Poppy Patchwork

My little bit of this big World

Saturday 29 June 2024

June round up

 Another month of spending in the garden, mainly the last few plants, I did get a huge bag of bark and some slug pellets for the flower beds. No crafting spend.

The bottom line is my half year figures, which shows the extent of my garden spend, I'm not going to hang my head in shame, it is what it is, as I have always said, these list are not about saving money, just for me to look back and see how I spend my money. Each box has a red triangle in the corner, which note I have inserted comments, which when I look, tells me in detail what I have spent. 

I did get a not needed pair of sandals, these days if I see a style I like I will get them, I do have enough sandals to last me many summers. 

We had an extra expense for the new kitchen floor, it should have been replaced months ago, but I could not see a design I liked, in the end, we chose the best to match, it does look good down.

As always no waste, we did have visitors, but we planned and shopped well, we did the same before our weekend away, ensuring anything left in the fridge would be OK when we got back. 

I have managed to keep the weight off, I have not lost any more, my steps are over 7,000 each day, even on wet days, so I count that as a win. Whilst my weight is similar as last month, I have noticed my waiste is slimmer, I'm wearing trousers which I've not worn for a few years, which is a joy.

Friday 28 June 2024

In a heatwave

These are stunning, astrantia, a delicate looking bloom, which are lasting a long time, perfect for the square bed with the cottage look.  
This is what gardening is all about, results of your hard work
healthy plants filling your space. 
White stands out as it should, dramatic plants. 
Another pop of colour, begonias are a love of mine, these plants are years old, soon this table and chairs will be white again, we are getting it dipped and powder coated.
Another great book, I do love this author, this time a stand alone book, still with a medical background, another riveting plot, which I guessed what was going on, but how would it be sorted, what happens to a whistle blower. Book 38 read this year.

It's been hot, so we are inside alot, which for now means reading, I have not done any crafting for a while, I have loads of plans, but they are for another time. TV is not on much, we did watch Sewing Bee, children's week. I have not done anything on my 2023 book, just me being lazy.
We had loads of fun with Molly, she is very bright for her age and full of energy, we stayed inside, it was too hot outside. She is very much like my daughter was at that age, it feels as if we have another chance of the joy. Daughter came back happy from the meeting, so far all the things promised for George is happening, we know through other parents this is not always the case, rarely the fault of the school.

Thursday was a day at home, at bit cooler, so I did some housework, I popped to daughters at tea time, it was parents evening for Will, she now knows all about his new class and teacher, ready for September. 

Today I'm having an afternoon with George and Molly at their house, they can play with their own toys, I'm hoping it's cool enough to be outside, if it is I might take them to the park. 

Wednesday 26 June 2024

As June fades

Monday daughter and I went out to lunch, it was stunning weather, I let her choose where we should go, we went to Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, by the waters edge, we sat overlooking the huge posh yachts, eating lunch. We wondered through the outlet stores, daughter getting new clothes for her and the children. I treated myself to new sunglasses, much nicer than my cheaper pair, softer than the black frames. I got a couple of gifts for a few birthdays coming up. It was a very different visit than last week, but just as enjoyable. 
I got this book last week, I have not read these authors before, it's a very clever plot told in four sections, at the end of each section something unexpected is revealed, not once did I guess the twist. The huge clue was the title, which becomes apparent in the final few chapters. Book 37 read this year.
I haven't been doing much in the garden, mainly sat outside in the day, watering after our evening meal, I have a garden full of new flowering plants, which I can't afford to let die. I have separated several plants, this Hosta included, so I'm excited to see three flower heads, the plant must be happy, and I have three tiny plants growing. My other Hosta has been placed at the back of the garden the blooms are over. 

Tuesday we popped into town, I had a dentist appointment mid morning, my previous Friday appointment rescheduled, we had a quick mooch around, lunch out, before catching the bus home. I am going to say it, we stayed inside at home, here I go, 'it was just too hot'. 

Today we are off to see daughter and Molly for a few hours, George is in nursery, Will in school, The new school George is attending in September is working really hard to ensure George is comfortable going there. It's not the same school as Will's, they don't have the support George needs, today the care person for George is spending time with him at nursery, getting to know him, this will happen a few times, daughter is having a meeting afterwards for an hour, just to chat and formulate details. There are 3 disabled children starting the same time as George, each will have their own support person, but they will swap between the children, to enable each child is happy and expand their comfort zone.   

