Buttercups, daisies and other treasures

I love my back lawn! It looks particularly beautiful at the moment when the buttercups and daisies are shining in the sun. The flowers are a welcome bit of colour on dull days too. This afternoon I did a very quick audit of the plants that live in my lawns and found:

Buttercups (back garden only)
Lesser yellow trefoil (lots of this)
English Plantain (many more in front garden than back)
Creeping oxalis
Geum (back garden only)
Dog’s mercury
Thistle (back garden only)
Field chickweed (back garden only)
Liverwort (back garden only)
Forget-me-not (self-seeded from garden plants, back garden only)
Viola (self-seeded from garden plants, back garden only)
Various grasses
White clover (front garden only)
Self heal (front garden only)
Bittercress (front garden only)
Mind your own business (front garden only)
Common mallow (front garden only)

It was a very unscientific survey done while I drank a mug of tea – I’m not good at just sitting doing nothing. I know there are other things lurking such as birds-eye speedwell and scarlet pimpernel, but I didn’t actually spot either today. I was quite surprised by the differences between front and back lawns. I assume the different aspects account for some variations, but still it’s curious that there are so many things that only appear in one or the other.

What plants live in your lawn?


November flowers

It’s still spring in small corners of the November garden. Self-sown lobelia keeps company with thriving parsley from my own saved seed in an old stone sink, a single branch of rosemary is smothered in flowers, tiny blue violas fill a pot by the back door and a mound of campanula is scattered with blue stars.

It’s not all blue though, there’s a rich pink cyclamen alongside the violas and the fuschia bushes are still lush with red and purple flowers. Bright orange marigolds shine here and there all over the garden and the hydrangea bush has small new white flowers among the big old ones which now have their autumnal tints of crimson and green. By the gate the evening primrose I cut down many weeks ago has defiantly regrown glows lemon-yellow in the sunshine.

In some ways I appreciate these sparse late blooms more than the abundant shows of the warmer months. Perhaps the fact that there are fewer of them makes them seem more luxurious. And it’s easier to look, really look at a flower when it’s all alone and not competing with a mass of others.

September garden

As you can see the tomatoes are beginning to ripen at last. They seem to have been very slow growing this year, perhaps due to the unusual weather patterns. Thankfully they’ve avoided the dreaded blight, but it looks as though the fruits will be small in number and it’s getting late for them to ripen well out of doors. Still, a crop is a crop and I’ve had much worse years for tomatoes. I’ve only got the one large tub with two plants in it this year, so I’ll probably bring it inside soon to finish ripening on the vine.

Back in June I thought the courgette plants were going to die, but they rallied and are now producing more than enough courgettes for my needs. The runner beans went wild for most of August and I ate all I could stand, froze some, gave some away and composted the ones that grew to monster size before I noticed. Peabeans were less prolific, but I had a good few feeds from them. They are delicious, but elusive amongst their abundant leaves. They go from just right to too big in half a day, so I’ve left the last of the crop on the vine to mature and dry.

None of the fruit I have in the garden has done terribly well this year. Not terribly badly either, just smaller crops and smaller fruit. The blackberries were particularly poor and some of the raspberries seem to have been unevenly pollinated. There are a lot of apples on my neighbour’s tree, but they are very small compared to last year. Still, nothing has failed completely and I have had a bowl of raspberries pretty much every day for six weeks or so, and a few pounds of various berries stashed in the freezer.

This month I’ll mostly be tidying things up in the garden, especially things I don’t want to seed all over the place. The evening primroses and bronze fennel have already gone – I learnt my lesson with them a long time ago! I’ll save seeds I do want to keep, plant some bulbs in tubs for spring colour and enjoy the last few weeks of scent from the magnificent white nicotiana. I must also pop in some mizuna and rocket seeds for an autumn crop…

Changes in the garden this year

I had quite a clear out in the garden this spring. I found a nice young man to come and clear the rubbish from the bottom of the plot and trim the big viburnum back. S did a brilliant job wielding the chainsaw while I directed operations. I had to nip back to the house periodically to check how it looked – nicely shaped, well thinned, but still blocking the view of the house that backs onto mine.

S was totally sympathetic to what I wanted and we worked well together, so for me it was a bit like making a sculpture by remote control – great fun! For S it was a lot of hard work, but he seemed to enjoy it and is obviously very fit. I did take before and after photos, but managed to lose the before versions, making the after a bit pointless.

I now have  an area which I’m hoping to make into a sort of mini woodland glade with useful plants such as ramsons and wild strawberries as well as decorative plants like foxgloves, bluebells and violets. There’s much more light coming through the viburnum now and the loganberry and blackberry bushes are growing with renewed vigour. As is the bindweed…

I also got rid of a number of sad old pot-bound shrubs which couldn’t be rehomed and now have a tidier “patio” with fewer tubs to water. I find it quite hard to discard plants I’ve nurtured for many years, but there comes a time when they are so far past their best that it’s pointless hanging on to them. I’ve made cuttings from some special favourites, so they live on in more comfortable quarters. Note to self: Don’t succumb to the curvy delights of pot-bellied terracotta urns which won’t release their occupants for repotting without being broken!

Make yourself at home…

It’s not unusual for me to see foxes in my garden, but they normally appear at dusk to wander round looking for food, deposit their horrid little visiting cards and occasionally dig holes in inconvenient places.

Today’s bold specimen arrived around 11am and spent several minutes sitting on the lawn, apparently quite relaxed, doing a little personal grooming. It completely ignored my neighbour’s kitten which was busy chewing on a clump of grass nearby.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get a decent picture of the two of them, but it was amusing to watch them going about their respective business apparently oblivious of each other. They both scarpered the moment I opened the back door though!

Snowy garden


Woke to a quiet snowy day this morning. Snow is rare here and it usually excites and uplifts me, but today I’ve felt as melancholic and grey as the sky. Strange. And somewhat annoying – what a waste of snow!

I took photos, fed the birds and let the poor bewildered cat in and out a dozen times. She doesn’t like getting cold toes, but so wants to be out stalking the birds. Thankfully they are far too clever for Pol and she never catches them…