Monthly Montage June

I offered photographs for three of the month’s Photo Challenge subjects: Favourite, Cross and Wave. Normally I try to arrange these photographs next to each other and in sequence but that was too tricky this month but I expect you can see which they were. Monthly montage JuneReally a lot of photographs this month as I also did an update on my garden and five posts about my visit to Dorset, though I have only included two of the photographs here.

Otherwise it was mostly crochet: more Celtic style coasters, some other recent makes and a request for pattern testers for my US version of the Real snowflakes.

Clematis, roses and garlic

Not much to show in the making line this week though I have been working hard.

So I thought I would take the opportunity to fit in another garden update. I am so enjoying my new style garden taking shape.

These photographs have been taken over the last month. All taken and processed rather quickly, just as a record really.

Before I went on holiday I looked at my clematis. The Vagabond is only meant to grow to about four feet but of course it won’t get that high this year. I saw that it had a good crop of blooms The Vagabond clematisbut also realised that it needed spreading over the trellis. Clematis on trellisIn a way it looked better with the flowers closer together but this was for the future!

My clematis on the other side of the garden was in a similar state, though less ready for spreading out. Diana's Delight clematisOdd really given that it was planted first.

After I came back from holiday after all that sun and only a little water, courtesy of my son, the same clematis looked like this. Clematis after hot weatherThe first clematis is still producing the odd flower, now further from the ground and so free of slug damage Single clematis flowerbut the clematis the other side only has seed heads. I wait to see if I will get a second flush later.

At the same time I was pleased to see that the rose bush had plenty of buds. Rose buda and alliumsand the alliums (Christophe – my favourite) were developing their flower heads.

When I came back from holiday the roses were in full bloom and the alliums much bigger Roses and alliumsThey seemed bigger than I remember them but then they are in a much sunnier location now and the ones in this bed, the sunniest, are bigger than those in my herb bed. More recently they are so big and heavy I have had to give them support.

Those extra green floppy leaves either side of the single allium are from my garlic.

I have been growing garlic for a few years now.

I always take a few of the fatter cloves out of the fridge because the garlic cloves for sale in the garden centre cost as much as a whole head of garlic in the greengrocers!

When I started, I read that you plant garlic on the shortest day of the year and harvest on the longest and I have always stuck to this pattern up till now.

I was always a little disappointed that each clove only multiplied itself into four new cloves, so last Autumn I decided to try an experiment and I planted the garlic at the same time as the daffodils.

When the garlic was beginning to flop over and produce flowers I decided that it was time for harvest even if earlier than before. I dug up one first, just to see, and then decided to dig up the rest.

I always plant three or four cloves and here they are when I had just dug up the last three. garlic just dug upAnd here with all of them washed. garlic washedThey gave me six or seven or eight cloves this time so I will be planting them September/October time again this year.

I have a lot less flowers in my garden at present as the first flush of roses is over and the other new plants are small, so of course I have less bees than I used to. Though here is a rather poor photograph of one taken a few weeks ago. bee on alliumI do have a lot of different greens though. green leavesAnd my fuchsia is covered in flowers as always. So there are a few bees there. I was rather pleased with this photograph bee on fuchsiaas normally all you see are their bottoms! bee in fuchsiaA few of the pansies are also hanging on thoughpansies

but I don’t know if bees like them.

 

Monthly Montage – May

This last month, photographically, I had four photos for the Monthly Challenge: Bird, Cycle, Stationary and Lost. I also created a lot of ‘flower portraits’ of flowers in my garden. Monthly montage - MayApart from that I put together a tutorial on knitting fair isle and, to stick to knitting for a moment, I showed you some socks I have knitted for my daughter. Crochetwise  I wrote a  post about my search for the perfect Celtic Cross bookmark and another showing how my Celtic plaitwork bookmarks compared to earlier bookmarks in use.

Flower portraits

I find it hard to take good photographs of my flower beds but I do love taking close ups of individual flowers, so I am going to share a few flower ‘portraits’ of some of the current flowers in my garden.

