Sunday, 25 November 2012


Christmas is coming
But this is twirly:

This is my Christmas Cactus that I featured last year when I accidentally managed to get it to flower at Christmas. This year, however, I watered it too early.Well it was looking very sorry for itself. And the result; it's twirly.

Now for those of you who are not from this neck of the woods, perhaps I should explain the term 'twirly'. Years ago, the local bus companies operated a system whereby pensioners could not use their bus passes before 9.30a.m. And if any pensioners dared to try to use their bus passes before the exact stroke of 9.30a.m. the bus driver would say "twirly" (which translates to 'too early') and refuse to let them on the bus unless they paid the full fare.

Anyway, I digress, back to the garden. A couple of magpies have been rebuilding their nest recently. Why? Don't they know that winter is just around the corner?  Today they started annoying a squirrel who was perched on a  branch close to their nest.

The squirrel was totally oblivious to them, fully engrossed in what it was doing. And what was it doing?

It was eating an apple, one of my apples. How dare it.

On the subject of apples, I harvested all of mine recently by a rather unusual method. Don't try this at home, it's not the way to collect apples. My two Ballerina apple trees had grown very tall, unlike me, and the apples were all at the top. I had already decided that I would be pruning the trees this winter, so I brought the project forward a little, and pruned the branches laiden with fruit. It wasn't that successful, as most of the apples fell off during the process, and some got damaged. But I've now collected all the fruit, and the apple trees just need a little bit of tidying up.

One of the trees is biennial fruiting, it produced fruit this year, so it wouldn't have been producing much next year anyway. I left a lot of fruiting spurs on the other tree. So it wasn't a complete disaster. But as I say, it is not a method I would recommend for collecting apples.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - November 2012

After my last post, peering into my neighbours' gardens,
Thought I'd better get back into my own garden and see what's in flower this month.
Not a lot:

Antirrhinum majus Madame Butterfly, bought as small plug plants this spring. They struggled all summer to reach flowering size, and this is the first one to bloom. I'm hoping they'll survive the winter and provide a good spring display.

Pansy Colossal, bought for next year's spring display, but producing a few flowers already.

Geranium Sybil Pink, a trailer, still flowering in the hanging baskets.

Lobelia erinus Superstar, not done very well this year. Largely my fault, I didn't plant it out in time, and it got a bit pot bound. Oh alright then, it got very pot bound.

Fuchsia, I don't know which variety, but it's growing in the border, and has survived the two recent severe winters, so it is very hardy.

Viola Penny, also purchased for next spring's display, but putting on a superb display already. Hope they don't burn themselves out before next year.

And finally, I've cheated a little. With so little in flower in the garden, here's a bromeliad flowering indoors.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting this meme. If you want to see what's in bloom around the world right now, why not pop over to Carol's blog.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Bounty Hunters

Dinner is served as Nature reveals her bounty:

This conifer, growing in my neighbour's garden, had been hidden by my overgrown lilac tree that had grown into the side of it. But last year I had the lilac drastically pruned. The conifer spent all last year adjusting to its new found freedom. This summer, I noticed it was producing fruits, and now its seeds are attracting a lot of attention.

And this conifer is growing in another neighbour's garden. It is now a very large tree, and has been producing these cones for several years. My neighbour originally purchased it as a Christmas Tree, and after the holiday season was over, he planted it in his garden, and it just grew and grew. It attracts a lot of wildlife; flocks of goldfinches often come for the seed, and squirrels like to run along its long branches.

My neighbour also has this large holly bush laden with berries. Now I have a large holly tree in my garden, and it flowers every year, but berries, not a one. Apparently, I have a male of the species, wouldn't you know it, and only the females produce berries. I suppose I shouldn't complain, my tree was planted by Nature, so it was a freebie. And it is helping to pollinate my neighbour's plant.

So you see, it is not only the plants you grow in your own garden that attract wildlife, your neighbour's gardens play their part too. And if you haven't got any seeds or berries growing naturally for the birds, you can always feed them:

Since taking this photo, I have moved this feeder, as I discovered that rainwater from the shed roof was running down the wall and into the feeder. It is now hanging in an apple tree and looks a lot happier. Have you ever seen a happy bird feeder?  Anyway, I've removed the old seed and am allowing it to dry out before cleaning and refilling. It will be even happier then, as will the birds. At the moment it is the bird equivalent to an empty shop window.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

The North Wind Doth Blow

And we shall have ...... helicopters.
Bet you weren't expecting that.
I'll explain later.

This is a perennial Aster, commonly known as a Michaelmas Daisy, planted by Nature, not by me. It is growing in a sunny border, that in a normal summer is quite dry. But this has not been a normal summer, and the sunny border never dried out all season. For the first time ever, the plant has not succumbed to mildew, and has put on its best ever display.

Here is what it looks like from a distance. This is just one plant. Unfortunately, all the plants around it are passed their best, so it is flowering all by itself. May move it to a different spot next year, somewhere not as dry, because it obviously thrives in damper soil.

Now, about those helicopters. Here they are on the patio:

And here's a close up:

And here's one on the lawn:

As well as losing their leaves, autumn is the time when trees disperse their seeds on the wind. In this case, yes you've guessed it, the north wind. A neighbouring garden, to the north of mine, contains a large sycamore tree. And a few days ago, when we had a strong north wind blowing, the tree decided to shed its seeds, all over my garden. Now I don't know if you've ever seen sycamore seeds falling from a tree, but they swirl around just like little helicopters. They do, honestly. I imagine there will be a lot of sycamore seedlings to pull up next spring.

And finally, following last night's halloween, here's a photo of the spooky moon:

By the way, forgot to mention, this blog is one year old today. I would like to thank everyone for stopping by to read my ramblings, and especially to all those of you who leave comments, the icing on the cake. Thanks again.