Just another week in my little world …

 

a perching pheasant

Sometimes, the only way I can remember what I have been doing all week, is through the pictures I have taken.  The weather up until Friday was perfect, but it started raining in the night … I heard it tapping on the window whilst in that half-sleep before dawn.  The morning brought grey skies and mist lying across the fields … the flower heads drooping with the weight of the rain.  It was desperately needed … I can’t remember when it last rained … I have done my best with the hose trying to keep everything alive but a good, steady rain makes all the difference.

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I have been gathering soft fruit every day … whenever I ventured to the top of the garden young blackbirds would fly out of the bushes … they have been feasting … but there is enough to go round and I don’t begrudge them a few tasty morsels.  Foolishly I planted the Loganberries right next to the bird table, the birds are treating them like a convenience store, visiting the bird table and having fruit for dessert … thank you gardening lady … very generous of you!

loganberries

It has also been the time for emptying the freezer of the leftover fruit from last year … I will be turning it all into jams and jellies … making way for this years harvests.  I prefer to eat the fruits as I go along … but even I can’t make use of all of it straight away.

rhubarb and sweet peas

The last of the Rhubarb has been pulled … I stick to the old premise that you should leave the remaining sticks on the plant when July arrives … this gives the plant time to restore and replenish for next year … I don’t know whether this is just an old wives tale but I do it anyway … by this time I am a little tired of rhubarb anyway.  The last few sticks have been cooked … cut up, covered with sugar and a little water, brought to the boil then taken off the heat … it continues cooking in the residual heat but doesn’t go mushy … the slightly tart/sweet fruit will be consumed eagerly with vanilla ice cream … nothing else … for me, best eaten simply.

red fruits defrosting

I always regard July and August as quiet months in the garden, nothing much to do except keep everything alive, the odd spot of weeding and deadheading.  All the plant buying has been done … if I haven’t got it now it will have to wait till next year.  At the beginning of the gardening year I thought it would be an interesting exercise to keep a record of just how much I spend on the garden. Have you ever seriously considered how much you spend on your hobbies/pastimes every year? 

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I started keeping a tally in a notebook – after two months – March and April – I stopped.  It was just too frightening.  I always thought that I gardened on a tight budget – I was wrong.  Every time I visited a garden centre or nursery I came away with an armful of plants – a few packets of seeds – a weekly bag of potting compost – it soon adds up.  Boy how it adds up.

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Personally I think garden centres and nurseries should be banned for they are the cause of it all.  Seed and plant catalogues, garden magazines ought to be put on a black list as floral pornography – kept in the back room of the shops and only handed out when the addiction is too strong to ignore and you need a quick floral fix.

lysimachia - rose of sharon - argyranthemum

I shudder to think just how much I have handed over the counter for instant gardening pleasure over the years.  And the worst of it is that most plants will only last for one season, even if they are called perennial, they disappear over winter, never to return.

arthur bell rose

So if you want my advice, and to  avoid having a heart attack – don’t keep a record of your garden outgoings. Enjoy your indulgences – make your garden look beautiful without a backward glance at the cost – it’s the only way.

clematis - justa and comtesse du bouchard

So that’s two months of  no more spending – saving the pennies for the bulb-buying spree in September and October.

clematis - comtesse du bouchard

My latest news has me so excited -  on Monday I am going with a friend to Highgrove here , Prince Charles’ garden.  You have to book ahead and numbers are limited, you have to take identification with you, and no cameras or phones are allowed – which is a bit of a ‘downer’ – I just hope it lives up to expectations!  I’ll let you know.

hanging basket

‘Til next time – I give you a ‘royal wave’ and just hope the weather is fine (some hope – it’s pouring down at the moment).

Comments

  1. Hello Elaine,

    Well, you fully deserve to make the most out of enjoying your garden rather than working in it now for the summer. It all looks so very pretty, even if it has cost the national debt to keep looking good.

    In our gardening days we too kept records of plant purchases but, as you say, it does all become rather alarming and what does one do with the answer? Yes, better by far to simply enjoy, whatever the cost.

