Poppy Patchwork

My little bit of this big World

Friday 31 May 2024

May Round-up

I think my cheaper year has flown out the window, we knew the garden would need bits, but it's gone to another level, this year has started as the most expensive start in the last 15 years. My list was never about saving money, just a reminder for myself, what I was spending my money on. Little craft spend.

I did purchase a new cardigan to wear when we are at The Trooping of the Colours, everything else I am wearing I've had a while. 

I am having issues with Blogger, a few of the bloggers I follow are not showing up on my reading list, I have no idea why it's happening, I have not made any changes to my pages. It's a pain, I hope it rights itself soon. 

We did have some food waste at the beginning of the month, being ill, neither of us was bothered to check, it does not happen too often, some bits I did pop into the freezer, now we are back controlling, what we purchase and what we eat. 

Bonus month on my weight, I have lost weight, and kept it off, I feel good about it, hopefully I can now keep losing a pound here and there. My step are up, trying to hit the 7,000 mark most days.

Thursday 30 May 2024

Just waiting

My sister found this frog, she got a set of three, one blue, one red, which are her favourite colours and this green one, which I love. I had thought to place it near my wildlife pond, but it's too nice to be tucked at the bottom of the garden.
I've just finished this book, it was recommended to me, set back in early 1900's, not a period I normally read about, it was fun, clever idea, the staff old and current pay back the lady of the house, daughter to deceased man, who had ties in a more lowly part of London. I'm not sure if I would read another book by the author. Book 32 read this year. 
 My greenhouse is still full, lots of bedding plants, almost ready to go out, along with herbs and some leeks. I have plants on the mini greenhouse frame, it's still working hard, even without the plastic cover it's a useful space. There are two tubs with 4 cauliflower plants in, these will go into the raised bed once the broad beans are finished, and a tub with a horseradish plant. My sphagnum moss stays in here on the big plant pot saucer. 
I have 2 tubs of carrots I would like to be outside, but neither have holes in the bottom, so with all the rain they stay inside, I also have 2 tomato plants, the green tub has broad bean husk in, my composter is full for now. There are plants which need to go out, again the rain is stopping me moving things. Along the back are my succulents and cacti, it's a permanent feature in here. 

It's been a nothing few days, home together, out in my garden when I can, reading when it's wet, the evenings have been cooler again, time watching TV.  We both loved Race around the World, which ended last night, the producers choose interesting people, opinions made at the start change as we get to know them, everyone running to the same goal, brilliant TV. Sewing bee is back on, I'm not inspired with the sewers so far, hubby over the years has always watched with me, he now loves it as much as me, I'm hoping after a couple of eliminations, we can see past the ego's, and enjoy their journey. 

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Flowering outside

 This plant is years old, an agapanthus, it's really late this year, loads of lovely leaves, but so far only a few buds, normally it gives loads of blooms. I will keep checking. The nemesia in my raised bed behind are very colourful, I have more bedding plants to go in. I have my flat bird table against the raised bed, I am using a bowl on the stand, the bird table belonged to my mum, so I won't ever get rid of it. This is next to my wildlife pond, now a nice looking corner.

My back bed is now summer ready, I have popped 7 fleabane/ erigeron daisies, they will fill the front of the bed. The shrub on the right is a snowberry, I have had it a few years, it was growing in the back flower bed in front of the greenhouse, it has doubled in size since I moved it last October, and so many more berries on it. All I need here is more bark to bring the level up and stop weeds. This back bed I am hoping to keep simple, with the daisies growing and filling the space, I will probably put in some pansies in the winter months, spring is taken care of with all the bulbs, which I leave in the ground.
This square bed is starting to look good, most of the bigger plants are new this year, so many blooms to come, both my lupins have flowers growing, I'm pleased they are not the same colour, I have a dahlias to go in the middle, in the frame, I hope to plant it in the coming week. I am aiming for a jumble of colour here, with most plants returning next year, these should be more winter interest as well. 
This side bed again has loads of new plants, I removed the salvia hotlips as they grew far to large for this area, and swamped everything. I love all types of daisies, this one at the far end was even better as I only paid £1.25 for it, sadly it was pot bound and looking very sad, so I popped it into a bigger pot, cut all the flowers off, it's been planted for a week and is looking good. I will soon have loads of asters to fill the gaps and give colour here. The pink rose is growing nicely, the yellow ones in the garden will bloom soon, along with pots on my shelf, so much colour. 
My tub is again full of colour, some of these plants came from the bed outside of the back door, there are two different fuchsias one each end. The coleus in the smaller pot will grow huge and colourful, the deep red plants had 3 plants in one pot, so the other two are planted at the back of the big tub. 
I normally have a bigger pot with a begonia in on this table, it's still on the greenhouse, the bigger begonia is now under the table, last year it stayed just outside the greenhouse, that area is full of veg. These new pots with sempervivums do look good here, I have a couple more in small pots to add to this display.

