Category Archives: alder garden

the veggies (was seeds)

as I’ve not sown any more seeds except for continuous succession crops I didn’t think seeds was any longer an appropriate title for an update post, so as the veg are the main seed plants I’d do a post just on them and include flowers in posts as and where they appear in the garden,

indoors, the pepper and cucumbers are growing well, initially I had some of both on the kitchen windowsill (south facing) and workroom windowsill (west facing), then I noticed the cucumbers in the kitchen were growing better and the peppers in the workroom growing better so I switched them around, all the cucumbers on the kitchen windowsill, they are creating a rather dense green curtain,
the kitchen is noticeably darker, I am amazed I have cucumbers growing I would never have thought I could grow them, my grandsons are visiting in a couple of weeks and I’m hoping I might have fresh homegrown cucumbers for them,
the peppers in the workroom are also growing well, they are not sweet pepper as I didn’t buy seed I used a free seed for this first trial run, now I know they grow I will buy some sweet pepper seed next year, these are Hungarian hot wax which are said to be medium hot, I’m not mad on hot, so I’m hoping they will not be too hot, they go yellow and/or red, I have read that the redder they get the hotter, so I’m wondering just how soon I can start using them so they are more mild than hot, I took this photo last week,
and when I went in the room next morning the large pepper was gone, I thought it had dropped off for some reason and so as I walk towards the window was looking below the plant but it wasn’t there either then I saw it behind the leaf, it have started to droop, phew,
outside, well I have not had much luck with the courgettes, of the 5 plants, one died, one is growing and three are feeding some pests, the only plant doing anything much,
the first flower shows the nibbles,
this is the new raised bed in the alder veg garden, as you can see I have not got it as full of soil as I would like, the two courgettes here are not growing well,
the first tomato seeds I sowed didn’t germinate, as I was using last years seed I decided to just sow what was left in the packet, typical, quite a lot germinated, I have four on the workroom windowsill with the peppers and thought when I did this bed I’d put 6 here one at each post, the rest went on the compost, I’m not expecting much/anything but I am curious to see what happens,
the squash are doing much better, I planted out five in the new alder veg bed, they are where there were potatoes 2 years ago and I grew a green manure last year which was dug in, I thought that would hopefully mean there was a good fertile bit of soil for them, as I had a piece of fleece handy when I planted them out, I used it to cover 2 of them, it made quite a bit of difference to growth, so I then put fleece over the rest and the courgettes,

first female flower,
of the other veg, I still have plenty of greens, salad and the radish have grown this year, though the carrots and beetroot are not doing so well, I seem to have a problem with root crops which surprises me as I thought they would do well here being under the ground and out of the wind, I’m wondering if they need a more alkaline soil, or more warmth, I can’t think of anything else, if anyone has any ideas please say, thanks, the onions are growing well, the onions from seed are not as big as those from a set, I planted the chard along the front of the border because I though it would be pretty to look at with the bright coloured stems, most of it has gone to seed,
as I walked round taking photos Saturday and came down the wildflower slope, looking across towards the Alder garden I thought it gave a good over view, the shrub on the left is a blackcurrant, I was going to move it to the F&B garden but have decided to leave it, along the right of the photo is the flower border that runs across the centre of this garden, the blue geraniums are growing new foliage after being cut back, the oxeye daisy seedlings have grown well, the distant specks of red at the far end are geum mrs bradshaw, I have planted some divisions of an orange geum this end, there are some potatoes growing that I missed last year, it’s on the right of this border that the new raised bed is and I hope to build more, I’m pleased with the hedge at the far end of this photo it has filled out nicely now, the other side of it is the Alder terrace,
and the raised beds along the back of the house are doing well with the greens and salad leaves, and peas, at last the first pods were large enough for me to pick,
there is still much planned and much to be done, more raised beds, in time, in time,

©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

alnus incana ~ July

the grey alder is filling out with more foliage and has an open multi trunk (trunks), the whole tree as best I can, there are a couple of dead leaders, probably from winter storms,
the top line showing the grey alder between 2 New Zealand broadleafs which I think are a form of shrubby poplars,
I’ve become interested in the bark, it has these light coloured marks and some larger cream patches, I’ve noticed the Ash trees are the similar,
the larger mature leaf, some keep the reddish brown until nearly full grown,
I actually saw a bug and got a photo, not sure what it is,
underneath it needs weeding, I have no excuse for not having weeded, instead I have a very good reason, rain, it hasn’t stopped much, no dry spell this year, last week I had just 1 day when I could go/work in the garden, I don’t think it is just up here I think other parts of the UK are the same, thistle, grass and horsetails, and an unknown weed that seeds it’s self around,
looking up through the leaves,
the hornbeam, I was a bit late taking photos so the sun was behind it, must take the photo in the morning next month,
I noticed the leaves start off quite pointed then round more, they too are reddish when they first emerge,
from the other (sunny) side, lots of weeding to be done here too, mostly hawkweed,
and the teeny, tiny lodge pole pine, not much change,
I’m still very much enjoying this meme and seeing a lot more in all my trees, thanks to Lucy for hosting this meme, if you would like to see and follow more trees then click through to Lucy’s blog,

