My Small Suburban Garden

My Small Suburban Garden

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Hello Spring...



I always look forward to seeing the cherry blossom on my tree, and now, despite the cloudy sky and forecast of wind and rain for later, it’s finally bloomed and I can say without fear of contradiction that spring has officially arrived in my small suburban garden.

The buddleia are in leaf, the magnolia has been out for a couple of weeks and the white jasmine looks on the verge of flowering. The red jasmine is lagging somewhat behind and I hope that it soon bucks up it’s ideas as the bees adore it.

Talking of bees, mine are still safely tucked up in their bee hotel by the water butt, however, I guess it won’t be long before they start breaking free through their little mud front doors.

My gorgeous daughters gave me some seeds at xmas (nemophila, lobelia, sweet peas, morning glory, buzy lizzie and gazania) so I’ve sprinkled these around the borders and tubs. I know that these are meant to be lovingly cultivated into seedlings and then carefully placed outdoors but I simply don’t have the time or the patience.

I’ve also now planted out the begonia tubers which I dug up in the autumn, although they felt a bit soggy and the newspaper I’d hoped would keep them dry was quite damp. I suspect that none of them will grow, but time will tell…


MARCH 22, 2014 

Boing, Boing, Boing...




That’s the sound of spring! Well, it is in my head anyway.

It’s the warmest day of 2014 so far and it’s fabulous. The magnolia is in bloom, which always gladdens the heart, and I’ve seen more ladybirds in the space of ten minutes than I did in the whole of 2013.

The mini daffs are looking very pretty, as are the pale yellow primulas. I even saw a couple of butterflies fluttering overhead. Unfortunately they were gone too quickly for me to identify them but it’s a very good sign to see them about.

There’s much to do in the next month or so; the shed door needs sanding and painting with preserver, the fence needs another coat of preserver and there’s decisions to be made regarding this years bedding plants.

But for now, the sun is shining, the sky is blue and I couldn’t be happier. Long may it last…


MARCH 9, 2014 



Has Spring Sprung?...


Despite yesterday’s cold, wet, windy weather, today it’s positively spring-like, with blue skies and sunshine. The primulas are beginning to flower and the jasmine and magnolia are in bud.

The parsley, chives, rosemary and thyme have all managed to survive the winter and are providing some greenery. Crocuses are beginning to show the promise of flowering and the tete-a-tete daffodils I planted, which had already flowered on my kitchen windowsill, appear to be attempting to flower a second time.

The buddleia is as strong as ever and I’m hopeful for a decent show of blooms this summer. The baby bees remain safe in their house by the water butt.

There’s still a nip in the air, and there’s dull and wet weather forecast for the week ahead, but for now I shall begin to enjoy what appears to be the changing of the season…


MARCH 3, 2014  

Wet and Warm...


Well, maybe not warm but I’m reliably informed that it has been mild ‘for the time of year‘, and this does appear to be the case.

After numerous grey days the sun has finally shone, so I popped outside to inspect my small suburban garden. Predictably, there were piles of soggy leaves in the corners to sweep up, and a decidedly un-spring like nip in the air. However, the small shoots of the crocuses have broken through the soil and there are a few ragged but colourful primulas in flower.

Two weeks ago I chopped back the parsley so I could enjoy it in my cheese & onion sandwiches, and regrowth has been swift. The buddleias have optimistic shoots and both the rosemary and thyme have so far managed to survive (famous last words).

The magnolia has its furry little shoots and the bee house seems to be holding up – keeping it’s precious contents safe until spring. Fingers crossed…


JANUARY 28, 2014

Wot, No Snow...


It’s 20th December and despite the doom and gloom predicted by the forecasters it’s remarkably sunny outdoors today. Of course, it’s far from sun-bathing weather but nonetheless it’s actually jolly nice.