Monday 24 June 2024


 I was in Gunwharf Quays shopping outlet with SIL on Thursday, most of the shops are top brands with silly prices, we did look in Clarks and then Sketchers, where we both saw these sandals, in tan or black, we both liked tan, and the toe strap, at £26.99 they did not break the bank. On to M&S, which we spent nothing. I have a tatty blue pair of sandals which I will pop into Sally army bins. 

These two plants came from our local pet shop, they are just so pretty, I am going to leave them in this Olive tree pot, it's next to our seating area. 

I got two plants from our local gardener, neither I have had before, The tall white one I have a spot for it, the bulb, I'm not sure where I will pop it, I don't have many summer flowering bulbs. It was his big home grown plant sale this Saturday, just £6.50 for both.
Sarah in our local village craft shop, gifted me this book, it arrived damaged, the front cover was ripped and the outer edge was shredded, so I trimmed the edge and mended the rip, it shows how to make more details on dolls and different way to make the bodies. 

In the Monday market, there is a huge book stall, I always look but not purchase as The Works books are cheaper, this time he had a sale on so I got 2 books for £1 each, sadly one book I realised when I got home I had already read, I've not been reading much, but I have a good book now.

Saturday, I was home alone, it was truly peaceful, I have spent time on here catching up with blogs, the past busy 10 days left me with little blogger time. I did a few jobs outside, the bulb is outside my greenhouse, once it grows I can then decide where to put it, I am watching my strawberries and blueberries they are coming to a harvest point, sadly my raspberries are not doing at all well, I have the plants for over 10 years, so maybe I need to replace them. We had another lazy evening reading. 

Sunday, a slow start even though we were up at 7am, another hot sunny day, we had an afternoon BBQ, just the two of us, and a nice walk in the evening.

Saturday 22 June 2024

In the ground.

The agapanthus is full of blooms, I have counted 10, it's next to my pond in front of the high raised bed which itself is full of colour. I have 3 other plants taken from this plant over the years, one has 6 buds, the other 2 are still leaves. 
My red rose finally bloomed, just one flower, which is better than last year, moving it has helped it grow, The red salvias in the pot are another favourite of mine, I grow these in pots to stop them being ate, they are a very thirsty plant, so need watering everyday. The foxglove is huge, it looks right growing next to the pole, it has 4 smaller flowers stalks forming, it's my first year of growing them.
The front of this square bed is full of blooms, again the colour which I crave, lots of new plant to me, hopefully most will comeback next year.
These are in the back section of the above square bed, I thought this astrantia had died, so it is blooming for the first time, I love the delicate flowers, I have another plant in my tub outside the greenhouse, I always keep the plant packets for reference, this should be pink, I'm happy with the colour.
The long side bed, which I have filled with colour this season, the pansies and violas were planted last September, I moved them to this bed last month, they have bloomed so well. I do love daisy style flowers of all colours, these won't get too high, which again I like. 

We have had hubby's sister and her husband to stay this week, they live in his home town in South Wales, we see them most years, we went for a visit to them earlier in the year, shown in this post here. This time they stayed with us, normally we all always stay close by, they are such a lovely couple, we had so much fun, they wanted us to show them local places, so we went to Fort Nelson, we have only ever been there with grandchildren, so it was much nicer visit. We had to walk to Portchester castle, it was an evening walk so we stopped for a drink on the way home. We spend a day in Portsmouth, walking from the Pier along the seafront at Southsea, into old Portsmouth, and then to the waterfront Gunwharf Quays shopping outlet, which is next to the bus station. It was a busy happy chatty few days, we were both sad to see them leave on Friday morning. When at home my SIL only wanted to sit outside in our garden, as you see above it is looking very colourful, the warm sunny days helped, we ate breakfast and most other meals outside. We did serve a meal with broccoli, carrots and new potatoes from the garden, that was fun. 

SIL loved her knitted jacket, and it fitted her, I was worried about the fit, as I knitted it without being able to check the finished sizes, I enjoyed making it.

Friday was a housework day and loads of laundry day, everything dried well, so a pile of ironing to day, we have a fridge full of foods, all with enough date for us to eat them in the next few days. Today I have already walked to the Co-op, which is away from the village centre, and I popped into a local gardener plant sale, which he has every year, I was very good just got 2 plants, the garden is full. I am going out soon to dead head and any other job I see, the garden has been ignored for over a week. 

