Our family is ever-so-slightly addicted to the TV programme Gogglebox and as we watched the latest episode on Friday evening, we were reliably informed that we had spent over 60 days in lockdown. 60 days! That’s a long time, isn’t it, and some people have been indoors for even longer … I hope that you are still keeping well and sane!
In Winwick … (if you also watch the programme, you’ll see what I did there 😀) we’ve had a changeable week weatherwise. It started off as one of the hottest days of the year and then a wild wind swept in, ripping leaves and small branches off the trees, battering my poor old buddleja down to the ground and spooking one of our cats (who, to be fair, doesn’t need much encouragement to be spooked) to the point that he had to be put into his bed and encouraged to stay there.
Whilst the weather was still good, though, I managed to get out into the garden for a while. I’ve been intending to reclaim the borders from the Crocosmia which has been stealthily expanding into all the available space over the last couple of years for quite some time…
The friend’s Mum that I acquired the Crocosmia from did warn me that this was a pretty invasive variety but at the time, I wanted the ground cover so wasn’t too concerned. Now, however, this thug has taken over my borders so the extent that drastic action was required! I set to work ripping it out and then digging out the corms that were left in the ground. I don’t mind keeping some of it as the orange flowers are very pretty, but I don’t need quite as much of it as I have!
I re-discovered the cat mint, which had been squashed beneath those sword-like leaves and was looking more than a little sorry for itself …
Unfortunately, the cats have also re-discovered it and there’s not even as much as there was in this picture left. I’m hoping that it will regrow!
I told you about the Oriental poppies in the garden last time I wrote – some more have opened now; a glorious red one called “Turkenlouis” …
Look at those frilled petals! These flowers make me smile every time I see them.
I’m not quite sure if this one is also a Turkenlouis or if it’s a different on – it looks quite pink at the moment to me, so I’ll need to wait until it opens to see if it changes colour. It’s quite exciting, isn’t it, like waiting to open a present!
There have been more flowers opening up in the garden and I’ve been excited about these ones too … foxgloves!
The family were less excited as this huge plant is right in front of the bench and there was some grumbling about why I didn’t pull it up – but we don’t sit on the bench every minute and the bees really love the flowers and are constantly buzzing in and out of the flower spikes, so I figured that we could all cope for a week or so whilst the flowers were out. The bees aren’t in the least bit bothered about the humans sitting on the bench (the flowers aren’t actually that close) so there’s no danger of anyone getting stung unless they specifically go and annoy the bees – but nobody in the house is that daft!
I leave the foxgloves to grow wild in the garden and I have had various shades of them over the years, but the wild ones all revert to this vibrant pink shade. All except this one spike of white ones – I keep shaking the seeds around the garden but they only ever seem to grow here!
Elsewhere in the garden, the Centaurea montana or perennial cornflower, is finally out …
as are the Aquilegia in so many shades from deep maroon to the palest pink. They all droop their heads, though, and it’s so difficult to show you just how pretty they are! I have lots of different varieties of these – they came from a “mixed varieties” packet of seeds which I scattered with abandon around the garden, and now they’re everywhere! I think they have invented a few extra varieties for themselves too!
There’s been a calamity in the vegetable garden. This was what was left of my cucumber when I went into the greenhouse the other day.
And here’s the culprit, carefully tucked into the corner underneath the plant pots so that I didn’t see it until I took them all out. Little so and so! It couldn’t just take a bite out of the leaf, could it?! Oh no, it had to eat the flipping stalk and leave me the bits! Grr!
I’ve planted two more seeds (you don’t get many to a packet with certain varieties and there were only 4 in this packet … I’ve used them all this year!) and they have both germinated but the plants are staying safely on my kitchen window sill for now!
My tomato plants are in the ground in the greenhouse now. I took this photo a day or two after I’d put them in and they had shot up overnight; since then, I’ve got my irrigation system up and running and they are even bigger.
Small daughter was very excited to spot the flowers on the strawberry plants the other day.
I don’t often buy strawberries out of season because they’re usually well-travelled and don’t have the flavour they should do (they’re often picked before they’re ripe and left to ripen on the journey to the shops), although sometimes I can get UK ones that are OK. I spotted these ones in the farm shop, though, and I couldn’t resist a purchase!
Look at those! They could be from a picture in a magazine! I posted this photo on Instagram yesterday, and apparently they’re so shiny because they are grown indoors. And even though they’ve come from Holland, they are very definitely ripe. I don’t actually eat strawberries (it’s a texture thing – I like berry-flavoured things but not the berries themselves unless they’re blueberries which don’t have pips) but small daughter dived right in and there weren’t many left by bedtime yesterday!
Here are the blueberries in our garden. I’m showing you this because this is probably as close to the blueberries as we are ever going to get – the blackbirds are in there before I get round to netting them and as we’ve only got one bush, they can strip it pretty quickly. I do wonder sometimes if I am just growing fruit and veg for the local wildlife, but just occasionally they save some for us 😀
My sprouts are a bit bigger than this now – I will be netting these shortly after previous caterpillar massacre experiences but I’ve noticed that there are a fair few snails knocking about too (they tend to fly once I’ve spotted them as I lob them over the hedge and out of the garden). Those pellets are my snail deterrent …
They’re called Slug Gone and they’re made from sheep wool (I’m pretty certain that someone on their stand at a gardening show told me it was the wool from the sheep’s bottoms that they used which I thought was funny, but it doesn’t mention that on their website 😀). They felt into a mat when they get wet and the snails and slugs don’t like to slide over them because of the scales on the wool fibre so they avoid the area. Sadly, they don’t work so well when you’ve got a gardening cat that likes to rearrange them all, but so far there’s been no damage done and I’ve been able to put them back before the snails spot a way through!
In sock news … I’ve been having a lovely time with my helical socks and I’m already onto the second one. The yarn and tutorial info is in the last post that I wrote, and I’m hoping it won’t be too long before I’ve got a pair to wear!
More sock news … I’ve got another fundraising pattern to launch on Monday 1 June – they’re like buses, these patterns, you wait forever and then two come along at once! 😀 I’ll tell you more before the date if I can (I’ve been asked to keep them a secret for now), but otherwise they’ll be out then with a new blog post to go with them.
And – fanfare please – I’ve just finished another of the Sockalong tutorial videos and after some final “proof watching”, that will be up on my YouTube channel as well. The new one is on matching yarn – I’m working my way through the tutorials in order – and I need to get on and start the next one!
Phew, what a long blog post – thank you very much if you’re still here and reading to the end! I’m off to sit in the sunshine for a bit now, and I hope you can have a lovely day whatever you are doing too xx