    We do so hope that you enjoy your visit to Highgrove. We have been there many years ago so the garden will be far more mature now. We shall be interested to know what you think. For us, it did not reach our favourite top ten.

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    1. I always think the garden disappoints at the height of summer but seems to come back into its own in autumn, of course I don't just sit back and do nothing but it does take a lot less effort than in other seasons.

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  2. I guess you would spend as much on another hobby if it wasn't gardening, We have the same issue with blackbirds in the tayberry on the plot. As we approach they fly off squawking.

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    1. That's true Sue, when I used to paint I spent a fortune on paper and brushes. I also spend a lot on books so I guess all my hobbies are expensive one way or another.

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  3. I have read many books on Highgrove Elaine, such a lovely garden
    I follow the same principles as the Prince so have a connection with it.
    Please tell me what you think of the stumpery, would love to have one here :)

    Rhubarb looks good......love you share berries with the birds, me to.
    First image is lovely....pheasant on gate.

    Enjoy your garden, you cannot take the money with you.
    After losing my father I have realised how terribly short life is, even at its longest.
    A beautiful garden is a joy, an absolute joy.

    Hopefully will send you some Camassia in the autumn.

    I tried sending a comment earlier and It disappeared.....if I repeated please delete one.....sorry !!!!

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    1. I have seen lots of pictures of Highgrove so it will be interesting to see it in reality. The stumpery is of particular interest so I'll report back - I bet you would have room to fit one in somewhere. Whilst I was typing this I spotted something out of the corner of my eye - and guess what - it was a hare hopping down the road! Lovely.

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    2. Oh my I have hare envy......what a mystical creature.
      I have never seen one in the wild....one day, one day.......

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  4. You will be thrilled with the variety and sustainability of Highgrove. It is one of the best gardens if not the best I have ever visited. Have a lovely time and hope the weather holds for you.

    Jean x

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    1. Thanks Jean I'm really looking forward to it.

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  5. Have a wonderful time at Highgrove and DO remember your passport - we once went to King James's Palace to see our son receive an award and I forgot mine. The only photo id I had was a Blockbuster Video Card! Lovely photos.

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    1. I don't have a passport so I will be taking my driving licence which doesn't have a photo,and a couple of bills, just in case.

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  6. How wonderful to be visiting Highgrove. It's a shame you can't take a camera but I do understand that he has to protect his privacy. Your rhubarb has made my mouth water, there is nothing better than rhubarb crumble and custard in my opinion. Have a wonderful trip xx

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    1. Thanks Chel, I have been checking on the weather and it looks as though we will be ok - the garden tour takes two hours so I'll be gasping for a cup of tea when it's finished.

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  7. How exciting to be going to Highgrove. Hope you enjoy your trip. I've never kept a record of garden spending but judging by the number of plastic pots that I've kept over the years it must have been a small fortune. Oh well, you can't take it with you, as they say! xx

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    1. Thanks I'm sure we will. I often pick up a pot that still has a label on it and I think - now where is that plant now - so many don't survive, either by my negligence or over winter. If all the plants that I have bought over the years were still in the garden it would look magnificent.

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  8. There is another option, Elaine. Spend the boss's money at the Garden Centre. Painless, satisfying, cheap! Enjoy your Grand Day Out (can't believe you can't take photos though) Dave.

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    1. Unfortunately I don't have a boss, but sometimes invite the husband to go with me and he very kindly puts his hand in his pocket - but even he doesn't know just how much I spend on plants - it'll be our secret.

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  9. Oh my....I too dread to think how much I've spent on plants this week.... much beloved did say the other week 'No more plants' we have no more room but my 'secret supplier' pointed out that I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't take drugs, I''m certainly not a clothes n' shoes fashionista...so what do I spend my money on (except my children)?

    Life's too short...I love my garden...I never walk in it without a smile or a huge sense of pride. You may buy a plant that just lasts a year, but a year's along time compared to 1 ciggie or 1 glass of wine.

    'Enjoy' I say.
    Enjoy Highgrove too...wonder why you can't take photos...perhaps HRH is embarrassed at the 'state' of his garden & he doesn't want photos of its shoddy appearance aired to the world or it's so fabulous he fears we may copy him. lol. What ever his reasons...have a fabulous day x

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    1. Of course you are quite right in what you say - I would much rather buy a plant than a pair of shoes - trouble is, you can't walk in plants!

