Tidying gardens in Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City, Knebworth & surrounding villages. If you would like help in the garden, whether it's for a few hours a week, a month or more, then please get in touch.
Summer is certainly here and the garden's desperately trying to survive in the scorching temperatures.
Watering is left until about 9pm each evening. Frogs seem to sense my activity and appear around every corner waiting for a quenching sprinkle from the hose.
The lawn is almost non existent, a sad sight but it'll green up again when the rain eventually comes.
Early morning colours are amazing. The leaves perky and flowers reach for the sun.
By the end of the day a slight limpness returns as the foliage bakes in the heat.
You may recall I planted some very inexpensive bare root roses, as a product review, earlier in the year (click here.) They were from Home Bargains & The Range for between £1.99 & £2.50.
Well they have been incredibly successful and the scent to die for....as sweet as any expensive rose I've ever sniffed. Definitely, 100%, absolutely recommend buying these in the future!! It's a shame that my local Range shop allowed the remaing stock of about 30 plants to wither and die before stupidly reducing them in price..... what a waste of such beautiful plants...Grrrr.
Anyway, mine have been so succesful, a leafcutter bee has taken a shine to their leaves and nibbled off neat little pieces to make 'leafy sleeping bags' for its eggs.
It's currently taking them under a potted Salvia that I've been growing, so I'll have to stop watering that plant for a short time, while it's nesting.
Apparently the bee, which is solitary, makes little 'sleeping bags' out of the leaves, fills it with food, lays an egg and then puts a leafy lid on it. Amazing huh?
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook I have a video of the bee in action.
I hope all you sun-worshippers are enjoying this amazing weather.
I'm ducking n' diving into any shady spot I can find, wearing my silly hat while trying to remember not to rub sun lotion into my eyes.
This weekend I held a charity fundraising event for Thyroid UK (TUK)
TUK supports thousands of people, including me, in their quest for better thyroid health, care & treatment. Admission to our little garden included tea and cake and some very generous friends and local businesses kindly donated gifts for a raffle.
We also held a plant and craft sale and had an amazing turnout. New friends were made and old friends came along too.
Thankfully the predicted storms, forecast to hit us during the whole event, didn't arrive until the evening when the last piece of bunting was tidied away.
Here are a few photos from the event.
I am so grateful to everyone who attended and for the generosity shown.
I'm also incredibly thankful to my husband (Chief tea maker) who steadied my nerves as the event drew closer, my daughter (Raffle Organiser), son (shuffler of plants & cup collector), Kirsty (cup cake maker extraordinaire), Dawn (event photographer).
I could not have done any of this without them.
Between us all an incredible £216 was raised for Thyroid UK.
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you'll know that it's 'that' time of the year again.
The BEST time of the year......Auricula season!!!
My son has redesigned my previous Auricula theatre that hung outside our back door and has also made me a second, even larger one. They've made a very boring garage wall look spectacular and has given me more room to display my precious, ever-expanding collection of plants.
Robin Hood - Angel Islington
Lord Saye En Sele - White Pyne
Hinton Fields - Pinkie Dawn
Ancient Society - War Paint
Joel - Strawberry Fields
Joel (again) - Dilly Dilly
Star Wars - Piers Telford
Old Fashioned - Our Sophie
These are all unnamed plants...
...and these are a couple of doubles.
This unnamed one has the most flowers I have ever seen and they're shades of browns & pinks...quite unusual.
This is my 'behind-the-scenes' collection. Waiting in the wings to finally bloom.
It's been a funny ol' year so far, the winter weather keeps returning. I have lots of confused plants...spring Anemones that have flowered continuously since Christmas and Snowdrops that have only just woken up. But...spring is finally here and, when the sun does appear, it's got the perfect warmth to it.
There are lots of plants now vying for my attention.
The first of my precious Auriculas has bloomed (first photo). This is Blue Chip which has the most amazing farina dusting...love it!
The Daffs have made it through 2 bouts of stem-bending snow and hyacinths are filling the air with their sweet perfume.
The Hellebores have been AMAZING. I bought these about 5yrs ago and they've all out-performed this year with a spectacular display.
Scattered by the wind / birds are these sunshiny, black leaved Ficaria Verna. Very subtle, popping up to razzle-dazzle and then slipping away quietly away without a word.
So here's the biggest show-off in the garden at the moment screaming "Look at me! Look at me!"
I haven't manipulated this photo, no fancy-schmancy camera tricks or filters.
She's an attention seeking show-off and I love her!
Meanwhile, remember these Echeveria leaves that I propagated a couple of years ago (Click here)?
Well here they are now looking resplendent. I have loads (cough), as all the leaves grew, so if you want to give propagation a go then check out the link above...it's dead easy and great fun.
Always one for an experiment and trial, I thought I'd see how these Physalis (Chinese Lanterns) from Wilkinsons perform over the coming year. They were only £2.00 for 5 so I'll let you know how they do.
Now these are really exciting....very inexpensive bare root roses.
These are from The Range and were £2.99 or 2 for £5.00.
Hideously garish colours, according to the packaging, but hey-ho...you've gotta give 'em a go...right?
Not so hideous looking were these 2 from Home Bargains, for £1.99 each.
They were all soaked for an hour and then popped in the garden with a dose of manure and they're all looking pretty good already with fresh foliage.
I'll keep you posted over the year on how they're doing.
Followers of this wee bloglet may recall that back in the summer of 2016 I decided to have a go at growing Venus Flytraps from seed.
Some online doom-monsters at the time declared that allowing a VFT to flower in the first place would result in its untimely death, so being the rebel that I am, I ignored all the advice and let them bloom their floral socks off.
I then collected the seeds and scattered them on top of a fresh tray of rain soaked carnivorous compost, popped a lid on top and waited patiently. By December 2016 I had a tray of tiny seedlings with the beginnings of their toothy, fly-munching jaws.
Fast forward to Feb 2018 and my seedlings are now about 2cm across. Growth has been slow but I'm a patient woman. I've moved them up to individual pots and they're doing really well. They live in the hot greenhouse from spring to early winter with their feet in rainwater and I bring them into the freezing, but frost free conservatory during the winter.
And what about the mother plant...what was her fate?
She looks pretty rough huh? NOT!
She also flowered in 2017...ooh...and she's flowering again now.