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UPDATED: RENAMED: Gardening, 'all shapes and sizes, hints, tips and pics' thread!



  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi Lou

    I didn't know you could get your photos organised that way. I do love looking at paintings and we have an awful lot which we have collected during our travels. Sadly, most of them are under a bed and there is no chance of putting them up in our new place.

    Haha, I am a hopeless artist but my youngest sister is really talented. She came to Spain with Mary and I a couple of years ago and we visited the Picasso museum in Malaga. She bought some cards of his paintings and copied them. Couldn't tell the difference and she gave me one for free.🤣

    Rob xx

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,446 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi Rob,

    Sorry I didn't make myself very clear.

    What I meant was the place I get my painting by numbers from will convert a photo into a painting by numbers kit for you to paint. One of those photos would look lovely!

    Some I've seen of pets, and people. I'm sure you could do one of them!

    That's lovely your sister is talented at art, it is a gift!

    Will you choose some paintings to go with you though?

    Lou 🤗 xx

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi Lou

    Yes, you explained it clearly. It is me who wasn’t. I can’t even paint a wall properly and painting by numbers would tax me. There would be paint all over the place, anywhere but on the canvas. It is a great idea though and when we get settled I will check it out.

    We will probably keep all of our paintings for the time being. We are going to rent a storage room for a while so that we can make decisions at leisure.

    Rob xx

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,446 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi Rob,

    Ohhh, that is good, I was getting sad for you at the thought of you having to let them go. Great idea to have a storage unit.


  • Chilali1531Chilali1531 Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    Morning All ! 🌵

    Just a quickie to say Hi 🌞. Another sunny day here, really enjoying these spring days as temperatures are not yet too hot.

    Wow Rob, amazing photos of wild flowers, I like the one with the sea behind. Good luck with the admin 😩. That's a great idea Lou- for a painting- or even a jigsaw. And I think your sunflowers are beating ours !!

    Yesterday one of the cacti started blooming flowers- v exciting ! I ought to learn the names of all of them as we have quite a variety.

    Bye for now, Ali X

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi Ali

    Amazing. I didn't know that cacti could produce such lovely flowers.

    The wild flowers and the sea are literally a five minute stroll from our front door. Our new place is a further twenty minutes away which is a bit disappointing, but at least it is also near to a nice park.

    Rob x

  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 850 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Chilali1531 @RobertA

    Hi Ali, Rob, and everyone,

    No Rob, I didn't know that either.

    Do the flowers then turn into new leaves?

    I fully expect your sunflowers to out grow mine Ali, as I bet you will have loads more sun than us here over the summer months! haha!

    Ali, you grow rhubarb in your mountain home? I am growing it for the first time this year. I was very surprised to see all three bulbs had sprouted. I heard it is best not to harvest from it in the first year? I don't know how to anyway, each plant only has 3 stalks of rhubarb on. Hardly enough for a crumble yet! lol.

    I ate some of our produce for lunch today, well it was cress..hahaha, I boiled some eggs and made sandwiches. I haven't done that for decades, literally! The strawberries are ripening, hoping to collect quite a few tonight or tomorrow.

    I don't know how I am meant to know when the beetroot will be ripe to pick, as it is beneath the soil?

    I am now going into the garden, finally, to have a cup of tea and enjoy the afternoon sun.

    I hope you are all having a good afternoon,

    Chat soon,

    Lou xx

  • AnnebAnneb Posts: 187 ✭✭✭

    Hello everyone.💖 seems ages since i posted but as it is the first day of winter tomorrow i do not have a lot of flowers in bloom.

    I had to google what Acer's were as never heard the name. We call them Japanese Mable so my problem solved. I love them.

    It took ages to read all the wonderful posts and pictures. I hope you are all happy and healthy and going well.

    Lou, i grow beetroot every season. They will grow about an inch above the soil when they are ready. You will see how round they are on top.

    My Zugo's are just starting to come out. I have a Red, white/pink and a fusia coloured one. All in one planter



  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 850 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi Margy, and good morning everyone,

    I hope you all had a good weekend.

    Ali, have you been for another chemo round last week?

    Thank you for the beetroot tip! The leaves are growing up well, but no sign of beetroot yet! But it looks healthy.

    Yesterday we moved the tomatoes a bit in the greenhouse to give them more space, and the cucumber and sweetcorn is coming on a treat.

    I harvested almost 1kg of strawberries, in our first pickings, the magpies had a few, and now I leave the damaged ones out for them and anyone else who wants them! haha.