I have a few hardy geraniums still hanging on in there, and the buddleia (as ever) seem to think it’s springtime, along with a few primulas flowers to add colour to an otherwise brown theme. I chopped back the lobelias, chives and wild-flower mix last week and swept up the inevitable leaves, but apart from that I’ve done very little to my Small Suburban Garden in recent weeks.

The bird boxes remain stubbornly empty, but hopefully they’ll be used next year.
The red jasmine has a few remaining glossy black berries for passing birds and the magnolia is sporting it’s furry buds now.

The garden table is now covered over for the winter and the BBQ remains unused in it’s spot by the shed. Oh well, that’s it for another year…


DECEMBER 20, 2013

Autumn Sunshine...


After several decidedly damp days it was a treat to be outdoors in the sunshine today – long may it last! Blue skies and a bit of warmth on your face can do wonders to lift the spirits at this time of year.

The buddleias had been past their ‘best before’ dates for some time, so I figured now was the time to chop them back for the winter. There hasn’t been a single butterfly in the garden for the past couple of weeks now, and only the occasional bee.

Other than the wonderful wild-flower mix, the real starts of the show have been the begonias, which are still offering plenty of colour to an otherwise brown and soggy scene.

Sweeping wet leaves has been a chore, but needs must. The chives have now gone to seed, which I shall sprinkle in various corners of the borders in the hope of a few extra flowers next summer. The jasmine is sporting some juicy black berries, which I hope the birds will enjoy. Despite the fabulous sunshine there is the familiar nip in the air and I suspect it won’t be too much longer before the bad weather arrives…


OCTOBER 24, 2013 

After The Rains...


Yesterday was a total washout. Not only did the temperature drop dramatically but it poured for hours and hours. There were also strong winds, so when I stepped, with some trepidation, into my small suburban garden this morning I wasn’t entirely sure what I might find.

Thankfully, the fence remains upright and plant damage appears minimal, if a tad wet. Predictably there’s red geranium petals everywhere and several of the begonias have been de-flowered, but all-in-all I’m quite relieved. There’s a soggy mass of wet leaves in various corners which will need to be swept up but that’s about it.

Some of the water droplets actually look very pretty, especially on the begonias. The chives have started to lose their white flowers in favour of seed heads and they look structurally fascinating. Unfortunately, there are very few flowers left on the buddleias so it won’t be long before I have to cut them back for the winter…


OCTOBER 12, 2013 

Thunderbolt and Lightning, Very Very Frightening...



Wow! What a storm we had last night! The begonias took a battering and there were quite a few flower heads to pick up off the floor when I went outside this afternoon. There’s leaves everywhere from various trees and bushes and everything’s now looking windswept.

However, the lobelias have decided to finally buck their ideas up and are making a last-ditch attempt to impress. The torrential rain has also seen the wild-flower mix perk up, with some new California poppies and more alyssum.

I figured we’d be in for some ‘interesting’ weather when I saw that the sky went orange about 6.30pm yesterday evening. There were a couple of rainbows beforehand which were very pretty but were a sure sign of the schizophrenic conditions that were to follow…


OCTOBER 4, 2013 

Dull, Dull, Dull...


I’m not entirely sure what the weather forecasters meant by ‘Indian Summer’ but I suspect it involved rather bluer skies and substantially more sunshine that we have at the moment.

There’s only been one or two butterflies on the buddleia for the past couple of weeks now, although there have been more bees. The lobelias are hanging on in there, as are the geraniums, but they looking past their ‘best before’ date.

The chives are in full flower though, and standing tall and proud. The wildflower mix has a few remaining California poppies, cosmos and alyssum but there’s nothing to get excited about on the honeysuckle or jasmine.

I’m highly impressed with the begonias. Having never grown them before I wasn’t expecting great things, but they have thrived. That’s something that will definitely go on the shopping list for 2014…

SEPTEMBER 23, 2013 

And Now, The End is Near...


