Garden moodboard: October

More than a week in to October, but here, finally, is my monthly garden moodboard.

October garden moodboard
‘Scuse the dark shadow at the bottom. That is actually me getting in the way of the sun. Dur.

I’m quite excited about my garden at the moment. It’s currently in a half dug state. We’re taking up some of the many (many!) flowerbeds and replacing with turf. The rhododendron bed is going, along with half the width of one of the main beds that was just far, far too deep to actually get in and weed it easily, which meant it was really a dark breeding ground for bindweed and dandelions.

Ordinarily, I’d be a big fan of loads of flower beds, but the amount of grass space we had was about an eighth of the overall garden, and barely big enough to put the paddling pool on, let alone have the sproglet run around…

So, lots of work to do now, and hopefully a much more useable garden come next Summer.

Once the grass is down, planting some more (nice) things in the flower beds is a priority. As you can see from the haul at the moment, there’s not much going on out there right now. The anemone and verbena are both from the front garden, where I planted them last August, along with the green feathery leaf, which is from an Artemisia.

Beautiful feathery silver-green artemisia

The pink rose is the last one on the tree, which is mostly rose hips by now.

Rose hip
Actually, this hip is from a bright orange rose that flowered earlier in the year.

The honeysuckle too is really over, just a few flowers left and a profusion of bright red berries. The whole thing is rather old and leggy now though, so definitely needs a major hair cut, or possibly just replacing. This flower looks nice, I know, but the rest of the plant is rather sickly.

Honeysuckle flower
One of the few flowers the plant made this year

The red schizostylis coccinea is the only real success out in the back garden at the moment, a huge swathe of them growing up round the pond and looking very jolly indeed.

schizostylis coccinea
Bright and cheerful and looking beautiful standing sentry by the pond

Still, I’ve got say, the whole lot looked very pleasing as I collected everything to photograph in a little wicker basket:

basket of flowers
And then I went skipping into town drinking old fashioned lemonade…

My favourite find of all, though, was this skeleton leaf. So amazing to see all the veins left, while the main body of the leaf has just eroded away. I got a bit snap happy…

skeleton leaf
Photo one
curled skeleton leaf
Photo two
skeleton leaf tip
Photo three
skeleton leaf midrib
Photo four

Beautiful, isn’t it?

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  • I’ve got moodboards for May, June, July and August if you’d like to take a look at some more. (September I missed. Slap on the wrist.)

Garden moodboard: August

I’m six days late with my garden moodboard for August, though looking at the photo you could be forgiven for thinking I was month late and this was the bounty for September.

Garden moodboard August
Pinks, reds and purples

What’s happened to all my flowers? These are literally the only few I could find. (And the rose was one of only two blooming, so I suspect I might regret cutting that off…)

I don’t usually like pink roses, but I’m quite taken with these ones. No scent whatsoever, sadly

July was a veritable florist’s shop out the back there, but now almost everything seems to have died away and I’m left with bare patches in the beds and lots and lots and lots of green.

Definitely something I need to sort out next year; I think all these pink flowers would look even nicer if they were against a backdrop of swathes of white and blue flowers. (Of course I would think that, though, I think white and blue flowers are the very nicest things that can ever be grown…)

Of the flowers that are there, I’m not sure what this one is. It’s in a little thicket of foliage that looks a bit like thyme and it’s very small and delicate:

Pink flower
What is this teeny tiny beauty?

And I feel as if this one might be a scabious, but I also could just be making that up:

Reveal your true identity Mr small purple plant

The flowers may have gone, but the fruit and veg are doing very well. The three apples trees are heaving with apples. There are also plums on the plum tree, but not as many so I didn’t want to sacrifice one for a photo.

The borlotti beans have been growing away in pots right at the back of the garden and are beautiful and thoroughly cheering every time I look at them.

Borlotti bean
I’m looking forward to eating these little beauties

Of course, nobody should confess to having blackberries in their back garden, but my neighbour’s garden is something of a haven for brambles and I let a fair few survive the fence clambering into mine for these delicious blackberries.