    I asked the girls if they wanted to eat the strawberries or if I should make jam, the resounding answer was...JAM!! So now I need to find some jam sugar.... 🍓🍓😂

    The Zugo's look great, are they a member of the cactus family? j

    Chat to you all later, have a good day, evening,

    Lou xx

  • Chilali1531Chilali1531 Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    Hi everyone 🌵

    Yes Lou, I'm in hospital right now for a few days chemo. We managed a 2 day trip to the Pyrenees then dashed back as I only got the call at midday today.A lot depends on space ...

    Our rhubarb is not great this year, it varies a lot from year to year & some years we have none at all. I often mix it with apple to make a crumble if I don't have enough.

    Yes, cacti do produce flowers, some beautiful ones too but not every year. Here's a lovely photo of one I took last year in Cadaques (Spain) where we sometimes go for a weekend as its not far from Toulouse. We also get big flowers on our yukka some years.

    Strawberries- yum, my favourite fruit! My friend used to make v nice strawberry & ginger jam. Never seen it in shops tho.

    Good evening & speak soon, Ali xx

  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 850 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi Ali,

    Oh I thought you might me due a next session. I hope you are doing ok while in hospital. Thoughts and hugs are with you as you go through another round.

    That is a great summery photo, with a great cactus and deep blue sea.

    I have read I need to let the rhubarb go this season, but it isn't clear if I am meant to chop it off at some point or let it rot into the ground. I will try and do some more research.

    Yes, we tasted some of the strawberries at lunchtime, they are delicious, and I found some jam sugar at the back of the cupboard, and jar of pectin if it isn't enough. I tried to order some online with the shop but there is none available!! Jolly covid, people buying all sorts of stuff they wouldn't normally buy!!

    I hope it is peaceful for you the next few days,

    Sending huge hugs,


    Lou xx

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Anneb @Chilali1531 @LouiseJ

    Well, good evening everyone.

    Oh Margy, first day of winter! I’m guessing that your winters are not too cold though. I imagine you will quite enjoy the cooler weather after the heat of the summer. You are still finding some colour in your plants though. Lovely.

    Hi Ali. I hope you are coping OK with your chemo. Rhubarb and apple crumble - yum. I like it with custard but Mary doesn’t like that so we settle for ice cream. Love the photo you took in Cadaques. The cacti look great and the sea is soo blue.

    Crumbs Lou. I just love hearing about all your goodies and seeing the photos too. Homemade scones and strawberry jam sounds pretty good to me. I have been putting weight on lately and I swear that part of it is just reading your posts. Well, that’s my story anyway. 😎

    Here is Mary’s crumble.

    Rob xxx

  • AnnebAnneb Posts: 187 ✭✭✭

    @RobertA @Sunshinedaff

    Helloooooo everyone

    All the cooking is beautiful. Crumble is one of our favourites too Rob.

    Pete likes custard and i like icecream so i make a small custard for him.

    Yes the weather is fantastic after month of fires and 45+ degree heat.

    We get down to - 6's or lower. We are close to the snow so a bit chilly.

    How low do you go.

    Exactly one year ago this week we had snow in albury central. No where else in the suburbs just in the city area. It was most peculiar.i was lucky enough to be in town and took great photos. It was a very strange freak storm.

    We always had snow on the farm and it was always in lambing season. Dad was not happy about it 😂😂 we had 6000 sheep so you can imagine the amount of lambs we had to paddock and protect. And from the foxes...we do not like foxes very much here, especially if you are on the land.

    I will try and find some photos


    Margy 💖💖

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Anneb @LouiseJ @Chilali1531

    Good evening friends

    Well, Margy, you are very kind making the custard for Pete. I’ll mention that to Mary, but I’m not optimistic - good job I like ice cream too.

    We very rarely see snow here in Jersey. It doesn’t really get cold enough and on the rare occasions we have had snow everyone rushes out and takes photographs.

    Wow, 6000 sheep, I would love to see the photos. We don’t have many sheep, but the ones we do are pretty safe as we don’t have any foxes either 🤣.

    Rob xxx

  • Chilali1531Chilali1531 Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    Hi Everyone 🌵

    Its 6am and my mind is buzzing with ideas... It's due to the steroids I'm on for 7 days! They boost my energy & make me v talkative which drives poor Peter mad as its mostly drivel coming out & I am extremely forgetful !

    Timing was good as we managed to snatch a weekend in the Pyremees before chemo in hospital last Monday-Wed. It was another gorgeous weekend tho Sunday afternoon storms arrived which we needed for the garden. Not much colour in there right now, hollyhocks not yet out but looking promising, as are the raspberries. Yum.

