It rained during…

Wednesday, most of Thursday and again this morning which has been welcome given how dry it’s been recently.

The carrots (pictured right) and potatoes are doing well,  but the magpies are still being a nuisance and seem to be pecking  and pulling at everything this year.

I put the canes up on Friday for the climbing French beans and sowed some seeds Algarve yesterday. I’ll be sowing some dwarf French beans Sprite and sweet corn Golden Hind during the coming week, along with some more carrots Paris Market.  

The comfrey plants (pictured left) have grown considerably and are about to flower, which will attract the bees.

This week looks like getting noticeably warmer for a couple of days with the temperature reaching 25 C/77 F on Tuesday.

Have a good week, and take care!

Tree following, May 2022


Liz – Just the one picture this month showing the Golden Spirit smoke tree  in my front garden here in Lexington, Kentucky.

As you can see new, fresh green, leaves have  appeared to give the tree some shape.


Mike –  At long last new leaves, which have a distinctive saw edge, are starting to show on the sweet chestnut in the local park.  They will grow longer and turn dark  green.

I’ve been told that this tree is at least forty years old, and was originally one of five planted in a row, although the middle one has long gone for reasons unknown.



It has had a number of branches sawn off making it lop-sided, although it’s not too apparent.



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

Have a good weekend, and take care!


Mostly wildlife

Late on Thursday afternoon I was sitting in the living room reading when I noticed that the stems of the Iceberg rose directly outside the window were waving around rather jerkily.  I got up and looked out expecting to see a blue tit or two but much to my surprise, and delight, saw four House sparrows. They were feeding on greenflies which covered the tops of the stems and flower buds.  I watched them for at least ten minutes, and again early on Friday morning.  Sadly I very rarely see House sparrows nowadays, although I often hear them chirping noisily when I walk to the local library.

I’ve been finding the plot pond nearly empty each morning for the past week or so, and it’s probably one or more of the site’s resident foxes making the most of it. The ground to one side has also been very damp, and it’s doing more than drinking from it as it’s taking a full 10 litre watering can to refill.

This morning I was pleased to see a male Common Blue butterfly on the plot.  I got a good look at it and saw just how blue and small these are.

This is the red Valerian (centranthus ruber) I was given earlier in the year.  It didn’t look too good until recently but has perked up and is about to flower.


Have a good week, and take care!

Plot sunflowers 2022

Last year many of the sunflowers were devoured by slugs and snails but thankfully that’s not been a problem this year as I’ve yet to see any.  I generally start some off at home but haven’t this year so I’m relying on direct sown and self-seeded ones.  As usual I’m growing plenty of the knee-high variety Music Box along with a few each of the taller Ring of Fire and Valentine.

I direct sowed some several weeks ago and more this morning. So far there are plenty of seedlings appearing, most of which are in the right places.  This self-sown one is the biggest, being about 6 in/15 cm from left left tip to right leaf tip, and judging by where it’s growing may well be the variety Holiday  which I grew, not very successfully, last year.

As I’ve done since 2016 I’ll be sharing photos of my sunflowers on The Big Sunflower Project’s Facebook webpage , and this year also on Twitter  @BigSunProject. In November 2018 Toni, the Project’s founder, did this  blog  post titled Mike which is about my sunflowers and support.

Here’s an archive photo of some plot sunflowers from July 2011.

Have a good weekend, and take care!

I’m generally half-hearted…

at best when it comes to dead-heading annual flowers so it’s not surprising to see plenty of self-sown seedlings have appeared, including cosmos, pot marigolds (pictured right) and sunflowers.


The poached egg plants, prolific self-seeders year to year , have just started to flower with both the usual white and yellow ones and the smaller all white Meringue.

These will be buzzing with bees during the next few weeks, which is always good to see.


The rose Pretty Lady is full of buds and will be starting to flower very soon, which will be a couple of weeks earlier than usual.


Take care, and have a good week!

On the windowsill, April 2022

I sowed two dwarf tomato Red Robin seeds just over five weeks ago,  both germinated and have grown, although they’re no more than 3 in/7.5 cm tall. I’ll be replanting the smaller one soon to grow on the windowsill in a 5 in/12.5 cm pot.


