Haven't we been having some glorious weather lately? I love sunny days with blue skies, although I have to say that I have been rather pleased to see some welcome rain for our parched garden of late too. And let's not even begin to mention how much hotter the weather feels when lugging around a bump that seems to grow daily… I have spent far more time sitting around trying to cool off than enjoying the sun when it has been visiting. But I still love seeing it make an appearance every now and again.
A sunny day means I can get out in the garden and take some photos that really show off what we have been up to (or rather what Tim and my parents have been up to… my role in it all has generally been to sit on a chair and order everyone else about). But, after all their hard work, we are finally getting to grips with what works and what doesn't in our little garden and are beginning to enjoy it as it is already and plan for next year's growth too.
Here are the lettuces that have been providing a huge amount of amusement for my family. My dad, who has been a keen gardener for many, many years now, mixed up his seeds and thought he had sown some Asters, so was rather surprised to find lettuces growing instead. Some people have ornamental cabbages in their borders, but my family have chosen to have ornamental lettuces this year!
And here are the beginnings of our runner beans. My dad has provided us with runner bean plants for 3 years now and Tim and I are becoming dab hands at growing them. We've had varying success with other veggies thanks to slugs and snails and finding the best spot for planting and growing, but the beans always seem to grow no matter what.
We are gradually getting better at growing other vegetables, although we have had to rely heavily on the products of my dad's potting of seeds, because many of the seeds we tried planting simply didn't grow. We think this is because we are trying to grow them on windowsill propogators and the way our house lies means that they either get too little sun or too much and just dry out. But we'll get there, and until we do we'll enjoy those few plants that we do manage to grow from seed, like this courgette plant that is already flowering (and, to our pride, doing so earlier than the ones my dad brought us!)
Of course, if it weren't for my dad's helpful hints and tips as well as his provision of many different plants for our garden, we'd be taken a lot longer to figure it all out. It is under his guidance that we chose where to plant our veggies, and also his suggestion that saw us digging up half of the lawn which was mostly moss and turning it into a lovely new flowerbed. And it is his provision of bedding plants that has helped to get the flower bed going…
It looks a bit bare right now, but it's started! We have sunflowers and sweet peas near the fence, with marigolds, petunias and some other flower I forget the name of. Added to those which you see here are some summer bulbs and a "shake and rake" seed mix which we hope might add to it as time goes on. We've also relocated our heathers here and are already thinking about which kind of perennials we'd like to add as time goes on.
In future years I hope to add a clematis and maybe a climbing rose to grow along the fence, as we had these in our previous house but as they had been neglected for several years I spent most of my time trying to tame them and gradually teach them to grow more steadily across the fence. I'm hoping that if I can get some started myself I can enjoy nurturing them over the years to cover the fence beautifully.
But that's for the future, for now we are working with what we have, and what we have in abundance right now are Granny's Bonnets…
They have finished flowering and I wish I had thought to take a photo a week or two ago as we have the most glorious combination of colours in our garden. They were here when we came and so I am simply letting them go to seed this year in the hope that they will spread even further across the garden adding more and more colour for next year.
We also have several areas with this pink flower in and one small area with the yellow in. I love them both, but especially the yellow (I forget what it is called, but do know my parents have a red version in their garden and I may have to find out if there is any way of getting some red for my garden too!) I am not entirely sure how to get more of this in the garden and although I dislike the fact it is all tangled up with the pink flowers, I am loathe to do anything to it and lose it. I think that's my next question for my local gardening expert AKA my dad!
Which reminds me that I went off on a tangent and forgot to mention all of the plants my dad brought us, including several different varieties of mint to replace ours which unfortunately died during our relocation last year. We now have garden mint, spearmint, chocolate mint and one or two others that I forget. I love picking mint to put with potatoes and peas, and I shall have to look at other recipes I can use our wealth of mint in now we have lots to play with.
And we mustn't forget the tomatoes as we have more than a dozen of those dotted around the garden now too. This must be our favourite addition to the garden as Tim and I adore tomatoes and eat them regularly in salads or just on their own for a quick snack. I cannot wait to see how many we manage to produce this year and what the different varieties turn out like. Ours are all outdoor growing varieties as we do not have a greenhouse, however I still feel vaguely confident with them as I have been trusted to look after my dad's tomatoes in previous years when I have been at home and my parents have been on holiday. I know to keep them well watered, as well as to wash my hands after touching them before touching my nose, lest I want to start sneezing uncontrollably!
Of course, I have spoken a lot about my dad in this post because he is the main gardener of the family, but my mum has been just as helpful in getting the garden growing and can be found picking out weeds, deadheading the flowers, or simply lending a hand wherever she is needed. And she is the one who must be thanked for planting these wall hangers which were slightly too high for me to reach comfortably with my dodgy back and hips right now. We bought the planters from our local Aldi to hang from some hooks that were already on the kitchen wall when we moved here, and I am so glad we did because they already make the place look happy and more colourful and they aren't even in full bloom yet.
So there you have it… lots going on in our garden, mostly done by someone other than me this year, but I had to share it anyway because it is bringing me so much pleasure right now. I'll keep you updated as things grow and our plans for the garden grow with them. Now, please excuse me while I go and have another look at the garden to see what has changed overnight!