Our sleeper bed has filled out quite a bit

It doesn't seem possible that it was only the end of May when we installed sleepers to tidy up one section of the rear or our garden. And a lot's changed in the flower beds in that time. I planted some petunias, a French lavender, an ice grey succulent and many more around the small Christmas tree and plants I'd been accumulating. 

As you can see the petunias have gone slightly wild.

petunias encroaching onto the sleepers

This photo was taken towards the start of the month, and you'll see the changes continue with the photos throughout this post. All of a sudden we were surrounded by petunias, obviously not a bad problem to have, but at some point I will need to reclaim the sleepers for my own use!

And they kept on growing

You'll remember I wrote that this was a favourite spot of mine for a cuppa, well it still is, as long as I don't mind sharing it with the petunias! 

The row of self-seeded aquilegias continue to grow, but I suspect they'll be gone before they get to flower.  I'm enjoying seeing the burst of green between the paving slabs though. 

self-seeded aquilegias looking very comfortable

The yellow flowering bush from dad - some kind of wort I think - has done flowering and taken an autumnal turn.  And the strawberry plant has thrown out lots of suckers and new baby plants, so it seems it's very happy growing between paving slabs. The small plants keep getting in the way, and I keep thinking I'm going to tread on them, but I will be aiming to capture these and take them over to the plot for my new strawberry border along the path.

This plant looks almost autumnal already
the rogue strawberry plant has also bushed out and send out plenty of suckers

The small Christmas tree, which had been suffering with the heat (or I least I think it was the heat, rather than the company) is improving with the cooler temperatures and the rain, and that's good to see. There's lighter green tufts too now, which indicates new growth so I'm hopeful that it will suruve.

The Christmas tree is recovering - it wasn't a fan of the heat

At the other end of the sleeper bed, next to the compost bin, the begonias have filled out almost as much as the petunias. While I'm a fan of dense planting, I must remember to space my bedding more next year.

begonias in front of the compost bin

On Sunday the shears and secateurs came out as the whole bed was looking a little overgrown. The photo below is the after shot - quite a difference from the almost bare bed a few months ago. Before the shears came out the jasmine was at least two foot above the trellis and had merged with the orange-berried pyracantha. A vine had popped over from next door and was heading for the jasmine and the pyracantha, so that was chopped too.   

Stepping back and looking how at how it's developed in just a few months

There's still a bit more to do, as to the right of this photo, what you can't see is the overgrown dogwood area where the vine from next door has made it to the cherry tree. It's a tight space to get into and it's the sort of space that you need to cut your way into - or at least it is right now.  And so I started with the shears tackling yet more jasmine, around the back of the trellis. There were a few bitey mosquito-like things around and I was swotting those away, then suddenly something else stung my right forearm.


I'm not sure what exactly it was, but it looked more hornet-like than mosquito., Needless to say I dropped the shears and made a hasty retreat after first wiping it off my arm. After my biter earlier in the year I'm much more wary. And this one hurt. Straight away. Off I went for an ice pack and some vinegar, to stop the swelling and calm the sting respectively, while MOH was despatched to retrieve the shears. He did, but not without coming out swatting a few bitey-things from his legs. It seems we're both wimps this year with the insects in our garden.

The bite stopped play for me on Sunday. And thankfully although it's a little swollen I think it'll be ok, let's hope so.

My plot during National Allotment Week

It wasn't until we were back from the plot yesterday and catching up with Monty on Gardener's World that I realised it was National Allotment Week, I'd read about it a while back but the dates hadn't registered. We'd popped over there to check on the weeks, to see how the squashes were doing (still not great) and to take some of my ever improving tomato plants over to plant out.

I know they're late and unlike Monty my tomatoes aren't ripening as quick as I can eat them, but there is a tomato surprise further in this post so all is not lost.

Our beans are currently doing well; there's plenty more borlotti beans since our last visit - there is a benefit to all that rain, it seems - and MOH was once again all for picking them. It's an annual thing, and this year I've managed to persuade him not to. At least that means we stand a chance to harvest them at all once this year, assuming he buys into it that is. 

borlotti beans in the sun during National Allotment Week

The late-planted potatoes (have you spotted a theme yet?) are doing well and are now flowering. We're done earthing them up, mainly because we don't have enough earth to do this with. Now we're waiting for them to grow and I know I'm looking forward to digging them up. The advantage of them being later, is that we'll be more likely to be eating more potatoes by the time we harvest them.

potatoes flowering during National Allotment Week

My sunflower is out too - and it's a beauty. 

A sunflower finally during National Allotment Week
the sunflower has a sturdy stem

It also has the sturdiest of stems. There's a few more to come yet too, but not as many flowers as the redder sort I grew last year. Maybe next year there'll be some of each.

Up until today I'd only had four tomato plants on the plot. They were from dad and he said they were a giant variety. They'd bushed out greatly and I'd missed the opportunity to do the traditional pinching out. This weekend though I was determined to sort them out, and thin them a bit too. And that's when I made my tomato discovery.

Some actual tomatoes.

A few green - but giant - tomatoes during National Allotment Week

Green of course, but actual tomatoes.  This year, that's a very welcome sight.

My runner beans have also started.. Nothing last week and this week a handful or two picked for dinner one night this week. Even for our temperamental supplies, it's always worth a visit to the plot before we head to the shops. Although to be fair runner beans are something we never buy, why would you when you can pop over to the plot and pick some like this:

A handful of runner beans during National Allotment Week

The other thing I've no need to buy is rhubarb, I cut more stems today and that emergency crumble I made last week is all but gone.

Another picking of rhubarb during National Allotment Week

So not a bad visit, add to that another trug full  of weeds and another of tomato plant leaves, the compost wasn't doing too badly either.

But I shouldn't rest of my laurels, there's still plenty more to do and plenty more to be sown too, and even more plants to go out. But before we get to that I'm just hoping the foxes don't take a liking to the new tomato plants I put out this weekend.  Because I won't be happy!

More soon...

A tiny, modern cottage garden

On our wander around Orford recently there was one tiny garden that stood out for me. It wasn't in my last post as somehow, despite its part in the pretty village, I didn't want it to get lost in the traditional-ness of those photos. So I'm sharing it alone today:  

A modern cottage garden in Orford Suffolk

It is a small space, but one that packs a lot in and I'm sure makes the short walk from road to door delightful. I can't decide if I like the iron gate and railings, the planting or the mix of render and brickwork and use of traditional materials in a contemporary way.

But I definitely like the overall effect and it shows you can put your own stamp into even a small space.