Friday 21 June 2024

What am I doing

Over the years I have taken great delight in growing things from seed, my greatest achievement is this plant, grown from a pomegranate seed, I planted this in May 2017 with loads of other, only one seed grew. I have nurtured it for years, when smaller it was always popped back into the greenhouse for the cooler months. Once put into this pot, (2022), it stays in this sunny spot outside the garage. It's never flowered, but I keep on hoping.
I purchased this cranberry plant last year, so far all I can say is I have not killed it, it did get very water logged, so for now it lives just inside my greenhouse door. There is new growth on it, so I need to consult Mr Google again to see what I need to do next. 
This is my horseradish plant, I popped it into an old chicken pellet container, again I have checked and the roots are harvest in November, when they should look like a parsnip, leave a bit of the root in the ground to grow a new root. Hubby loves horseradish sauce, I will be able to freeze it and it should hold the heat, this is another crop just for him. 
This is my only citrus left, lime plant and for the first time I have had a flower and more buds, this was not grown from pips, these days limes are more often without pips. I've had it a few years, it's not that huge, I am feeding it with citrus feed once a month.
My bougainvillea lost all it's leaves last winter, it was in my greenhouse wrapped to protect it, it looked terrible and I was going to ditch it, but decided to cut it right back, I'm glad I gave it another chance.

I do love a challenge in life and have grown loads from seeds and pips, my kiwi I got to small tree size, but as the fruits are ready from December onwards, they never ripen so I passed it on, the stem and leaves are very pretty, my avocado got to a nice size but died in my cool greenhouse over winter, again nice leaves. I got lemon and orange from pips, but never to a good size, each are shown in my list on my sidebar if you want to know more or pop to this post

I'm sure I will find more unusual things to grow, having said that, I have loads of things I can't grow, sweet peas, which is one of my favourite blooms, I have purchased plants, grown from seeds, in the ground in containers, never thrives. Large daisies, grow for the summer and never returns, I have replanted into large pots to over winter, without success. Little lemon clematis and chocolate cosmos, both don't like my garden, these days it's all about understanding my limitations. 

Monday 17 June 2024

Trooping of the colours

 This program has a soggy look about it, it did get wet, as did both hubby and myself in the huge thunder storm near the end of the event. Its dry now and will be a reminder to a fantastic day, this post has loads of photo's.
The guards memorial, at horse-guards parade, we took this photo on Sunday, the day after all the troops were here. Typically for UK, lovely blue skies, much better than the grey skies on Saturday.
Just a few photo's from the troop, our seats as promised were in a great spot, hubby also explained everything happening, he has done a couple of these events, so he knew each phase, it was great to understand each bit which made up the whole, he was for years a drill instructor in the Welsh Guards. We did not see anything out of place, it went as expected. 

Sunday we walked up The Mall to Buckingham Palace, the roads were still closed, so we could get a great view of the fountain and the palace behind, just more photo's of the walk. 

The gardens looked stunning, so well kept, which for this typically strange weather year was no easy feat. We walked back through St James park, not many flower beds, mainly trees and grass.

This trip to London was vastly different, normally hubby's army mate and his wife stay in the same hotel, Angie has mobility issues and we use lots of taxi's, this trip we walked almost everywhere and saw so much more. Getting soaked on Saturday was not an issue, I would go again even if I knew it would end the same, it was heavy rain, thunder and lighting, it got to the point we are wet, not cold, so lets just walk back to the hotel.

We always watch the troop on the TV, it does show images closer and follows all the action, but nothing can compare listening to the sound of the Guards as they go through their arms routine, there is a crack as they all together, as one move their rifles. We saw the carriages, but could not see inside, too far away.

Here in UK, we do our traditions so well, I love to see the red tunics the guards wear, it was apparent I'm not the only one, when we got to the palace, the Ghurkha's were on sentry duty, we heard so many comments from visitors in many different accents complaining not to see guards.   

Over the three days we popped into Wellington Barracks, the Sergeants Mess, we missed the luncheon at the Calvary and Guards club, preferring to walk back to our hotel, have a hot shower and dry clothes, we found a lovely restaurant to have a late lunch. We did 50,688 steps, an average of 16,896 per day for 3 days, so a day at home resting is very appreciated.

Sunday 16 June 2024


 We took the nation express coach to London on Friday morning, we arrived by late morning  staying on 15th floor with great views of the capital. 
The shard looking closer than it was.
Our hotel was just 10 minutes walk from South Bank of the Thames, we went for a walk along to Westminster Bridge, up to Big Ben and the houses of Parliament. I love this iconic view, with our red buses on the bridge.
Another great view, all the city buildings, predominantly made with glass, with the old Blackfriers  bridge in front, London is all about the old and new.

