It’s gold for St Ives and Huntingdon at Anglia In Bloom awards

It’s gold for St Ives and Huntingdon at Anglia In Bloom awards

Some of the displays in The Waits, in St Ives. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

It was a golden year for Huntingdon and St Ives as both towns scooped awards at Anglia in Bloom.

Some of the displays in The Waits, in St Ives. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The annual ceremony celebrates the floral flourishes of towns and villages across East Anglia, with a range of categories for entrants.

This year, St Ives picked up a gold award in the large town category, with particular praise for planting at the bus station and the park and ride.

The town’s riverfront displays and the Norris Museum were also commended; Holt Island was nominated for the Best Conservation Project; and Gerald Brunning’s winning allotment in the St Ives in Bloom competition was nominated for the Grow Your Own Award. The attractive frontage and garden of the Swan and Angel pub, meanwhile, won the best restaurant category.

In Huntingdon, meanwhile, there was also a gold in the large town category, and a silver award for Moor (Oxmoor) in the urban community category.

Huntingdon in Bloom. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

“Gold for Huntingdon & St. Ives”:https://www.huntspost.co.uk/news/gold-for-huntingdon-and-st-ives-at-anglia-in-bloom-1-5692945

I copied the above from the Hunts Post article which you can read at the link above.

The following photos are my own & show the other original flowerbeds not shown in the article in the Hunts Post.

The Town Council has a great team with lots of initiative & great ideas – as I’m sure you will agree when you see some of the photos I took over the summer.

I can’t find any information on the Internet about ‘Spud McPat Face’. I did a search last year when I wrote a blog on this flower display & I’ve done another search today – the only results I could find were what I’d written on different blogs & the photos I have uploaded!

Flowerbed with ‘Spud McPat Face’ boat on Ring Road, Huntingdon 17th July 2018:

Flowerbed with ‘Spud McPat Face’ boat on Ring Road, Huntingdon 29th August 2018:

‘Spud MacPat Face’ boat on Huntingdon Ring Road 26th September 2018:’

Flower bed near bus station WW1 tank Huntingdon 8th June 2018:

Flower bed with WWI tank replica near bus station, Huntingdon 17th July 2018:

Replica of WWI tank in flowerbed near Huntingdon bus station 9th August 2018:

Flowerbed in Sebastopol Gardens with cannon close up 9th July 2018:

Richard lll’s crown in Sebastopol Gardens 8th July 2018:

Flower bed with Richard III’s crown & replica cannon in Sebastopol Gardens 24th July 2018:

Flowerbed & Richard III’s crown in Sebastopol Gardens 24th July 2018:

Flowerbeds near bus station, Huntingdon 8th June 2018:

Flowerbeds near bus station Huntingdon 8th June 2018:

Flowerbeds close to the Bus station Huntingdon 11th September 2018:

Raised flowerbed commemorating 100 years of WI on Ring Road, Huntingdon 17th July 2018:

Raised flowerbed on Huntingdon Ring Road 8th June 2018:

Raised flowerbed on Ring Road, Huntingdon 17th July 2018:

Have you noticed the difference in the “Headboards” between the picture above & the one below? There is now room for them to put this year’s gold medal in!

And here it is!:

Raised flowerbed on Ring Road, Huntingdon 29th August 2018:

Raised flowerbed on Ring Road, Huntingdon 11th September 2018:

Antique seed drill just planted up at Castle House, Huntingdon 8th June 2018:

Antique seed drill in front of Castle House, Huntingdon 5th July 2018:

Antique seed drill in front of Castle House, Huntingdon 21st September 2018:

There are other flowerbeds around town but I don’t want to bore you with an excess of photos!

I’m sorry I have no photos of St Ives, even though it is only 5 miles from Huntingdon, as I haven’t been there this year – yet.

Tomatoes harvesting & dying 2018

Tomatoes harvesting & dying 2018

Back in March 2018 my daughter gave me 5 packets of tomato seeds.

I sowed some from each packet of five varieties & the majority germinated within a week.

After another couple of weeks in the flat I moved them outside & put them in the mini-greenhouse on the table in a corner of the balcony.

At the beginning of May I put the small plants in 3″ pots which were then planted into 4 growbags on the floor of the balcony.

I started to harvest the first of the tomatoes during the last week of August. My 3 grandchildren helped to pick some as well.

It’s now the end of September & I’ve picked lots of tomatoes. ‘Ukrainian Purple’ has been one of the most prolific & also the earliest to start, though ‘Black Cherry’ was right behind!

