veggies, camelot and WP comment likes?

I think I will embarrass my non growing veggies on my blog more often, after saying in my last veg post that the carrots were not growing and the slugs had grazed what few cauliflowers had grown, imagine my surprise when I managed to get a few hours in the garden this week to find both had grown! not much but something no matter how small is better than nothing,
when I get a chance to get into the garden, rain has stopped play most of this year, the first thing I usually do is check the veg and harvest anything that is ready and I can use, when I did that last Wednesday I saw the carrot tops from my second batch of seed, sown in July, had grown, so I investigated and found, yes! some carrots, not much most are still the size of a pea,
this made me decide to check the cauliflowers and amazing there had been growth in late October, and, and, no grazing! I cut 2 larger ones, about tennis ball size, and left the rest but decided to kept a check on them,
last year the first time I grew cauliflower, I had one beautiful one, then as others grew I left them to get bigger, they just went all leggy and loose, with no nice tight flower heads, I learnt over winter that that is common, don’t leave them, take them small, Friday when I check the cauliflowers one that had been fine Wednesday, just 2 days earlier was now shooting up and had been grazed, so I cut them all even though some are a mere mouthful, the photo above shows the true colours taken outside, these look yellow from the artificial light in the kitchen, I placed a teaspoon in front so you can see just how wee 3 of them are, and one about the size of the one on the left has been eaten, it tasted good,
I found one golf ball sized beetroot …………………
the salad leaves are also from the garden, the kale is looking better now, whatever was eating it doesn’t like the stormy weather, and the broccoli leaves are doing great, no sprouts, hopefully will have some in spring, as I didn’t plant many potatoes this year I have nearly finished them, oh, and the baby leeks are still being pulled as needed, the last of the tomatoes and peppers are ripe and will soon be gone, cucumbers are finished, can’t believe I’ve managed to grow so much,

now Camelot, The Once and Future King by T H White is on BBC radio 4 and when listening to the first episode this afternoon, when Arthur described Camelot to Guenevere, I want Camelot weather, it only rains for agriculture purposes and it only rains at night, yes please,

now wordpress comment likes, how are you doing that? I have had e mails that some people ‘like’ the reply comment I leave to their comment and I can’t figure how you do it, I see no like buttons on any of the comments on my blog, I have noticed them on some other blogs, nothing shows on my blog that you have liked it, just the e mail, it’s beginning to annoy me I can’t find how you do it, please tell me, thanks,

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

tree following ~ November

the grey alder has lost almost all it’s leaves with no colour change except brown windburn, the yellow gold leaved plant is another hornbeam,
I read/heard recently that some plants react to the shorter daylight rather than change in temperature, this interested me as the temperature here does not change a great deal but the daylight changes very dramatically, from about 20hrs. in summer to about 6hrs. in winter,

it’s interesting that one of the hornbeams next to the grey alder still has yellow leaves, there is one on the other side that has dried leaves just like the hornbeam I am following,
yes, what looks like a pile of dead leaves is the same hornbeam I showed in all it’s colourful glory a few weeks ago, hornbeams like beech hold on to their leaves until the new growth starts in spring, unless winter storms blow them off, I looked last month and this for the spiders but they are gone, I hope into hibernation or whatever they naturally do in winter,

thank you to Lucy for hosting this meme, this will probably be my last tree following post until next spring, I have really enjoyed taking this close look at my trees and if the meme runs next I will be joining in again, if you would like to see more tree following posts then please click through to Lucy’s blog,

I’ve been quiet on the blogging scene as I was away again and have been busy catching up with things since coming home at the beginning of last week, I didn’t do an end of month view post last month and will not be doing any more this year as there is nothing to show except some foliage which I will post as part of Christina‘s foliage meme.

