For today’s post, I thought I would share some photos from how Summer has been looking in my garden here at HPH. In last months post (linked here) the patio was looking nice + full, but the sweet peas I grew from seed on my windowsill were still very slow to shoot up! There’s been progress at last but also some headaches, so if you’d like a little look around my garden, get yourself a cuppa/beverage of choice + keep reading.
As I’ve said previously, this is my first year of tending to a garden + I must say, I know I have been SO fortunate to have a private outside space over lockdown. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to set up a ‘home office’ from my little table + chairs when the weather allowed + to sit + read with a coffee/beer/wine in the warm breeze + low sunshine on some sporadic balmy evenings. As another garden-based observation, I’ve really been enjoying having a washing line to dry my clothes! It seems like something so simple but many apartments (like I have been used to) don’t have this little luxury so for now at least, I’m enjoying not having everything drying on racks indoors + watching things blowing in the wind. Side note: it’s quite windy up north… I needed to buy some strong pegs to keep everything on my line + not blown into the hedge!
It’s typically British to talk about the weather I know, but it has been quite all over the place, which has led many people to encounter late blooms, stunted growth + bugs. All quite normal aspects of gardening of course, but I now know why my grandpa used to study the weather closely every evening so that he could make plans for his garden — whether that was checking the beans were well supported when winds were forecast, to adding some shade to the greenhouse on those occasional scorchers to protect the tomatoes. Let’s just say that balcony gardening is much more forgiving + I have come down quite a few mornings to my sweet peas + tomato plant horizontal on my lawn!
First up, the containers on my patio. My herbs are all doing well, though I have let some of them like my marjoram start to flower just out of curiosity (below left)! The pelargoniums are all out now which has added pops of pink dotted around the containers over a few planters. I’ll plant them in the border when I need to fill out some space as the dahlias fade, but for now, I’m enjoying the colour clash between these + my red poppies that look so lovely together in the morning sunshine. I’ve also had quite a few Anemone ‘mistral tigre’ blooms which were as beautiful + painterly as I had hoped for:
The other group of planters that have been filling out have are my lettuce collection I grew from seed at the start of lockdown. After a few consecutive days of heavy rain, my pots were looking a bit bedraggled + they really needed thinning out, this is a progress photo:
Above are two more lettuce planters — I had these old school chairs I used for a styling project + screwed these Wally Gro planters I won in a giveaway a few years ago to the seat backs so they could stand up without drilling into the wall.I’ve had a steady supply of leaves for around a month now —it’s lucky that I enjoy a lunchtime salad! Here was my first harvested lettuce, below right:
The border started to become a little unwieldy because the birds from the hedge (more on that at the end of the post) have made it their territory + love having regular dust baths right amongst the flowers! It’s quite nice to see so much life in the garden, aside from when the neighbours cat launched itself at the hedge in order to scare said birdies this week! Saying that, it was quite a funny sight to witness while I was eating dinner al fresco + no birds (or plants) were harmed.
As a massive sweet pea lover, I was so thrilled to see my plants from seed actually growing — albeit quite a bit later than my friends gardens in the South of the UK! I was quite disheartened for a while, but things did really take off when they got settled in their larger pot with bamboo supports after I’d transplanted them. That was a good lesson of patience for me + I’m now enjoying a steady stream of sweet-smelling blooms every day. They are one of my favourite flowers + so nostalgic for me, so I might have to dedicate another blogpost to them because I can’t seem to stop photographing them! As you can see from the two photos below, I dug them into the ground as they got a bit fuller to stop them getting blown over quite so easily:
These ones below have been my favourite – I love that inky purple colour, it reminds me of calligraphy ink…
Note: if you are bringing flowers in from the garden + have a lot of houseplants, make sure you check them for bugs! There have been quite a lot of pests in the garden this year so I’ve become very cautious over what I bring indoors. These last few weeks have seen quite a lot of thunder bugs around the plants which often are found near agricultural land when the crops are harvested I think. I have since found out that what I’ve come to know as thunder bugs/flies are actually thrips!! They are a houseplant lovers worst nightmare to find on houseplants by the way, so I have stopped bringing any flowers into the house for the time being. Here’s my first vase of cut flowers for my bedroom from a few weeks ago though:
Also in the border popped up some pretty poppies that must have blown here from a neighbours garden, they quickly added a lovely display to an otherwise empty space after my scented stocks had died back. I love the blue-tone of the foliage too — it’s almost as pretty as the pom pom blooms for me!
Some of my sunflowers started blooming this week too, which is a very cheerful addition to my border + garden patch, with their sunny disposition + honeyed petals. I didn’t stake them because I ran out of bamboo canes (I kept having to use them on the sweet peas!) but they are growing pretty resiliently, aside from being munched at by slugs + caterpillars! There are still around 15 more to open so I’ll share an update on my instagram stories when more blooms appear!
Next up, my first runner bean (singular)— I’m hoping there will be more than one…! I moved my tomato plant out of a pot + into the ground (I needed to use the pot) + it’s doing pretty well, but as the fruit started to appear, we had a cold spell where it was so grey for around 10 days, so it really could do with some sun to ripen things up. Here are two photos showing the progress in the last 2 weeks:
If you are a regular reader, you might have seen in my post ‘The annual oxalis triangularis update’ that I had a bit of an unprecedented nightmare with rust (puccinia oxalidis) on my patio oxalis pots + thought I’d provide a bit of an update here to conclude this post.
To continue on from that post, the situation got worse before it got better! As I’d anticipated, the rust spread very easily through the wind to all my other oxalis pots + I decided the best thing to do would be to chop everything right back to soil level + see what happened! I did intend to wash + re-plant the tubers, but before I got around to doing that, this happened…
New growth has started re-appearing in two out of three of the pots + so far it looks healthy! I’ve kept the pots in a shady position next to my back doorstep + will monitor closely. I’ll share an update in a few weeks, but for now — keep your fingers crossed!
Lastly, I thought I would share a little video clip of the birdsong coming from my hedge the other evening — there are hoards of sparrows living in there that use the garden as their playground; having dust baths under the hedge, drinking water from the trays I leave out for them + sitting on the edges of my plant pots, looking inquisitively at their contents!