Quick sunflower update time. I don’t know about height but FiL is definitely winning on the sunflower development stakes. They have outgrown their supporting fence and one of them is already in full flower.

Too big for their roots

Full beam

Once I get a picture update from SiL I will do a full competition report.

I was up visiting my mum at the weekend, who has a much more mature garden, but mainly flowers, just a couple of tomato plants tucked away in the corner. But it was looking so good I took photos of some of what I thought were the best bits.

In terms of fauna, the pond was full of fat tadpoles, and covered in pond skaters whizzing about and generally making themselves difficult to photograph.

Mini frogs

Still for a second

Now for the flowers, the best of the bunch out at the moment were the agapanthuses (agapanthii???), lilies and fuchsias.

Not a giant dandelion

Lily of the back garden

Fuchsia what a scorcher!

But my favourites were a giant poppy, and a big bush of white flowers, but I have no idea what it is called.

Mystery bush

I don’t know, you go away for one weekend and comeback to discover the beasties have moved in. While watering my plants this evening I noticed a commotion going on on one of my artichoke plants, and when I looked more closely I discovered it was covered in ants.

Ants on my plants

Then when I inspected my other artichoke, I found that one covered in greenfly, where are all the ladybirds when you need them?

When aphids attack

So I gave them a good squirting with a water spray to knock them off, but I need to find an organic solution or I will be forced to go fully psycho bug killer on them (No need to tell me I’d make a poor buddhist!). Therefore a bit of research is required, but all suggestions are welcome on how to deal with the wee blighters.

Further inspection revealed more greenfly on one courgette leaf and some of the salad – I need to deal with them quickly before they spread.

With all the sun we have been having recently, and a good bit of watering, some of the buds I wrote about earlier have turned into flowers, and a few plants that didn’t have any have produced flowers anyway.

The most exciting is on the strawberry plants, an attractive pink flower that has a large lump in it, which I hope is a strawberry in the making. For the eagle-eyed among you, it can just be made out in the bottom left corner of the flower.

Strawberry bloom

While we are in hanging basket mode, the tumbling tom, which had a couple of sad-looking flowers when I got it, is now producing a lot more.

Tumbling tom petals

Meanwhile, one of the sunflowers looks just on the edge of going into full flower, with the sepals wide open. (Thanks to G for the real word, which was much better than my original try of ‘leafy bit behind the flower’). It is actually doing a rather good impression of a giant thistle.

Sunflower Sepals

The surprise members of the group were the peas, which showed no signs of doing anything yesterday, but today  had a number of flowers on them. Not the best picture but they were all facing the wrong way for me to get a good picture.

Bonus pea flower

A couple of the older residents in the garden are obviously having none of these young upstarts stealing all their thunder, so the climbing rose has finally started to bloom aswell.

Oldy, but a goody

Woohoo! I decided that there was more than enough salad going on in the barrel for me to get a snack out of it.

Abundant barrel of leaves

So ten minutes and a some snipping later I had the ingredients for a tasty starter of rocket, pearl and nymans lettuce.

The first produce

A splash of olive oil and a squirt of lemon juice resulted in a delicious bowlful to share before tea. The leaves didn’t have the underlying bitterness that you get in the supermarket salad bags. Hopefully they will keep going until I have some other veggies to pair them with for a more substantial meal

It looks like lots of things are starting to happen about the garden with various plants starting reach up and produce buds. My beans are wrapping their way around the cane wigwam I built them.

Borlotti boa constrictor

Meanwhile the courgettes are producing what look like lots of flower buds around the base of the stem, which will hopefully turn into loads of lovely veg, which is exciting as although they are still a way off, I believe courgettes can appear almost overnight.

Courgettes in the making

Finally we have the strawberry plants which have little red buds forming under the leaves, but I can’t find any info if these are where the strawbs will grow from, if runners will sprout from here or something else altogether. I guess I will have to wait and see.

Mystery bud

Do you worry about your veg when you go on holiday? Well fret no more, you can take them with you using the latest project from La Machine as shown on Brass Goggles. Now come on, I am sure even the non-engineers out there can appreciate this one.

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