I have in the past 14 years tried to be as organic as I can be in our garden, the balance has been really good, by adding the veg beds this year, I was concerned about our lovely balanced eco system. The only pest control I use are slug pellets, in my flower beds, I don't use them around my veg, slugs and snails are munching in the veg beds, I am trying to pick them all out, I look for both every day. Weeds again are not a huge issue, I do have more this year, mainly in the veg beds, probably from the top soil purchased to fill beds. I try and grow from seed, which cuts back weeds coming into my garden in pots purchased. I strongly believe it's better to be outside every days keeping on top of pest and weeds. I am hoping to have frogs in my wildlife pond, so far nothing much lives there, the aquatic plants are doing well and keeping the water clear.

I dug out my hotbin composter, the compost is lovely, but I have more woody bits in there, when I only had flowers, I often added woody bits to keep the bin topped up. This year all the woody bits are being added to a pile in a corner, for a bug sanctuary, I will have enough green waste to keep the bin full, I dig the bin out twice a year, it's closed and get warm inside which speeds up the process.

Monday 27 May 2024

Harvest time.

 I am so chuffed, these potatoes are from my first bag, they had not flowered, but the tops were beginning to droop, so I thought, might as well. Once they are cleaned they will be ready for hubby to cook. I have another bag and some in the ground, so plenty more to come.
Another harvest from my broad beans, hubby and I sat outside chatting and removing these from their pods. A third was used with our Sunday roast, with some of my potatoes, the rest are in the freezer. I will get another harvest from my broad beans, I am counting them as a success. 
The potatoes bag was filled again with the soil plus some chicken poo pellets, and I have planted my courgette,  I've popped it back in the same spot, loads of room to grow, soon it will fill this corner.
Sunday lunch was salmon encroute, with new potatoes and broad beans, hubby added some frozen peas, such a lovely meal, made better with home grown produce. Hopefully it's the start of a good growing season.

The buzz from having any type of harvest is great, for years we have grown fruits, my veg beds are only small and with buckets and bags I can fill my back section of the garden with produce. We have been eating homegrown lettuce and mixed salad leaves for a couple of weeks, the hope as in previous years is to have cucumber and tomatoes as well. My herbs are all looking good, hubby uses loads in his cooking. Very exciting for me is my lime tree, which looks a bit bare of leaves, has a couple of flowers forming, for the very first time.

Having our new garden layout is giving me loads of new growing space, I still have some flowers and my wildlife pond, the back section is still very pretty. Using the path in front of the greenhouse for buckets and bags, gives me extra growing space, once the season is finished, I can pop all the soil on my veg beds and pack things away.

Sunday 26 May 2024

Little people.

George sat in the shade, he loves my new flowery cushions. He looks so grown up, he starts school later this year.
Molly copying her mummy, after nicking my recliner, she is 3 in July. 
Stealing my hat and looking good in it.
Our Taunton boys, making me feel really short.
Having a giggle.

Friday we spent time with Logan and Finn, we visited whilst we were in Somerset,  they have both grown so much, it's so good to see them happy and healthy. 

We had a BBQ on Saturday whilst the sun was shining, daddy was home poorly, he had a dodgy Chinese when at work in the week, he's feeling  much better, just not interested in food. So daughter came with the children, Will does not like having his photo taken, so no photo's  this time. We stayed outside all day, I managed to get a couple jobs done in the garden and planted a few good sized plants before the rain takes hold again. They went home just after 3pm, which gave us time to unwind and relax, listen and watch the birds in our garden.

I am so proud of how good everywhere is looking, its a perfect backdrop for family gatherings and any photos. Once I get the rest of the bedding plants out, there will be no soil seen and a riot of colour.