First some landscape portraits in alphabetical order

Allium (this is the Cristophe variety)AlliumThen one of the Clematis, (This is called Lemon Dream.)ClematisLily of the Valley. Lily of the ValleyA Pansy (sold last Autumn as winter pansies.) PansyAnd a Wallflower (also bought last Autumn). WallflowerAnd now a couple of square ones

Apple blossom in full flower. Apple blossomLithodora Diffusa (This variety is called Grace Ward.)Lithodora Diffusa (Grace Ward)Though if anything I prefer the one called ‘Heavenly Blue’ which I also have. Lithodora Diffusa (Heavenly Blue)A slightly more turquoise shade of blue!

And a pansy’s face close up.

Quick garden post!

I couldn’t resist giving you a quick update on changes in the garden.

The wallflowers that I planted to keep the cats off the place where I am going to plant a daphne have come into flower and make a colourful show!            WallflowersThe pansies that equally were planted to keep a spot for some lavender are flowering again though I can see the slugs are having a field day! Pansies and forget-me-notsThe forget-me-nots that I love are flourishing.

The apple tree not only is coming into leaf but has blossom. apple blossomI know I must not let the tree produce apples this year but I will enjoy the blossom.

And finally: the clematis that I showed you in an earlier post (taken last September)clematis last Septemberalready has lots of new buds. clematis buds

Another peak at my garden

I was pleased to find that the primroses at the front of the middle flower bed are now all in flower. PrimrosesHere’s a closer look.   Primroses close upThe same person who gave me the primroses, when she was clearing an area of her garden, also gave me some violets.

They seem to have survived less well. (They were all enmeshed in the primroses when I got them!)

But I was pleased to find that at least one had produced some flowers. VioletsIn the herb bed some of the scilla siberica that were part of my earlier planting seem to have survived the upheaval.Scilla SibericaAnd the taller daffodils are now in flower. DaffodilsBut I am not entirely happy with these as they were sold to me as ‘February Gold’ which I love because of the swept back outer ring of petals that these seem to lack.

As you can see here in a photograph I took of the ones in a pot in the front. February Gold daffodilsAnd my latest addition: some golden sage Golden sageto replace the broad-leaved sage that was getting a bit old and was out of proportion in my tiny garden. Not that my younger daughter considers it a garden to her it is little more than a ‘patio’ and there is some merit in her opinion I suppose.

Garden update

The weather has been fairly wet lately but last Thursday it was bright and sunny and going out into the garden I realised that just everything was springing into life. So I went out and did some necessary pruning and took a few photographs.

Last Autumn I planted a clematis on the right hand side of the garden. It is called Diana’s Delight and as with all the clematis I planted, shouldn’t get much bigger than a couple of metres.0553-clematisI have just pruned it as they say you should and hope to get an even better showing this year.

Before Christmas I planted an apple tree. I bought it mail order as I couldn’t find what I wanted at the local garden centre and it had more branches than I expected but it looks good and sturdy. It is a self-fertile Cox on M27 rooting stock. The same as I had before.

I took this photograph in February after I had pruned it. 0553-apple-treeAnother photograph I took in February was of the Lenten rose I had just planted. 0553-helleboresYou can also see the two Christmas roses I had planted before Christmas that were now dying off.

These are on the left side of the garden in the shady bed. 0553-shady-bedYou can see that the Lenten rose now has more flowers.

At the far end are a couple of clematis I planted before Christmas. I have put eggshells round (as I do) to discourage slugs from having a nibble! One of these should be grapefruit scented. I wait in hope! The bare patch next to them is where I should have lily of the valley later.

In the forefront are snowdrops and pulmonaria. 0553-snowdrops-and-pulmonariaWhen I lowered the height of the bed I replanted all the snowdrop bulbs I found and replanted any pulmonaria seedlings I found around the garden. (They do seem to seed themselves, even at quite a distance away!)

However with using up the earth I removed from the bed elsewhere, I see that I have a couple of snowdrops show up under the apple tree. 0553-snow-drop-under-apple-treeThe right hand, sunny, side of the garden is beautifully colourful now. 0553-sunny-bedsHere is a closer look at the herb bed. 0553-herb-bedYou can see the rosemary and thyme in the middle and now I have crocus and daffodils. The touch of red on the left is the remains of some winter pansies I put in to avoid having a bare patch where some lavender will be planted.

The best looking crocus are in the other small island bed though. 0553-crocusThere are lots of other things as well.

