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.

wordless Wednesday ~ end of month view


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

seeds and veggies

wee eggs of the cabbage white butterfly, I enjoy seeing them dancing above the flowers and sipping nectar but I don’t want to share my greens with their off spring, I don’t know what wild plants the caterpillars feed on but whatever they are there must be plenty around here as there is never any shortage of white butterflies, so I decided I must cover my greens,
first to pick what was ready, my first crop of radish, I didn’t get any to enjoy last year they either didn’t grow or were tough, these were delicious,
first lettuce sown outside is through, I’m still cropping some from the windowsill inside,
cut all the outer leaves from the winter cabbage (yes it was supposed to grow through winter) after covering I have left them to heart up and will pull a whole one when needed, I have a surfeit of greens as these should have grown in winter, I still have some over wintered broccoli producing leaves and the kale and spinach I sowed for young leaves are producing, luckily they all have individual flavours,
the kale and spinach with a few other things, I have some wire frames from poly closhes so used them for support,
all covered,
the courgettes and squashes are outside now, though the courgettes are in big pots as I still have not got the new raised bed made in the new alder veg garden, a priority for next week me thinks,

inside I was soooo excited to see the first bud on one of the pepper plants mid month,
and the cucumbers I’ve discovered climb so supports need to be found,
the pepper flower opened Saturday,
now as it is inside do I need to pollinate? I’ve been searching for info and found none, the seed packet doesn’t say, tomatoes I’ve grown inside I’ve never needed to pollinate and I read not to let cucumbers grown inside pollinate as it makes for bitter fruit, thank you in advance for any help,

on the flower front, I’d planted out some of them as plug plants thinking that would be alright, the brachycome in the centre front garden and found most have disappeared, I saw 2 starlings waddling around and from the remaining evidence they have pecked them to pieces, in the long flower border in the alder veg garden as the oxeye daisies are young plants I planted the rudbeckias between them, thinking that as they are annuals they will be gone when the oxeye daisies fill out next year, the next morning most were gone! just gone! it is very irritating, but lesson learned no more planting out of plug sized plants, so I have just potted on the sunflowers, cornflowers and cosmos, I’ll plant them out when larger, like the echinacea, which I’ve planted at the top of the slope in the birch garden,
the mulch around them was made/laid when I couldn’t do much gardening earlier in the year due to rain and so did my pruning between the showers and shredded in the side porch, I laid the shredding here on newspaper and the grass which was sparse due to heavy cropping in previous years has now become a loam, it was nice to be able to plant into it, gave a sense that all the time in the wet months wasn’t completely wasted,

end of June, the nights start drawing in, time rushes by …….

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


back in February I took a little trip to Harris and took a few photos along the way, Patsy at Wildsherkin saw this photo and asked if she could use it as inspiration for a painting,
a few weeks ago she posted the finished pastel painting of the Clisham mountains, you can click through and read her post here,

Monday a beautiful print of the painting arrived at my house, I love it, it’s so beautiful,
whenever I go to Harris I know where on the journey this view is and always have camera at the ready as it is one of my favourite views, also when I lived on Scalpay, Harris, this was part of the view from my house, in the distance though not up close as when on the Tarbert – Stornoway road, I used to think one day I would walk the path to the mountain but never have, now I have the view in my home to see every day, thank you so much Patsy x

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

a little of the foliage in my garden

I am joining in Christina’s foliage meme this month as there is some foliage that is giving me a great deal of pleasure,

in the middle bed front garden the artemisia I finally bought earlier this year is growing very well, I say finally as I ordered it a couple of years ago and the nursery had sold out and sent one of my substitute choices instead, the juniper always gives me pleasure to see and now it is in it’s spring/summer colours as new growth is a creamy yellow, it will eventually turn blue as it matures,
near by this combination is starting to look nearer to how I visulised it as the plants start to fill out a bit,
in the species rose border the rubrifolia rose and origanum vulgare aureum (golden marjoram) are contrasting beautifully (well imo),