The weather forecasters kept telling us that Thursday 5th September would be a scorchingly hot and sunny day…. but on Friday we would see a drop of 10 degrees or more and rain! They’re using the ‘A’ word (autumn) and that’s NOT what I want to hear, obviously. I accept that the daily ritual of watering isn’t my favourite chore (especially as we have a water meter) but I still have two geraniums which have yet to flower and the buddleia has (in my opinion) not yet reached it’s full butterfly capacity. It seem so unfair. There’s plenty of life left in the begonias and the wild-flower mix has even got it’s second wind.

I decided to spend every moment physically possible in my small suburban garden on the off-chance that the weathermen, and women, got it right for once, and I’m glad that I did. Friday has indeed, brought a marked drop in temperatures, a boringly grey sky and some of the wet stuff.

Whether this really is the end of the summer or if there are a few more fabulously sunny days left of 2013 only time will tell….


SEPTEMBER 6, 2013 

Giant Chives...


Despite the fact that the nights seem to be drawing in quite fast now, daytimes have seen several gloriously sunny weather recently, which is very much appreciated.

The small tortoiseshell butterflies are all over the buddleia, with the odd peacock, painted lady, white and comma occasionally visiting. However, the lack of red admirals is quite unusual and very disappointing.

The wild-flower mix is now looking quite straggly and I suspect it won’t be long before I have to remove it to the compost bin, but it’s definitely something I shall grow next year.

The red geraniums are finally putting in a good show, as are the multi-coloured begonias, but the lobelias really haven’t been up to scratch this year, despite my best efforts.

Neither the red or white jasmine flowered as much as I’d hoped, although the honeysuckle bloomed well. Both the thyme and rosemary have so far survived but the current stars of the show are the chives – they’re enormous!


AUGUST 29, 2013 

Bizarre Butterfly Behaviour...



As I stepped outside this morning I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of several tortoiseshell butterflies appearing to be sunbathing on my paving slabs! Their wings were fully out and they just sat there.

The weather is warm, and overcast with sunny spells, so I can only assume that they are actually trying to keep warm during the cloudy / breezy periods by resting on whatever they can find that’s been pre-heated by the sun.

Strangely, none of the peacocks, small whites, large whites or commas are remotely interested in participating in this odd behaviour – just the tortoiseshells. I even had one sunbathing on the tray for the BBQ! At one point there were 5 on the floor and I had to be careful where I stood. Never seen THAT before…


AUGUST 11, 2013 

The Butterfly Bush...





There’s finally some interest in my buddleia! So far this week I’ve managed to see several small & large whites, some painted ladies, a couple of commas, a few tortoiseshells and lots of peacocks. No red admirals as yet but it’s early days.

I also spotted a female southern hawker dragonfly on it, and am now on the lookout to spot an elusive male. Even though one shrub in particular is blooming, the other large buddleia is still very much behind schedule, as are the 3 smaller ones.

The pots of lobelias and geraniums are forever in need of watering, as is the wild flower mix. The petunias continue to flower although I feel they’ve never reached their full potential.

Better late than never, the white jasmine has got a few flowers on it, although it’s a very poor show.

I’d been neglecting my chives, and have only just noticed the ones I planted alongside the fence are thriving and look like they will flower very soon. I look forward to seeing those…


AUGUST 8, 2013



Sunshine and Showers...


These past few days have been very dull and overcast, with the occasional thunder-storm thrown in for good measure! The temperature remains very humid and despite the rain all of my pots and planters need to be watered twice daily to prevent my fabulous wild flowers and geraniums/lobelias from wilting.

The buddleia is finally in bloom although so far I’m unimpressed with the volume and variety of butterflies it’s attracting. I’ve seen several cabbage whites, an elusive peacock and a couple I couldn’t identify as they didn’t stay long enough for me to have a proper look. Fingers crossed that once more flowers come out I shall see lots more. My buddleia does seem to be several weeks behind everyone else’s this summer, for some strange reason.