The river Thames is a busy waterway, lots of tourists boats and the Uber water taxis,  but in places along the south Bank people can get down to the waters edge. Loads of people here skimming stones, it looked fun.

We have the rest of Sunday here in London, a planned walk along to Buckingham Palace, it's about 40 minutes from our hotel, we will book out early, leave our bags at the hotel, have some fun then catch the coach home.

The weather gods have been kind, much less rain that expected, we did get caught in a huge thunder storm just as the event on Saturday was finishing, we had purchased huge plastic rain macs which helped keep most of the rain out, we decided against going to the planned luncheon and headed back to our hotel for a hot shower and dry shoes.

My next post will be on trooping of the colours,  it was worthy of a post all to itself. 

Thursday 13 June 2024


I do love this author, the stories are based in USA, normally I prefer UK plots, but she holds you with her writing, not too gory, enough details to make a story, another great idea which kept me turning pages. Book 36 read this year.

I have finally finished this cardigan for hubby's sister, I enjoyed knitting it, the yarn and needles were huge, so it grew very quickly, which helped with the dark colour. As normal it sat in my work basket for ages before I attached the sleeves and stitched the sides together, the pattern was simple to master and very effective, it looks good, I hope she likes it, they are visiting soon. 

I have a lovely new plant in the back flower bed, hubby was looking for a big evergreen plant for his front garden, he could not see anything he liked. I have been trimming the hebe in this garden in an effort to keep it small, so I asked him if it would work in his space, he loved the idea and promised to buy me a replacement. Hence this lovely Astilbe, which is perfect for the spot and hopefully finishes the planting here. 

I would not be me if I did not get more plants, there were so many on show, but it was OK to pass them by, until I saw this plant, it's just so pretty, hubby 'do you have a space for it' me (fingers crossed behind my back) 'yes dear'. I am adding different colours to the flower gardens this summer, this pretty pink fills the brief. I moved a red flower, to place this in a great spot. I did pass on some poppies, which I would love, I can wait for the couple in my bed to self seed.

I have not added the cost of the Astilbe to my cost list as I would have not transplanted the hebe, hubby paid for it, he also paid for the pink plant, but I have added it to the list. He also got me a longer handle fork, I have to stretch to get to the middle of the raised veg beds, I had suggested it would be a great birthday gift, but he thought I needed it now. I do not record what hubby spends in his front garden, the list has always been about my spending on craft and my part of the garden. 

Our new kitchen floor has been laid, the white goods are back inside and I have cleaned everywhere, so this room is finished again, the walls which are on show are all tiled, so they are easy to clean, we do have an issue with one cabinet door, the covering is coming loose, we have checked and the company don't have our colour in their range any more.  

We are both reading lots each evening, preferring to switch off the TV and listen to music, we have both noticed how much better we are sleeping, which then makes us more relaxed each morning. We do not have a TV in our bedroom, and we have a no phone or iPad rule for years. Soon it will be time for Wimbledon, we both love tennis, so the TV will be on every afternoon as well as evenings, then Olympics, we again love watching, as for the football, that will pass us by.

Monday 10 June 2024


 I loved this book, a very different and clever plot, twist and turns, cleverly leading to the climax, with a final twist, not your run of the mill story, I could not put it down. I have read this author before and will look out for her other books. Book 34 read this year. 

This book was good not great, exploring family secrets, almost everyone is hiding something, life is in a small village, how the wrong words can stir up trouble. It twisted throughout the plot, I changed my mind a few time whilst reading it. Book 35 read this year.
We had little people in our garden again on Saturday, hubby did a BBQ, which they love, lots of fun and laughter, all three play well together. Will had a party so George and Molly stayed longer, it got a bit dull so we played inside for a while, I drove them home happy. We have a good selection of garden toys, so we got different ones out, they all loved the big blow up ball.
Sunday I gave the greenhouse a clean, just using a brush, soapy water and hosed off, it's not perfect but much better than before. I am not able to reach the long side at the back, but it was not too dirty. I moved a few things inside and did in there as well. It's due to rain for the next few days, so hopefully it will wash away any soap residue, it was messy but worth the effort.

I've had my sewing machine out again, I needed to make a net screen for a bedroom window, we leave it in the window to stop any flies getting into the house, sadly it's necessary. I also played with my coffee filters, the one I made shown in my last post, did not work so well, when I put soil in and watered it, the filter went soft and did not keep it's shape, not to be beaten, I decided to stitch the sides and see if they would hold better, these are again being used in the greenhouse to see if they work. 