I’d also planted 3 hanging baskets with 4 plants of ‘Red Robin’ in each. These were really prolific tiny, tasty tomatoes & I will definitely be growing more of this variety next year!

‘Alicante’ was later to start ripening than the others but has produced quite a lot of fruit as well. I’d forgotten to take photos of this variety so I’ve just quickly taken this picture to show a few of the fruits I’ve picked in the last week or two. There are still more green tomatoes on the plant that is left.

Last of all, when I thought I must have lost all the plants or given them away, ‘Speckled Roma’ put in an appearance! I had only 2 plants of this variety but at last they have had a few ripe fruits. I haven’t tried them yet but in the next day or so I will.

The cold weather has now begun but the tomatoes loved the long hot summer we had this year! I’ve never seen the plants grow so well & so strongly in the 15 or more years I’ve been growing them on the balcony! The first 2 ‘Ukrainian Purple’ have finished harvesting & I have removed them from the growing bags. A few of the ‘Alicante’ plants have finished as well & have been removed from the pots they were growing in. I still have one plant with lots of green fruit, I’ve started to pick any tomatoes that are showing any hint of ripening so as to leave the others to “fatten up” a little more. I am doing the same with all the plants now & in a couple of weeks time I expect to have cleared the balcony of all the tomato plants then I can get on with putting up the big, round white table in the corner & put the mini-greenhouse on it for the winter/spring.

These are some of the very last tomatoes I picked yesterday. I will have to pick the rest of the tomatoes that are still green & bring them in to ripen.

Storm damage

Storm damage

The ‘Black Prince’ variegated Geraniums that have been growing in a trough on the balcony railing all summer suffered badly a week ago when we had some very strong winds & some rain. These 4 plants had flowered magnificently all summer but they had grown too tall & lanky in spite of being in full sunshine from 11am till the sun went down all summer.

Although they were growing in a trough on the middle bar of the railings that surround the balcony on 3 sides it is difficult to see just what is happening to the plants.

I wrapped chicken wire around the railings many years ago when we had 5 little dogs. This was to keep them from getting out onto the street which is quite busy. It also serves to hold up my troughs & pots. I can tie the troughs & pots to the wire & thus they don’t fall off with the slightest puff of air. But the plants grow through the spaces in the chicken wire which, generally, doesn’t bother me, growing as they like makes the display look more natural which is what I like. However in this instance it wasn’t as favourable to the plants as the stems grew taller & outwards. this wasn’t a problem till the strong winds from storms, (just days before the autumn equinox), ‘Ali’ & ‘Bronagh’, especially the latter, started ripping the leaves off the plants & even bending the stems so far back that they all but broke.

The strong winds & the rain also brought down the strings I had tied up from the top of the railings to the ceiling, which broke under the winds & rain & all my ‘Morning Glory’ plants came tumbling down.

As I couldn’t repair the strings I cut them all off at the top of the railings with the climbers wrapped around them & threw them away – much to my sadness. I had hoped they would go on flowering till the end of October, like in previous years, but it wasn’t to be.

Now I have lost the vertical component of the balcony & it all looks so flat & very open, which makes me feel vulnerable when I’m out there!

I cut back all the stems of the ‘Black Prince’ at the same time & used some of them to take cuttings! So I will have lots of plants of this Geranium next year! It roots very easily so not all is lost even if there will probably be no more flowers this year. As they say “Every cloud has a silver lining”.

The other 2 troughs of Geraniums, ‘Vancouver Centennial’ & the unnamed green & white variegated one, escaped the same fate as they never grew so tall & therefore didn’t get so many leaves torn off or their stems broken like ‘Black Prince’. They did however loose the majority of their flowers & some of their leaves were burnt by the strong winds.

The photos show what the trough of ‘Black Prince’ looked like before & after I had cut them back:

The photos show what the trough of ‘Black Prince’ on the balcony floor looked like on July 16th & after the storms had gone through.

When the Red, Red Robin …

When the Red, Red Robin …

Do you remember the song? Many famous artists have sung it over the many years that have past since it was first written!

Never fear though, I’m not about to sing it! If I did we’d be longing for the drought again!

In this case I’m talking about a tiny variety of tomato, called ‘Red Robin’!

This was one of 5 different varieties of tomato seeds that my daughter gave me back in March this year.