I’ve spotted my very first ladybird for 2013! These should have come out in abundance in the spring but with the dreadful weather I was almost certain they’d all been killed off. Obviously, I would hope to see hundreds more in the coming days, as black-fly seem to have had a field day on my marigolds and cherry tree leaves in their absence, but we shall see…


AUGUST 3, 2013

Stormy Weather...


They say that all good things must come to an end, and so it would seem that the recent glorious sunshine has now made way for the inevitable storms. Good news for the water butt, which has remained empty for the past couple of months, but anything with delicate petals, such as Californian poppies and geraniums, have taken a battering.

Temperatures remain in the mid to high twenties, making it incredibly muggy outside. This hasn’t put off the bees who are head over heels in love with my lobelias, especially the dark blue variety. Some of my tardy geraniums are beginning to flower and the petunias are in bloom (although still not looking 100% healthy). I appear to have a rather snazzy red and white striped double petunia in the mix this year, which looks like one of those lovely strawberries & cream sweets (Campinos).

Still not many butterflies about, although I’m hoping that once the buddleia flower they’ll arrive in abundance. We shall see…


JULY 25, 2013 

Phew, Wot a Scorcher...


We appear to be in the middle of a ‘heat-wave’ and I, for one, don’t want it to end.
We’ve had such an awful time weather-wise that this blazing hot sunshine is just the tonic. I’m having to water the garden thoroughly every evening, but even the fact I’ve got a water meter isn’t making me wish for rain (yet!)

The wild flower mix continues to thrill me with new things every day and one of my begonias has finally decided to flower. Hopefully the others will follow. I remain disappointed with my white jasmine. By now it should be a mass of fragrant white flowers but it’s simply a whole load of greenery and about 3 actual blooms. The geraniums are very nearly flowering (bright red by the look of the buds) and I’ve now had to tie up the ornamental poppies so the seed heads can dry off.

The lobelias are making a nice display in the pots and the petunias, which I moved from the wall planters and subsequently wilted, are beginning to make a come-back. I’ve seen a few butterflies; cabbage whites, tortoiseshells and some brown hedgerow types, but nothing stays still long enough for me to take a photo. Hopefully that will change once the buddleia is in flower…


JULY 18, 2013

Morning Glory...



And afternoon delights! It’s my birthday today and there’s really no better way to spend it than to sit in my small suburban garden surrounded by fabulous wild flowers.

This evening I shall be enjoying the heady scent of the night-scented stocks while marvelling at the wonders of Miracle-Gro Flower Magic…


JULY 11, 2013 

Here Comes Summer...



At long last the weather forecast is predicting a ‘sunny spell’ and it’s all hands on deck with the watering can. My ornamental poppies have begun to flower and the lobelias are finally standing their ground. The geraniums are in full leaf but I have yet to see any evidence of buds, but at least the petunias add some much-needed colour to my small suburban garden.

The jasmine is still lacklustre but the honeysuckle is doing sterling work in attracting the bees. The begonias, however, appear to be copying the geraniums (all leaf and no flowers). I remain thrilled with the wild flower mix I bought and have been delighted to spot a marigold or two.

Due to the lack of a single ladybird so far this year, black-fly continue to destroy the leaves on my cherry tree (the wild cherry trees are thankfully unaffected). After seeing ants crawling all over it I researched online, only to discover that the ants were harvesting the black-fly eggs (yes, gross!) and were actually protecting them from other predators (in the absence of ladybirds I’m wondering what else might be interested in eating them). I felt I had no choice but to use ant powder to remove the unwanted ‘farmers’ and physically remove all affected leaves one by one. Whether this will put an end to the black-fly only time will tell…


JULY 6, 2013

Best In Show...


Back from a 7 day holiday and I have to say my small suburban garden has grown more than I ever expected. The red jasmine is in need of a trim, the lobelias are beginning to flower, a couple of petunias have decided to blossom, but the winner of ‘best in show’ award goes to my Miracle Gro flower magic mix!

