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Saturday, 28 May 2016

Scenes from an overgrown garden

Hi everyone, I am back from my two week holiday in England. I've had a wonderful time staying with my mum in Somerset and have had some great days out. Lots of photos to share from a few of these trips but first I needed to record my jungle garden before the mower got in there! The photos don't really do the long grass justice, nor the amount of flowerheads from the tall yellow flowered plant - think it's called Hawkbit and it is everywhere in the lawn.

We arrived home on Thursday morning and in the afternoon we duly got out there to start the grand tidy up, only for it to pour with rain soon after we got outside! K ended up doing the orchard with the hand mower as long wet grass is too much for the ride on mower. Yesterday he did more mowing with the hand mower and even that struggled with the wet grass. I'm fed up with removing cleavers from my flower beds, whose seeds unfortunately have got into my compost. Even the chickens have had enough of them. I have a LOT of work to do out here!




This really amazed me - I haven't seen Horse Chestnuts self seeding before! I'm not sure how their conkers got pushed into the soil, or maybe the seeds just open up and root whilst sitting in the grass thatch and moss.


Looking towards what was once a pristine veggie patch.


The path down to the pond.


Really I was most enamoured by my mess of a veg patch which is now very colourful and really buzzing with bees, enjoying the Borage and the Phacelia which has opened up whilst we've been away. I'm always happy to see wild Poppies and it won't be long before the masses of Opium Poppies flower too. I have had to weed kill the paths though as it was getting really hard to get around in there. There are still a few strawberries but it's yet another job I never got around to, but I'm planning to root some runners and start again in a new place later this year.


Veggies! I've never left parsnips or carrots to seed before, so it will be fun to see their flowers. The parsnips are the tall plants on the right near the top, with the carrots bottom left. Currants in the background which have been tended to.


In the background here where the white flowers are is my original Pollinator Meadow and the white flowers are Dame's Rocket - another plant which is brilliant for both bees and butterflies.


First Striped Shieldbug (Graphosoma lineatum) I've seen this year but I later noticed there are dozens of them eating my Bronze Fennel and causing some damage to the foliage. The Bronze Fennel is popular as the last two days there has been a Swallowtail butterfly flitting about it, hopefully it's a female laying eggs!


I haven't been able to capture the bees very well as I really need to use my dslr and macro lens - think I'll get that out of the cupboard and see how I get on with it again. But my newish bridge camera is not bad for zooming in on them. You can click on any of these photos to view them larger - most look better that way with more detail showing.



A Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus) butterfly resting on a Verbascum leaf.


This is a phone photo - typical that I spotted this Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) just as my camera battery died - but I had the phone as back up!


Somehow the only decent Nora Barlow mix Aquilegia that I grew from seed managed to self seed on entirely the other side of the house!





These are a few phone photos I took on 11th May just before leaving - I had intended to show them to my Mum, but forgot! So to my brother, please show her all these pics.


These are the two Ivy Leafed Geraniums which survived the winter!




Mini Health Update

I'm glad to say that I did not have a moment of depression whilst in England, nor, and far more importantly, since I got home. The fact that I found joy in my own garden again and got excited enough to take the photos of the grass and veg patch, and start to look at the insects again and enjoy the buzzing of the bees attests to that. I've also managed to sit without any donut cushions in many coffee shops and restaurants around Somerset and Devon..... well I wasn't bloody well carrying them around with me all day when out and about! :-)

25 comments:

  1. There is something romantic about that garden that is not manicured. It all looks lovely and I can imagine it filled with bird and insect life. A perfect place to relax and be at one with nature....until the grass needs cutting.

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    1. Thanks Ian. I'm often torn between the meadow aspect of the 'lawn', and how it looks when freshly mown, all neat and tidy! :-)

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  2. What a fabulously beautiful garden. Always love your sharing of your gardens. Thank You sweet Mandy

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Virgil. xx

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  3. Glad your feel better and had a good trip to England Mandy, your garden looks lovely, nice that you are out in it taking photos. I am in full control of courgette growing; 4 plants in England and 2 in France 50% fewer than last year :-D

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    1. Thanks Ian. That sounds like a more sensible amount of courgettes! I must say it feels a bit strange not to be growing veg, but it's very liberating! There's enough to do round here anyway, and I still have the fruit. :-)

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  4. Hi Mandy
    It was lovely to catch up with you at the Devon County Show.
    Now in trepidation looking at the photos of your overgrown garden after only 2 weeks!It does look beautiful though, especially your veg plot. Ours has been left for nearly 5 weeks so goodness knows how long the grass will be. Hope we can get some petrol for the 2 ride on mowers.