Tomato seeds 5 varieties:

Tomato seeds ‘Red Robin’:

‘Red Robin’ seedlings planted out in hanging basket:

‘Red Robin’ in hanging basket flowering:

‘Red Robin’ in hanging basket on balcony from outside:

‘Red Robin’ on balcony before being picked by Kirsty:

So from planting out in the 3 baskets to picking the first ripe toms only about 2 & 1/2 months passed! Seems much longer!

‘Red Robin’ just picked from the balcony:

I won’t bore you with the other 2 baskets as all the photos are very similar! Nor will I bore you with photos of the other 3 varieties growing in Growbags on the floor of the balcony but I will include a couple of pictures of them before I finish this blog.

‘Alicante’ 1 ripening while others are still green on balcony:

Don’t be frightened by the size of this tomato – the photo has been cropped!

‘Black Cherry’ ripening on balcony:

Tomatoes ripening while some are still green on balcony:

Here you can see ‘Alicante’ (Left) & ‘Ukrainian Purple’ (Right) side by side!

Tomatoes Half ripe on balcony:

These are the only tomatoes to adopt this form of ripening!

What a show …

What a show … even if I do say so myself!

When, at the beginning of May, I decided to put in the summer bedding (& hope the weather would warm up & that I wouldn’t lose them!) little could I have imagined the weeks & weeks of extremely hot, dry, sunny weather we were in store for from mid June to the end of July 2018! (& still counting!)

My wife & I bought some packs of Petunias in town just before the Early Spring Bank Holiday, (7th May), which were part of a special Bank Holiday weekend offer – 4 packs for £3! So we got 3 packs of Petunias & a pack of Dark Begonias.

Petunias

‘Candyfloss Mix’:

‘Light Blue’:

‘Moonshine’ mixed:

‘Candyfloss’ flowering on balcony railings (From the outside) 1st June 2018:

‘Light Blue’ flowering on balcony railings (from the outside) 1st June 2018:

‘Moonshine mixed’ flowering on balcony railings (From outside) 1st June 2018

I put the pots, 2 plug plants to a pot, out on the balcony railing on the Bank Holiday Monday. As there were 6 plants in each pack & I had 9 pots I was able to group them according to their colours in groups of 3! Later on my wife decided they would look better if the colours were mixed up! So I had to break up the groupings of colours which made it more difficult to photograph them in the following months!

Petunias just potted up & put on balcony railings 7th May 2018

✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿✿

Begonias sempervivens

‘Dark mixed’:

‘Dark mixed’ in bedroom window 25th June 2018:

Begonias in bedroom window from outside 26th June 2016:

I don’t have a more recent photo because, (as you can see from the last one I took), there is too much glare on the windows which makes it almost impossible to get a half decent photo!

✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾✾

Variegated Geraniums:

As I had a lot of Geraniums that I’d overwintered I thought I could put them to good use by putting them in the new troughs I had bought, to take the place of the old ones which were falling to pieces.

‘Vancouver Centennial’ just planted out in new trough on balcony table 18th April:

Green & white just finished planting up in new trough on balcony table 18th April 2018

‘Black Prince’ just planted up in new trough on balcony table 18th April 2018:

I put the same variety of Variegated Geranium in each of the troughs on the centre bar of the balcony railings & then repeated the same ones in the long white troughs below them, on the balcony floor.

Green & white in troughs on balcony railings & floor 6th June 2018:

‘Vancouver Centennial’ in troughs on balcony railings & floor 6th June 2018:

‘Black Prince’ in troughs on balcony railings & floor 6th June 2018:

Green & white on balcony railings seen from outside 16th July 2018:

‘Vancouver Centennial’ on balcony railings seen from outside 16th July 2018:

‘Black Prince’ on balcony railings seen from outside 16th July 2018:

❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀

If you’ve reached this far down then I think you deserve to see what the title of this blog is all about!

So, if you are ready?

❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁

Then let’s lift the curtain then & not have any more suspense!

Balcony as seen from the outside

Left 16th July 2018:

Centre 16th July 2018:

Right 16th July 2018:

As seen from the street on 16th July 2018:

As seen from the street on 22nd July 2018:

❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁❁

What you can’t see from the above photos are the many tomato plants growing on the balcony!

Would you like to see the balcony from the inside? Yes, I’m sure you would! So I’ll close this blog with a few photos of the interior:

Tomato plants:

Tomatoes ‘Red Robin’ in hanging basket:

Strawberry ‘Toscana’ flowering in hanging basket:

Strawberries ‘Delizz’ in hanging basket:

Petunias on balcony railings:

Hope I haven’t bored you with this show!

