garden bits

This morning’s opening (well, actually, it opened in the dusk last night) a white Iris in the pond. Sadly, there only seems to be one flower-spike this year: I think I need to do a sort-out of the assorted plants this autumn, as it’s all rather crowded. I’ll hack back the very vigorous mimulus before then, of course!

Also just opening this morning, the very lovely Wandflower (dierama “Blackbird”). It’s a delight to watch dancing in the breeze – a bit less of a delight trying to get it to stay still enough for a photo!

Scorchingly hot all day – well over 30C. I managed a short walk of a mile after supper, starting around 2100h, just down to the canal bridge and back again. A glorious sunset, but difficult to see through tree and building – this is over the roof of St Barnabas primary school.

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garden bits

It’s exciting when an unexpected plant suddenly appears! A 60cm high “something” has sprung up amongst the drumstick aliums, and I’m really not sure what it could be. I haven’t planted anything there, nor sown any seeds.

I have the vaguest suspicion that it might be some kind of sunflower, possibly from seeds from my or my neighbours’ birdfeeder. But it’s nothing much like the two “Russian Giant” sunflowers against the fence (currently about 1.5 metres high, and growing rapidly).

After posting this on Facebook, there was a suggestion to use Google Photos and look it it up. So:

I got offered “Evening Primrose” (which it defitiely isn’t – they are ten feet up the same bed!) and “Great Mullein” (which it definitely isn’t – I grew one two years ago). Third choice was “Sunflower”, so I think we can go with that.

unknown plant


"Russian Giant" sunflowers

garden bits

Recent rain has meant that the feral shirley-type poppies have shot up and started flowering – mainly in the vegetable beds, as they self-seed everywhere and poppies flourish in disturbed soil. I haven’t the heart to pull them up unless they’re actually interfering with crops!

The yellow courgettes (“Shooting Star”) are doing well – a picking in the next few days, I think. In the “wildflower bank” by the pond, the teazle is finally growing up, though I think this year’s one is going to be a rather stunted specimen.

And by the patio, the acanthus mollis (“bears breeches”) is revelling in its recent liberation from the overgrowing ceanothus.

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morning glory

Today’s opening: the first Morning Glory flower, looking almost incandescent despite the greyness of the day.

This is “Grandpa Ott”. The classic light blue “Heavenly Blue” that I’ve grown previously really does not like this garden, and this year I’ve stopped bothering to even sow it!

And anyway, I grew up near Oxford, not Cambridge … dark blue comes naturally!

morning glory flower


The ceanothus has finished flowering, so it’s time for its annual savage haircut! Before and after pics.

Mind you, I could do with a haircut myself! The last one was 12th December – over six months now, and I normally aim to have my hair trimmed quarterly.

before pruning


after pruning

starting the shed

I’ve spent the last couple of days hacking away the ivy invading from the scrubland behind, and propping up the decaying fence with angle irons. I’m sure that I told the shed errectors to leave a “generous foot to fifteen inches” between fence and the back of the shed – but it only seems to be about 10″ !

Full protective gear of boilersuit, eye protection, disposable gloves required for working with CreoCote in such a confined space – but the sides and back of the shed are now done. Much needed, as I couldn’t face doing it last year.

narrow gap at back of shed

garden bits

I’ve had to prop up one of the branches on the Black Pear of Worcester! There are about a dozen fruit on this branch (having been thinned from twice that many), and they don’t get picked until November (then stored, for eating from March onwards).

Given the recent gusty winds and risk of late-summer gales, I thought I’d better take precautions against the entire branch snapping off!

I also had a serious go at the pond pump, which has been out of action fora month! All filters brought in and washed out in the sink (about six changes of water), and pump unit hosed down. The  whole thig reassembled, and put in a “pond pump filter bag” bought on ebay which arrived a couple of days ago. I’d like to think that’s it sorted for the rest of the summer – sadly, experience suggests I’ll do well to get a month out of it!

Black Pear of Worceste plus prop

Black Lives Matter

A good attendance at the Black Lives Matter socially-distanced largely-masked peaceful and responsible rally this lunchtime. Due to distancing, the crowd was very spread out, so difficult to estimate numbers, but I think more than the 700 the organisers said they were hoping for.

The first time I’ve been on the e-bike, or into town, since 13th March – exactly three months. The tyres needed a lot of pumping up, but otherwise fine!

Back home, and in the evening the first handful of raspberries – there will be bowlsfull in a few days! Bulked out with some strawberries (I don’t grow enough strawberries to ever give a full bowl – I normally just munch the odd one when going round the garden).

Black Lives Matter on the Pitchcroft


raspberries and strawberries

swan family

Due to my unexpected trip to WRH, I hadn’t managed much in the way of walking for a week. On Tuesday, I got as far as the Bilford Road locks, and noticed that the swans nest was devoid of swans, but had been taken over by a couple of rather shifty-looking ducks. I kinda hoped that that meant a successful hatching, rather than interference.

Today’s rather longer walk (2.34 miles) took me past there again, and down to Gregorys Mill top lock, where I encountered this delightful family. I’m pretty sure it’s the same lot – I haven’t seen any other swan nests in the area. Three gorgeous little fluffy cygnets – one hiding behind a parent.

ducks on swans nest


swan family

front rose

‘Madame A. Meilland’, better known under the name of ‘Peace’, is starting to come into flower in the front garden. Not an ideal spot for it, as it’s north-facing, but it seems to do OK. Never many flowers at once, but it keeps going until autumn, with a couple of blooms at a time … good for the bud vase on the coffee table when there’s nothing else!

rosa "Peace"