Hubby has emptied the white goods from our kitchen, we are having new vinyl flooring, which we prefer to tiles, the flooring down lasted almost 14 years, it's much warmer to walk on in winter and so much easier to keep clean, I washed down the outside of the cabinets under the counter.

My cucumber plant is looking very sick, but the seedlings are growing, so later than normal I should have a harvest, it's typical the first year I grow them outside we have the strangest few months of weather. The idea of four seasons is slipping away, here along the south coast we always have a good start to the growing season, our issues were always enough rain in the summer months, hence I have so many water buts in my small garden. May has always been a great month to get small plants into the ground, and in June they should be growing like mad, these cooler days and nights are not our normal weather, the lady on TV last night suggested we won't get warmer temperatures until later in June, often in the past few weeks it's warmer up north than here in the south. The sunshine is really warm, normal for June, the cold winds are the problems, our night temperatures are low, but not enough to cause huge issues, just slowing down the growing season, makes you wonder how farmers are doing with our food supplies.

Saturday 8 June 2024

Looking good

 My cauliflower plants are in one end of this bed, leeks at the other end, with space for winter cabbage, the seedlings are just coming through as are the second sowing of broccoli. My third sowing of carrots are just showing, I do aim to sow anther batch soon. The second lot of peas are now coming through. My courgette is thriving, I have one bag of potatoes to dig out. I have dug out the cucumber plant, it was not doing well, it's back in the greenhouse, I have sown a few more cucumber seeds, I don't think the plant will survive.
These blueberries are thriving this year, they love their new sunny spot, the plant is full of berries, which are starting to turning blue. My raspberries are behind, I think the broad beans shaded them from the spring sunshine, they are catching up. The strawberry tower is not in the best spot, they too are behind, fruits have formed but are not changing colour yet, I have a couple plants in a small pot elsewhere and the fruits their are almost ready for eating. I think I need to find the tower a better spot.
I love it when new plants flower, both the foxglove and poppy are new this year, they are at the back of my square garden, I am hoping for cottage vibes here, so far it is working. The hollyhock is starting to form it's flowers, it's a deep red colour, my astrantia I planted last year is almost ready to burst into bloom, I had thought it had died, there are loads of blooms in this spot to come.

It's a brilliant year for my hosta's, both look great, I moved the pots to our seating area, tucked them with the herb pots, they are loving this spot, later they will go to the back section of the garden. The plant with the green and white leaves I will split at some point, I hope to get three new smaller plants. 
My wildlife pond area is looking so good, all the plants are healthy, it looks as if it has been here forever, the plants are keeping the water clear, I am hoping this space will look after itself, I don't want to be messing with it much. I have a blood grass at the back which when it starts to grow will fill the back, next to it is a forsythia, lovely yellow blooms in spring, and in front another grass. I have sprinkled red poppy seeds along the side fence. 
Having said in late May I was concerned with my agapanthus not having any blooms, now I have counted 10, which is pleasing, this is the mother plant, I have separated bits all around our garden, the blooms grow away from the pond towards the sun, so there will be no issues there. On the other side (left), I have put my canna lily, it is already growing. The raised bed behind is full of bedding plants, so much colour. 

I am still battling slugs and snails, mainly in the one veg bed, I have netted the other bed, but the runner bean poles make it hard to have any covering. I am thinning carrots, which are making a lovely harvest for us, the final broad beans went into the freezer, we have 3 portions of them now. The initial six broccoli plants are huge, the heads are forming, most will be cut whilst small, as I don't eat them, I am hoping then I might get spears as a secondary crop. Both the beetroot and parsnips are growing well, they should need thinning again soon. Tomato plants are catching up, I have three this year, two are still in the greenhouse. 

These days I am not having so many failures, I am thinking more about space and conditions in my growing area, and matching plants, rather than going to a garden centre and saying I like that, and bringing it home to a certain death. Plus after 15 years of working a heavy clay soil, I have managed to keep the soil fertile, without the clay sticking together, it has been a slow process. 

I follow a few younger gardeners on Instagram, who do things so very differently to me, I follow my parents style of gardening, looking after the soil firstly, I do prefer raised beds, something not heard of in our childhood garden, the only plant grown in a container was mint. Most things were grown from seed, or purchased as bare root plants, is it gardening when you purchase plants to go into bigger pots, almost everything already done for you. 


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