In the garden

Last year, I decided that I would turn my vegetable border of three raised beds into one large flower border.  It was quite a decision for me as I’d built up the veg border with my Dad, who was an expert veg gardener, and I found it hard to move on from something that we’d both worked on, but I’d been running out of time and inclination to get the veg growing at the time that it should and it wasn’t bringing me the joy it once had.

I was able to re-use a lot of the wood that had made up the raised beds and I built one very large box to contain the new flower border in.  By October 2023, I was finished and all that had to be done was to wait for everything to grow.  Oh, it looked so bare over the winter but by the spring, the picture was very different.

A garden border with a small pebble pool

The bulbs that I’d planted started to grow and before long, that bare patch became full of life.  It absolutely brings me joy now – I can see it from the kitchen window and every time I look out, it seems as if something else has grown and there’s a new favourite to make me smile.

A tulip with petals that look as if they have been painted red and white by a paintbrush

At the moment, my favourites are the tall opium poppies (Papaver somniferum) which refused to grow at the back of the border where they would fit neatly into place, but instead are right in the middle growing exactly where they want to grow.  I’m someone who doesn’t always fit neatly into place either, and I love these renegade poppies!  I decided not to pull the seedlings up but instead to let them flower where they wanted – they don’t last that long and once they’re gone, the border will go back to being how I planted it but I’ll still have had the pleasure of seeing the flowers.  Sometimes life is better for not being quite how we’d planned it … 🙂  And part of the pleasure is that at least one of the colours came from my Dad’s vegetable garden and I like that he’s still here with me even though I’ve given the veg up.

Deep red opium poppies in a garden borderA pink opium poppy in a garden borderA deep pink opium poppy in a garden border

I adore poppies and I’ve got more than a few in the garden.  There’s a bright red one that has created a huge bush of flowers, and there were yellow Welsh poppies a few weeks ago (I’m hoping there may be more next year as I’ve left them to set seed); they were flowering with the purple dog violets and were definitely a favourite at the time …

Tiny purple dog violet flowers in a shady garden border

and I managed to get hold of another “Mrs Perry” variety of Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale) – the wind and rain at the time battered the plant about so I was really pleased to see that there were any flowers at all, and it’s a reminder to me to try to find my plant support for it next year to help it stand up.  They’re the salmon pink flowers that are looking a bit worse for the weather!

Salmon pink poppy flowers next to deep blue iris in a garden border

I did like how the colour looked next to the blue iris.  I’d completely forgotten that I’d planted those!  I’d seen iris at RHS Bridgewater late last spring – they have so many varieties and they’re beautiful, and I wanted some in my garden!  I’d left it a bit late and could only get a huge bag of bulbs after I’d planted all my other bulbs so I ended up putting some in a pot by the shed and they flowered the best of all!

Blue, white and yellow iris flowers in front of a wooden shed door

I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed seeing the flowers instead of feeling guilty every time I looked out onto neglected raised vegetable beds!

A red poppy flower nestled in green leaves

Pink foxglove flowers

This foxglove is actually growing in the other garden but it’s the law for me to post photos of foxgloves in the garden so here it is 🙂

A bee on an allium flower

Not everything in the garden is rosy – I planted this furry silver Helenium thinking that it would deter slugs and snails (always a problem in my garden) and it looks like it has … although now it appears to be a food of choice for caterpillars!

A silver furry leaf with holes chewed in it by caterpillars. There is a caterpillar on the right hand side of the leaf

You can even see the culprit on the right hand side!  (I didn’t spot that when I was taking the photo or we’d have had words.)  It’s not as bad as the Caterpillar Massacre of 2018 when my sprouts were completely demolished overnight and it does mean there will be at least one butterfly around later on in the year, so I’ve left it to it.

It seems incredible that the border has changed from the first photo to this …

A garden border filled with flowering plants A garden border filled with flowering plants

but I love that it has!  There are bees, insects, birds and even wildlife in my little pebble pool.  I was looking at it the other day and thought it looked as if it needed a good clean out – and then a water boatman scooted up from the bottom and I decided that if it was a place where aquatic insects wanted to live then I would leave them to it.  “Leave them to it” is clearly my mantra for this border! 🙂

I wasn’t sure whether to show you this last one or not because I only have it because of Hattie the cat and I know that some of you will have opinions on that!  She has been a bit of a demon hunter over the last few weeks and I have rescued quite a few birds and mice as she’s brought them home to show me.  This was a baby wren that she brought back and I really thought it was a goner.  I was so cross!  Hattie got a good talking to and brought back into the house in disgrace, and I sat with the bird lying in my hand for a while as it wasn’t quite dead and I couldn’t bring myself to leave it to die on the path on its own.  And then – a miracle!  It shook itself and sat up, and we sat like this for a good half hour or so until it decided that it was ready to hop off my hand and into the bushes.  We saw it running around the garden for a while (Hattie wasn’t allowed out again for a couple of days until we were sure we hadn’t seen it for a day or two) so we’re hoping that it found its way back to its nest and its Mum.  Hattie has been let out again but hasn’t re-caught it so we’re taking that as a good sign.  Yes, I know the answer is a catio but that’s not an option right now so I’m just being careful about keeping Hattie in more until we think most of the baby birds that might be around have fledged and will be less likely to be spotted by her.

A fluffy baby wren sits on the gloved fingers of Christine's hand

It’s been lovely to catch up on my garden photos, thank you for being here with me!  I think I’ve showed you most of my camera roll backlog now (well, the curated version!) and it feels good to have caught up with that too.  The new pattern is on the way, I promise, not long now! xx



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4 Responses

  1. Sian Robinson says:

    Your garden revamp looks fab, love the poppies (not so much the Welsh I don’t do yellows !) and I feel your pain with hunting cats I have a 10 month old Tony who is seriously testing my patience with his hunting ability

  2. Jean Sharp says:

    Your flower bed looks gorgeous. I love poppies.
    I have a couple, and the Californian ones just seem to pop up even if you’ve never planted them.

    • winwickmum says:

      They do, don’t they? I think that’s what’s magic about annual flowers – I love that they can self-seed (although sometimes it does make me a bit exasperated when they’re REALLY in the wrong place!) 🙂 xx

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