too great - I will allow these flowers to develop seeds and then plant out somewhere or cut back.


the only surviving (from the slug attack) milk thistle, hidden by the green alkanet or I would have snapped sooner, I hope I can get some seeds from these to grow more - maybe with slug pellets??

milk thistle

tulips still looking great, some on the left have lost their petals and pot at the back is still in bud


the iris in this pot are looking good, along with foxglove and ornamental artichoke which have self-seeded, not sure how they'll all cope in this pot but I don't have any room for it in the front garden to put it in the ground


not sure what these are or where they came from (freecycle pot?) but look a little iris-like, will try to grow them on to flower and therefore identification - and flowers to enjoy

moving teasels - and other plants with strong taproots

In the past when I've tried to move teasels, green alkanet and hollyhocks which have strong taproots,  they've proved impossible to keep alive, the latest try being the potted teasel in the pot on the right. I like teasels and want to grow them but they are aggressive self-seeders so sometimes they end up in the wrong place. I wanted to try again to move one and had a spare pot handy so popped it in. Result: unhappiness. I had another teasel I really wanted to move so dug it up but didn't have a spare pot but did have that trug with wet strulch handy so just put it in temporarily. Result: happiness.


various things have self-seeded around the tulips, I wonder if those thin seedlings are muscari, they look similar, only thinner, than the muscari following

weedlings in the pots of Little Princess tulips

I had excellent muscari flowers in recent years, on the shelves near these pots. The wooden trough many were in literally fell apart so I re-potted them, about 2 single flowers only this year. I don't know what's happened with them all. I guess they don't like being disturbed. I took all the bulblets I had from various sources and potted them up. No idea how long until they flower, if ever.

muscari bulblets

muscari bulblets

I was sweeping up the patio and noticed some seedlings (below), I rescued them and put them in a pot, I *think* that lesser knapweed dried seedhead has a lesser knapweed seedling growing from it, I'm just surprised as I've never seen one self-seeding before

lesser knapweed weedling

Scabious seedlings, very disappointing, from an end of March sowing: on the left only 3 seedlings from a packet of Scabiosa House's Novelty Mix of 35 seeds for £2.99 from T+M, on the right only 6 seedlings from a packet of Scabiosa Ebony & Ivory of 100 seeds for 99p also from T+M. At this point it's not just the cost but the waste of time at this crucial time when I've lost the chance for more flowers this year. 

scabious seedlings

not sure of these, maybe honesty? will confirm

I've put markers by the cornflower seedlings

a close-up of those cornflower seedlings

cornflower seedlings

large seedling is foxglove, on the right is a cornflower as above

the tiniest agastache seedlings (I think, will watch as they develop)

agastache seedlings

I trimmed back the cat grass in this tray which has been on the windowsill inside. How did all these plants self-seed when it wasn't even outside? Large middle left (and smaller below it and middle right) verbena bonariensis, largest globe thistle, under globe thistle nigella, top towards the left oxalis, bottom towards the left and middle foxglove, top edge cornflower?

dahlia tuber or so I've discovered, I've not grown dahlias before but had a pot from a neighbour and when I was cleaning it out found this, those are tiny white sprouts in the middle

dahlia tuber

when digging weeds up with a spade just cannot be avoided

When confronted by a monster like this dockweed, one can easily see the advantage of identifying weed seedlings when they are small and easy to pull up rather than when they have grown into an enormous multi-stemmed shrub that requires digging out with a full-size spade and wrestling with tenacious taproots. This weekend, so far, I have tackled this and 1 small dockweed in this back garden next door, about half a dozen in the front garden next door and at least a dozen in the next garden along. I know how difficult this task is to get round to doing so am happy to do it for neighbours who are working full-time while I'm not working.


some of the Little Princess tulips - open in the sun and I was warm enough to be outside to take a pic

Little Princess tulips


The borage seedlings are looking great. I started separating the compartments of the egg carton, the roots are growing right through the cardboard - which is the idea - then the roots do not get so disturbed.