thanks for reading and have a good weekend, x

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

wordy Wednesday ~ was foliage

well if you want to make a foliage post then take your photos before the hurricane hits, the dogwood foliage was looking beautiful and a few other shrubs, now most of the red and yellow leaves have been blown away though the still green leaves have hung on,

on Sunday morning I went into the back bedroom and through the window saw the little Hornbeam I have been showing in my tree following post with the sun on the wet leaves, it looked so pretty I rushed out to take a photo,




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


I did manage to get into the garden for a little while last Tuesday, it’s been too cold and windy since, I want to get some of the new plants planted but no hope, while I was in the garden the first thing to do is always collect veggies, this is the total of my carrot crop this year!
I don’t know why but apart from potatoes I do not do well with root crops, carrots and beetroot just are not growing much at all, I did get a small crop of carrots last year but this year I’ve literally only got a handful and the beetroot just isn’t growing any bulbs at all, help, any suggestions, I am wondering if it is temperature, it just doesn’t get warm enough,
I did dig up the remainder of the potatoes, I planted less this year, pulled the rest of the onions, some of these are smaller than the earlier crop because these were grown from seed the earlier ones were from a set, and I dug out a few more leeks, I’m leaving the leeks for as and when I want them, I’ve read they can be left in the ground through winter to be dug as needed, the washed potatoes,
I’m still taking a few broccoli leaves and noticed this week that there are the beginnings of some spears so I don’t know if I might get a few before they sleep for winter, the courgettes and pumpkins have been removed as they were dying back, the cauliflowers are only tiny hearts that the slugs have grazed so they will be for the compost heap when weather allows, there are still some salad leaves outside,
inside I am still getting some cucumbers but I have noticed they are growing much slower so I think the last few will be small, the peppers and tomatoes are still slowly turning red, still haven’t tried fried green tomatoes, really must, and I must remember to buy onion sets and garlic and plant them,
fruitwise, there were not many autumn raspberries, the small pieces of rhubarb I moved to the new bed in the fruit and berry garden grew well and I’ve not pulled the rhubarb which is now dying back so I am hoping they will be nice large crowns for next year, and now the potatoes have been dug out all I need to do is dig out as much creeping buttercup as I can, which is in this bed then start designing how I want it, I know what is going in there as I have black currant and gooseberry plants in pots I started as cuttings last year, it is such a sense of satisfaction and achievement having an area almost cleared and plants I’ve grown ready to go in,
the last of the gooseberries I froze will be used soon and I’ve started the last pot of gooseberry jam, there is quite a lot I want, hope and need to do in the fruit and berry garden before next spring, I think it will have to take a priority over the ornamental areas of the garden,
growing food and enjoying it gives a sense of purpose to gardening when the weather won’t let you enjoy your ornamental plants,

I wrote this post last night and the weather decided to prove me wrong, I’m glad to say, today after some rain early this morning, the wind started to lessen and the sun even came out for a short while, I took the opportunity to plant out some of the plants I’ve bought recently and do a little bit of weeding (so I could plant out in a weed free area),

have a nice weekend everyone,

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

tree following ~ October

I’m later with my tree following this month due to unexpectedly needing to go away, I got home just before mid-night Friday feeling very tired so I’ve been catching up on some things over the weekend, blogging, both writing and reading has not happened, I will do some this week but expect to be away again next week so I will be absent for much of October,

I took some photos of the grey alder this morning before going to art club and only realised when I loaded them onto the computer that I completely forgot the hornbeam, as it is nearly the end of the week for tree following I wanted to get mine posted and linked tonight, so at the moment it is just the grey alder but some time during tomorrow (Tuesday) I will be updating the post by adding the hornbeam,

the poplars have lost almost all their leaves so you can see the little grey alder between them much better, some of the lower foliage  is  hornbeam that grows between the GA and poplars,
the usual view when I couldn’t see across the raspberries,
we had some very bad storms last week and the foliage has literally been ripped to shreds, but do you notice what is new there,
take a closer look, next years leaf buds are already and waiting for next spring,
no change of colour in the leaves yet, the bits of brown are windburn,
tomorrow the hornbeam will be added, 