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  10. I live just a few miles over the fields from HRH - hope you have a lovely day and that the sun comes out for you.
    I have spent very little money on the garden this year - many of my plants I have grown from seeds which I bought with 2/3rds knocked off, and all my potted geraniums survived the winter for the first time ever. I have never seen such big and bounteous blooms before, so they have saved me lots of pennies and time spent potting them.

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    1. I agree about the geraniums - they never usually make it through the winter. I have had the same trouble with dahlia tubers as well - this year I bought all new fresh ones - and guess what, the tubers from last year survived and I had so many dahlias I have had trouble finding space for them all. I guess that's just the way it goes.

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  11. Gardening can cost a scary amount, and it feels as though it goes up each year. I was lucky enough to visit Highgrove a few years ago too. It has its quirky bits, but there are some lovely areas of the garden too, I'm sure you will enjoy it.

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    1. Even with growing a lot of flowers from seed I still need to buy plants throughout the year - I just can't bear to see empty spaces.

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  12. I always enjoy looking at your garden. As far as the cost goes you do get lots of fruit and vegies from your plot as well as lots of enjoyment from the flowers.

    I hope you enjoy Highgrove and look forward to hearing about it - pity no pics allowed.

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    1. Thank you Susan that's very kind of you to say so. And yes I do manage to grow plenty of stuff to eat as well so I suppose I make savings there - I expect on the whole everything balances out.

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  13. Your berries look and sound wonderful friend! And those first few shots of your view are beautiful! Oh I sooooo agree with you on banning garden centers! HA! They pull me in with their weekly coupons and I started like you to keep track of things but then I almost passed out at the end of May when I saw how much I went over budget so I stopped as well!!! Your blooms are beautiful pal! I sure hope you have fun at Highgrove! I can't wait to hear about it! A lovely weekend to you! Nicole xoxo

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    1. I do love growing my own fruit but it is a problem to know what to do with it all - so I give lots away - and I know that friends and neighbours appreciate these tasty treats.

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  14. Lovely pictures; I especially like No 1 with the Pheasant. I never count money I spend, on anything. If there's still cash in the bank at the end of the year, I just breathe a sigh of relief. 2014 has been one of my best growing years ever, probably due to our very mild winter. Do say 'Hi' to Charles for me.

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    1. Ha! I like your philosophy. I agree about it being a good growing year as well - everything is going bananas.

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  15. A lovely post Elaine.. How lucky you are, that you can eat your own home grown fruit ..
    super photos of your garden.
    I don't really jot down how much I spend on my garden.. but I must have spent a few pennies. Well worth what I spend, I get such please like you do from my garden.
    I haven't bought much this year, as what I have is growing nicely. I just need a few fillers.
    How exciting that you are going to Highgrove.. Charles is a keen gardener , I believe .shame you cant take photos.
    Enjoy your trip..
    happy weekend
    val

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    1. Thank you Val - like you I get so much pleasure from the garden and if I didn't spend my spare cash on it, I would only spend it on something else - it's all just swings and roundabouts isn't it.

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  16. An enjoyable post and lovely photos. I've never keep track on what I spend on the plot, but I like to think that I generally keep within acceptable limits.
    Enjoy your trip tomorrow. I've never been there but a friend who went a few years ago enjoyed it. Flighty xx

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    1. I find it's the little things that add up - it is probably my container garden that takes up most of the cost - but the garden would look bare without them - so it is worth it for me.

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    2. Thanks Flighty - it seems to be the little things that soon add up - but if you want a beautiful garden you just have to accept that it costs money to keep it that way.

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  17. Your garden is looking stunning - I love the clematis :-) I hope you enjoy your visit to Highgrove.

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    1. Thanks Su - I gave that clematis up for dead as the slugs had had a right old go at it - so I put another one in as well - the old clematis came back - typical.

