Family Garden Photography

In the Pocket Handkerchief Garden: 16 July 2015


The changes in the garden this week have been gentle and gradual, but changes there have been.

Space for the Butterflies - the Pocket Handkerchief Garden

For starters, there’s a nice big hole in the middle of the bed where the garlic once was.  We harvested the lot last week and it’s sitting in a box in the kitchen.  I haven’t exactly grown the European garlic mountain, despite planting a couple of packets of cloves, at least in part if not in whole because I neglected it in the winter and the bed got rather overrun with grass and weeds and I think the burgeoning garlic got a bit smothered.  What garlic we have is small and rather dainty but it tastes delicious and I’ve discovered that it’s so much easier to peel it when it’s new and fresh rather than having to pick individual flakes of skin off each one.

Space for the Butterflies - the Pocket Handkerchief Garden

The onions as per everyone’s advice (for which, thank you) we have left in situ and we’ll pull them up as and when we need them unless they start to look unhappy or the leaves go completely brown.  And at the front of the bed, strawberry patch A has a few last surprises for anyone that wants to do a little furreting under the leaves.Space for the Butterflies - the Pocket Handkerchief Garden

Meanwhile in the other bed, patch B is growing some lovely big fat berries, helped no doubt by several days of drizzle in the last week.  I can’t remember the varieties we planted originally, but in terms of crop you can really tell the difference between the sort sold to hobby gardeners and the ones designed to supply a pick your own farm.  When these turn red it will definitely be more than one each for pudding.

Space for the Butterflies - the Pocket Handkerchief Garden

The chard and the sweetcorn keep on growing and we’ve picked a couple of good handfuls of chard for supper; I added it to a pizza instead of spinach, and Pip and I thought it was delicious.  Further up the bed we have flowers on one of the courgettes but not quite on the other and the pumpkin seems to be surviving, although two leaves have sort of shrivelled up and wilted, which hopefully isn’t fatal. I think a bird may have ‘fertilised’ them and they didn’t like it.

Space for the Butterflies - the Pocket Handkerchief Garden

Space for the Butterflies - the Pocket Handkerchief Garden

The growth spurts this week have come from the runner beans, who having completed their warm up are now sprinting laps of the top of the netting. I think they climbed out overnight when I wasn’t looking.  The big job for this week is to raise the netting and set them up something more appropriate to climb all over. I’ve got a plan, I just need to pop down to Homebase and get all the bits and bobs.

Space for the Butterflies - the Pocket Handkerchief Garden

And last but not least, we have our tomato plant, valiantly thriving on the patio, despite the presence of three small children, balls, scooters, dyeing adventures and the rest of it.  We’re still at the little yellow flower stage but I’m hoping for some fruit too.  It’s set me wondering just how many tomato plants people grow in a smallholding if they want to be veggie self sufficient.  I could plant my whole veg space with tomato plants and I doubt that would get us through the year.

Space for the Butterflies - the Pocket Handkerchief Garden

This week honourable mention must also go to the flower garden which is in full riot.  We have honeysuckle pouring over two fences, deep purple buddleia attracting all the butterflies, the dahlia from last week has produced two more blooms, and the roses are pink and perfect.  The sunflowers that the girls planted with my aunt have not only survived but seriously thrived.  I’m 6’0″ and they come up to my shoulders, and they’ve been inspiring the cosmos in front which reaches my waist.

But my absolute favourite (though don’t tell any other the other flowers) is my hydrangea.  I love hydrangeas for themselves but also because they remind me of Devon.  Where I come from, the gardens are full of huge hydrangea bushes, taller than me and covered in enormous flowers, pink, purple and most of all blue.  That bit of south Devon has the perfect soil not only for hydrangeas, but also to persuade them to be a beautiful deep blue.  It’s one of the colours of summer in my mind, along with blue skies and the light of the sun rippling across a turquoise sea.  I planted hydrangeas here one of the first summers we lived here, but they’ve always been a lovely rosy pink until now.

Space for the Butterflies - the Pocket Handkerchief Garden

Space for the Butterflies - the Pocket Handkerchief Garden

Space for the Butterflies - the Pocket Handkerchief Garden

I have a blue hydrangea. Right next to my spot at our patio table.  Perfect. Although I have no idea why, or how to repeat it.

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  • Ivona 16/07/2015 at 1:05 pm

    Strawberries look delicious and your flowers are really pretty. My sister-in-law loves hydrangeas and I remember once she got blue one but when she planted it in her garden it bloomed pink so next year she left the plant in a container and just made hole in the ground big enough to fit it.

    • Carie 16/07/2015 at 7:50 pm

      Oh that’s very cunning – I like that plan. I’ll have to remember it for if we plant another one!

  • Kim 16/07/2015 at 9:39 pm

    Your garden is doing so well Carie. Those strawberries look so delicious. We will be pulling garlic this weekend, I think. Can’t wait!

    Happy gardening!

    • Carie 18/07/2015 at 11:28 pm

      Oh they most definitely were!! Thank you my dear and good luck with your garlic!

  • Mary at Fleur de Lis Quilts 17/07/2015 at 3:43 am

    Your gardens are beautiful! I’ve heard (from old wives’ tales) that hydrangeas bloom according to the acidity in the soil. Our grandmothers put rusted iron near some of the hydrangeas to “help” them change colors. The acidic soil will result in blue/purple flowers and alkaline soil will give pink/light colors. Southern Living had a article on it once that said some varieties are more likely to change than others. I’ve had one plant with different colors at the same time, but I am not sure it’s anything I did!

    • Carie 18/07/2015 at 11:46 pm

      I’ve heard of putting tea leaves onthe soil for a blue one, maybe I should try that next year!

  • Vickie 17/07/2015 at 10:34 am

    Your garden is looking really lovely! The difference in your two strawberry patches is very interesting. Us hobby gardeners are clearly being given short shrift!

    Our hydrangea is blooming a very vivid pink this year. It’s the pinkest it’s ever been and we’re putting it down to the (rather grim) fact that our dog Sam likes to widdle on it.

    • Carie 18/07/2015 at 11:42 pm

      I think we might be! And I love your slightly unorthodox method for pink hydrangeas!

  • Jessy @ Our Side of the Mountain 17/07/2015 at 3:39 pm

    I need to make some of those netted covers for MY garden! My chickens keep getting in and eating my pea sprouts. :sigh: Peas are my favorite!

  • CJ 18/07/2015 at 7:49 am

    Lovely to see your patch, especially the fruit and vegetables, they’re doing really well. In answer to your question about sugar snap peas that you left on my post, I’m hoping to be able to harvest some by the end of the season, it’s worth giving them a try now. CJ xx

    • Carie 18/07/2015 at 11:33 pm

      Awesome, thank you I’ll head out on Monday to give them a whirl!

  • sally 24/07/2015 at 9:46 pm

    Ah yes, the hydrangeas! We love them too! Your garden is looking very productive and I can’t imagine ever being self sufficient in tomatoes either. I remember one bumper year when we had too many to keep on top of eating raw (and that’s a lot!) but I only managed to freeze enough ‘passata-ed’ to last a few weeks still, tomatoes are definitely one of my favourite things!

    • Carie 25/07/2015 at 11:20 pm

      I think you’d either have to have a climate that produced bumper tomato crops or an entire field of tomatoes – nothing less would get us through the winter, we like spag bol too much!