Okay, these are weeds, but what delicious weeds they are…

Joining in with Asa’s monthly moodboards. (And, I have to say, some of those other photos are really putting mine to shame. Think I need to step it up next month and try something new…)

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Garden moodboard: July

One of the nicest things about moving to a new house is discovering all the different flowers that appear across the course of a year.

Earlier in the Spring, the back garden was a riot of bright orange, pink and yellow rhododendrons, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised (that’s an understatement, actually, I’ve been really flipping delighted) to see that as the year has progressed, it’s developed into a more muted cottage garden affair.

This is a little snapshot of what’s going on out there right now:

July garden moodboard
Frothiness, pinks, blues and purples. Mmmmm, English summer

That lovely frothy white flower in the middle is colonising the edge of the pond, spilling out over the sides. It’s utterly good cheer-inducing to see it there.

The pink rose, I have to confess, is not from my garden, but is forming one of the boundaries of my front garden, spilling over from my neighbour’s side. I pruned it back earlier on this year, which seems to have resulted in a profusion of blooms on my side of the fence.

Another cornflower picture

I know I showed you my cornflowers in my last post as well, but really, how could anyone have too much of these beauties? I’ve under-planted my potted bay tree by the front door with a whole bunch of these. I say “under-planted” but the bay tree is still small, and these are now gadding about much higher up than it’s little round head.

There’s another pot of them out in the back garden, too, which I had grown as a post-wedding present for my sister, but I haven’t managed to give them to her in time and the blooms are almost over now. Next year, perhaps…

Sweet pea
Sweet, sweet, sweet pea

Also from the front garden, this glorious red and white sweet pea. I think I’ve planted them in a slightly too shaded spot, in all honesty, thinking they’d grow taller than they have, but they’re heavenly to look at, even though there aren’t quite as many flowers as I was expecting.

Verbena bonariensis
To bees, this photo is like crack…

One last one from the front garden, I planted five verbena bonariensis plants back last autumn and they are having an absolute riot out there now. They’ve grown really tall and are constantly covered in bees (that sentence reminds me of the Eddy Izzard beekeeper sketch, anyone else?) I think I’d be so bold as to say that they’re my favourite in the garden at the moment.

Blue flower
Anyone know what this is?

Out the back, the geraniums that I showed you last month are still going strong. They’ve taken over most of a flower bed down one side and look heavenly. They’ve been joined by lots and lots of this lovely delicate little purpley-blue flower. I don’t know what it is, but it reminds me a bit of the dreaded bindweed’s beautiful flowers. It’s not a climber, though, so I’m pretty sure it’s an intended flower…

Another unidentified plant is this pink one. I thought it was growing from the top of a euphorbia, but a quick google tells me I must be wrong…

Pink flower
Looks a bit like echinacea or a daisy, but I don’t think it is…

And I was really pleased to find a scraggly little lavender bush underneath one of the gigantic rhododendrons. It’s leggy and really too old, so I think I’ll need to replace it next year with a younger specimen, but it has bravely put out a few little flower stalks, nonetheless.

Lavender spike
A garden wouldn’t really be a garden without lavender, would it?

They’re stunning on their own, aren’t they? But even better all gathered together and stuck into a jam jar…

Flowers in a jam jar
Is there anything quite as jolly as a jam jar with a few flowers stuffed into it?
Verbena in a jam jar
Ah hello Mr Verbena, you hold your own nicely against those more blowsy blooms

I was reading somewhere recently (a Gardener’s World magazine, perhaps?) that people generally think they can grow flowers for a nice display in their borders and to provide cut flowers for the house, but that the sensible thing to do is have a specific cut flower section hidden away at the back of the garden somewhere, just to provide you with nice vases.

I understand the logic (if I cut all my sweet peas out of the front garden, it’s a bit futile having put them in such a prominent position) but, in fact, I think if you judiciously take a snip here, a chop there, from a few different plants, you have a much nicer display in a vase anyway, and the main mass of flowers is left to be admired in the garden as well.