    I managed a small walk (3km) & we saw loads of lovely wild mountain flowers, including lots of wild orchids ( see photo).It's forbidden to pick certain varieties- I'm not sure which.Rightly so.

    Mid June the "Transhumance " takes place whereby the shepherds take the sheep up to the high pastures. It's great to see - a big wave of hundreds of sheep all trundling up thru the villages. They usually have a stop in our village around 12h and have an aperitive or three at the cafe. I love to sit on the wall & watch the sheep go by. Will have to see if the timing is right with chemo etc this year. I'm in hospital again Mon Wed Fri next week ... We'll see.

    Gosh Rob, I'd find it difficult not to have snow. There again you do have the sea ... In Toulouse it's rare to have snow too but 2h away in our Pyrenean retreat we get quite a bit some years ( our village is at 900m altitude). So that's nice & so beautiful on days when the clouds aren't low.

    Happy jamming Lou & custard-making Margy! My dad's a huge custard fan so when he comes to France my mum always has loads of custard packets in her case! The French have a sort of custard they call " Crème Anglaise" which is thin, cold & has more vanilla in it - v nice actually.

    Time to sign off - happy days everyone , Ali xx

    Icicles on our windows in the Pyrenees & wild orchids

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,446 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good morning all,

    Another early start today, had to take Hannah to work ( keyworker). Now sat with coffee. Ali, have you dozed off seeing as you were also up v early?

    I don't remember the steroid buzz, from my chemo days. At least you can write your thoughts down sometimes, when your brain has gone into overdrive.

    It must be a sight to see all the sheep being taken to higher ground in the summer, and then also when they are being brought back down again. Margy, 6000 sheep! Wow! You must have had a huge farm. Well, clearly! It is Australia after all! Would love to see pics of both these settings. Very different but equally special.

    It is a lot cooler here, still rain around, and quite blustery. One pot of sunflowers fell over last night, it is now in the greenhouse.

    Ooh yes... we have a tomato! One...still green. We are growing a Piccolo variety, small and very sweet. Hannah is very excited about it, I think I will make a gardener of her yet! She wants to grow some herbs when she goes off to uni.

    We haven't seen the fox in the garden again, even though it is light very early I keep the cats in now until a bit later. I am a bit nervous should they come into contact! I really don't need that stress! Hahahaha 😂.

    Chat later, 😄

    Lou xx

  • Chilali1531Chilali1531 Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    Good morning ! 🌵

    Last day of steroids so hopefully I'm going to stop waking up at 4am !

    The dahlias have started to flower in pots so very pleased. Tomato plants making good progress but they're outside so no tomatoes as yet. Lettuces doing well & 2 bell pepper plants looking good.

    We had quite a lot of rain these last 2 days which was badly needed & that's freshened everything up. Yesterday was Mothers Day in France & the sun came out just in time so we could sit outside. Hannah came round with partner Remy for dessert & a glass of champagne. They bought me a lovely orchid. I like to have an orchid in the house but must admit it's hit & miss if they survive ! I've managed to keep one alive which seems to love the bathroom ... It's amazing how they come back after appearing to wither for so long!

    Yes Lou, can imagine you're wary of the fox. I would be too tho I've never seen one around here nor up in th Pyrenees. Just wild boar which make a huge mess of the fields & even gardens sometimes.

    Welk, time to try & go back to sleep ...

    Ali xx

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,446 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good morning all,

    Brrrr... isn't it cold here in the UK..

    The downward change in temperature has affected me..again! Been sneezing and feeling so cold. My daughter always says the weather can't give make you sick. Lol. Well yes, technically, scientifically, she might be right...but, the colder temperature does cause me to get a cold!!

    Anyway sat with a hot water bottle as we cannot possibly put the heating on!!. Not in June!!! 😂😂.

    Please come back heatwave...😄😂.

    Happy Mother's Day for yesterday Ali, it's great you were able to see your daughter too. The orchid is beautiful, I love the colours. The leaves on your other one look so healthy too!! I hope it lasts a long time for you. I can never keep mine going when I have had them. Clearly I am doing something wrong to although I have tried to do it right 😅.

    Your tomatoes are in a lovely sunny spot, I like the trough they are in. I was watching a gardening programme the other day. Alan Titchmarsh and his co presenters have been transforming small spaces. It was very interesting, I was surprised when the whole family took an interest too!

    We have a bright sunny morning here, but it is cold. Even the cats don't want to go out in the garden!

    I must make myself go out there though, I have some millionbells to plant up. They are now ready to pot on.

    Mark took some pics of the greenhouse, looking like a greenhouse...

