Since I started to play with Cee’s black and white challenge I’ve found it a lot of fun to experiment with editing my photos using different filters, desaturating or sepia for different effects. I also love to photograph the flowers in my garden so although I still like them better in colour it’s quite fun to see how they come out.
Winter is nearly here, my Gleditsia tree is bare, the maples have leaves but they are all dead, the apple tree has just a few green and yellow leaves left on it.
But there are still some roses. Here’s one from this morning.
My plants have had a tough summer. It was pretty warm and dry and with all the fires in the area, people were being asked to conserve water so I didn’t feel like I should be using it watering the garden. I did water my pot plants with a jug but then at the height of the danger, I left home for three weeks. I wasn’t sure if I would see my house again let alone my plants but I gave all the pots a good soak before I left and the ones on the front porch I placed in a shallow tub of water. Nevertheless, after being gone for so long I expected to come home to a garden full of dead plants.
The ones I was most upset about losing were several plants that I’d bought in late 2015, two pots of English Lavender, two rose bushes and some Marguerite Daises. I’d bought them not long after David died and I planned to keep them in pots so that when I eventually moved I could take them with me.
When I was able to visit home again the plants were in a sorry state but they were not completely dead. The ones in the front which were mostly in plastic pots which dry out faster had been saved by the tub of water. Some of the ones around the back were in terracotta pots but they were all dried out and I wasted no time in giving them a good drink and cutting some of the dead stuff off. It was another week until I came home but I hoped that would keep them going until then. Luckily we had some rain that week which helped a lot.
Once things had started to get back to normal I had time to look at the plants properly. I am no gardener but I decided that the best thing to do was first to cut off all the dead parts of each plant and secondly to re-pot them. I had been planning to do that anyway as they had been in the same pots for three years. I had to wait until I could arrange to get some potting soil, it’s not the easiest thing to carry a big, heavy bag of potting soil home in your shopping trolley or on the bus but luckily I was able to tag along with a friend who was renovating and while he was getting his hardware I was able to go and get my bags of potting soil.
I decided to split the daisies into two pots. it looked as if one half was going to die anyway. The rest I returned to their original pots with fresh new soil. There was not a lot left of the lavender. The French lavender in the garden has always been more prolific but I like the English ones, the scent reminds me of summer in England when I was a child.
I had bought some pansy seedlings, marigolds, lobelia and pansies as I like to have flowers around the house, it makes it look welcoming to potential buyers but more importantly, I like them. I put some pansies in with the bigger half of the daisy plant. We had some good rain in March and in between times I kept them well watered.
I’m pleased to say they all lived, even the dodgy daisy.
I was pleased to see the roses looking more healthy after a few weeks in the fresh soil, they started growing a few new shoots and leaves. When pruning time comes I may cut more branches off but for now, I’ll just give it time to recover. It is quite late in the season for flowers, they didn’t flower much this summer at all but I’m hoping next year I’ll see some nice ones like the one in the photo above taken a couple of summers ago.
I’m amazed at how this has grown since last year. It is much more prolific than my English Lavender.
The apple blossom never seems to last long, October is often windy and sometimes it’s gone almost as soon as it has arrived.
In May I planted some bluebells under the tree, I honestly didn’t know then if I would be here to see them flower as the house was on the market already but I thought that they would look nice and be a parting gift to the house.
They flowered this week in time to coincide with the arrival of the apple blossom and it does look nice. If I am still here in the autumn I’ll try to plant a few more. A mass of them would look beautiful next spring.
After a wet week today has been one of those lovely, sunny winter days where it has been warmer outside than inside. I decided that I had better get on with pruning the rose bushes in my front garden. I always like to get the three bushes there and the three in the back garden pruned by the end of July but as July is often one of our wettest months it doesn’t always happen.
I don’t always enjoy the job, the bushes are thorny, the ground is muddy and I am short so it is not easy to reach the tops of them. For that reason I like to cut them back fairly severely every year. If I let them get too tall I’d never be able to prune them.
I did two today before I had enough. It took a couple of hours. I could have done one more but instead had a walk round the garden to see what bulbs were coming up. I have had jonquils flowering since May, silly things don’t know it’s winter. I can see the Erlicheer daffodils and the King Alfred are growing well and we’ll probably see them next month.
I planted a few bluebells and grape hyacinths under the apple tree and I can see a few of them have popped up although they are still too tiny to photograph well.
I planted some pots of bulbs in mid May and of those the one with freesias and bluebells is making the best progress, another one with more freesias and grape hyacinths is starting to sprout but no sign of the tulips yet. I never have a lot of luck with them but they do bloom later here so maybe it is just too soon.
I had a look at the new rose bushes that were put in last summer but they only needed a snip here and there. They are still babies.
Finally I sat in the sun and ate my belated lunch and then brushed Cindy who is shedding like crazy at the moment.