But … the show must go on!

So another time I’ll do another blog on our balcony – with a different perspective!

See you, folks!
.

Flower Mod

Flower Mod

Sorry for my erratic appearances here in the last month or so many things have been occupying my time recently & it makes it more difficult to comment on peoples photos & blogs – let alone writing blogs myself!

If I don’t seem to be around as much as I used to be don’t worry because I’m still here but the title I’ve chosen for this blog really explains a lot as well!

Flower Mod refers to me have become a Mod on about half a dozen flower groups on Flickr! I have to look at & approve, or otherwise, 100’s of photos daily! Fortunately the great majority of photos are great photos of flowers – which makes it a lot more interesting!

If you post photos on Flickr & are a member of one of the flower groups you may very well find your photo has been approved my me – or otherwise! (Look out for D@viD_2.011)

Before I finish I’m going to include a photo of my Amaryllis on our living room table & another of what our balcony looks like at present.

Geranium cuttings in kitchen window

Geranium cuttings 2018

I have a lot of Geranium cuttings on the windowsills of our kitchen & 1 bedroom. Most of them are variegated Geraniums but I have some brilliant red Geranium cuttings as well. These have mostly rooted very well & are growing well. I have to remove the growing tip from most of the otherwise they will grow too long – in spite of being in windows that get a lot of light & any sunlight going – all year round!

Double red Geranium in kitchen window

Geranium (Brilliant red) cutting in kitchen window 2nd February 2019

A couple of weeks ago I missed a bud on a brilliant red Geranium cutting till the first flower began to open. Now the whole head is open. I didn’t want this to happen as I wanted them to concentrate their energy into making roots, ready for transplanting in the spring, before their final planting up into bigger pots in the summer.

Variegated Geranium on bedroom windowsill 11th March 2019

‘Pinky’ or not ‘Pinky’?

‘Pinky’ or not ‘Pinky’?

This it appears is a blog which I saved as a draft back in March 2016!!! I may have forgotten to publish it at the time!

Anyway as I was writing a blog today I noticed this was sitting in the section on the right hand side of the page where it says “Saved drafts”. I opened it & saw that I could almost repeat it word for word this year, 2018!

It’s flowering at the present moment on our living room table, rather later than March as we are 3/4 of the way through May 2018!

##################################################

‘Pinky’ or not ‘Pinky’?

It’s now March 2016 & ‘Pinky’, or what I took for being ‘Pinky’, is flowering again – only it’s not the original bulb I was sent by a lady on another gardening forum I post on several years ago. That one hasn’t shown up so far this year! No, this is a different bulb as I’ve never had a pink Amaryllis before – other than ‘Pinky’. This is the first time it has flowered – only the flowers are distorted! The lower petal hasn’t formed or hasn’t formed properly. On the pot I’ve written “Red with white veining” but that is clearly wrong! It’s actually white diffused with pink veining & a white stripe down the middle of the petals – very pretty & unusual – at least for me!

The bulb has just three flowers but has produced several offsets which are distorting the pot! That means I will have to remove the offsets, repot them & the mother bulb.

The first 2 photos are the ones I mistakenly thought were ‘Pinky’, the following two photos correspond to the original bulb I was sent by a lady from the Scilly Isles & the last photo is a close up of the first flower to open before I started to think it was ‘Pinky’ hence the caption on the photo “White with pink veining”.

‘Pinky’ has very wide open petals with almost no vestige of trumpet like the other Amaryllis have. This bulb has almost the opposite – as you may be able to see in the photos – a quite a nice shaped trumpet form.

##################################################

I obviously forgot to add photos & since the computer they were originally on went west about that time I no longer have the original photos. Nevertheless the photos I’ve added above correspond more or less to the description I had written back then.

Here are a few photos taken this month of the same bulb as that which I wrote about in 2016. In spite of the different colours they are all of the same bulb. Which just goes to show just how important it is to have the same lighting conditions! (Obviously I didn’t!)

To finish I’m going to add one last photo where this bulb is flowering amongst many others on our living room table:

I did a search for more photos of mine tagged ‘Pinky’. Google found at least 29 on just one page, including those I posted on GoY!!! I’ve also come up with the first picture I took of Amaryllis ‘Pinky’ in a blog I wrote back in 2014! (there are a couple of others as well!)