This is a photo I took when the sun was really bright. 0553-small-bedOn the right you can see the garlic and one of the three Christophe alliums that I am very fond of. 0553-garlic-and-aliumGarlic is about my only culinary crop because it is so easy. Mind you I just take a few cloves out of the fridge and they don’t grow very big.

In the foreground above you can see my patio rose: Dream Lover. It should be bee friendly and scented!0553-patio-roseThe spikes and the slate are to discourage cats from doing you know what!

The middle bed at the back is the least interesting to look at, at this time of year but this is the sedum that I reduced and replanted. 0553-transplanted-sedumI also replanted the primroses that someone gave me last autumn. 0553-primrosesMaybe I should have put them in the other way round. The flowers don’t want to look at me!

And underneath the fuchsia I found that there was still one of the Springtime cyclamen I planted a few years ago. 0553-spring-cyclamen

I hope you enjoyed a little Springtime peak at my garden. I must go out soon and buy the lavender and a daphne I want, as they become available.

 

Photo Challenge – Still

I do find it much easier when the subject of these challenges is a noun. Whenever it is a adjective or another part of speech I struggle.

Of course ‘still’ can be a noun but the first meaning that comes to mind is that of the equipment needed for distilling! so I decided I had to look elsewhere.

Although it is beginning to get much colder I noticed that my fuchsia is ‘still’ flowering and so that is what I chose for a photograph. photo-challenge1648-still

 

Garden Supplement

My 500th Post!

Not having any knitting or crochet to share with you, though there will be something next week, I thought I would show you a few finishing touches I have added to my garden.

Remember this?0473-Ivy and honeysuckleWell I spent a long time thinking about the best way to protect myself from the need to be forever cutting back the honeysuckle and ivy as it forced it’s way through into my garden.

Now it isn’t as bad as it used to be after I did a mega ‘reclaim my space’ exercise.  0473-Ivy and honeysuckle cut backAnd in fact it is even more tamed now as some of the ivy you can see died as it was dependent on ivy that started my side of the fence. And I think some of that ivy was supporting the honeysuckle.

I gave hours of thought as to what I should do and as far as the ivy was concerned even thought of buying some perspex sheet for the far side of the trellis in that corner but in the end settled for garden quality plastic sheet. 0500-Ivy proofingAlthough having the sheet on this side of the fence as well is a little unsightly, it does ensure that the ivy can’t creep under the trellis panel!

I installed the plastic on Saturday and then on Sunday I moved on to some rush screening that you can just see in the above picture.

I removed the trellis panel and attached what was in fact half a 2m x 4m piece of rush screening to the fence post, wall and a plastic pole that you can’t see. 0500-Rush screening upI don’t know if you can see the ties in this photogaph but I went to the garden centre for the pole and some brown string but found something new: a sort of brown plastic tube. Hopefully this is better as I have found that garden string decays after a season or two.0500-TieI used this to attach the trellis in several places where there were cable ties in the wall as well as the posts. Of course I cut the ends down before I replaced the trellis. 0500-Rush barrier finishedAgain I had had several ideas of what to do here but although it may not prove a total barrier, I am pleased with my choice as it looks very natural.

And it does not cut down the light too much as you can see from this shadow. 0500-ShadowAnd then on Monday I gave the render three coats of masonry paint. Phew! glad that is over.

Garden update with new paving now laid!

Maybe you remember me showing you the two choices of paving and asking you which you preferred. Well I chose the one on the right, most especially because I loved the soft dimpled feel of it and indeed it is lovely to walk on with bare feet.Choice of pavingBut it is beautiful too as you shall see. (Paving is Marshalls’ Fairstone Flamed Narias – more info HERE.)

Here is how the garden looked just before the workmen arrived. I had cleared out all loose items that I wanted to keep. Before work started left side Before work started right sideThe start date had been pencilled in as the beginning of July but in the end they came on the 22nd: a Friday.

The first thing to be done was to remove the paving slabs from the upper area and sort out the new trellis.End of First day (Friday) left side End of First day (Friday) right sideThey did have a problem with the skip being late in arriving which slowed them down a bit.

I was quite glad in the end that they started on a Friday because that gave me the weekend to coat the trellis and posts to match the fence. (Three coats – 24hrs (well almost) apart.)

