Bye little garden

I am leaving soon for a holiday with my family in France. I don’t know if I will manage to steal some time for this blog. Some flowers I have been eagerly awaiting will show up in my absence. It doesn’t really matter – my husband can enjoy them and take some pictures. Living things have to go their path and follow their own rhythm. I am grateful for what my first gardening spring and summer brought me.

Auntie Shelagh’s miniature-rose-turned-big had so many flowers it couldn’t stand their weight. It was a bit as if the flowers’ stems had stayed adapted to a miniature plant, while the leaves and the flowers had gone wild. My Dad managed to keep them upright for a while using some complicated wire and stake composition. The colours were just beautiful.


Little dianthus doing well. Why aren’t they more fashionable ? They are so pretty. Too easy for the advanced gardener ?


One of the delphiniums. Not what I expected, but white, which is good, and as glorious as a victory against snails and slugs !


I have lots and lots of Anémones de Caen, and I am just in awe of the blue ones.


The first blue cornflowers. They are the sign and the heart of summer (waves of poppies and cornflowers in the fields of beautiful old France).


It turns out Sainsbury’s yellow lilies were truly yellow (phew ! At least my son wasn’t betrayed this time, unlike then). And magnificent as well !



The Clifford’s Stingray hosta is now showing off – not only are the flowers impressive, they also seem to attract bees quite a lot !


The fifty pence climbing rose bought in Poundland in the end had to be declared dead (mentioned here), but the hypericum purchased in the same shop at the same price has done quite well. The jewel-like flowers are small and I have no idea if this hypericum is going to be an upright bush or a groundcover kind of thing. Qui vivra verra. But is this Poundland plant going to live ?


Finally, my first cosmos flowers ! Simple flowers close to my heart.



And, last but not least, proof that this garden deserves to be loved. Here is the Spirit of the place (talked about him here), under the ceanothus. He lives there, usually hidden under the dense groundcover provided by the Anémones de Caen. French, essentially ! 😉



See you !


My garden in mid-July

News from the gardening front. Well, “front” probably conjures the wrong metaphor, as there isn’t much to do in the garden in mid-July, apart from deadheading (and mowing the lawn, but we still don’t have a working lawn-mower…). I just want to share some pictures of tiny miracles. As usual, click on the pictures to see them in a bigger size.

Here are the first Anemones de Caen which I did not believe would flower :



Here are the beautiful Alpine Dianthus Starburst and Lewisia cotyledon (I wish I had bought more of these alpine little jewels) :




Here are, finally, the lazy Alliums caeruleum :


The Potentilla wedding dress train :


Now, something I had not dared to hope : this weak lupin plant which was already showing signs of mildew or illness on the M&S shelf where I found it a few months ago, which couldn’t produce leaves strong enough to stay upright and was almost thrown in the bin… is trying to produce a flower !


If you compare this plant to the other yellow white lupin, which I planted at a much later date, you can see how weak it is – it is clearly struggling.


Yet it is trying to do its job, with a determination I find inspiring. It wants to overcome snails, slugs, fungi. It wants to be part of the summer glory, and project in the air the colourful spike which may bear its survival. I am glad I did not listen to my usual impatience and kept it.

I took the risk of upsetting my husband and gave the Japanese Spiraea a trim.


It is not yet the promised Tory-style cut which will happen in the Autumn, but it allows a bit of light to reach other plants on the side and behind it. This bed is the sunniest spot in our North-facing garden and I don’t see why only one plant should get all the benefit of it. As my son keeps saying (when lurking around at my piece of cake after having gobbled his) : “Il faut partager !”.

I said somewhere that my sowing hadn’t been very successful. I haven’t got any Love-in-the-mist. But the Nemophila Five Spot which have grown here and there in a disorganised and rather unaesthetic manner have actually flowered, and yes, the flowers are still worth it. I especially like the fine bluish veins on their white petals.



And, talking about annual seeds, my joy at the moment is with the Cosmos. They haven’t flowered yet. But by Jove, they are beautiful.


