English Garden Journal - July 2021

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The dipping pond in the Botanic Garden, now gloriously re-opened after a prolonged lockdown closure. I visit nearly everyday.

I have the key code to get into the Garden out of hours and this morning I was there before Estates had opened the gates. As I walked towards the carp pond, a huge heron lifted from the water and zig-zagged across the sky before disappearing behind the trees.

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After a slow start, my vegetable patch is picking up speed. Spinach is hale and hearty and ready to eat. This is a cut and come variety, I pick a few leaves to throw in with the pan for breakfast each morning.

I read yesterday that spinach is a good source of vitamin C, so along with strawberries, I'm eating a fair bit of spinach these days. I also picked up some kefir yesterday, quite nice with strawberries.

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Thrilled with the first tomatoes setting - these are plum tomatoes. I bought four grafted seedlings this year - plum, beefsteak, cherry and salad - that should cover all the bases. Grafting is supposed to produce more vigorous plants, less susceptible to various blights and plights.

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The potatoes in pots are coming into flower, too. This is the third year I've grown potatoes and the first year I've seen any flowers. I think this is a second early - you can grow in pots for new potatoes, these should be ready in a couple of weeks - the remainder are planted in the ground for harvest later in the year.

I also have a few beans climbing up sticks at the back of the garden, and one or two herbs, but otherwise nothing very exciting is happening. Not a courgette has germinated, if I see some plants left in the garden centre, I'll buy a couple.

The meadow in the front garden is looking so much better than the lawn that was there and the garden itself is awash with wildflowers. Indoors, my house plants are improving. I moved some downstairs, where it is cooler, with less direct sunlight, and they are thriving. Upstairs, in the office, the monstera is taking over, and the weeping fig, finally, is producing new leaves.

Mr P came by recently with a fat, well-used pot, inherited from his mum and burnished inside and out. Its got the look of a pot that's been around. A bit of a bruiser, if the truth be told, but perfect for slowing cooking a feast for the end of a long day's gardening.

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I have the key code to get into the Garden out of hours and this morning

Wow. That sounds like a bit of a coup. 😊

The potatoes in pots are coming into flower

I didn't know you could do this. We don't have a garden but I'm sure John would like to give it a go in pots. Can you grow them in a north facing area do you think?


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a bit of a coup

Not really, every member has access. It is supposed to be in daylight hours, but I like to go round late - the scent from the flowers on warm evenings is lovely then.

Mmm, not sure - could try it and see what happens. They're good in pots - enough in a 9" pot for two or three servings.

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(Edited)

Private park member sounds very vip-like 😯 😯 😯 And the pond looks wonderful (may I say that I still miss botanical parks, galleries etc very much? But not for much longer, in some weeks I will be vaccinated)
ANd your plants are great, especially the potatoes look interesting with the flowers and the dark stems. I tried potatoes the first time this year and mine are growing like crazy (thankfully as slugs simultaneously try to eat them) but the plants look very differently; light green and no flowers at all. I have them in a pot and some in a patch… not idea if I will yield any harvest :-DDD
THe photo is roughly two weeks old, now the plants are even bigger (for a potato newbie like me this is very surprising, never thought they have so much green :-DDDD)
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The Garden is lovely and I do like being able to go in there whenever I wish, it is only about ten minutes walk from where I live. I have just signed up as a volunteer to help once a month. I also have a beautiful meadow just a short walk away - I was there this morning getting some inspiration for designing.

I believe potato plants look different according to the variety. In previous years, the ones I have grown have had very light foliage. This year, I think you can tell they definitely belong to the nightshade family 😆! Potatoes do grow gratifying well! They will cover a patch of ground easily, and you will forever find potatoes growing there!

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That spinach is definitely looks hearty. We just had three rounds of delicious salad with out head lettuce. It’s pretty amazing going outside and picking for a meal :)

Look at those tomatoes! They are adorable when they first sprout. Our tomatoes haven’t sprouted yet but the plant is growing so tall, I have to run and get a taller stake to keep them upright.

Are your spinach plants in raised beds? After this first year of gardening I’m really starting to see why people prefer them. We are definitely going to get some when we are able to. Our weeds are growing like crazy.

Thanks for sharing your garden update ~

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It’s pretty amazing going outside and picking for a meal :)

It is a lot of fun, isn't it? 🙂

I'm pleased with the tomatoes, they seemed a little slow, and I was relieved when I saw the fruits forming. I immediately fed them a great can of organic plant food! They can get very tall, you're right, getting long enough canes can be a challenge.