as you can see the hornbeam has started to take on autumnal colours,
the hornbeams do not go bright golds, reds and oranges, the leaves go from dark green to light to limey yellow and eventually brown and drop off, although most of these brown leaves are crisp and so brown from windburn not decade,
due to the grey alder showing next years leaf buds I looked very closely at the hornbeam to see if there were any, all I could see were tiny pinpricks on the stems, never-the-less I took as close a photo as I could, when I brought the photo up on the computer, wow, those tiny pinpricks are the leaf buds for next spring, in this photo they have been magnified by the camera many, many times,
I noticed 2 of the branches were much darker than usual,
this is the colour they usually are,
as I was writing this I remembered Laura had mentioned the dark wood of the hornbeam in one of her tree following posts, I also remembered thinking at the time “mine aren’t”, perhaps now in their 15th season of growth some are mature enough to produce dark wood,

thanks to Lucy for hosting this meme and please click through to Lucy’s blog to see more tree following posts,

and look what I found in my front porch when I got home from art club ……..  

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

end of month view ~ September

I have had some lovely post this last week from garden blogging friends, Cathy sent me some persicaria red dragon and Angie sent me a box full of orphans she no longer has room for in her garden for me to rehome, thank you both they are very welcome, I had taken some photos of the front garden this morning but when Angie’s box arrived,
it was like christmas and as the wind and rain had slowed a little I just had to get out and do some muddy gardening, many of the plants are in the front garden, also I had not yet planted the plants I had bought last week,
the little bed this morning,
when I saw the above photo on the computer, on the left I thought I should join the row of chives to follow from the line of carex frosted curls, so I did,
I also added another daylily to this group, hemerocallis crimson pirate from Angie, the ones already here are bright orange and the geranium magenta pink, so I thought a deep red would add depth, the primula is a deep purple denticulata,
I’ve shown this foliage before but now there is geranium macrorrhizum ingwersens variety from Angie and barely seen beside it geranium phaeum, g.phaeum is one of the ones I dug up and potted from the wilderness bed back in the spring, they have grown well, the photo is blurry due to misty rain and fading light,     
middle bed, I had hoped to get the olearia trimmed, I did get out last Wednesday afternoon and managed to do some weeding in this bed, the patch of soil you can see half way along the path on the left,
I found several seedling of carex frosted curls, this is where the original plant was and these seedling must have been smothered by other plants, they are very small I did think of potting them up but I’m scared of loosing them so I’m leaving them until spring,
also are all these seedlings of (I think) creeping borage, the rough hairy leaves are the complete opposite of the beautiful tiny delicate pale blue bell flowers held on thin tall stems, I moved all of them earlier this year these had all grown this season, they will all be transplanted to new homes next spring,
2 of the plants I bought last week, I’m pleased with how the blue carex has grown as these were divisions planted in spring, they fatten up quickly,
a round up of sedums in this bed which as small go unnoticed without a close up, sorry I don’t know the names and haven’t time to look them up, from the top left clockwise, this sedum has taken on it’s winter coat, it’s grey/green in summer, I like how the next has increased this year (must like rain) I put the white stones there as with the pine mulch it could hardly be seen, black beauty, I thought I’d lost it, it was growing well until a month ago when all the leaves went but there is hope, new growth, I intend putting it in a pot with the silver plant I bought last week, lastly I like the deep red of this but not so keen on the stems,
the middle bed is where I plan the plant persicaria red dragon from Cathy but for now it’s in a pot,
jungle bed, the rose you see flowering is floribunda queen elizabeth, it needs cultivation, it always flowers this ridiculously late and the blooms get ruined, one year it flowered at christmas! you can see in this wide view that all the good stuff is in the border by the path,
I’m loving this agapanthus the flowers have lasted so long and I like how they fade to violet purple, and can you see, seedpods, I’m hoping to collect and sow them,
these are another joy, they are from a free packet of seeds, rudbeckia rustic dwarfs, an annual, the photo on the packet they are all the same so I was surprised and pleased to see a variety, these are the same as the ones I planted in the alder garden that disappeared over night, I have never grown rudbeckia and I love the way they open, like the bud top right, a sort of bad hair day, then bottom left the way the petals are rolled and they unroll, beautiful,
aucuba japonica variegata, this was tiny and by mid winter it was bare, just very tiny green twigs, I stupidly forgot protection, so in spring after weeding I put a large stone on the south westerly side gave some feed and waited, so pleased I did, this is at the bottom of the jungle near the house,
this morning as I crossed the kitchen I thought I saw a flash of mauve in the damp meadow, when I looked the asters are out, and the clump here in the jungle is too, all these asters were originally planted in this bed but they became over grown to the point they choked each other, so 3 years ago I dug out square turf like chunks of root and put them in the damp meadow, they did so well the next year I put more in the meadow, some in the birch garden and a clump here in this dug and composted border, must not let them become so choked again,
I’ve added astrantia snow star and geranium sylvalicum album from Angie to this bed, thought I’d finish with this photo taken just before I finished this afternoon of a misty rain covered rudbeckia,
thank you to Helen for hosting end of month view, if you would like to see more gardens at the end of this month please click through to Helen’s blog,