I’ve also sown and grown one each pot marigold Fruit Twist, cosmos Casanova White and sunflower Music Box. The tallest of these is the cosmos at around 3 in/7.5 cm. I’ll also be replanting these during next month.

Further to the On the windowsill, March 2022 post I took two of the primroses to the plot where I  replanted them in the ground by the pond.  I repotted the primrose acaulis into a slightly larger black pot to keep on the windowsill, where it’s growing well with new leaves appearing.

Have a good weekend, and take care!

Watering and weeding

There’s been no appreciable rain since well before Easter so this morning I watered all round the plot.  Although the ground is damp a couple of inches down the surface is dusty and already cracking in places, which is typical of clay soil.  I water using two ten litre plastic cans and thankfully it doesn’t take long.  I only water when and where needed, and all round every week if there’s been no rain.  There’s none forecast for at least the coming week so it looks like I’ll be doing it again next weekend.

Both the onions and potatoes have grown noticeably over the past week or so, and at long last the short double row of carrots are now visible.  Flower seedlings are appearing everywhere and I will be spending much of the week ahead weeding the flower patches before I sow more in any gaps.

In her post last Friday Nikkipolani mentioned that her favourite pot marigolds are the off-white ones with lemon yellow edges, which I definitely agree with.   This is an archive picture from September 2015 showing a variation of this lovely colour combination.

Have a good week, and take care !

I kept wondering

This follows on from Sunday’s post where I mentioned that I’d dug up some surprise potatoes, which is what Liz called them in her comment.  I kept wondering if there were any more to be found so yesterday started forking over the whole area.  There were as I’ve done about two-thirds and so far dug up enough for another two meals.  I won’t be sowing the French beans or sweetcorn here until at least mid-May so there’s plenty of time to get it all ready, including putting the canes up.

At the bottom of the above picture you can see the strawberry plants some of which have already started flowering.

Two of the primroses I had at home on the windowsill I took to the plot and planted each side of the pond by the stones.  This area is still looking a bit sparse but over the coming months there should be plenty of plants and flowers, including lots of nasturtiums Tom Thumb Mixed.

Have a good weekend, and take care!

This Easter weekend…

has been sunny and warm so far, which has been most welcome.  I’ve generally pottered but did some plotting such as planting onion sets in any visible gaps and sowed lots of pot marigolds Flighty’s favourites, as well as hoeing and weeding.

I was pleased to see the first potato foliage has started to appear on some of the  first earlies Foremost (as shown here) and second earlies Charlotte, all of which I planted three weeks ago.

I will keep a close eye on the weather for the next month or so in case any frosts are forecast.

Where I’d grown the potatoes last year there was also some foliage appearing in several places so I had a dig and ended up with enough first earlies Pentland Javelin and second earlies Charlotte, including this one, for three dinners.

I’ll be growing the climbing and dwarf French beans along with the  sweetcorn in this area but won’t be sowing anything until mid-May so could end up with a few more.


It’s good to see that the white meadowsweet is doing so well and there are now also new stems appearing.


Have a good week and take care!

Plotting as usual

The onion Sturon sets are now beginning to show leaves which means that I’ll be able to see where there are any gaps and plant out the spares I put aside.

I’ve sowed a short double row of carrots Paris Market and will do the same again in a months time.


During the week I sowed various  annual flower seeds including cosmos Royal Dwarf Mix and sunflowers Music Box.  I sowed half the seeds for each in case any don’t show or there are noticeable gaps.  The only ones I haven’t sown any of so far are pot marigolds Flighty’s favourites and nasturtiums Tom Thumb Mix.  This year I’m growing the latter around the pond rather than at the end of the strawberry patch.

This is the second lot of rhubarb I’ve picked over the past week or so.  The stems aren’t very long but are as thick as my thumb.

It’s looks like being a dry and warm weekend so I’ll be making the most of it plotting as usual.

Happy Easter, and take care!

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