I still have no idea where this one come from & even though I’ve been naming it as ‘Pinky’, it very obviously isn’t! Perhaps it is but something has happened to it to cause this distortion.

If anyone in interested I’m putting a link in that will take you to the blog I wrote in which I posted a photo of ‘Pinky’ when it opened its first flowers for me!

http://www.growsonyou.com/balcony/blog/25975-springtime-means-amaryllis-time

Excuse me if you remember me posting this blog before (2 years ago) then please forgive me for repeating it. If anyone does know if it was published before please put a link to it in the comments below.

Birthday Presents

A week ago it was my birthday. So my youngest son, who lives close by to us, thought he would like to make me a different “gift” this year!

He told me he would like to take me around all the places they sold plants here & that I could choose whatever I liked & he would pay for it! WOW!!!

How many of you have had an offer like that??? For me at least it was the first time in my 6 decades of life that anyone had ever made me an offer like that!

We joked about it on one of the messenger apps on mobile phones; I said “You don’t know your father! I’d buy ALL the plants available!” He wrote back saying “No, only half of them, as I’d buy the other half for me!”

The next day he wrote telling me the best day for us to get together would be on Sunday afternoon when I finished at church. He said he had thought better about visiting ALL the shops & GCs in town as he knew of a better GC half way to Cambridge. He said he had been there occasionally & that the selection of plants was greater & also cheaper & of better quality. So off we went on Sunday afternoon to visit the GC.

I’ve visited few GCs, not having my own car, so it’s not easy to compare one with another. At least THIS one had a great deal more plants than others I’ve visited & a lot less other stuff! It wasn’t very well signposted & neither did it look in any way “flashy”. All this seemed like a good indication to me as I don’t like the GCs where they seem a LOT more interested in selling expensive stuff than in selling top quality plants & having a good selection of them, which is all that interests me in a GC!

I wasn’t too disappointed either. There was quite a wide range of plants for sale at, I thought, reasonable prices. The quality wasn’t too bad either. Wandering around we came to the “greenhouse” & there we saw many tomato plants/seedlings. Here I was disappointed as a great many of the plants were in very bad condition! There were lots of plants a couple of feet tall in 3″ pots!!! Some even had flowers & I spotted one plant that even had tiny tomatoes!!! Some of these were the much more expensive grafted tomatoes. On the other hand they did have others that were in perfect condition & that I would have bought without hesitation. But as I have at least 5x the number of plants I can possibly grow on the balcony I didn’t get any.

As this is getting rather long I’ll show you the 3 plants I ended up buying:

My, doesn’t this Fuchsia really stand out when the sun falls on it! This will go in the trough on the balcony floor in front of the door onto the balcony where I can see it shine brilliantly whenever the sun falls on it!

Spring flowering Crocuses at Trinity Free Church

I planted out some spring flowering Crocuses on November 18th 2017 into the bed that surrounds Trinity free Church. The church is mostly circular & the flower bed, which is no more that a few feet wide, is planted up against the walls. The main entrance is covered by a canopy & the flowerbed extends partway in front of it. This is the place where I planted the Crocuses.

There is a stained glass window that goes from the ground up to, almost, the roof. It’s very narrow & I planted Daffodil & Bluebell bulbs under there a few years ago as well. During the summer I put out some bedding plants. There are permanent shrubs in the bed that have been there for very many years. Some are flowering shrubs others are evergreen.

I planted out these Daffodil bulbs quite a few years ago & they come up every year during the spring making the church gardens come “alive” again after the dreary winter months.

I don’t know how these miniature Irises got into the gardens but I don’t remember having planted them. Nevertheless they are so cheery & really stand out more than you might think for their size!

The miniature Daffodils in the gardens come from my balcony. I buy some bulbs one autumn, plant them in pots on the balcony railings & then, about May time, as the foliage is dying down I plant them in the church gardens. I just upend the pot, knock the whole rootball out & plant the whole thing in the flowerbed after which I can reuse the flowerpot for my summer display on the balcony railings.

Here there are a few Tulips amongst the Daffodils. These also came from my balcony & I did the same with them as I did with the miniature Daffodils. The church gardens really light up with the brilliant yellows of the Daffodils.

These Bluebells put on a lovely show after most of the other bulbs, like the Daffodils & Tulips have finished. I think these are the native Bluebells & not the Spanish species. The tops of the flower stem bend over which is a distinguishing factor between the two species.