Saturday, 19 July 2014

Fairies in the Garden ~~~ When Life Gives You Raindrops ~~~

Gentle Reader ~~~ I cannot believe that it is over a week since I posted!  By now, I have picked so many boxes of soft fruit I am starting to feel like a berry!  The first batch of Raspberry Jam was made here and boxes are now stacking up in the deep freeze, full of more raspberries, blackcurrants, and gooseberries.  I hope the courgettes crop as well as the soft fruit has done!  Oh, and there are still many more raspberries and blackcurrants to pick again!  At this time of year I feel like a soft fruit picking and processing machine ~ I also know, from the arduous job of topping and tailing why companies such as Ribena make only juice drinks!

Have you ever picked raspberries?  Did you notice how, as soon as you think you have picked the last one, you turn around and there are more?  They have a quaint knack of hiding themselves, to pop out and say "Boo! ~ You missed me!" ~~~ I have learned much about raspberries this summer and there is much to do so things will be more productive and easier to manage next summer!

I have picked the first tomatoes ~~ and eaten them ~~ with two more picks since.  I must go and tie up the stems too, for they have slipped a little and the branches are sagging, laden with fruits ~~

They are growing up against a south facing wall, in a Gro~bag and coming along very well, I think!

Here is a little update on other things growing and coming along ~~~ do you remember I said the Butternut Squash had found themselves on the menu for slugs, along with the runner beans?  Well, sad to say, the runner beans will not recover now, but I have managed to save two of the four lovely Butternut squash seedlings and they, so far, are recovering.  I will take photographs when they are looking better again!

The courgette plants are growing steadily, although two are eaten almost completely away by slugs, another is recovering, two are doing quite well, and two are taking off!  Such a difference in seven plants all sown and planted out together!   Here are the two strongest and most healthy ~~~ and I think you will agree that they are quite sturdy plants indeed ~~~

The carrot experiment continues in the bin ~~~ I have sown more seed in the gaps ~~~ a full conclusion will only be reached, though, once harvest is made ~~~ for only then will I know if the carrot fly failed and my plan worked ~~~

Here are just a few of the tiny seedlings of Swiss Chard that germinated ~~~ very soon they will need thinning and weeding too!  The twigs are there to protect the seedlings from birds and cats ~~~
I am looking forward to Swiss Chard in a cheese sauce this winter! ~~~ oh! and the seeds were well past their 'sow before' date by about four years or more ~~~ I always say the old, folklore adage of "one year's seeds is seven years weeds" holds true for vegetable seeds too! 

The weather has not been brilliant ~ lots of thundery showers, sticky and humid ~ you know the sort ~ and with the wind too, some of the flowers are going over more rapidly than usual.  However, always one to be on the lookout for something to snare with my lens, I took these ~~ they are my Fairies in the Garden photographs!  I hope you like them, I think they are quite fun ~~~ take a close look, see if you can guess what they are and I will tell you later on ~~ Remember ~~~ when life gives you raindrops ~~~ take photographs! ~~~

As well as Fairies, we have fairy clothing, or gloves for foxes!  They say foxgloves are so called because foxes wear them to soften the sound of their padding paws, but I rather fancy them as little hats for tiny fairies dancing in the pale moon light as it casts silvery shadows across the lawn ~~~ there are volumes of folk lore attached to these beautiful, elegant spikes that line our hedgerows and paint our gardens ~~~ freely seeding, I have never been without foxgloves in my garden ~~~

