Part-time plotting

The temperature over the past few days has been in the low 30’s C/90’s F, which is way too warm for me, so I’ve been going to the plot early for a brief visit to check the water in the ponds.  I’ve also been picking French beans most days along with blackberries.  I also picked the first two small, dumpy cucumbers (variety not known) and  tomatoes Golden Sunrise.

In all the years I’ve been seeing ring-necked parakeets I’ve never found any of their feathers until a few days ago when I found this one, which is just over 5 in/ 12.5 cm long.  The green is far more vibrant than it shows in the photo, as is the yellow top edge.

Talking of parakeets I stood and watched five of them noisily mobbing a red kite flying low over the site one morning.

Most of the cosmos plants have now died off with only a few still flowering like this one.

I’ve saved lots of seeds for next year when hopefully Cosmos Corner won’t be covered in deep, wide cracks as it is at present.

Have a good week, and take care!

Tree following, August 2022

Liz – Here in Lexington, Kentucky in contrast to last month there was torrential rain for much of last week, and flooding in the south-east of the state.

These pictures of the Golden Spirit smoke tree in my front garden were taken a week ago when I noticed the rain clouds, unusual skies and sun intermingling.



Mike – Here in Harrow, London it was the driest July on record and there still hasn’t been any rain so it’s not surprising that trees are under stress, including the sweet chestnut in the local park that I’m following.

You can see the golden-yellow tinge on the leaves where they’re starting to die back, with some already gone crisp and brown then dropped.  Note also the colour of the grass below and around the tree.


As you can see the chestnuts in the spikey green casings are forming and I’m wondering what will happen to these if the dry conditions continue.

Our thanks to Pat, The Squirrelbasket, for hosting tree following, and if you want to see what it’s all about, and perhaps join in, please have a look at this tree following post.

Have a good weekend, and take care!

Weekend pottering

This morning I replaced the plastic flower pot saucer I was using as a mini-pond with a slightly bigger shallow china dish which unfortunately has a chip in the edge. It’s in the shade at the back of the compost bin under the rose Pretty Lady. 

That’s a stone in the top right corner, and I’ll be adding one or two more.  On the left the concrete slab has replaced the log seat I never used, and which had also badly deteriorated.

Yesterday my plot neighbour Fran very kindly gave me this jar of blackberry jelly to try.  It’ll be a week or two before I do as I have a jar of bought strawberry jam to finish first.

It’ll undoubtedly be delicious as she always won prizes at the horticultural society show when she used to enter the various preserve classes.


This is the sixth flower on one of the knee-high sunflowers Music Box. I cut the first of the seed-heads on one of the other plants to save the seeds for next year.

I don’t cut off all the heads but leave some for the wildlife.  That’s one advantage of growing multi-headed varieties.

Have a good week, and take care!

Much of my time…

on the plot this week has been spent dead-heading the pot marigolds Flighty’s Favourites on the main flower patch.  I have to say that it has got slightly tedious at times but I think that it will have been worthwhile.

Not only does it all look better but there are new flowers appearing and plenty of buds forming.

The tomatoes are doing well with fruit on both the red Alicante and yellow Golden Sunrise plants, and lots of flowers on the other ones.



The runner bean plants (variety unknown)  I was given are starting to flower (see photo) so hopefully I’ll be picking some of these before too long.

I’ve picked a couple of handfuls of climbing French beans Algarve this week, which are a flat type rather than the more usual pencil ones.  I had problems getting these to germinate and only ended up with a couple of plants so there won’t be many.

It’s always good to see the various bees working their way through the flowers like this big bumblebee on one of the small sunflowers.


Have a good weekend, and take care!

There still hasn’t been…

any rain and I’m watching the cracks in the ground get longer, wider and deeper by the day (see picture below).

This morning I weeded round the asters which are next to the pond, where  they’re doing well having been moved from elsewhere on the plot earlier in the year.  At the top right of the picture are the crocosmia which are starting to flower but at the same time the leaves are already dying back.

I collected a lot of pot marigold Flighty’s Favourites seeds during the week and will now dead-head the plants.

These ones in the large pot by the shed are the variety Fruit Twist, which I originally bought to grow on the windowsill at home.


Further to my recent comments about the first early potatoes Foremost tasting rather bland I’m pleased to say that the first earlies Pentland Javelin are excellent, and confirm my opinion from last year when I grew them for the first time.

Have a good week, and take care!

On the windowsill, July 2022

The two cosmos Casanova White which I sowed during last month are making good progress and are now both almost 6 in/15 cm tall.

