pond overhaul

An extremely muddy afternoon trying to sort out the overgrown pond. Really, I should do 1/3rd of the plants every year … but didn’t manage it last year or the year before, so well overdue. Hopefully, it’s in the magic spot between tadpoles leaving the pond, and frogs returning to the pond to spend the winter in the mud at the bottom – though there was certainly one fairly annoyed frog in residence!
There are more plants than appear, as there’s lots of Canadian pondweed etc below the surface, and there’s the brick “escape ramp” for things to get in and out, and make it easy for wildlife to get down to water level to drink.
It did rather take me back to my youth, where for several years we had a tradition of sorting out the pond every year on May Morning!
pond before
pond after

Deacons Pear

My first pear of the season! Actually, it’s only the second pear I’ve ever had from this tree, which is “Deacons Pear”. A reasonable dessert pear, but mainly an excellent pollinator for the Worcester Black Pear.

It was glowing in the afternoon sunshine – the change from green to gold happens pretty much overnight, and signals full ripeness.

Deacons pear


The plant that I know as “sedum spectabile” (though botanists have irritatingly re-named it something unmemorable and unpronounceable) is now in full glory. It’s the last thing to have proper flowers opening in my garden, and signals “autumn” with a vengeance, though the cosmos and roses will continue blooming until around October.

sedum spectabile

It’s chutney time !

Normally, I reckon on making chutney at the end of the season, to use up green tomatoes that are never going to ripen. this year, I’ve got too much of a glut of red tomatoes, as both Latah and Urbikany are in full flow at the same time. Fortunately, there was a pint of pickling vinegar in the cupboard …

I made 2/3rds of the recipe (I think I usually make half), which was enough for five jars of chutney and a “taster”. Recipe says to simmer for 90-120 minutes, but it actually took closer to three hours before it was done.  The chutney now goes into a cupboard to mature, until at least Christmas – I have several jars of last year’s still, so won’t be tempted to raid them early, though there’s a couple of spoonfuls as a “taster jar” to try out with the tail-end of pot-roast beef currently in the fridge.

tomatoes, apples, onions, sultanas, vinegar


5 jars of chutney, and a "taster"

garden bits

Today’s theme in the garden is pale pinky-lilac. Flowers on the lemon-scented geranium (which smells lovely, but not especially lemony!), the Prairie Gayfeather (liatris spicata), and the lovely naked flowers of the cyclamen.
I’m especially fond of these latter – originally taken from my Grandfather’s garden in Windsor Great Park to my flat in London, thence to my first house in Worcester, and now to my current home: a pleasing continuity.

lemon-scented geranium flower


gayfeather flower


cyclamen flowers

garden bits

The first sunflower is now flowering, and very splendid it is too. Down the side of the house (grown in a container to prevent the escape of these invasive plants) the Chinese Lanterns are ready to cut and finish drying.



Chinese lantern

Garden bits

The gladioli were sold as “Mon Amour”, which are delicate pastel shades of peach and apricot. This is definitely not that! I’ve no idea what it actually is, but over the five years I’ve had them I’ve come to appreciate their somewhat strident cheerfulness.

cosmos and gladiolus flowers


The two sunflowers, planted in the scant soil in what used to be concrete path until a fortnight before I put them in, have reached around 7’6″, which will be their limit. Flower buds have formed, and should be open in the next few days.

selfie with sunflower plants

fig !

My first-ever homegrown baby fig! £1 coin for scale. It might be tiny, but picked and eaten still warm from the tree, it was just wonderful.

I’ve had the tree about two and a half years – this is the first fruit. There are a couple more fruits, of a more normal fig size.

fig (with £1 as scale)


fig (cut open)


First home-grown tomatoes of the year!

These are “Latah”, which are very early outdoor tomatoes, with fairly small fruit (the larger one in the photo is the size of a golfball), and a really messy sprawling habit. It also has tough skin, and every year I think “I won’t grow that next year”, but every spring I think “maybe Latah … just because they’re so early”.

two "Latah" ripe tomatoes