Friday 24 May 2024

Change of destination

Both hubby and I enjoy the Thursday quiz on Zoe Ball's breakfast show on radio 2, just 5 questions each week, the quiz master started an online quiz back in March 2020, when we were all locked inside. We had heard some of his back story, so when he said he had written a book, we both decided we would like to read it. It's a sad tale, not uncommon, broken families, he is honest and shows how he turned his life around, and one little wrong moved grew into this big story. Book 30 read this year.
I am aware of Rob Rinder on TV, I've not watched any programmes he has been in, I read another blogger enjoyed this book, so I got a copy to read whilst we were away. The prologue was it bit a of red flag for me, starting with the well loved, good looking successful police officer, but I kept reading. I really enjoyed this book, very clever believable plot, I loved how he kept adding to the case and plot, and an good ending. I will look out for his second book, with the same characters. Book 31 read this year.
I have loads of paper bags from our fruit and veg, I never throw anything away, this year I want to save seeds, so I have stapled the plant tag on each bag and will collect seed heads, a bit of fun, which could enhance my garden. These will stay in my dry garage until I can sow them.
These are from Bellis Perennis, white, tiny daisy like flowers, I have a pot full of them, these started the idea, it's going to be fun and hopefully I get free plants for next year. I would like to see these sprinkled around the garden, I do love daisies.

We had booked a few days away at Stoke on Trent, but the weather forecast was horrendous, heavy rain for two days, we wanted to visit potteries, lots of time outside. We managed to change our hotel bookings, delaying the visit until July, and drove to Somerset to stay with my brother, visiting family instead. Our last visit was back in November 2023, every time we planned a visit something came up.

Just a few lazy days catching up with family and our Taunton boys. I think my sister has given me a cough and cold, all I need is to shake it off quickly, we are back home now. It's nice to visit, but oh so nice to be back at home.

The garden and greenhouse are OK, no plants lost to the munching slugs and snails, I have come home with a few extra plants, we saw some vibrant colours on coleus leaves, hubby loves these plants, and I have a nice pot I can plant them in. I have a huge harvest of broad beans to pick, some will be frozen for Christmas lunch. 

Thursday 23 May 2024

Other things

 I'm not doing much craft at the moment, last year I pressed some of the flowers growing in our garden, they have sat in the flower press for months. I saw this double frame reduced in TK Max and decided its time I made a design. It's my first time of trying, I did have a very limited colour scheme, so many plants I love. I'm now pressing more flowers.

I have pulled out the knitting I am doing for hubby's sister, I want to finish it, ready for their visit next month, I do love knitting, it's a relaxing craft. Sadly I don't need anymore cardigans or jumpers, I always crochet any blankets we use. I have a nice stash of yarn, mainly 4ply, which I prefer to use. I've started on the first sleeve, I did think she had not purchased enough yarn, but I have just over 5 balls to do both sleeves and front band.
Hubby made a red velvet cake, which we both love, making the frosting using dairy free cream cheese, so the little ones can eat it, so moist, sat outside in the sunshine, sharing a special moment. The children loved it and wanted more, Will thought it was purchased from a shop. 
I'm not always sure about this authors works, she covers topics which can be thought provoking and hard, here teenage suicide or was it murder, two families lives so close, their children friends from birth. I did enjoy reading this book. Book 29 read this year.
I have a very happy husband, last December he won a raffle prize, which he was extremely happy with. This week tickets arrived for the Kings birthday, Trooping of the Colour, we have a pair of tickets, lovely seats for the event in June, we have booked hotel, coach tickets and have places at a luncheon after. Hubby has marched years ago infront of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, but never watched it.

We have been to an event attended by our late Queen, posted here, here hopefully we should see the King, and maybe other members of the royal family, would like to see William, not interested in seeing the Camilla, I have never liked her. 

