SOS: Escape to the garden, Bleeding hearts and Forget-me-nots

I will list six highlights from the garden shortly… But firstly a song and a sketch, and a snapshot of this momentous day.

ARTHUR: …we’re all Britons and I am your king.
WOMAN: I didn’t know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective.
DENNIS: You’re fooling yourself. We’re living in a dictatorship. A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes –
WOMAN: Oh there you go, bringing class into it again.
DENNIS: That’s what it’s all about, if only people would –
ARTHUR: Please, please good people. I am in haste. Who lives
in that castle?
WOMAN: No one lives there.
ARTHUR: Then who is your lord?
WOMAN: We don’t have a lord.
DENNIS: We’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune.
ARTHUR: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!
WOMAN: Order, eh – who does he think he is?
ARTHUR: I am your king!
WOMAN: Well, I didn’t vote for you.
ARTHUR: You don’t vote for kings.
WOMAN: Well, how did you become king then?
ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur was to carry Excalibur. That is why I am your king!
DENNIS: Listen – strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: Well you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!
ARTHUR: Shut up!
DENNIS: I mean, if I went around sayin’ I was an emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me they’d put me away!
ARTHUR: Shut up! Will you shut up!

Let’s escape to the garden

“Sometimes I just feel like I’m actually on the wrong planet. I feel great when I’m in my garden, but the moment I go out the gate, I think, ‘What the hell am I doing here?!’” – George Harrison

‘Life’s what happens while you’re making plans’ as John Lennon said. So I started this blog about seven years ago, based on the idea of ‘Doing the plan’ to leave London and full time work, and do more fulfilling things outdoors. It’s sort of worked, and evolved into living a life with more gardening, part time work in the forestry sector, learning a lot more about trees, and volunteering with Shared Earth Learning forest school.

Hooray for the rain

Here in Frome it is raining, and I’ve watered the seedlings in the greenhouse.

I’ve got half an eye on the cononation ceremony via BBC online, but I’m listening to George’s 1973 epic 2 hour album ‘All Things Must Pass’ . which is a much better soundtrack.

I am glad to see it rain on the parade, although I’m sure that later the clouds will part, and the crowd will cheer as the crown glistens and believe that truly is a sign that the man in the sparkly hat was chosen by god (and the watery tart) to be the king.

Here are six highlights in the garden!

The bleeding hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) are looking spectactabluous. Looking back on my older blogs from this time of year, it’s a highlight plant at this time of year over and over again. We had one of these in London brightening up the view from the kitchen window. Here in Somerset, I have planted a couple of these out, but the one by the side gate to the back garden is looking very happy and flowering profusely.

2. Earlier this week we were happy to spot a slow worm at the bottom of the garden, basking in the sunshine by the back border.

3. In the greenhouse, our peat free seedlings are doing well. I’ve discovered the deep joy of adding some sieved home made compost to the potting mix. I’ve been trying to avoid using peat in the garden for years – with about 80% success. I mean that in terms of avoiding buying peat (I bought supermarket plants and compost during lockdown that contained peat) but most of the time I avoid buying peat. And I also mean that I’ve had about 90% success with seedlings sown in peat free compost. They maybe need a bit more time and a bit less water, but aside from that I’ve found that most things have sprouted quite happily in a mix of sylvagrow peat free compost, with some garden soil and a little bit of homemade compost.

I got a lot of seeds from Higgledy Garden buying a bundle of ‘easy’ growers. A lot of these are new to me – there’s Godetia Crown, Rudbeckia, Ammi Majus and Mammoth Dill that I’m trying for the first time, and there are some familiar favourites like nasturtium, cornflower, cosmos in the mix. This is my first full year of having a greenhouse so I’m going for more seeds than ever before.

The plan its to replace the more weedy spots in the borders, where herb robert, vinca major and alchemia mollis are totally taking over with a more colourful collection. I have found it hard in the past to establish new plants in the most overgrown borders, so lets see how it goes this year…

4. The compost bin

In hindsight, it would have been good to get this compost bin set up as soon as we moved in. It’s great to have a supply of homemade compost. It makes weeding feel more useful to know that these plants that were in the wrong place can be used to enrich the soil a few months later. We had a few piles of semi-rotted woodchip, leafmulch and garden clippings around to give the heap a good start, and the first batch is just about ready.

5. Spuds in pots and bags. The seed potatoes I picked up at Frome’s Potato Fair and seedswap earlier this year have been chitting on the windowsill since Feb, and I planted them out using some homegrown compost into a big bucket and a couple of takeaway bags. I hope they’ll grow well beside the veg bed. I had some good results with spuds in bags a few years ago, so hope these will work out ok…

6. Fruit corner is next to the veg bed. Very much a work in progress, this is one of the last areas of the garden we opened up. Last year most of this space was filled with an overgrown potato vine and self seeded holm. I hope there’s enough sunshine here to grow some fruit and a few flowers but time will tell.

7. And here’s a bonus garden thing, while the King is behind a special screen to be sprinkled with regal oil and George Harrison sings My Sweet Lord… And just because I wanted to include another flower to finish this week’s blog… Here’s a forget me not.

The Coronation nonsense continues, but I have a few more seeds to sow – including some forget me nots which it’s getting to be about the right time for as the garden slowly warms up.

Whatever your plans this weekend, I hope you have no rain on your parade and plenty in your waterbutts.

Much republican love,

Jen x

5 thoughts on “SOS: Escape to the garden, Bleeding hearts and Forget-me-nots

  1. It all looks very interesting with lots of things to do and grow. Love your pussycat compost inspector! I love growing godetias, they are very pretty in spring/summer.


  2. About the only reason I could think of for watching any of yesterday’s shenanigans was that it might become historic because of being the last time it happened. It wasn’t enough, I didn’t watch any of it and skipped the new to avoid it. Got a lot done in the garden though.
    Re compost, I use Sylvagrow for all my seed sowing and would never add soil or garden compost to it, partly because I can’t see how doing so would improve its performance for seed sowing, partly because I wouldn’t want to introduce pathogens or unwanted weed seeds into the compost.


    1. Hi Jim, I’m glad you got plenty done in the garden. I did a lovely bit of greenhouse mooching during the downpours. 🙂

      Re: Re Compost… I often mix my seed sowing compost with a bit of garden soil. It was a habit developed in the times when I didn’t have a car or much cash, so recycling soil and reducing the amount of stuff that comes into the garden became a habit. I think I also like the idea of introducing a few pathogens – I have a hunch it makes the seedlings tougher.


  3. Hey, I just featured forget-me-not! It is the State Flower of Alaska! I thought I did something special. Oh well, at least yours is special.
    I do not understand the fuss about King Charles III. There is nothing like it in American culture. Perhaps that is why some of our politicians and entertainers are such celebrities without really ‘doing’ anything to justify it, besides being very weird and dysfunctional.


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