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  18. Hi Elaine, your garden looks very fabulous with all the flowers and fruits and the surrounding country side is so beautiful. I am basically just back home from our England vacation and I already miss England again...
    I tried to keep track of my garden expenses for a while as well and was shocked when I realized how much I spend on the garden. I stopped keeping track of the real dollars that I put into the garden and "just try to feel OK" with my spending. The garden is one of the greatest sources of joy for me, so the money that goes into it is well worth it, but of course, it has to be in reason.
    I love your clematis by the way!
    Wishing you a good start into the new week and a great visit at Highgrove!
    Christina

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    1. I do hope you enjoyed your vacation in England - a lot of bloggers seem to be coming over this year.

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    2. Thank you Christina - it is a beautiful part of the country and I do feel privileged to live here. Hope you enjoyed your vacation and that the weather kept fine for you - it always looks so much better in the sunshine.

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  19. I never want to know what I spend. I spend a lot! When I hear people say how cheap it is to garden, I think they must have a single pot with one little plant in it. We need rain, too. I ran the hose most of today. Your garden is just beautiful, as usual. I love your clematis and all that chamomile. :o)

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    1. Thanks Tammy - when I was still working I spent even more - I have had to curb it somewhat since I retired. The flower is actually Feverfew but it is very similar to Chamomile.

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  20. Oh....how very exciting, I shall look forward to hearing how Charles gardens! Shame about the camera shots though, maybe you ought to nick a few cuttings off his plants to make up for it!
    Like you I was so glad of a little rain, the garden quickly becomes deserty looking doesn't it...I was smiling at the birds eating the loanberries and you needing to look through your pics to remember your week, I'm the same.
    You have some beautiful plants, I especially love the clematis and am impressed with your harvests, you are way ahead of me, I still don't have a strawberry!
    It is SHOCKING how much a garden can cost, I spent a small fortune on my new back garden and I still have empty spots.xxx

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    1. I must say during the visit I was itching to take photos all the way round the garden. It takes such a long time for plants to fill out doesn't it - and I hate to see spaces - just me being impatient.

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    1. Thanks - I'll be writing all about it in my next post.

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  22. Dear Elaine - so glad you are getting rain...it does make such a difference in how the garden grows - always said I can't water it like God does and it knows the difference (smiling)! Your logan berries look fabulous...it is raspberry picking here (mine are wild and grow along the fence lines...they make delicious pie...or just a simple bowl with a bit of sugar and milk (nothing finer). I think it is nice that you share with your bird friends too. Your clematis is really beautiful. I have no idea what I have spent over the years in my garden and I have no reason to want to know - especially how many plants I have lost too - hope you have a grand day visiting Prince Charles' garden - what a treat. So sad you won't be able to get pictures...that is a real shame.

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    1. Thank you for your kind wishes - I have to share with the garden birds whether I like it or not - they are greedy little things and I don't like to use netting as they get tangled up in it. But there is plenty enough to go round.

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  23. That rain at the weekend was most welcome her Elaine. I do not think I will be keeping a record of my garden expenditure but we could have worse and more expensive vices :) I went to Highgrove about five years ago - a most memorable experience. I hope the weather was kinder to you than it was to us the day we were there.

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    1. The weather was perfect Anna not too hot and not too cold just right for a two hour guided tour - it was very tiring though.

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  24. Hi Elaine, what a absolute treat, well if you can't take a camera, then you can capture it in words. I've heard that he is an amazing gardener...it will be worth having to go camera-less just to see it.

    Um...could I mention that your text is very difficult to read when it's so light...might just be me, but I am finding it so hard to read your posts.

    Jen

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    1. I am sorry that you found the post difficult to read - I have changed the font and hope it is more readable now.

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    2. Thanks Elaine, I can read your text so much easier now. I love a beautiful blog layout, and really liked the color of the font, but just couldn't see it clearly. This helps immensely.

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  25. Your garden is so beautiful, absolutely worth all the work and money you put into it. Those raspberries look so amazing! And I love rhubarb, too. My landlords do it the same way, I think we even stop eating it some time during June.
    Have a wonderful week, Elaine.

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    1. Thank you Beate - there is so much fruit ripening at the moment I am freezing it for use later on - I just can't keep up with it all. What a nice situation to be in!

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