Until a couple of weeks or so ago I was well pleased with the two dwarf sunflowers, but sadly the Pacino Gold then died which was my fault as I’m fairly sure that I overwatered it.  Earlier this week I sowed another one, in a 3 in/7.5 cm pot, but it hasn’t yet germinated.

Thankfully the Bambino (shown here) is now about 12 in/30 cm tall and has a flower bud forming.

One of the pot marigolds Flighty’s Favourites which I dug up on the plot bought home and repotted has been flowering throughout most of this month, usually showing several flowers at any one time.

Needless to say I’ve been delighted with this plant, being one of the best windowsill plants I’ve had so far.  From now on I won’t bother trying to grow these from seed but will dig them up on the plot and, after repotting, grow them on the windowsill.

I intended putting aside some candytuft (Iberis umbellata) Fairy Mixed Colours seeds earlier in the year to grow in a pot on the windowsill but forgot to do so.  The plot plants have now finished flowering and this week I started collecting the seeds, a few of which I will now sow in a 5 in/12.5 pot to hopefully germinate, grow and then flower in a couple of months.

Have a good weekend, and take care!

I watered all round…

the plot this morning, not that I think it’ll make much difference given how dry the ground is now.  I then pottered for a while,  including dead-heading the rose Pretty Lady, before coming home earlier than usual for a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits.

The two knee-high sunflowers Music Box by the shed which were ravaged by slugs/snails earlier in the year have both done surprisingly well since  then.  The shorter one (shown here) has five flowers around the top, whilst the other one has even more.

It seems rather early to be thinking about next year but I received an email during the week from John, the horticultural society chairman, regarding what onion sets and seed potatoes he’ll be ordering soon for sale at the trading shed.   The onions will be the usual variety Sturon and the potatoes will include my favourites Charlotte.  

The forecast this week shows it remaining dry, with the temperature down to 22 C/72 F midweek then rising to 28 C/82 F by the weekend.

Have a good week, and take care!

On Tuesday afternoon…

the temperature reached 40 C/104 F at nearby RAF Northolt, so needless to say I spent the day indoors.  Thankfully since then it has dropped back to a more tolerable level, and last night it rained sufficiently to dampen the ground surface.


Yesterday morning I picked the first handful of dwarf French beans Sprite,  which only needed topping, tailing then cutting in half as they were less than 5 in/ 12.5 cm.

I’ve still got some seeds which I hope to sow if I can find an area where the ground is still workable and not like concrete.


A lot of the cosmos plants have already finished flowering and are starting to die back so I’ve been collecting seed to sort and save for next year.  I’ll also be saving candytuft, pot marigold and sunflower seeds as they become ready to collect.

I’m surprised that the rose Pretty Lady flowers didn’t crisp in the heat but they seem to be mostly okay.

Have a good weekend, and take care!

Too hot to plot

The raspberries and strawberries haven’t too good this year but it looks like the blackberries will more than make up for that, and this morning I picked the second lot to bring home.


I’ve had the rhubarb patch for almost as long as I’ve had the plot, but this year it finished very quickly.  I’m thinking about digging it up in the autumn, checking the crowns and roots, then if they’re okay replanting them in a slightly different place.

Until last year I grew nasturtiums at one end of the strawberries and this year was going to grow them elsewhere but forgot to sow the seeds I’d saved.  A few self-seeded ones have appeared, like this one,  but I’ll have to buy seeds for next year, and remember to sow them.


I’ll be going to the plot very early tomorrow morning to quickly check round and water but I’ll be staying indoors on Tuesday.  Thankfully Wednesday onwards the temperature should be back  to below 20 C/ high 60’s F early morning when I go plotting.

Have a good week, stay cool and take care!

Rather frazzled

As forecast it’s been dry and very warm this week so my plot visits have been both early and brief just to look round and water.

I’ve eaten some more first early potatoes Foremost and thankfully they’re not as bland as I intimated in a recent post.  What has surprised me is how large some of them are, one this morning filled the palm of my hand.

I’ve had few lavenders on the plot for a long time and last year I thought that perhaps they were past their best and needed replacing.  I didn’t do that and they’ve done well this year, with the flowers attracting plenty of bees and butterflies.

Among the sunflowers is this one with a light centre which stands out as the others have dark centres.


The dry, very warm weather looks set to continue into next week with the temperature rising to the high 30’s F/100 C on Tuesday before dropping back to the high 20’s C/ low 80’s F on Wednesday.  It looks like both the plot and myself are going to be rather frazzled for a few days.

Have a good weekend, and take care!

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