Monday 20 May 2024


 We had our first harvest of broad beans with our Sunday roast, they were lovely, best tasting ones we have had, we should now get a steady harvest, I am hoping I can freeze some to save for our Christmas lunch. I planted these back in September, and was at every stage concerned if they were growing well, they managed our mild winter. I will sow more this autumn, in the other bed, it's good to see productive ground in the cooler months. 
We are also eating home grown lettuce and salad leaves, this raised bed is working well as a salad bed. I have copper tape around the back to keep pest away, it sits close to the garage wall. Behind is the blackberry vine, which grows higher up along the garage wall. 
Potatoes are looking heathy, just need them to flower, there are two bags here, one planted a few weeks later then the other, I have high hopes for a good harvest. I had two seed potatoes over, so they are in a raised bed. These bags work well here behind my high raised flower bed, I have no need to get to this spot. 
The other raised veg bed is looking good, the parsnip and beetroot seedlings are growing, these are either side of the middle section, the broccoli is huge, runner beans have started to climb the poles. I am on snail duty most days, I try and keep this bed free, something has nibbled at some of the runner beans, but it has not stopped them growing.
Also in the bed is my cucumber plant, I have a few small cucumbers starting to grow, these are F1 mini cucumbers, so soon we should start to eat home grown. The tomato in the huge pot is a beef tomato, I've not grown bigger tomatoes before, there are a couple of flowers forming. 
The tomato plants in the greenhouse are a bit behind, they are growing, so I'm happy. In the two tubs are cauliflower plants, once the broad beans are finished these will go in that bed. 
Both buckets of carrots are looking good, these are just inside the greenhouse, soon I will find a spot outside, I will also need to thin them out.
I purchased this pepper plant, it has been put into a bigger pot, it will need another slightly bigger pot soon, the first flowers are forming, this is a sweet pepper, I'm not a fan of chilli's.
My leek are doing well, they are strong, I have 19 here, they will go out in the broad bean bed once there is space. These are another veg I have not grown before, I have some onions in the centre of the broad beans, they are looking good.
I have grown fruits for years, again I am using this strawberry tower, this year it's in a different spot, sunny, but not full sun, there are loads of flowers. 
I have two slightly different blueberry bushes in this huge tub, they set fruit at different times, making my harvest last longer, and stops a huge glut. The early bush is full of fruit, looks as if it's going to be a bumper crop. 

Every morning before breakfast I walk around my tiny garden, I have so much squashed into the space, I grow where I can and in bags and pots where I have no soil, we are hopeful for a nice steady harvest, not too much of any thing, just a few nice meals. The veg section is giving me everything I have ever wanted, I will try and grow anything, and if we can eat it, then that's a double pleasure. 

I get so many comments 'your garden is tidy, we have loads of raised beds at different heights, I do like neat lines, so edges of the gardens stay tidy, I don't plant in straight lines, in fact I think I break so many rules, I like plants to mingle, I often plant just one plant, in a small garden there is not room for sways of planting, I also plant closer together. Like many others you get to see the best bits, I'm outside most days, so there is always a small job I can get done. I can't sit and relax if I see something which needs to be sorted, and I do love to sit outside as much as we can. 

Saturday 18 May 2024

Better outlook

Our garden, this is our view from the outside table, we sit and chat, watch the small birds as they feed from the hanging containers in the tree. We have noticed they hop around the veg beds, hopefully feeding on any bugs, it's good to have so much wildlife in our space. The bigger birds always swoop next door, where she has an open tray bird feeder. 
The garden is a working area as well, laundry on the lines, gone by lunchtime on warm days, hubby packs the lines away after use, this back end of the garden is earning it's keep with harvest of veg to come. At the moment this is my favourite end, so much growing, the broad beans are swelling in their pods, soon be time for a harvest. 
This area along the fence we have not used for years, it's a sun trap, but sadly the flies and smells from next door keep us away. The water feature is new, it's a firepit with a solar fountain, I wanted a low feature, everything else is years old, we both love this space now. Once all the plants in the big tub start to grow the area will be full of colour. 
Being aware on how much I am spending in the garden, we popped to B&Q to get some cheaper plants, £32 spent, one plant almost half price, I cut part of a rooted section from a scabiosa, making a small free plant. Every plant was pot bound, the roots in each case tightly wound around the bottom of the pots, I released the roots and planted, I prefer plants being pot bound rather than weak roots. These have all gone into my side bed. 

I have cut back all the yellowing leaves from the spring bulbs, the bulk being in the long side bed, my composter is now full, but it does break down quickly, I could now see the gaps in the ground, most of my focus will be on the side bed this time, I have bedding plants to go in for a couple of weeks, then the bed should be done. Last year there were Salvis hotlips, but they grew far to big, engulfing everything, whilst they are beautiful, it's not what I wanted in this bed. 