    We also have a grape vine that runs along the wall under the kitchen window. It produces grapes every year, but I have never done anything with them. Does anyone know if all vines like this produce edible grapes? I have tried to research it but haven't found much help!

    Have a good day!

    Lou xx

  • Chilali1531Chilali1531 Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    Hello Everyone 🌵

    I hope you are all enjoying your gardens altho it's true the temperatures have dropped a lot ( in Toulouse it's about 20c) but I hear in GB it's pretty cold . In any case I'm in hospital for 2 weeks' intensive chemo but I have a nice view with the Pyrenees in the background. For June there's still quite a lot of snow on the tops.

    I'm missing our little garden & Chili ( & my husband Peter - of course!) . Chili always gets a bit destabilized when I'm away & won't leave Peter alone. Apparently we have lots of dahlias blossoming in pots.

    Concerning your vine Lou, I think you need lots of sun for the grapes to sweeten. We used to have one when I lived just outside Paris & it produced very small grapes, not really very edible. Maybe bit wasn't mature enough. We have two small Olive trees which give lots of tiny olives which we never do anything with either.

    I'm looking forward to going up to the Pyrenees when I get out & seeing my hollyhocks. Each year I try to go around the village spreading the seeds. Only a few seem to take tho. It's fun to see where they pop up!

    Hope the weather warms up for you- we were so spoiled in May weren't we!

    Ali xx

  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 850 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Hi Ali,

    Thanks for the grapes info, I will see how large they get, last year I did harvest them, but didn't do anything with them. My dad used to make homemade wine, he gave me a lot of his wine stuff, but I was very silly, wen we moved I got rid of the big jars!! Ooh how I regret that!

    I am glad you have a good view while you are having to stay in hospital, that provides a little joy for you.

    Ahhh, bless Chili, missing you loads , oooh the licks you are going to receive when you get back home, you will be drenched! 😁

    You made me laugh thinking about you going about the village spreading seeds, hahaha, I said to the girls today, I am going to save the sunflower seeds, perhaps I should do the same round where we live, that would be fun! lol.

    We have had a lot of heavy rain the last few days with some thunder, but not like the thunder you probably had. I love to see the thunder storms that we see when we are in France. They are usually pretty spectacular. Hey, we are meant to be getting another heatwave next week, I do hope so!!

    Thinking of you while you are going through this latest round of chemo 🤗🤗

    Sending huge hugs,

    Lou xx

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,446 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good afternoon all,

    The sun has made an appearance, and it is hot, hot, hot!

    Today's gardening adventures....

    This morning I had to empty one of the water butts as it suddenly became very, very smelly, rotten eggs!! And producing bubbles! Couldn't work it out as it had only recently refilled with the last lot of rain.

    I emptied and Mark and Phoebe cleaned it all out plus the gutters at the top. Turns out it was sludge at the top of the down drain, very algae ish and horrid. Inside the butt was fine.

    Been pottering outside, and also drying out rosemary. We have a huge bush that we pruned. I thought it would be good to make my own dried rosemary. It is in the oven now, for a few hours. The whole house smells of it. The girls are not impressed!! Lol! I just wish we had some nice juicy lamb to go with it!! But we don't!! Hahahaha 😂😂.

    Have a good afternoon all,


    Lou xx

  • Chilali1531Chilali1531 Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    Good morning from sunny Toulouse ! 🌞

    It looks as tho it might be hot today as the Pyrenees are hazy in the distance so that's a hot weather sign. Not that it makes any difference to me in my a/c hospital room! 😷

    Im wondering how our sunflowers are doing - how big are yours now Lou ? It'll be nice to see how everything's grown when I get out of here. Apparently the agapanthus are blooming & we have some cherry tomatoes & small red peppers.

    Right, breakfast time ... Looking forward to a decent coffee when I get out !

    Happy gardening ,

    Ali xx

    Sunflowers always make me smile. This is near Agen where there are fields upon fields of them.

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,446 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Good morning Ali,

    I love these photos!! So lovely to see the sunflowers Ali, we remember fields like this near Agen from last year!! 😄

    My sunflowers are now 8-10 feet tall. Still growing. Yesterday I noticed one of them beginning to grow the flower! They were blown over the last two days by the strong winds we have had. I have now moved them back into the shelter of the house. Propped up by garden chairs to prevent them toppling again!

    The other two pots are in the greenhouse still, will need to be moved soon as they are getting close to the roof of it.

    I am so glad they are doing well especially as we are not coming over this summer now. A little bit of France in our back garden instead!