as this is a foliage post I was determined to get a better photo of the amelanchier foliage, it has this wonderful warm rusts and reds before turning spring green,
hosta carnival in the jungle front garden has grown quite a lot this year and I just love seeing it every time I walk by, I have resisted buying hostas as everyone says they are a slug magnet, but I tried one at the tree edge 2 years ago and last year bought this for the area by the house which I have had problems getting anything much growing in, if the hosta continues to thrive them maybe that will be the way to go here,
a little further along and the black peppermint is doing what mints have a reputation for doing ….. spreading, in this case so far nicely, I like the way it is coming up between other plants, the leaves are purple underneath and bonus it’s an edible mint,
this view is showing part of why I call this bed the jungle, hemerocallis, pontentillia and crocosmia, the pontentilla could do with a bit more room and the crocosmia definitely needs dividing, the hemerocallis could also be moved/divided, the contrasting foliage looks fine with or without the flowers which will come later,
and last but far from least, olearia virgata, Christina mentioned that sometimes we buy a plant just for the foliage, well this is just such a plant, I love the soft needle like leaves the way the new branches move with the breeze and yet stand up to the gales, lots of people think when they see it that it’s rosemary, it is only like rosemary in the leaf shape, rosemary has stiff leaves these are soft, it is also much more grey than rosemary, the one in this photo is an off spring of the original plant in the middle front bed that I cut early this year, this one is with others as part of an internal hedge which I run the trimmer over towards the end of summer just to keep the sides in check, olearia virgata is evergreen, though in my garden it does loose some leaves during the winter gales,
there is a lot of foliage in the tweenie garden but it is just too wet and I didn’t feel like getting my feet and legs soaked,
thanks to Christina for hosting this meme and please follow the link to Christina’s blog to see more foliage posts,

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

a walk in my garden

I have finally taken the photo from the hill and made a map, of sorts, for the walk in my garden, all the photos in the walk were taken on May 31st. I also found a photo taken from the hill when I first moved here so have included it, I have included links to all the walks, it will hopefully give the reader a sense of what my garden was like when I started and how I have gardened in it,
the garden from the hill opposite,
June 2014
February or March 2002
very rough map showing the walks with numbers and direction arrows, I did the map on white paper but it shows a blue cast on the computer,

a walk in my garden 1
a walk in my garden 2
a walk in my garden 3
a walk in my garden 4
a walk in my garden 5
a walk in my garden 6
a walk in my garden 7
a walk in my garden 8
a walk in my garden 9

I hope you can make sense of it all,
have a nice weekend, x

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

a walk in my garden 9

at the top of the birch area is the species rose border, I am standing near the big blue gate you sometimes see in photos,
I mentioned when I posted earlier about the species rose border that the other side was a slope down to the birch area, here it is, again uneven so I have been trying to even it up, I had to even up the rose border with turfs and soil before I planted it, I have not decided what to do here except that I want a path along by the narcissus so I can easily access the rose border from this side without standing on it,
now I’ve walked passed the roses and the phormium in the previous post, the top of the shed path and a pile of bits and pieces that seems to be growing, to eventually reach the R.R. border which I mentioned in an earlier post,
I’ve enjoyed the alliums with the hesperis this year, not an intentional planting  the hesperis seeded in last year, but one I think I’ll keep,
the oil tank is across the path from the RR, the other side of the tank are the raised veg beds, this is the south facing back of the house, I had hoped to have a conservatory here but funds ran out, I would love a lean-to along the wall,
the other end passed the veg beds it is calluna again, a tail edge of the big bank, so I thought I would include a couple of photos of the big bank of calluna, I was going to cobble them together but then realised I’ve missed some in the middle so they don’t meet, this bank runs down the middle from the west boundary and right along the back of the house, so it can’t be ignored, it’s there all the time, the calluna over by the south boundary is away from the house the other side of the damp meadow so it is not noticeable,
this is the last in the walk in my garden series of posts, I will take a photo from the hill opposite and do a little map showing where things are and the route of the walk, however I’m not much good at perspective so sizes will vary,

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