There’s several stocks, Californian bluebells and alyssum and a lot of foliage which I assume will eventually burst into flower if we ever see some sunshine.

The lack of ladybirds (have yet to see a single one this year) has meant blackfly is rife on my poor cherry tree and I’ve had to remove most of it’s leaves.

The geraniums remain unimpressive (a sign of cold/wet/dull weather) but I’m hopeful that they’ll be glorious late-comers. Time will tell….


JUNE 29, 2013

Pretty Pansies...


My small suburban garden remains devoid of much colour at all, despite it being mid-June. The red jasmine has started to flower (much to the bumble bees delight) but there are noticeably less blooms this year than last year. There are a few flowers on the thyme and one tiny, dark blue lobelia flower but everything else is just green….apart from two small clumps of pansies. These were the plants which I picked up for just 30p last October in tescos, and which provided me with colour in my window boxes month after month. When they finally succumbed to the snow I pulled up the few surviving plants and put them in a shady border, not thinking for one moment they’d thrive, but here they are! What pretty little things they are…


JUNE 16, 2013

Busy Bees...



Well, we’ve finally got some decent sunshine and at last the red jasmine has begun to flower, along with the thyme. The bees have been so busy making homes in my old baked-bean tin house I decided to make another one (this time with a small cardboard container, covered in selotape to help with waterproofing). Last year there were just 4 bees living in there but this year there’s an increase in numbers and I may well hit double-figures!

Annoyingly, this weather has brought with it the caterpillars that love to munch on the leaves of cherry trees. I keep removing them (carefully as they give you a rash) but my poor foliage looks decidedly ragged now.

My donated lobelias sadly didn’t make it so it was off to tescos for some last-minute purchases. Four trays of 20 mixed lobelias for just £10, which I thought was quite a good deal. Lets hope this lot fair better…


JUNE 7, 2013

Beautiful Blue Tits...


These past two days have been unexpectedly warm and sunny (and it’s a Bank Holiday weekend – astonishing!) The red jasmine has buds but no flowers as yet, however the petunias which I planted out in the wall planters are doing very well – as are the geraniums. The new begonias look ok but I’m not really familiar with how they should appear as I’ve never grown them before. The lobelias, which should be quite hardy, are unfortunately looking seriously frail.

Controversial as it is, I’m glad I opted to put slug pellets out as I managed to count over 100 dead snails, all of which would’ve been happy to munch on my new bedding plants had I not stopped them.

My cheap (99p each) solar lights are perplexing. Every night it seems a different one refuses to shine, although it’s never the same one two nights in a row, so I’m not sure which one/s to replace. I bought the exact same ones last year and they were really good – maybe this years lights are an inferior batch.

The fat balls in the magnolia has begun to attract blue tits, and it’s a real joy to watch their antics, although (as I’m discovering) it’s incredible tricky to actually photograph them…


MAY 27, 2013 

Neighbour Woes Again...


The idiot next door decided to put some paving slabs down alongside my fence (on his side), however, he seemed to think it was a right laugh to shove his mess under my fence and across into MY border before putting his own fencing panel back in place. Any normal person would’ve taken their paving slab offcuts etc away, but unfortunately I happen to live next door to a moron who thinks it’s funny to try to provoke me.

I guess that now he can no longer chop branches off my forsythia and chuck them into my back yard (after I chopped the tree down), or deliberately leave paint tin rings on the slabs in my front garden (after I told his wife!) he’s got to try to think up other ways to annoy me…


MAY 27, 2013

Rain, Rain, Go Away...


…And don’t bother coming back!!

I’m lucky enough to have a partner who’s father has tremendously green fingers and a generous nature, and last weekend I was bestowed the gift of 4 trays of glorious bedding plants. A wonderful array of geraniums, lobelias, petunias and begonias have now been planted into my terracotta pots and borders but at some point they’re going to need some sunshine in order to thrive.