    Philippa xx

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    1. Hi Philippa - loved seeing you two - it's been way too long! We stayed all day at the show and I wish I'd had two days to see it all. Just loved it all.

      Don't panic too much, that was nearly 3 weeks worth of growth. K got some petrol for his mowers yesterday. The same garage had been closed the day before so think it's pot luck. Hopefully it will be over soon, as our moho needs filling up! xx

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    2. Thanks Mandy. Glad you enjoyed the show so much. Having been the year before we didn't spend as much time there this year.

      The fuel situation seems a bit better from what I've read so hopefully we will be ok when we come over later in the week.

      Philippa xx

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    3. Can you bring a jerry can of petrol with you, or is that forbidden on the ferry? Good luck with the mowing - it always sounds like your mowers can deal with long grass no problem - maybe we should look out for the same brand!

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    4. Not allowed to bring over cans of petrol on the ferry.
      Our first ride on is the best for long grass etc... It's 20 years old, a cheapie Bestgreen from Bricomarche. Alan replaced the cutting platform several years ago and it's still going strong.

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    5. 20 years old is amazing, but come to think of it ours is 12 this year now. Really don't fancy forking out for another one so K is wary with ours as the fan (or drive?) belt seems to go regularly.

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  5. I'm so glad to hear you had a good time in England and are feeling so much happier in yourself :)

    A wonderful post Mandy - so much lovely colour and such a variety of flowers. I can just imagine all the pollinators buzzing round :) Even when we have been away for just a week you can see huge changes in the garden.

    OH has been moaning about Cleavers here! Look forward to seeing more photos of your trip over here once you've tidied up the garden!

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    1. Many thanks Caroline! I was feeling great and really ready to attack the garden but yesterday I pulled a muscle in my lower back whilst using shears to edge overgrown flower beds and now I can hardly walk so can't even get outside. I'm at my Mac right now and that's not so uncomfortable (it's standing upright/walking which is painful) so I guess I'll spend some time sorting through my photos instead! I'm so annoyed though. :-(

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  6. Good to hear you are feeling great Mandy.
    Maybe partly because you visited God's Country, well county anyway.{:))

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    1. Thanks Roy, nearly fell back into the black pit this week as was stuck in bed with back pain, but I've climbed back out and my back is getting better now. Which is God's county, Devon or Somerset? I thought it was Yorkshire! :-)

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    2. Somerset of course.
      Yorkshire, just a loud of Whippet fanciers.

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  7. I have enjoyed the update on your garden. It's looking lovely with so much for pollinators. I've never seen a swallowtail and would thrilled to - and I'd love to see a small heath in my garden, too. That is interesting about the self seeding horse chestnuts.
    I'm glad that you're feeling well although hope you're back is better soon. That does sound painful.

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    1. Thanks Wendy. Continental Swallowtails are much easier to see as they are all over and visit my garden fairly often. My back is a lot better now but oh it was so frustrating. K finished off a lot of what I was doing edging around flower beds thank goodness, as it was looking awful! :-)

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  8. Overgrown gardens are the prettiest in my opinion! I certainly think that yours is looking fine, there are so many flowers in bloom!

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    1. I think you may be spam, but if not thanks for the comment!

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  9. Hi Mandy glad you are feeling well and have a lovely time with your family.
    Your garden might be a little over grown to you but I am loving seeing all the plants,and insects.. big area to look after, I would be going for the "wild look".
    Wonder if a bird or mammal has "cashed" the conker seeds, having said that I have one growing in the garden which was just left on the soil.
    Trying to keep up with everyone's post but June is going to be another busy month.
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thanks Amanda. I love the overgrown veg patch but prefer the mown lawn and weeded flower beds! :-) I've not managed to keep up with blogs but will try again and I've got so much to post on mine too.

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  10. Sorry for the late comment Mandy, but i'm having trouble with blogger at the mo. So glad to hear you had a great time in the UK, a break must have been just what you needed. Your garden looks great. Our ride on mower's packed up so i'm having to use the push along for now, but on the plus side i should lose some weight! :)
    P.s A few of the poppies are out now and they look lovely, thanks again.xx

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    1. Hi Deb, don't worry about late comments. Sorry about your mower, what a nuisance. Hope you can get it fixed soon! I had a brill time and I did need a break. So long as I can get away even for an overnight every now and again I have something to look forward to. And I'm really glad your poppies are flowering as they are amazing. My first one is just opening up (all self seeded of course). xx

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