Monday, 19 October 2009

Museum of Garden History

The Museum of Garden History in Lambeth is one of my favourite places.

I visited again last week with friends Hilary & David. The museum's home is in the former parish church St Mary- at-Lambeth.

John Tradescant's tomb can be found in the garden and the17th century knot garden is planted with many of the plants that the Tradescants grew.

The cafe serves delicious vegetarian food at very reasonable prices - soups, main courses and yummy cakes.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


I have been planting next years garlic this month. I grew Elephant Garlic this year and its mild flavour made it very useful for roasting and eating whole. I grew my garlic in pots and used the thinnings as green garlic. This was very successful but for a change next years will be growing in the ground again. I bought the bulbs from the Isle of Wight Garlic Farm when I was at the Garlic Festival in August.

The festival is not just about garlic as there are plenty of other attractions -

I have harvested Lemon Grass

and Ginger

I have grown both in my greenhouse and they have been very successful this year. The cats are attracted by the lemon grass leaves - it seems to have the same effect as catnip!
We had torrential rain in the middle of the week - the gardens needed it as the ground was very dry. Today is sunny and dry and the garden is still looking beautiful. Trees are starting to lose their leaves and these contrast nicely with the autumn flowers and berries. There is still plenty of colour in the gardens.

Autumn colour on the University of Surrey campus

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Blenheim Palace

I went to Blenheim Palace last Monday with my friend Amy. The palace was gorgeous and so were the gardens. We were really surprised to see so many roses in flower - many were beautifully scented.

I was especially pleased to see one of my long term favourites 'Peace'.

and also Iceberg

Isnt it wonderful to see roses planted in such profusion.

I wish I had had more time to look at the restored secret garden

We hope to revisit in the spring. We can do this for free as we were able to convert our ticket to an annual card for no extra charge - great value.

And now here is a picture I took of the beautiful garden behind the Montague Arms at Beaulieu

The weather has cooled down now that it is October. Today I picked all my tomatoes (green and red ) and put them in a large dish in the kitchen. I am hoping some of the green tomatoes will ripen but if not I will cook them green. Have you read Fannie Flaggs book -Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe ? Its a novel not a cookery book but it did inspire me to use my green tomatoes in recipes other than chutney. (Nigel Slater has recipes in todays Observer)

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Indian Summer

Sunday, 27th September, 2009

The Indian Summer has continued and we have had an amazingly warm and sunny weekend. Yesterday I cut back some of the climbers on the wall that divides the back and front gardens. They had become horribly overgrown so decided they would all have to be cut back now even if it wasnt the right time of year for some of them. I also planted some garlic, which I bought at the Isle of Wight Garlic Festival, harvested courgettes ( which are now baby marrows), basil, more salad leaves, yellow chilis and tomatoes.

David's sweet peas are still flowering.

I added the sweet peas to the posy I had picked for the kitchen window sill

This morning I drove to Southampton as my brother Stephen had been invited to preach at PearTree Road URC Church. This is a beautiful church with a very friendly and welcoming congregation.

Back home in time to water the pots on the patio

This is a Geranium Maderense ( or Giant Herb Robert). I bought it from Ventnor Botanic Gardens a couple of years ago. It has survived two winters and is now starting to seed around the patio.

This perennial yellow Helianthus provides a glorious splash of gold every autumn in my south facing border.Unfortunately it can be a terrible thug so I pull up dozens of plants every year to keep it under control. I have tried planting them elsewhere in the garden but it is very contrary and will only grow where it wants to.

Another autumn favourite - Leycesteria Formosa

Sunday, 20 September 2009

A Sunday in September

Another warm sunny day - I've trimmed the edges of the borders, watered the pots, harvested peppers and salad leaves and sown more salad. I've been sowing salad leaves and herbs in large pots which I keep in the greenhouse away from the deer and rabbits. I harvest with scissors when they are still seedlings and this has been very successful.

Mixed parsley seedlings

Peppers, nasturtiums, verbena and basil have also done well in the greenhouse.

I have grown several different chili peppers -

Skinny - the seed came from the Heritage Seed Library.

This is a tiny pepper but very very hot

Pictured here with an overgrown courgette.

I have also grown a yellow jalapeno and 'Hot Wax'. I grew very little from seed this year as friends have kindly given me plants. Thank you everyone - especially David Grant who gave me lots of lovely sweet peas and veggies

The flower borders are colourful with calendula,

self sown evening primrose,

I have at last managed to grow an echinacea

and Colchicum - another of my favourites

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Summer highlights

We've been to Beaulieu today to meet up with my brother and sister-in-law and our daughter Emma. I discovered the beautiful garden behind the Montague Arms. I have taken some photos but will put them on a later blog as I havent downloaded them yet.
Here are some photos of my garden

These phlox were in the garden when we moved here. They come up every year in various colours and spread slowly.

Memorial for Penny & Snowy. Susannah gave me this lovely statue to mark the spot where we buried two of our cats - Penny & Snowy

I planted a few Tigridia bulbs in a pot many years ago - they have self seeded into the cracks in the patio and come up every year

One of the pots on the patio which have been planted with summer bedding

Beautiful lilies which survived despite the lily beetle

I bought this diascia from a fantastic plant stall at the Popham Airshow at the beginning of summer and it has flowered all summer. I love this shade of blue

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Late summer

This is one of my favourite times of year in the garden as sedums, rudbeckia, asters, schizostylis and autumn crocus are some of my favourite flowers. The cats love the garden too as there are plenty of young and inexperienced mice to chase and catch.
I love visiting other gardens and get lots of ideas and motivation from them. I've been to gardens belonging to friends and family. This is Valerie's garden

This is the front garden of the Old Post Office in Binham, Norfolk

I have been to local gardens opened through the NGS,,

the Chelsea Physic Garden

and Wisley

The Rookery is adjacent to Streatham Common in south London

The cafe just outside the gates sells delicious food and icecreams