thank you to Cathy and Angie for plants, very welcome,

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


except for the last photo these photos were taken last week, today I was out and it rained, so I’m using these earlier ones, this is the top point of the triangle middle bed in the front garden, it is what and how you see it as you enter my garden, I’m pleased with how both the phormium and dianthus have grown, the bare soil around the dianthus should have artemisia growing, I have put cuttings in which usually take well but not this time, I’m wondering if the very wet winters are to blame, it is a cunning plan to stop the rabbits from eating the dianthus which they love, they don’t like the strong aroma of the artemisia, I’ve been lucky and not seen them for sometime but if they should return I want to be ready for them,
across the path I am enjoying how these 2 low growing plants have started to grow into each other, ground cover that is the plan, Saxifraga golden falls and Erica carnea golden starlet,
into the fruit and berry garden, a different view from the usual one with the grey alder, this is looking across to the west boundary and I am so pleased with how it has grown this year, the willows have really come back after being sapped by a spring gale 3 or 4 years ago, it killed all the leaf buds and the willows didn’t come into leaf that year, they were looking very dead, some did die but some survived and this year have fully recovered, next to them the green is, tallest and farthest back, cuttings I planted of the popular and ash trees, in front are a row of blackthorn, they have all grown so well I don’t think I need an inner hedge any more so I’m planning to replace the dead flowering currants with raspberries, the red and golden bushes are at the end of the inner hedge,
a closer view of them, Sambucus racemosa aurea/golden Elderberry and Euonymus europaeus/Spindle, both are part of an inner hedge as they will not cope with the gales,
and as a little treat when I left the art club this afternoon I did a detour into the little nursery shop next door to the Co-op, I had intended just having a look round, due to the possibility of moving I have not been buying any new plants this year, I succumbed to 4 plants all bought for their foliage first flower secondary, from the top left clockwise, Erica tetralix alba mollis, Calocephalus silver sands, Heuchera (unknown/no label) and Leucanthemum hosmariense,
I never used to like heathers much but decided a few years ago that they do grow here so plant what does grow, I’ve been interested to find they are not just callunas and ericas that flower in late summer but there is a wide variety of ericas that flower at various times of the year including winter, I was also surprised to find a variety of foliage colour, this one is said to be grey green but the wet has made it rather green and it flowers all summer, the Calocephalus is totally unknown to me, don’t you just love it though, as the heuchera in the RR border is growing well I thought I’d buy it a friend and the Leucanthemum well I like the ferny foliage and just love a daisy,

thank you to Christina for hosting this meme and if you would like to see more foliage posts please click through to Christina’s blog,

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