Gardening relief: my green haven

Something a bit happier on this sunnyish Sunday in norf London. The other day Ned posted some gorgeous gardening pix from his California home. In response, here are a few from my garden.

garden osteospermum flowers
Osteospermum flowers open in the sun and close at night. Plus dianthus and cyclamen.

Petunia, portulaca and aloe cactus
A pot of vigorous Petunia Surfinia taking over the garden table. The succulent portulaca will be covered in vivid multicoloured flowers. I used to have one that I adored but it died and I’ve only just found some more at Homebase. So I bought three. There’s a tiny aloe I bought with the intention of harvesting its healthy nutritious gel from its leaves when it gets bigger. Unfortunately, the small print reads: “Caution. These plants may be harmful if eaten.” There goes my big plan.

poppy flower
This poppy was from last month. Now only seed heads are left but it was so beautiful I wanted to share.

snail eggs
This was fascinating. Something while and pearly was half buried in the soil of a trough containing rocket and pansies. A closer inspection revealed eggs and a nearby snail. Cheek!

garden rosemary
I love cats. But not when they use the facilities as a latrine, or lie in wait for the wildlife. Here’s one of my cat deities standing guard by the rosemary.

The local animals include a pair of blackbirds and one youngster; a pair of wood-pigeons plus a third interloper they keep seeing off; mother and child feral pigeons which are fairly fearless and bully the bigger wood-pigeons; a tiny hoppy field mouse; a cheeky robin; a wren; and assorted tits, chaffinches and martens. My favourite is a squirrel who is always pregnant or nursing, and her growing brood. She accosts me for nuts and is very entertaining.

The Big Bad is the magpie that has finished off numerous fledglings including, last week, the baby wood pigeon nesting in the Eriobotrya Japonica (loquat tree). My friend Phil came round for tea and cake, we had barely sat down at the table underneath the tree when something went “thunk!” next to Phil’s plate: it was the partially gnawed carcass of the baby bird. High in the tree sat the magpie. And, do you know, I could swear it laughed.

See also Garden Haven Pt II.

Madam Miaow says … visit Anna Chen’s website here:


Anna’s food blog here:

5 thoughts on “Gardening relief: my green haven”

  1. Gosh, I love that squirrel!! And cat deities… and all the lovely flower pix. Wish I had a garden tho' have Crystal Palace Park next door….

  2. Hey, thanks for the link there! And wonderful photos indeed, it's a clear contrast between a spot where there's lots of rain and green in general (your neck of the woods) and the arid location I'm at where we have plenty of sun but need a lot more water to ensure good growth!

  3. Ha! Ned, you haven't seen me carrying endless cans of water like a Chinese peasant to pamper these plants. Following two or three sodden summers, we're having almost drought conditions in the south of England, complete with solemn threats to bring in a hosepipe ban.

    Not that I am complaining. I love the sun.

    My next batch of pix will have more foody stuff, although nowhere near your serious level.

    Harpy, you will be seeing it soon. I really like your park pix, especially the heron.

  4. love the pic especially the poppy and squirrel! I envy anyone with a garden. We tried win dow boxes but they got overtaken by the pigeons!

  5. You need sharp pointy spiky things for the pigeons (no, I don't mean kebab skewers!). I think you can buy sheets or rolls of the stuff from builders' merchants.

    I hated living somewhere with no outdoor space. Some people aren't bovvered but it's sad if you are.

    I assume you pulled out all stops to drive away the pigeons?

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