On the Monday they removed the paving from the lower level and started laying hard core where the paving was going to be. They also finished off the top of the wall supporting the higher level.End of Second day (Monday) left side End of Second day (Monday) right sideThey did have another problem today because although the paving wasn’t needed yet it should have arrived and it didn’t!

Nothing much changed on Tuesday except that the drainage channel was added. End ofThird day (Tuesday) Drainage End of Third day (Tuesday) More drainageThe drainage was originally planned to be along the wall between the upper and lower levels but there were wall foundations that got in the way. However the one strip of drainage along the side of the house was very neat.

Wednesday. Scott had come originally with two helpers: his assistant and a trainee but on Wednesday he only had the trainee, as Sean, his assistant, unfortunately had food poisoning.

The most exciting thing happened that day: the paving arrived. Of course this is only a small part of it.End of Fourth day (Wednesday) Paving has arrivedAs you can see the weather was beginning to change and there was some rain.

The next day Scott was on his own, his assitant was not yet recovered and Scott thought he would get on faster without the trainee as he was beginning to lay the paving.End of Fifth day (Thursday) left side End of Fifth day (Thursday) right side This took longer than it might have done as Scott was having to mix the mortar as well as doing the laying.

Sean was back on Friday and so the paving laying was finished – almost.End of Sixth day (Friday) left side End of Sixth day (Friday) right sidePhotographs taken from above that day not to step on the paving.

Scott pointed out that the fence was at an angle which created a problem. End of Sixth day (Friday) problem cornerSo we decided to fill in the last few inches with slate. (My choice – Scot would have preferred gravel!) I looked at the architect plans of the site and yes that side of the garden is longer than the other. The people the other side have their garden a bit higher than mine too.

Scott had said at one point that he would come in Saturday morning but in the end he decided not to which I was quite pleased about as I find having workmen around and not having my normal routine and never able to really relax or start anything which needs proper concentration all a bit of a strain.

However on Monday Scott regretted his decision not to come in on Saturday because it was really wet. The worst day of all for rain and the main thing to complete that day was rendering the wall. End of Seventh day (Monday) left side End of Seventh day (Monday) right sideDo you see how water changes the colour of the paving?

Just a few things to finish off, like the mortar, so on Tuesday Scott came back with his young son (who was on holiday of course). End of Eighth day (Tuesday) left side End of Eighth day (Tuesday) right side Still a bit wet as you can see, though part of that was for the mortar.

I hardly dared walk on the paving for the next couple of days as I didn’t want to risk upsetting the mortar but on Friday evening I started rubbing the lose mortar off the slabs and continued on Saturday and Sunday moved on to tidying up the flower beds.

I don’t know if you can see very well in this photograph but the top half shows the flower bed on the left before I lowered it and the bottom half how it looks now. Difficult flower bedThe flower bed had long been an inch or so above the level of the paving as the original soil had been so poor that I had piled compost from my composters on it year after year until things started to flourish.

The original paving had been very uneven but had generally sloped back to front and left to right. Now the paving had been made level, left to right, not to have a puddle on the right and so the flower bed grew by several inches and had to be lowered. You’d be surprised what I dug out under the soil, no wonder things struggled.

While I was about it, I rearranged the planting. A space on the right for the two clematis I plan to grow, the pulmonaria moved to the left and a space left next to them for some hellebore. I am hoping that my snowdrops that were relocated to the left had corner will survive.

And here are some  photographs of the final garden taken without rain or bright sunshine which I hope give a feel of the general look. As before, one photograph taken looking left and one looking right. Final garden left side Final garden right sideAnd do you remember this with the clothes line up. The bed for the apple tree behind being newly created.Old rotary clothes lineWell now the clothes line has been relocated. Final garden rotary clothes dryerSo I will see the apple tree and not the washing when I sit on my settee.

And just to finish off a closer look at the paving.

The range of colour of the paving is from grey to red with lots of gold in the middle. Paving slabs contrastHere are some of my favourite patterned slabs. Paving slab 1Paving slabs 2 Paving slab 3Paving slab 4And a last view from above. 478-12 Final garden view from aboveBut you must imagine the colours even a little bit more intense. Lowering my view of the screen does it for me!