It’s almost the end of May, and a Bank Holiday weekend, and the weather is utterly depressing. My new solar lights need sunshine to charge their batteries, but all week long the sky has remained the colour of dirty dish-water.

Although highly controversial, I’m rather glad I put down slug pellets because judging by the snail carcasses if I hadn’t there really would be nothing left of my new plants. The constant wet conditions has brought the slimy pests out in force.

A few weeks ago I experimented with a new product; Miracle Gro Flower Magic (a plastic container filed with 29 varieties of wild flower seeds, plant food and growing material which you conveniently simply shake all over wherever you wish the plants to grow, and then water). I opted to trial this in long, slim, plastic planters and at the moment there does appear to be some shoots appearing – so fingers crossed! There was more than enough mix in the container to fill all my planters, the window boxes at the front of the house and a patch of soil near my front door, so hopefully something will grow… despite being frozen to death by hail stones and drowned with rain…


MAY 24, 2013

Hail Season...



It’s a fairly typical British May Bank Holiday Weekend so far weather-wise…

Yesterday I was languishing in the scorching heat long enough to actually get a touch of sunburn as I enjoyed the company of starlings and sparrows watching three full loads of washing dry in the beautiful sunshine. 

However, today the wind is bending the cherry saplings until they almost snap in half, I hear the ominous boom of thunder up above and there’s an unwelcome mixture of rain and hail pouring out of the sky!

Thankfully I have yet to put any delicate bedding plants out, but the yellow primulas have taken a battering and the pansies look a tad shell-shocked. Needless to say there’s now not a single bird in sight and my magnolia has lost the vast majority of it’s delicate petals. Five minutes later the storm has blown over, leaving a trail of soggy mess in it’s wake. I am not impressed…


MAY 4, 2013 

Bright Pink Polys...


After removing the half-dead pansies from the window boxes in the front garden a couple of weeks ago, I decided to put my ‘unwanted’ polyanthus from the back garden in them as a temporary measure while I wait for my bedding plants become available. I didn’t expect them all to thrive, in fact, at the time I couldn’t have cared less if they’d simply withered away (not being a fan of lurid pink ‘primroses’); however, I have to admit that they all look quite lovely now that all of the flowers are out. It certainly cheers up the front of the house, especially now the sun it out…


APRIL 28, 2013 

Blue Sky and Blossom...


After a winter lasting what seemed like an eternity, the sun is finally shining and the sky is all fabulous and blue. The crocuses never did flower but the 3 pink hyacinths are doing well, albeit propped up by sticks, and the yellow primulas are looking all splendidly traditional along the border.

There’s no sign of my 4 little bees making a move from their rusty baked bean tin and I wonder if they actually managed to survive the winter – I do hope so.

My fabulously tall wild cherry tree was nothing more than a weed a few years ago, deposited by the compost bin presumably by an overhead bird, and now it is bloom and looking spectacular against the clear blue sky…


APRIL 23, 2013 

Spring Sprung...



Hurrah! FINALLY there’s a glimmer of hope that spring has arrived and we can finally look forward to turning the central heating off during the day. In an attempt to prove to myself I didn’t imagine a goldfinch at my seed feeder yesterday afternoon, I popped to tescos and bought one of those half-coconut fat feeders, filled with seeds and wormy treats. I hung it near the now half-empty seed feeder on the magnolia, which has just begun to flower and which looks fabulous.

The three hyacinths in the border are making an attempt to flower, although it’s still too early to say which ones are pink and which ones are blue. The crocuses, sadly, are nothing but leaves. The tiny tete-a-tetes are standing proud and the recent rain has encouraged the primulas to perk up a bit too. These are encouraging signs indeed…


APRIL 13, 2013 

Quick! Before it Snows Again...


A lull in the truly awful weather saw me rushing around trying to do 101 things at once in my small suburban garden this afternoon. The sun was out (or at least I think it was the sun – been so long since I last saw it I’ve forgotten what it looks like), but there was still quite a nip in the air.