There you have it, folks, a top gardening tip for the start of the week, ha ha. Jam jars at the ready…

As a brief, final, aside, I had also wanted to show you the last little flower from the solitary aphid-infested aquilegia I had out the back. I picked the flower, put it in the jam jar along with the others, and it disintegrated into a mass of floating petals. Luckily, I photographed it in situ outside last night as well, so here it is, for your viewing delectation.

I’m off outside to collect the seeds from this solitary aquilegia later on, in the hope I can produce a few more next year.

Joining in with Karin A

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Garden moodboard: June

June? June?! June! Where has the other half of this year disappeared to?

Still, any alarm about the rapidity of passing time is allayed by a gentle stroll around my garden, which is looking particularly flamboyant right now.

Here’s the edited version:

June garden moodboardWhy edited? Because, the back garden at the moment is a riot, a veritable riot of rhododendrons and azaleas. Which, I have to confess, aren’t my favourite plant. I counted nearly 20 plants out there. And, just to remind you, we’re talking 20 plants in a long thin London back garden, which means they’re taking up the majority of flower bed space.

Most of them are orange, red and pink, which again I have to confess, are not my favourite colours in the garden.

A shrub re-arrangement is a definite job for next year.

So, just two for this moodboard: a delicate white one which looks almost honeysuckle-like and this rather amazing white and pink-edged beauty. The bud, still all curled up, looks like a glorious sweet, I think.

I wouldn’t be sorry to find such a delicious-looking humbug in my stocking at Christmas

Though I normally prefer whites and blues, I absolutely adore the bright yellow poppies, which have been popping up all over the garden for about six weeks now. I tried to cut a few and bring them inside, but they wilt and go hard within a matter of hours…

And, apart from the clematis, that is the last of these plants that I’m actually able to identify, so if anyone can enlighten me about the others, I’d be delighted.

A clematis. This much I know
White flowers
What are these little lovelies?

These white flowers are just delightful and I’ve got lots and lots, dotted all over the place. They open up really wide and look like little stars popping up in the beds.

Purple flower
To weed or not to weed?

I wasn’t sure, at first, if this little purple flower was a weed (and perhaps it still is) but then it opened up all these lovely delicate little flowers and I’m enjoying it immensely. The poor thing is suffering badly from both of my two main armies of garden pests. Its leaves have been almost entirely destroyed by slugs and there are quite a few greenfly sitting on its stalk (still some in the photo, I notice, though I had tried to brush them all off…)

As I mentioned before, the slugs are having an absolute riot in my garden. I’ve tried removing them by hand and setting beer traps, but it’s just a drop in the ocean for their numbers. I did even cut one in half with a pair of secateurs, following the advice of someone in my horticulture class, but good god, was it a violent and terrifying end. I couldn’t bring myself to do that again.

I’m less bothered by the greenfly and have this (hugely optimistic) hope that if I leave them there, it will just encourage swarms of ladybirds to make themselves at home as well. We’ll see…

Pink flower
Slugs? What slugs?

This little beauty seems to be about the only plant unbothered by all the slugs. I want to say its a geranium, but I’ve no idea why. The very serrated leaves in the background of the photo belong to it and it’s created a nice little mound with these lovely flowers only just appearing on top recently.

Alpine flowers?
Alpine flowers?

These have a similar habitat at the back of the garden and I think they might be some type of alpine flower. There are great mounds of them spilling out over the brick-edges flower beds. Lovely.

Finally, a little trip to the front garden again. I couldn’t possibly bring myself to cut this down and take it inside, but this little stunner is a Sicilian honey garlic (or Nectaroscordum siculum if you want to get all Latin…) I planted the bulbs last Autumn, when I removed the giant cactus.

Honey garlic
Stunning, no?

I’ve got six tall spikes sticking up with these absolutely incredible flowers drooping down from the top. I adore them.

Honey garlic flowers
The first one to open

Finally, I haven’t been posting quite as frequently recently as my mock exams for my horticulture course are on Wednesday. So, instead of writing blog posts, I’ve been desperately learning four Latin names of plants that can be propagated by soft tip cuttings, trying to remember what happens in the mitochondria of a plant cell and reading about the constituent parts of soil. Normal service to be resumed shortly…