    Wow, you have agapanthus already, mine are still growing. We have tomatoes, but still green. Margy thinks my beetroot might be ready now, so I will dig those up. The blackcurrants are very close to being harvested, I want to get to them before the birds do! Lol!

    The sweetcorn and cucumber are growing well. Finally the oregano decided to play ball and start growing, only taken 3 months!!! Haha😄.

    We had some blue sky earlier when I was first up, but now more clouds have gathered. Rubbish weather here the last few days. Still it made me sort part of the garage out with Phoebe, now rescued my crystal glasses from boxes, now I can use them!

    How are you doing today, when are you hoping to go home?

    I will take some up-to-date pics of sunflowers later.

    Thinking of you, chat soon.


    Lou xx

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Chilali1531 @Sunshinedaff

    Lovely photographs Ali. What a glorious sight those sunflowers are.You must be really looking forward to getting out of the hospital, getting home and enjoying your own sunflowers.

    Oh Lou, I am really impressed. 8-10 feet is impressive, especially in England. What a lovely idea to have a little bit of France in your own garden.

    It has been very hot here today but we have not been able to take advantage as we are still packing cases. We have dumped a lot of stuff, but we still have too much to fit into our little apartment. Quart in a pint pot comes to mind. 😳

    Rob x

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,446 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good afternoon everyone, I hope you are having good weekends. Very blustery here, some sun.

    Here are the sunflowers so far. They have fallen over several times grrr. Mark is going to attach them somehow to make them more stable. They have now shot above the eaves!

    The ones in the greenhouse are not quite as tall yet.

    Lou x

  • Chilali1531Chilali1531 Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    Hello chers amis !

    Im missing my plants ! My friends are sending me some lovely pics of their gardens tho. The weather here has been scorching (35c) & muggy but we had an incredible storm which lasted an hour & its cleared the air a bit. Thank goodness I'm in a nice air conditioned room.

    Lou your sunflowers are looking incredible! Much bigger than ours. Peter's in our Pyreneen house & said the hollyhocks are about to flower. They're definitely one of my favourite flowers.

    Have you moved yet Rob ? Do you have a balcony ?

    Well I don't have a lot more to say; just having a platelets transfusion which makes me v dopey !

    A bientot ! Ali xx🌻


  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,446 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good afternoon everyone 😊,

    Hey Ali, good to hear from you. Definitely air con good with that heat. We had a few days this week where hardly any sleep was obtained due to the heat in the night. I gave up both nights.

    Now it has changed and currently blowing a hooley!!! The sunflowers were moved when it was hot, since then we have had to hem them in to prevent them being blown over. They are even taller now, still growing the flowers. Only one left in the greenhouse, the other pot is tied to the strawberries stand and the greenhouse door handle!

    I am so glad I saw yours in a pot Ali, such a great idea.

    The cucumbers are flowering now, and I have tons of tomatoes growing.

    This week Phoebe and I picked 1.5kg of blackcurrants, I have put them in the freezer for now, will make jam with them.

    I love the photo of the hollyhocks, I've not seen those very much.

    Hope everyone else is doing ok,

    Chat soon,


    Lou xx

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good afternoon everyone.

    Hi Ali. I love the photo of the hollyhocks, and in a fabulous setting too.

    Yes, we do have a balcony. It overlooks the town and we can see just see the sea in the distance. I took the attached photo from it last night.

    Hi Lou, as you know, we had our storm a couple of days ago and it is pleasantly fresh today. Black currant jam, 😋

    Oh, Mary has a job for me. Chat soon.

    Rob x

    PS took this snap from our lounge window last night.

  • jacksprat_x1jacksprat_x1 Posts: 323 ✭✭✭✭


    Happy Birthday Ali, I hope you are feeling a little better today following your platelet infusion. Glad to hear you have an air con room. It has been so hot and humid here but has turned cooler with some strong winds. Nice to have a rest from the heat!

    I love your hollyhocks picture. Those and foxgloves are my favourites. My son James said to me when he was very little “I like those foxes slippers Mum”. I reminded him about that the other day! 😀

    That was funny the other day Ali about the Unicorn! 🤣

    Hoping it won’t be much longer before you can get home and enjoy your garden.

    Lots of love

    Jackie xx🙋‍♀️

    A little sweet photo to cheer you up Ali!

  • SunshinedaffSunshinedaff Posts: 1,446 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Good morning Ali,

    I also just wanted to wish you a very Happy Birthday too.

    For you 🤗😊

    Hopefully soon you will be able to go home, and then have a celebration properly. I hope your blood count is improving.

    Jackie, that is such a cute photo, adorable!

    Sending lots of hugs


    Chat soon,

    Lou xx

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