I’d spotted a couple of dark pink primulas lurking in my row of yellow ones, so I dug those out (now re-planted in the window boxes at the front of the house) and then I set about digging up all of the yellow ones, separating them into smaller plants, and re-planting those along the back border.

Despite the dreadful weather we’ve had for the past few months the ground was remarkably dry, so I gave everything a thorough watering from the water butt.

Before planting the primulas in the window boxes in my front garden I’d removed the remains of the pansies that had been my pride and joy for so long. I managed to salvage 8 of them and decided to pop them into terracotta tubs in the back, where they can enjoy some morning sunshine (if we ever see the sun again), in the hope of getting a few extra weeks of pleasure from them.

I was well aware that my lovely new nest boxes may well attract some little lodgers soon, so I took them off the wall and gave them a coat of Cuprinol. Hopefully that’ll keep the wood from rotting away (plus, they now match the fence).

I now seem to have some tete-a-tetes out, and I think I can see 3 hyacinths trying to flower. The crocuses are still a long way off blooming, and I’m not convinced they will this year…


APRIL 6, 2013 

Happy Easter...


It actually beggars belief that it is Easter weekend and yet again it’s snowing here in Colchester. Have the primulas and tete-a-tetes not suffered enough?! I’d optimistically put some bread out for the birds but it’ll now either be frozen to the paving slabs or covered in a thick blanket of the white stuff before any of our small feathered friends can get near it. I’ve spotted a few seagulls circling overhead but even with their strong wings I suspect they’ll struggle to battle through the blizzard for the sake of a few small bites of an old wholemeal loaf. The cover will remain over the garden table and BBQ for the foreseeable future and I’ve practically given up hope of seeing any sparrows or blue tits using my fabulous new nest boxes…


MARCH 30, 2013 

Here Comes Summer!...


British Summer Time officially starts on Sunday 31st March 2013…….today is Saturday 23rd March 2013 and we’re yet again ankle-deep in snow (of course!!)

I bought another fabulous nest box for the birds in the hope of attracting some of the more community-orientated nesters such as sparrows, but at this rate we simply won’t have any because they’ll all fly off to somewhere warmer, like the Arctic.

The water butt is frozen solid (again) and I’m actually getting a bit worried that the ever-expanding ice inside will cause the sides to split, or will break the small plastic tap. I opted against pouring some warm water inside because 1) it may cause more damage and 2) it’ll just freeze again.

Yesterday I could just about see some tiny yellow trumpets on my tĂȘte a-tĂȘte daffs, however, today they are buried under a mound of white stuff. I guess the primulas are also under there somewhere….


 MARCH 23, 2013 

Global Warming? I Think Not!...


It’s Monday 11th March 2013 and a time of year you might expect to be enjoying crocuses, daffodils and the first rays of spring sunshine, however, this was the view that greeted me from my lounge window this morning. While I appreciate that other parts of the country are knee-deep in the white stuff, I’m not best pleased that yet again the average temperatures are struggling to reach zero and my small suburban garden is in dire need of thawing out for the umpteenth time in the past few months.

This summer had better be a good one!!!


MARCH 11, 2013 

Des Res...



Spring has yet to appear, although we did see the sunshine for one day last week, so my small suburban garden remains a gloomy and unexciting place right now. There are a few yellow primulas out, and the buddleia are in bud, but there’s not much else to write home about (so to speak).

In the absence of plant-life I ordered a fancy new bird box for £5 on Ebay, which has now arrived and is adorning a brick wall awaiting it’s first tenants. Past experience has shown me that birds are mostly uninterested in visiting my garden – despite the vast sums of money I regularly invest in seeds, fat-balls and various other treats – but I live in hope that one pair of tiny feathered friends will find my new garden ornament irresistible this spring, and choose to make it their home.

Time will tell…


MARCH 9, 2013

Simply The Best...


