These are a few of my favourite plants...

The flower garden has been a bit disappointing this year. It started off pretty well with some lush green growth thanks to the rain, but hasn't really come into its own since then. The timing seemed to be out - there have been a few stand out plants coming good in dribs and drabs, but no real crescendo where the entire garden's looked great.

Of the new plants I've grown this year, the brown foxglove Digitalis Ferruginea has been a keeper. It's glossy leaves look good all year round, and although it didn't flower for very long, it's flower stalks are still upright now and looking rather stately in their decay.

Digitalis Ferruginea - in early August
But there are two plants that have done well every year we've been here, and will always be in any garden I have. The first is Persicaria Amplexicaulis 'Firetail'. It is indestructible - surviving in the most impossible places, whether sun or part-shade. It grows explosively - and can swamp delicate neighbours - but if it's next to plants that can stand up for themselves, the Persicaria will mould itself around them, really gelling a border together. It flowers continuously from late summer until the first frosts - after which it collapses in a heap.

Persicaria Amplexicaulis 'Firetail'
The other is the globe thistle - Echinops Sphaerocephalus. This is the species I think - you can get lots of cultivars which to my mind are smaller and less dramatic. Again it's strong as an Ox, doesn't mind drought, and has lots of flowers that bees love. You often find bumblebees lying on the flowers with their legs in the air apparently in a state of bliss. It's leaves are huge and very prickly - and by the time it flowers they can be a bit of a state - so it's best grown behind something else. But the stalks and heads will stand all winter - and really help give the winter garden structure.
Echinops Sphaerocephalus - aka Globe Thistle



I have just bought a tripod. It's going to change my world. OK, maybe it won't change my world, but it will mean I spend even more time looking at the micro world in our clay garden. I may try some night-time shots with a very slow shutter speed. Or maybe even some timelapses. The possibilities are literally endless.

Some of the first shots I took with it are these tendrils of a butternut squash that were catching the evening light. These little coils grow in a deeply weird and interesting way - as scientists have only recently discovered according to this article.

Never say you don't learn anything from this blog.


Red hot chilli farm

Who knew chillis could look so pretty! I was in Devon not long ago, and popped into the South Devon Chilli Farm. It's a stones throw from where I grew up, and it seems to get bigger every time I go back. They grow all their chillis in a series of poly tunnels, which aren't open to the public, but they but also have a show tunnel that's open to everyone that showcases a bewildering variety of chillis. I've never visited when they are fruiting before, and it was stunning - makes me want to give them a go next year. It also makes me want a massive poly tunnel, but that's a whole other story.

Oh, and by the way, their chipotle chillis, and chipotle salsa are both totally addictive.

Loads more pics below the break... I'm afraid I didn't note down which chillis were what.


In your FACE bad summer!

Think you can beat us down with your rain and your cloud and your rain and your total lack of anything resembling summer? do you??

Well you can't, and despite it being THE WORST SUMMER EVER ON RECORD IN THE HISTORY OF EVERYTHING here's some ripe (YES RIPE) tomatoes grown OUTSIDE to prove it.

Sorry about the caps. I'm a bit excited.