I have twice this week slept over at daughters, she had booked a break in Budapest, which both daughter and SIL needed, the children were very good for me, we had loads of fun, I did not want them to cancel the trip and lose money. As the children get older they are easier to look after, not so much lifting, and they can play well together, I did drive back here for one day, on sunny days they prefer to be outside. 

I am on hose pipe duty most nights, ensuring the broad beans are well watered, along with other new veg plants, all the new flowering plants had a good soak. I was really please using my Hori hori knife, I'm always wary with knives, they do scare me, both my garden knives are tucked away in a drawer with my secateurs, the drawer is a bugger to open, it sticks all the time, which makes me feel they are safe inside. 

Friday 17 May 2024

New this season

We are both extremely happy with our water feature, both in the look and the cost, we did not want to run electric to a pump, preferring not to see wires. This was sold as a firepit, I thought it would look good with water in, the stones I already had, pre-used on pots as a decorative top layer. The pump has black net around it and is tied underneath, with a stone placed to anchor it to the middle spot.
I saw this idea from a gardener I follow on Instagram, his pot was bigger than this, I wanted to use a pot we already had, already the middle plant is giving off babies, hubby loves these succulents, this pot is on our metal table, which allows good drainage, and will stay outside all summer.  
I got theses plant frames online, they were not as sturdy as I expected, hubby has tied them together, there are three here, this should give extra support for this climbing rose. In front is my pomegranate plant grown from a pip, I cut it back last year as it was getting woody, now it looks fantastic.  
Why are cloches so expensive, I have been looking for metal ones, but won't pay the ridiculous prices, I have nets but it's can be a bit of a faf to get them into place. In B&M this week I saw these, food protectors, 2 for £4,  not as tall as I would like but they work, I have a smaller one protecting my french bean plant. 
I have a few huge pots which needs digging out, I struggle to loose the sides from the pot, my garden knife is neither long or strong enough for the task. I have been hankering after one of these Hori hori knives for a couple of years, hubby went online and sneakily got the one I wanted, I am one happy wife and gardener. 

Everywhere feels so good when the sun is shining, I'm outside most days, I have potted on all my seedlings, mainly flowers and a few herbs, other plants are in the ground, I have re-sown my peas, the pigeons nibbled them back to the ground, I have used a different pot, and placed in an area we can see. In the other pot I will plant a courgette, not my favourite veg, hopefully home grown will make me love them again. I moved both hosta's down to our seating area, I have a spot which is in shade most of the day, once the flowers are over I will move them to the back of the garden and put a begonia there. 

We popped to our local town, just a few decent shops left, TK Max, Next, B&M and Waterstones, we don't normally go on a wander around and get bits and pieces, but it was fun for a change, we had lunch out, very brave after our last 10 days. I dropped off a birthday gift to a friend, we had a lovely drive along the water front, Stokes bay and Lee on the Solent, beautiful blue skies, it was nice just to slowly drive through, we do live in a wonderful part of the country. 

Thank you for all your recent comments, May is a challenging month, 1st Monday of month, we said goodbye to Grace, 2nd Monday sat talking to doctor, hubby's kidney failure, very scary, 3rd Monday, sat in garden in sunshine, wondering what the hell we have been through. I've always bounced back, I hear my mum's voice in my head, 'get on with it', but for once I needed time to reflect and process everything. 

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Gentle times

My pond section is becoming really colourful, with aquatic and rockery plants, I wanted this area to look lovely and be able to look after it's self. I think of it as Grace's pond, she loved to drink from here, always preferring rain water.
My hosta's is almost there, 2 huge flower heads coming, excuse the mess behind, everything gets moved to this working end of the garden.
I can't remember the name of this tiny flower, it does need dead heading, very pretty in the small pot, there are loads of buds forming, so plenty of flowers to come. 
So many blooms returning, I love this rose, the buds are very dark and they lighten as they open, this bloom has a yellow streak. My mum's peony, stunning colour. Lupins are throwing up flower stalks, I have no idea what colour these will be. 
Some of the best flowers are on fruit, herbs and veg, here, Strawberry, Rosemary and a cucumber plant.

The past few days have been about rest, calm and gentle times, the opposite to how the rest of year has been. The house is clean, I did top to bottom when hubby was in hospital, the garden jobs neglected, I've been exhausted too many times in the last few months. Meals are simple, using what we had at home, I think my mind has to heal as well as my body. We have a simple rewarding retirement together, which was shattered so quickly, frightening swift the changes. 


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