I rarely comment on my front garden as I generally simply spray weed-killer between the paving slabs and on anything attempting to grow in 3 of the 4 borders, and not a lot else. However, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m HUGELY impressed by my 30p pansies!

Not only have they survived the winter frosts and snow, they’re actually STILL in flower 4 months after I brought them home. The window boxes could do with a scrub with some hot, soapy water (a job for the spring I think) and the rusty brackets definitely need a new coat of paint (another job for the spring), but the plants themselves are still a ‘sight for sore eyes’ from the kitchen window.

Shame I didn’t buy more…!


FEBRUARY 8, 2013

Well, I'll Be Blowed...


The snow has gone, the ice has melted, temperatures are finally in double figures (just) and it’s temporarily stopped raining; so what did Mother Nature throw at us today? Wind!

I’d been given a tub of 4 very pretty polyanthus for Christmas, but as they’re not really an indoor plant they were looking very sorry for themselves, so I decided to brave the hurricane conditions and plant them in one of the borders. I’m sure I will eventually move them again, but for now they really are in the best place.

I’d also been given a tub of 3 rather splendid Paperwhites (narcissus) for Christmas, which had flowered too soon, so those too went out into the border.

The rotting geraniums finally had to go, so I spent the next 5 minutes pulling them up and shoving them into the compost bin. They really were quite marvellous in 2012 and will be a big feature of my small suburban garden in 2013.

I’d been wondering why my bird feeder had proved to be unpopular with visiting feathered friends of late, but when I looked closely I noticed the seeds inside had gone mouldy and were all stuck together. Once I’d given it a good clean I put a few fresh seeds in it and hung it back up on the magnolia. Only time will tell if the local sparrows will forgive me for offering up such inedible snacks over the festive season…


JANUARY 31, 2013

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow...


Despite all the fuss on the news and on social media sites, Colchester seems to have got off rather lightly in this recent snow event (at the moment….!) While other areas appear knee-deep in the white stuff there’s only a light dusting in my small suburban garden, and it’s not even managing to settle in some parts. Looks a bit like someone sprinkling icing sugar on a cake.

However, I won’t be popping to the compost bins anytime soon judging by how slippery the slabs are and a quick prod of the water butt confirms my suspicions that it is, in fact, frozen inside.

I’m hoping my bees are warm and cosy in their baked-bean-can ‘house’ and that they’re managing to cope in the sub-zero temperatures…


JANUARY 20, 2013 

Brrrr...


As predicted, we’ve now had the first snow of 2013, and while other areas in the country are enjoying/suffering the effects of a thick (ish) blanket of the white stuff, here in Colchester there seems to be very little to worry unduly about (for the moment…)

However, the temperatures have plummeted to zero during the day and as low as minus five at night, so I imagine the remaining geraniums will soon give up the ghost and turn to mush. The paving slabs in my small suburban garden are quite treacherous with ice although the yellow primulas seem to be thriving despite the weather…


JANUARY 15, 2013

Happy New Year...


After what seems like an eternity of wet weather, the sun has finally made an appearance (long may it last!) Despite several days of sub-zero temperatures in mid-December the geraniums are still defiantly hanging on in there, albeit with a few brown stems. I’ve been very impressed with them throughout 2012 and will definitely be making a big feature of them in my small suburban garden in 2013.

I’m also somewhat amazed and bemused at the amount of buddlia cuttings which are currently in leaf! I have more than enough for my own needs so I will probably be ‘gifting’ some shrubs to friends in the spring.

There’s a few yellow polyanthus in flower but it’s not a great display I have to admit. I’m not entirely sure what’s been eating them but as it’s been damp for so long I have to assume it’s the work of slugs and snails.

My bee house seems to be doing it’s job and has protected the lodgers from the winter weather so far. I’m hoping that in the spring the new bees will emerge fit and healthy. Only time will tell…


JANUARY 1, 2013