The garden at the back of the house is terraced, with two levels. The lower level is about three feet high, so yes I guess it is like a raised bed. It's great for crops where you want to cut and come again because everything is in easy reach.

I'm not doing too bad with weeds this year, I quite enjoy going out in the early evening with a glass of wine and hoeing between plants - I find it very therapeutic. I'm changing what I want to grow, though, I think next year I'm going to have a big strawberry patch and other soft fruits - raspberries and gooseberries (I love gooseberry crumble).

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Yes it is so much fun (besides all the bugs and larvae I have to pull off 😰😅).

Yes I feel the same way about the tomatoes, they seem to be slow growing.

Oh cool. Yes I can see how that would make it easier to get to your veggies.

I’m glad it’s been therapeutic for you. I haven’t gotten to that point yet (due to me still slowly getting through my fear of certain insects) but I have noticed I’m getting calmer and enjoy it more.

We planted two sections of strawberries and only one of them has been growing successfully. We haven’t gotten any strawberries yet but the leaves are coming up nicely. I’ll be sharing them in my next garden journal.

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all the bugs and larvae

Ah, creepy-crawlies! You get used to them 😁.

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Great looking garden. I adorn fresh spinach and it's so good for you.

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adorn fresh spinach

Me too, love being able to harvest some as I need it. I'll be more adventurous next year, I think, and grow a bed full. Chard, too, I love the stems!

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Looks like you have some good crops. I've been lax in getting things planted this year, but will get some stuff anyway. Strawberry crop has been fairly good.

Enjoy!

!PIZZA

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Yes, I'm missing out on the strawberries, I must get my act together. It's the one crop Mr P has requested! 😂

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Hail up Mr. P for cooking up a great recipe.

Potatoes are looking great. Nice garden you have going there.

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Mr P is the man for a one pot dish 😁.
The potatoes look really pretty, don't they? I'm pleased with myself about them.

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(Edited)

What else do you grow? We started growing tomatoes on our balcony recently

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Yes, I have some tomatoes and spinach. Growing on your balcony is a great idea. I'm going to move over to soft fruit next year - raspberries and gooseberries and strawberries, I think.

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I didn't know you had that secret VIP all access garden pass. Potatoes, strawberries, spinach, tomatoes, you got a lot of tasty stuff growing. That VIP garden looks like the kind of place that Alice fell in the hole.


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Yes, I missed it so much during lockdown. I would walk round the perimeter, gazing through and working out where I could break in 😂.
Very pleased with what I am growing this year, looking forward to building on it next year.

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Oh how lovely to have access to the botanical garden! Such a joy to be back in there I'm sure. I was just thinking the other day we need to go for a visit to the big garden in the city here, though sometimes the weather in the summer makes it a bit of a challenge unless we go early or late.

Looks like you have some great stuff growing in your own garden, as well! Nothing beats going out to pluck that healthy goodness to use straight away. We haven't tried spinach before, but that may be one to add to my list!

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Hello there @plantstoplanks how are you?
I love to go to the Garden early or late, I can feel very put out when there are other visitors 😁. It is very beautiful at any time of day, but I especially love the very early morning or the late, often after dark, evenings.
Spinach is a great crop, very easy to grow and lasts right through the winter. I'm very fond of it, can eat it every day!

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Oh, that dipping pool is just lovely!!! Wouldn't it be nice to have in your own garden? Our pool is tiny, but we've been talking about putting in a natural swimming pool. One day!

Keffir is LOVELY with strawberries. I should make some again, but I couldn't keep up with drinking it! You're right about spinach and vitamin C, as well as iron! How about a spinach, strawberry and keffir smoothie? Yummo.

How is the summer going in the UK? I heard it's not as warm as last year. Last year it was roasting when I was there in April! I do apologise, but I forgot whereabouts you are!!!

thanks for sharing, and thanks again for contributing to the #gardenjournal kitty!

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Oh, my mum would have loved a natural swimming pool! She loved swimming and loved her garden and the two combined would have been perfect for her. It's a great idea I should put on my list for my own garden 😍.

Keffir is a new thing to me, I'd heard about it, then one day it was on offer in our local Co-op, with cherries, which I am a sucker for 😂.

I'm in Leicester in the East Midlands - it's very wet here, although one month (April?) was very dry, no rain the whole month. It's bright but overcast many days, the temperatures are lower than usual, and not much sunshine. Perfect for spinach, not so much for the tomatoes 🙂.

Which part of the UK did you visit last year?

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