I love the green caps that hold the glove to the stem ~~~

I love how close the gloves are to each other ~~~

~~~ and I love the spots inside and the tiny hairs that point the way for bees to gather honey ~~~

For those of you who are fans of Tasha Tudor {as am I, she is a particular heroine of mine} you may know that she had much of this in her garden ~~~ Rose Bay Willow Herb or Fireweed ~~~ and I have much of it too!

I am pleased to say that the Evening Primrose is still seeding around my garden, and I found some growing on the old stone hedge ~~~

I took this for reference, because I love how the colours and textures all work together ~ well, I think they do ~ I love the frothy white oregano flowers, the purple lavender spikes, and the bright acid yellow of the oregano leaves {Alchemilla Mollis would work well in this group also} It is important, when planning, to keep a record of things you like, things that work well together, and, very importantly ~~~ things that thrive in your soil and situation ~~~

I love this purple Clematis bloom, softly moistened with early morning dew ~~~

I have dead headed pots and tubs of flowers on so many evenings this past week ~~~ an arduous task but must be done ~~~ put your portable radio on with some good music and switch your mind off from the job ~~ then set to work with your tiny snips removing all the spent blooms before they set seed ~~~ for soon you will be rewarded with more flowers and fragrance ~~~ the trick is to fool the plant into thinking it still needs to make seed ~~~ it will make more flowers if the already fertilised flowers are taken away ~~~

Here is the view from my cottage, across the early morning fields, bathed in a swaddling mist of night ~~~

Here is the same angle, with those fields in the distance, showing the Elizabeth roses that bloom in profusion outside my window ~~~ what a sight to wake up to each Summer's morn ~~~

Am I blessed, or am I blessed?  I am very blessed indeed, and I give thanks for this each day when I look out across The Shire ~~~

Did you guess what those Fairy photographs were of yet?  Well, here they were just a few days before ~ the seed heads of a tiny Willow Herb that I captured as it broke open ~~~ quite feathery looking with that row of black seeds just waiting for the right moment to fling themselves into the wind ~~~

Unfortunately for them, they picked the wrong day!  They sprung forth from their spring~loaded pods straight into a nearby spider web and then it rained!  I just happened to notice the fluffy, dew~covered web and put my camera to work immediately!  Seren~dipity~do~dah!  ~~~

Then, the sun came out again and left them high and dry ~~~ still trapped, forever, in a spider's web of doom! {shudders} See how different it looks ~ yet you can see exactly what it is too ~~~

Finally, here is a little hover fly drinking nectar from a purple Verbena Bonariensis ~~~ a nectar rich plant which does well in the Garden, seeding everywhere, standing up to the winds as it bends on whippy, elegantly long stems, providing colour, structure, and nectar for the butterflies and bees ~~~

~~~A Gardener's Work Is Never Done~~~


  1. I loved the visit of your garden!! Oh how I wish you could show me around personally! Then I could enjoy some of the wonderful food you talk about.
    The photos are breathtaking!

    1. I wish you could come here too ~ we'd have such fun! Of course, it wouldn't stop in the garden, there's the village, and the beaches, and the countryside too! Waving!

  2. Amazing photography, Debs! I enjoyed reading about your garden escapades and learning something new about plants I've not heard of before. I have Evening Primrose in my garden, too. Are yours 6 feet tall like mine? I do not know where they came from. In fact, for several years now I thought they were weeds and pulled them out. This year they some how escaped my attention until they produced their flower. That's when I looked them up in my book of flowers and discovered what they were. I am still waiting for my Foxgloves to bloom. No stalks even yet! But lots of leaves.

    1. Hello! No, mine aren't that tall, they are about four foot tall, but there are many different sorts. Apparently, the root is edible, but I haven't tried it. Now, don't go fretting if your Foxgloves have yet to bloom ~ they are a bi~annual, forming big rosettes of leaves in the first year and the boldly beautiful spikes the following year. If you want them in flower every year, save some seed and sow it in alternate years. They freely seed anyway, so you should never be without them. Waving!

  3. Oh, Debs! You are truly blessed!! The view across the fields is enchanting in the mist. Your garden is filled with so many delights! Your foxgloves are the most beautiful color. I just love their old-fashioned charm! Your carrot experiment looks like a great idea. Do let us know how it works out. You have inspired me to plant raspberries again. Now that I have more time at home, I should be more successful at berry-picking before the birds find them! How many plants do you suggest for a small raspberry harvest? Debs, I believe that you are the BEST raindrop and dewdrop photographer ever! Big hugs for a wonderful walk through your Garden in the Shire. Your words and images makes it feel like we are walking through your garden together! Waving! ♡Dawn

    1. I have both native and cultivated foxgloves. The native are the deeper pink, almost purple and are over now. Yes, an update on the carrots is coming soon again as I've made an interesting observation! I started out with five canes each of four varieties so that I can be picking fresh berries over about four months, but it didn't work out quite as planned! You are too kind with your praise of my raindrops! Waving!

  4. What a beautiful place The Shire is! Those pink roses are so pretty. The pictures that you posted of the foxglove flowers have me inspired to research what kind of conditions they need to thrive. I would really like to plant some in my yard for next year. Your photograph of the dewdrop- diamond studded spider web w/willow seed was gorgeous.


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