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

Visiting Mum

Over at my Mum’s for the weekend due to covid, my first visit for five months! Sadly, I was too late for any of the orchids on the common, but I did catch the very last of the orchids that are gradually colonising her lawns! Early Purple, Pyramid, and Bee orchids have all staked their claim over the past few years.

On the Common, harebells were dancing in a gentle breeze. I do love them!

I’m used to a wide variety of birdlife in the garden there, deep in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, but it gave me quite a shock when I opened the front door this morning to encounter these two! They seemed to want to come indoors, but I persuaded them otherwise. After about five minutes, a farmer came up the drive, with loud exclamations of “there they are!”, and asked if it was OK to take them away. So they were last seen being gently encouraged down the road and then up the bridleway.



two hen turkeys
two hen turkeys


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


Today’s opening – white mallow in the “wildflower patch” behind the pond. Exceedingly windy here just at the moment, so I had to hold it still for the photo!



I really haven’t had a good year for runner beans! Very poor germination, of both home-save and bought seed, followed by decimation of young plants by slugs, followed by an ongoing struggle with aphids (next year, I won’t plant them next to broad beans, even if it does make crop rotation difficult!).

Still, I’ve eventually got to the point of having some flowers … so hopefully not long before I see a few actual beans. I don’t think a glut is going to be a problem this year, though!

runner bean flower

garden bits

Fingers massively crossed, but I do believe that the Brown Turkey is starting to ripen a fig! If it’s successful, it could be my first-ever home-grown one.

This year I’ve seen far more mint moths than usual – curiously, not on the mint but other plants (this one’s on the parsley). The Asiatic lilies are now in their full glory, and the sunflowers have exceeded seven foot in height and have now formed flower-buds at the top.

fig fruit


mint moth


Asiatic lilies by patio


sunflower plants



Today’s opening – in the wildflower patch by the pond (and being pushed over into the pond by some rather aggressive grasses) is the Common Fleabane.

Now to persuade Chelsea-cat that here would be a good place to sunbathe – if we ever get any sun.

common fleabane flower