They fill the space whilst staying airy and feathery, achieving the desirable combination of volume and lightness. Cosmos come from Mexico. And yes, when I look at them, they conjure a sensation of white heat and dangerous sun and mineral lanscape. I can’t wait for them to show their flowers – memories of a celebration of friendship in Naruto (cute Sakura !).

naruto !Mine haruno sakura yamanaka ino gif: naruto ino haters to the left please i think a lot of people tend to overlook this part in the anime. ino is actually a really caring person especially to sakura when sakura started crying i just died a little inside otp so much

naruto !Mine haruno sakura yamanaka ino gif: naruto ino haters to the left please i think a lot of people tend to overlook this part in the anime. ino is actually a really caring person especially to sakura when sakura started crying i just died a little inside otp so much

Finally, the hostas are going to flower !


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I hadn’t even realised these plants could produce interesting flowers, as they are grown for their gorgeous leaves. How a garden is full of little surprises ! Yes, it feels like a continual birthday, a present for each week.

Now, the thing is, my daughter is going to be baptised on Sunday. We are Catholics and this is obviously a very, very important event for us. Family and friends are coming. So please :

– Mrs Poppy and Mr Hollyhock,


– Liatris spicata,


– Auntie Shelagh’s rose,


– Forest of blue cornflowers,



P.S. : there was one red strawberry which had escaped the birds. Little one and I went to the garden, duly covered in sun cream, ready for the mystical encounter with our first ever home grown fruit. Just as we arrived, flap flap flap flap, the thieves flew off with the Precious. I will get my revenge.

Slugs and snails and puppy dogs’tails

So. Slugs and snails. Well, there’s not much to say, really. I think I am losing the battle.

I tried the nasty pellets, but wasn’t too happy about it. I am not super green, etc, but if you can avoid using nasty stuff, why not try ?

So I purchased copper tape for the pots and some “large” copper rings for the delphiniums and other plants which are in the ground.  Copper deters slugs and snails as it produces a slight electric shock when in contact with their mucus.

DSCN7089     DSCN7091

Then, I read that 90% of slugs live underground – what would stop them from creeping inside the ring from underneath ? I had to find something else.

I discovered nematodes. They are microscopic parasitic worms and some of them will infest slugs. They come as a fine powder that you mix with water and apply to your soil with a watering can. The worms can provide you with up to 6 weeks of protection (which could well mean one week). Nevertheless, I felt super clever, super green, one step ahead of the molluscs. I followed the instructions as well as I could. I would no longer stay awake at night worrying about slugs !

And then, I discovered that most of my plants are eaten by snails. Big snails. And nematodes don’t work on them.

Things got worse when I found one enormous snail hiding under one of the blue hydrangea’s leaves. The blue (now turning pink because of our hard water) hydrangea is in a pot on which copper tape has been applied. (Yes, I know, I bought a plant that was forced, it is evil, etc.)


And another big snail on the delphinium which is in the middle of a copper ring (this is direct provocation, right ?), with no leaves overhanging or forming a bridge which the pest could use to sail inside the ring. Right. OK. Stay calm. Maybe, I need to clean the copper on which the rain has splattered some earth.

Anyway, I resorted to ecoterrorism again, using blue pellets. I try to use them sparingly, but still, not very satisfying. What I feel, is that I could probably get in control of slugs and snails if I was consistent and determined. But I am lazy and easily discouraged. Oh well.

I also found loads of aphids on the red climbing rose today. And I am wondering whether I should spray them, fearing that they might infest other plants, or leave them be (the climbing rose is far from the house), hoping for ladybirds to visit my garden. The truth is, I should wear some gloves, be brave, and crush them. But that is disgusting. I think I might actually hate aphids more than cockroaches. Anybody who has read Les Fourmis by Bernard Werber understands me. OK, it is not good literature, but is entertaining, and made me consider ants (and aphids) differently.

On a rather better note, I noticed that some shoots are coming from the Anémones de Caen little “bulbs” I planted some time ago, thinking they would never work as they like good drainage, and I have clay. OK, shoots don’t mean I will get any flowers, but it is still good news. Better than my lilies of the valley, which never showed up. 🙂 Let’s not sin against Hope.

And hopeful I certainly am, for I have planted a 50 p climbing rose from Poundland today. I don’t expect much of it, but I like to give everything its chance (providing they are not pests) (or weeds).