outside-in: October (5/12)

Outside-in charts my attempts to bring the garden into the house with haphazard English Freestyle flower arranging.

Much of the garden is collapsing into winter dormancy now. It makes you appreciate the valiant few flowering plants that have stood up to the wind and rain of the past few weeks. These little beauties are still going strong.

anemone vase gardening blog

Pure white anemones look stunning, both in the garden and in the house. These flowers are from a plant Mum gave me from the nursery a couple of months back. It’s doing well under the apple tree and will hopefully spread nicely

cosmos vase gardening blog

I wasn’t altogether struck with the colour of these cosmos, until I saw them back-lit here after a thunderstorm

dahlia vase gardening blog

The dahlias are still working hard, and will hopefully keep flowering until the first frost

dahlia vase gardening blogdahlia vase gardening blog


next year’s foxgloves

Six weeks or so ago, we plucked a couple of foxglove seedpods. Each was a little capsule filled with thousands of seeds barely the size of a pinhead. foxglove seed head gardening blog

We sprinkled them over a tray of compost to see what would happen. Within days the tray had sprouted a dense green mass of tiny seedlings.

foxglove seedlings gardening blog

Last year we lost several batches after they germinated, so I didn’t hold out much hope for our homegrown seeds. But they kept going, and when I checked on them this week they were clearly ready for pricking out.

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Since we had more than we could possibly hope to use in the garden, I decided it wouldn’t be the end of the world if a few got snapped. So I let M loose on a tray of her own.

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She was very careful, talking softly to them as she tucked them into their pots. But I noticed more than one looked a bit deficient in the root department after she separated it from the others.

It doesn’t matter. When we were in the garden this afternoon, I noticed swathes of tiny self-sown foxglove seedlings. They’re a few weeks behind the ones we pricked out, but if only a fraction survive the winter we’re going to be engulfed in them come spring.

Here’s a post about this year’s foxgloves.


mother of hubbards

turks turban gardening blogAfter months of dominating the veg patch with their vicious vines, all the winter squash plants have yellowed, shriveled or succumbed to mildew. There are still a few valiant flowers and newly formed gourds that must have been brought on by this warm spell. But today I decided it was time to brandish the kitchen knife and go for the chop.

Considering my utter lack of common sense when planting them, and the way the Blue Hubbards overpowered the bed, I was pleased with our harvest.

barrow of squash gardening blog

pumpkin harvest

Butternut Ponca and Acorn Table Ace were almost annihilated by the blue brutes, but managed to produce one gourd each. We have two Marina di Chioggia, which look fantastic with their deep green skins, and three orange-green Turks Turbans.

The Blue Hubbard yield is six. They are so huge I feel quite overwhelmed at the thought of cooking them. When I tried to weigh the biggest one I got an error message on the scales.

The hubbards have been consigned to the garden shed until I can work up the courage to deal with them. But the others look quite pretty in the window.

squash in the window gardening blog


All the winter squash we grew this year are heirloom varieties from Pennard Plants

planting bulbs

hyacinth in pot gardening blogWith the best will in the world, gardening with a little one in tow can sometimes be nerve-wracking. We try to leave M to her own devices as much as possible. But there are limits. Like when she helped me dead-heading one evening, then took every available opportunity to do a spot of live-heading for the following month or so.

Today was different. We had a couple of hours free this afternoon, the sun was shining and I was determined to plant a few pots of tulips. We stayed at my parents’ last night and they gave M some hyacinth and crocus bulbs before we left. It seemed that she was also determined to plant them today, so we set ourselves up with a potting station and dug in.

potting station gardening blog

all set for a gardening afternoon

I was keen to try out a Sarah Raven-style bulb lasagne, where you layer bulbs and compost to get a denser display of flowers. So I showed M which way round her bulbs went and left her to it.

filling pots gardening blog

M loves filling pots with compost, we really ought to get her a sandpit…

When I looked up from my own concoction ten minutes later, I was astonished. She hadn’t made compost castles on the grass or tried to ram four hyacinths into a three inch pot. She had actually planted them. And they were the right way up. Before I could say anything she told me she was going to get some water in case they were thirsty.

watering hyacinth gardening blog

giving them a drink

M turned three recently, and seems to have well and truly left toddler-hood. It looks like I may have a proper gardening buddy now. Until she discovers horses. Or boys.

hyacinth bulbs gardening blog

M’s hyacinths, all present and correct