first potatoes and other things

we had a lot of rain last Sunday and it’s been showery several days this week, so the garden has had a good watering, last weekend and Monday there were strong winds and the fennel in my front garden which grows to well over six foot by and through the privet hedge came down, I usually put a tie across about halfway but it had not seemed to need it this year, until last weekend that is, I cut it down, more for the compost heap,  

the lupins were the other victims, this one is near the side of the house,

in the damp meadow the white was worst hit,

there is lots for the compost, the red rooster grass is a new edition which I like, this photo doesn’t show it at it’s best, it isn’t going to stay here I have plans for it come autumn,

the lemon yellow lupin survived best yet usually this one flops even when there is no wind, this is the best it has looked,

I love the NZ flax flowers though this year this stem hasn’t grown very tall and the flowers are much closer,

my first ever penstemon, I often read in books, magazines and on blogs people rave about penstemons, they are usually in warm colours which I have quite a lot of and they are not a British or European native so I wasn’t too bothered then a couple of weeks ago I saw this beautiful blue one in the shop in town so bought it,

this fern appeared a couple of years ago and never grew much until this year, I’ve no idea which it is yet, I have wanted some of the wild ferns that grow around here to grow in my garden but until this nothing, I’m thrilled but as you might guess it’s growing in not the best place, it’s growing where the path is, right in the middle, as I do not want to risk loosing it the path will be moved to one side of it,

and the first potatoes I’ve dug this year, these are not from this years planted crop but from a potato that got left in the ground last year, not a bad free haul,

I was wondering about the large dark potato and when they were washed I saw it is the seed potato, the one that got left behind, it still has energy but I dug them as I want to try and get on with the area,

these 3 all have one knobbly end not sure what it is,

the potatoes are Charlotte, I bought some in the supermarket 2 years ago and liked the taste so last year looked for them to plant, they did very well, many large ones and very little scab, unfortunately I didn’t find any Charlotte this year I am wondering now if to keep 2 or 3 of these as seed potatoes for next year,

©Copyright 2012 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

12 responses to “first potatoes and other things

  1. Well lots of good things and a few bad spills. Wonderful potatoes. I have to dig mine but it rained so I didn’t want to dig and risk bruising them. Hoping they will dry out tomorrow. I am in love with the yellow lupines…they are just gorgeous and I love the pastel yellow color. I have never seen these except in your meadow.


    • thanks Donna, I didn’t mind the spills as the lupin have flowered well and are on their way out, I didn’t know how yellow the lupin was going to be until it flowered, the yellow, red and white lupins all came from the shop in town where they were just labled ‘yellow lupin’ etc. the potatoes I planted this year are still growing and haven’t flowered yet so I’m going to dig the free ones that have popped up around the garden from compost first, Frances


  2. Istrongly recommend that you don’t save the potatoes to use as seed potatoes; this is likely to bring potato blight to your garden, which you’ll find it hard to ever get rid of. charlotte used to be one of my favourites to grow and all the seed companies have them mail order. enjoy your crop. Christina


    • thanks Christina I would not of thought of that but a good point so I’ll eat all the potatoes, I have problems with many mail order companies as a lot don’t deliver to the islands some not even to mainland north Scotland, some companies that do deliver charge a very high (too high) delivery price, the reason is they use carrier companies for delivery instead of Royal mail, I will just have to remember to get my seed potatoes sooner next year as I think the shop had Charlotte but had sold them by the time I went to buy, thanks again, Frances


  3. paulinemulligan

    Hopefully your fennel will resprout, so all will not be lost Frances. Ferns are tough old things, I’m always moving mine without any problems, easier than moving the path! I agree with Christina about not using your potatoes as seed potatoes, its not worth it in the long run.


    • I’m not worried about this fennel Pauline, there are still a few stems that didn’t get blown down and I have 2 more green fennel plants in the tweenie garden, I was just amazed as I’ve never had it fall so flat before,
      leaving the fern is not a big problem as the path is just marked out at the moment and will be like a bark path as it runs between the tree edge and tweenie garden, just means the tree edge will be a bit wider there and the tweenie garden a bit narrower,
      I’m not saving any potatoes as I do not want to open a doorway for problems, I just hadn’t thought of it so I am glad I included it in my post and Christina pointed it out to me, Frances


  4. The color of your penstemon is amazing! I have long admired lupines, but they don’t do well in my climate. However, a friend recently brought seeds to me from England, and now I must try. I think I will plant the seeds in a pot this fall and see what happens. Maybe I will get at least a few spring blooms.


    • re the colour of the penstemon that’s what I think too Deb, just hope it likes my garden and stays, I lost 2 blue/mauve plants I bought last year, from everything I’ve learnt about lupin they like damp acid soil which mine is and temporate climate so I don’t know if they will cope with your heat, they grow wild in the north of your country, good luck, Frances


  5. I have the same issue with lupines here, the wind tends to get them eventually and they all fall down. I’ve had some luck cutting them back though and tidying them up a bit, sometimes getting a re-bloom. Penstemon are wonderful and I love the blue you’ve got there, I think you’ll be plenty warm enough for it to survive just needs good drainage.


    • lupins are usually good here Marguerite I’ve never had them so wind battered before I think it was the rain as well, I cut the flowers off as they get near the top and find with most of them I get more blooms,
      it is mild here in winter so I never worry about cold, usually wind is the enemy but last winter was excessively wet, areas of the garden were flooded several times and in 10 years I had never had that before, I have lost some plants and I think it is due to the excessive wet, I don’t know how to deal with that except digging plants up and putting them somewhere dry for winter which I would hate to have to do, the penstemon has good drainage if the weather isn’t abnormally wet again, this has become a problem in many parts of the UK and even the gardening programmes are addressing it, Frances


  6. I’m definitely seconding Christina – please don’t save your spuds, just enjoy eating them!

    What a shame about the damage – but a lot seems to be unscathed and beautiful and I’m quite envious of your lupins. I just get slugs… and that penstemon is a lovely, lovely colour!


    • the tatties are eaten (well almost) Kate as I said to Christina and Pauline,

      the damage isn’t so bad as the lupin were near the end of bloom time and I’ve had much, much worse damage in the garden, I was surprised as I just hadn’t realised the wind and rain were so hard, maybe it was during the night and I slept, I get slugs on my lupine too but not too bad I think because the thrushes take so many of them, though some of my lupin flower stems are bare of buds and I’ve wondered about this, a couple of weeks ago I saw the culprites ~ starlings ripping them off and eating them!

      I just love that blue, Frances