©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

alnus incana ~ June

first  I want to apologise for the dark quality of the photos, I forogt to take photos earlier in the day and took some late yesterday, I would have taken more today but this morning it was raining heavily, then windy with sun, now it’s raining again, so dark they have to stay,  

my grey alder in early June, the foliage is emerging but slowly, I had not realised before but it is later than the common alders in my garden, the full view,
I tried for a closer view, you can see there is more leaf growth than a month ago,
and under, well that mulching is still waiting to be done but it will now need weeding first, grass and horsetails,
this month I am showing 2 other trees, Laura is posting about a hornbeam and when I had mentioned there are hornbeams in the same border as my grey alder she asked me if I would do a comparison with her, I declined as the hornbeams by the grey alder are not very good, however when working in the alder garden I noticed this hornbeam, which had done well last year is still doing well, usually after the winter gales there are lots of dead bits but not this year,
what took my interest when I looked closer was the way the leaves on the hornbeam emerge downwards, where as on the grey alder they emerge upwards, it’s one of the things I am enjoying about tree following, in the 12 years these trees have been growing in my garden I had not noticed this before,
my third tree is on a different scale to the others, it is a lodge pole pine seedling that I plucked from the moss 2 years ago and put into a wee pot, and forgot, when sorting out all the pots I had in the garden 10 or so days ago I noticed it has hardly grown, yet the seedling pines I had put into a holding bed are 18″ – 2 feet tall now (and planted out), so is this because it was in a small pot restricting it’s size, among the many odds and ends I have from my parents house is a bonsai pot/dish, so as the wee tree is an interesting shape I decided to pot it in the dish and see what happens,
thanks to Lucy for hosting this meme and encouraging me to look up close and personal with my trees, please visit Lucy’s blog for more tree following posts,

©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

a walk in my garden 2

I finished the first part of the walk on the little path between the potatoes and the alder terrace, as I come along the path, the border and path that run through the middle of the alder garden are in front of me,
geum Mrs Bradshaw has just started flowering, giving some nice red dots, there are a lot more open today,
returning to the corner front of the house, the lower part of the alder garden is taking shape, I want more raised veg beds here,
walking along the path by the house to the other end by the corner at the back of the house, you can see more changes,
now if I turn away from the alder garden, I have the wildflower slope on my right and the back of the house to my left, this is where the raised veg beds are, I didn’t take photos, the wildflower slope is green with lots of promise but the spring flowers are finished and summer ones haven’t started,
walking along the bottom of the slope and then going up the side between the wildflowers and the great bank of calluna vulgaris, I come to the top and the west fence, this is the highest part of my garden, a view not posted before,
the area in the above photo was calluna, it is hard work cutting it down and it takes years for the roots to start to disintegrate and other plants to grow (except grass which can move in immediately), I got a professional to put in the windproof fence as I thought I would have a good strong fence, silly me, you know the old saying, if you want a job done properly do it yourself!
a view across the calluna to the lower trees, the tweenie garden is the other side of them,
some rowans I planted during my first year,
walking along the fence to the conifer trees, the rowan at the end has grown best and has lots of flowers,
I can’t go any further along the fence as the big conifers come right to the fence blocking the way, so I will turn left down here to under the trees, near the top end of the tweenie garden, but I’ll leave that until tomorrow,

©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

the Alder garden

before I can continue the walk and post the photos of the alder garden I took Saturday I need to post the ‘before’ photos, 3 years ago this garden was to be my EoMV garden but due to weather etc. I gave up, last year I managed to do some work eradicating the grass under one of the alders and I added some more plants, there was not much previously, during the course of the year looking for more space for vegetables, I planted cauliflowers and later some french beans, then the rains came and nothing was done until April this year when I finally felt I had too!
these photos were taken 21 April before I started, some of the daffodils are in pots as it is where I keep some pots,
lots of foxgloves among the weeds,
the olearia has blown over and foxgloves and grass are over whelming the plants I want here,
this is supposed to be primroses,
these photos were taken 2 days later when I had done a bit of work, the sloping bank is a problem as it was heather and grass and the heather roots are still there it is also shallow soil on rock, I’ve just got some cuttings of the wild pink rosa rugosa and I am hoping if they take, they might work here,
in the middle ground the stones are a path cutting the garden in two and the daffodils are in a narrow border beside the path,
look how tall the hellebore leaves are due to struggling through the foxgloves and grass, the foxgloves are in the birch garden,
the plants on the right are self seeded oxeye daisies, they too are in the birch garden near the aquilegias,
fast forward a couple of weeks to May and the primroses are strutting their stuff,
after removing the daisies I moved the hellebores into this bed and some plants from the middle front garden,
P. Sieboldii Manakoora, another new primula bought last year, I have P.S. Snowflake too but it isn’t growing as strongly and didn’t flower, needs some tlc,
as it is the Alder garden I must show the alders, the first is in the photo of the primroses (3 back), these are the other 2, quite different in growth, all have been growing 12 years,
I posted in April about creating a path between the AG and the wildflower slope and making a hedge, the first plants are in and the daffodils are the last part of the border through the middle,
the border, geraniums and most of the daffodils were planted first a couple of years ago, last year I added some feverfew and geum at the F&B end, this year in the previous photo you can see where I added more geum and daffodils and oxeye daisy seedlings all the way along,
foolishly I didn’t take any long view photos in May, this post is long enough now so I will continue the walk and post current photos tomorrow,