I don't think the slugs eat them so I'm able to keep the small pots on the ground, in the tray just to make them easier to carry.

borage seedlings

I love lupins and, aside from the slugs, seem easy enough to grow. The seeds germinate well. Unfortunately I managed to drop this tray with the seedlings. 

lupin seedlings

I picked them up from the ground and in spite of the breakages planted them in these 5 pots, 3 to a pot. I put them on the patio next door which is drier than mine and I think the slugs will struggle to get to them. After these pots I plan to put them in larger pots, keeping them on the patio. After recent disasters I never plan on putting lupins in the ground again.

lupin seedlings

from an entire packet of delphinium seeds sown last summer I have one seedling, I had about 4 at one time but this is the only one around and it hasn't really grown or it's a new seedling from a seed that did not germinate last year, it's in the pot with that unknown small plant which I thought had died but it's back!

delphinium seedling

I have two lupins from last year which I grew from seed. Getting them to this point is not difficult in a pot - as long as the slugs cannot get to them. This first pot is huge. The lupin I transplanted here had self-seeders around it, eg centaurea montana and foxgloves and then I added more foxgloves as the pot had room, not that the foxgloves need slug protection, they seem to cope okay. Victor there on the path above it.


This pot also has a verbena bonariensis and I had put some crocus bulbs around it. That plant stand has 3 shelves and the lupin is in the middle. When it was on top the pigeons landed on it numerous times and I see the leaves still have not fully recovered.


I have quite variable success with seeds. These globe thistle seedlings, from seed I collected from my own plants are looking great, germination has been great - too great - I have way too many seedlings.

globe thistle seedlings

I started potting up 1 to a pot, then made it 2 and I have lots of seedlings left.

globe thistles

these are some globe thistles from last summer, they are great for bees, there are 3 bees on that one flower alone

globe thistles

centaurea montana

This is what I dreamt of when I planned and executed the rearranging of this flowerbed, moving the globe thistles to the back along the fence (left) and removing any remaining bluebell clumps: room for the centaurea montana (right front) to expand and hopefully self-seed. They seem to have self-seeded but I haven't seen those small plants bloom yet. I look forward to those flowers soon. Close-up of buds in the next pic and subsequent pic the knautia from the centre. Self-seeded forget-me-nots back right, lesser knapweed front left.

I see buds! they look like black balls

centaurea montana

and there are also buds on the self-seeded ones in the lupin pot

self-seeded centaurea montana

knautia with those pincushion buds on the taller stems on the left, times like this I wish I knew more about plants, why do the knautia have those pincushion buds and flowers but are completely different from scabious? to an amateur gardener (like me) they seem closely related, 3 important things I do know: I love them, the bees love them, the slugs don't love them - the essential criteria for any garden plant! (and I grew these from seed so cannot be very difficult)


One thing I'm not seeing in that flowerbed is any trace of the veronicas I've bought from the garden centre as plants. Like the centaurea montana I've had difficulty growing them from seed so thought I'd treat myself with one full-size plant at the garden centre. As far as I know they're perennials so an investment (yea, right). I have bought so many veronicas now in the past 10 years because they don't come back. I guess I'm doing something wrong but don't know what or maybe, what the British horticultural industry is doing is wrong.

close-up of those Comfrey buds from a week or so ago which I forgot to post, will post an update on progress this week

comfrey buds

I heard about the plant sale at B+Q and couldn't resist going but wish I hadn't bothered. The quality was quite poor but I managed to impulse buy 4 plants (which I didn't need) for £10. This lupin (back left) actually looks pretty good and for only £2.50 I thought it was worth it for a plant to flower this summer whereas my new seedlings probably won't flower until next year. The delphiniums look ok but when I potted them up they hardly had any roots so will need to wait and see if they establish themselves. The Johnsons Blue hardy geranium (front right) I will put in the back garden. I have some in the front but none in the back. I have a Rozanne hardy geranium but it's been totally pathetic and I'm not sure it's still alive so would prefer a known variety.

potted up that lupin is looking pretty good I must admit

lupin from B+Q