©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

gardening at last

we have been enjoying some dry days, note ‘days’ there have been some big downpours over night but that’s better than during the day, so as you can well guess I have been busy in my garden, we had some strong cold easterly winds earlier in the week, which is working weather on the westside of the house, the alder garden, I did some weeding and tidying, I have decided to use it for veggies but more about that in another post, Wednesday the wind was a little less so I finally dug the path between the alder garden and wildflower slope, the bank I put on the right is for some shrubs as with the more frequent east winds I felt a little shelter is needed, 


I’m still picking purple sprouting and enjoying, I’ve been asking myself why I never grew veg before,


question to other veg growers, some of the plants instead of producing more spears have gone very leafy, I think the foliage is beautiful in it’s own way with the purple veining, but I’m wondering will it later start to produce more spears or not and if not can I eat the leaves, thanks,


then yesterday the wind dropped!!! and it was damp, perfect weather for moving plants, I decided to tackle the species rose border, it was never completed last year and a couple of weeks ago on a west wind day, this border is on the east side, I got a lot of weeding done, well it was really a case of removing all the flower seed from that 2012 compost I’d dug in when I created the border, with tea breaks and lunch break I was working on it for 11 hours, 9am to 8pm, so I was a bit tired to write this post last night and my legs are still aching a bit, I am so glad it’s done though and will right a post later, I even got it mulched,


and last look at this weird plant,

francescaple.cowslip2when I was working near it a few weeks ago I noticed a primula had seeded into the middle of an A.mollis, as I have lots of primroses I assumed it as a primrose I was very surprised to see this yesterday, cowslips don’t seed as freely as primroses and oxlips so it’s precious, I aim to move it to the grey alder border I’ve been writing about,

today the harr (sea mist) is in this morning but it’s starting to lift and so far no rain or wind, I hope it lasts so I can tackle the rosa rugosa border today,
if you too have had a bad autumn/winter/early spring, I hope you are now getting some days in your garden, x


©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.


today was sunny with a chill wind in the morning, by late afternoon the sun was still out and the wind had almost stopped, so I had a good day in the garden and started some clearing up and weeding at long last, first though as so many flowers have open this past few days I took some springtime flower photos,


©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.


Tuesday and Wednesday were not bad garden days, now we are back to rain, anyway I got out to do some work in the garden on those 2 days, I made a start on the stone path in the Alder garden, to the right the area requires a lot of work, the border on the left is new and not complete, the geraniums in the distance were planted early winter last year, they flowered earlier and have increased nicely so should flower well next year,
the small plants in the foreground were planted spring this year, geum Mrs Bradshaw and golden feverfew, there are daffodils below ground, I want to plant a second row of flowering plants and I am not going to buy any, so some of the many self sown oxeye daisies will be transplanted there and if they grow and survive I’m hoping some of the seeds I’m sowing too,
I don’t know the name of this geranium as a piece was given me, it was nearly lost in the overgrown jungle front garden but when I started working on that area I very carefully weeded out all the grass, fed it and gave it lots of TLC last year, then last winter moved it to the rugosa rose border, it was in pieces the size of plug plants, look how they have grown and they have flowered well most of summer, this border is limed in autumn and fed in spring, I know that is making a difference,
Rosa Sarah van Fleet is still offering a few more flowers, the pink geranium is in front of her,
Rosa F J Grootendorst has been flowering most of summer,
a better photo of my Dad’s ice plant
the first liatris spicata has finally flowered and a bee has found it already,
the bee interests me as I’ve not seen this one before, mostly I see the bees with white bottoms, I always think they look like they are wearing nappies, there are several different ones as the stripes and colours are varied, the other I see has no black bands the main back is a honey ginger colour, slightly redder than this bee, this bee with the single black stripe on a honey colour is new to me,



©Copyright 2013 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.