Sunshine And Showers


In the new herb garden.. more terracotta pots.

The Mediterranean theme continues, with the potential for a touch of Asian cookery thrown into the mix. Some of the recent rain showers have definitely been tropical in intensity. And then there was the hail. Oh how I love England in June.



The sunken square in the centre of the gravel area is an inherited fountain feature.

Now don’t let’s be thinking Geneva here. In the total absence of wind the sprinkle of water, a generous description, might rise to as much as a foot in height producing a tinkling sound that can’t be too far removed from Chinese water torture. At least that’s the effect it has on me. To the left of the fountain the mushroom shaped thingies are low level lights. We’ve been thinking about replacing them with those solar powered spikes (yes I know, England in June..). One of the lights is broken in any case, having found itself at the wrong end of that runaway cow.



Now that the wrens have vacated their nest, the column of ivy and clematis next to the greenhouse has come down.

The black stain on the side of the breeze block greenhouse base marks the spot recently occupied by a fern. Mike took a spade and rammed it, with some momentum, down the back of the fern to slice it off. An expletive may have been uttered, along the same sort of lines as “Oh dear…” Well someone must have been looking down on me kindly that day. I couldn’t believe my luck. Because what Himself hadn’t spotted, well hidden among the fronds, was a little black wire… only the power supply for the fountain!

Thankfully disconnected at the time. Comprehensively disconnected now.



 Mangetout ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’

The first batch of mangetout have already reached the top of their support. Some are ready to pick.



Potato ‘Pink Fir Apple’

But something has been munching on the potato leaves. A reminder that not everything in the garden is rosy.



Lettuce ‘Lollo Bionda’, Beetroot ‘Bulls Blood Soldier’. Salad leaves, outside the back door.

I had hoped that the scratchy surface of the trough would prove too much for slugs and snails. I was wrong. The plants are also suffering from being in too shady a spot. The mollusc population is booming this year, £40 we’ve spent so far on nematodes and still they nibble on.



Wishful thinking?


Apologies for not visiting any blogs over the last couple of days. They are all loaded onto the Feedly reader, yesterday crippled by malicious hackers. I will catch up again soon.


2018-04-04T19:17:41+00:00June 12th, 2014|Tags: , |


  1. Jo June 12, 2014 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    I’ve found slugs hanging off my container grown potato haulms this year, unbelievable, they’re getting everywhere. I love the terracotta pots housing your herbs, they really add a touch of the mediterranean.

    • Jessica June 12, 2014 at 8:33 pm - Reply

      I think it is slugs that are nibbling mine too. I was hoping that growing the potatoes in bags would help me defeat them, perhaps I should try a layer of Slug Gone on the top.

  2. Pauline June 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    It will be interesting to see what your results are from the Slug Gone Wood Pellets, do let us know. Your potatoes and mangetout are looking really good, do you recommend using bags for potatoes?

    • Jessica June 12, 2014 at 8:39 pm - Reply

      It’s the first year I’ve tried the potato bags, so I’ll let you know on that too. They do seem easy to use, although they need a lot of compost to fill them! But I was getting nowhere planting spuds in the ground. If it wasn’t the slugs that got them it was the mice.

  3. Mark and Gaz June 12, 2014 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    Slugs have been in full force in our garden too with the recent spell of rainy weather. Very little is left of our Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. Glad too see the herb garden doing fine, and nice terracotta pots!

    • Jessica June 12, 2014 at 8:41 pm - Reply

      I haven’t a single hosta left anywhere in the garden! Unless I can find a reliable deterrent I will have to give up on them, a real shame.

  4. justjilluk June 12, 2014 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    You need a solar powered water feature. We have one, tho I have to say it is not in ear shot.

    • Jessica June 12, 2014 at 8:44 pm - Reply

      I was thinking of something like a stainless steel ball that just has water running over the surface to catch the light… quietly!

  5. frayed at the edge June 12, 2014 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    We always wanted a water feature, so were delighted when there was one in ths garden ……. I think we have turned it on about 3 times in almost 8 years! As for slugs and rough surfaces – I recently found a huge slug several feet up the roughcast wall of the house. It was sliming its way along at a great rate!

    • Jessica June 12, 2014 at 8:46 pm - Reply

      It is amazing where they can get to. Last year I picked one off the very top of the bean poles.. about 7 feet up!

  6. Gigibird June 12, 2014 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    I have a slug problem…not outside but in my kitchen! the ones outside get eaten by my chickens as does anything green in colour but in my kitchen late at night slugs the size of cigars come out from behind the washing machine and go off exploring….every night I round up at least 2 and throw them out of the window…
    In our old house we had a very similar pebble fountain like yours – we used to call it the dog’s drinking fountain as our dog would stand right in the middle of it oblivious to getting soaked and drink enthusiastically…

    Have you tried those copper rings?

    • Jessica June 12, 2014 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      Those slugs sound awful! Is there a gap in the wall they are getting through that you can block up??
      I’ve tried the cheapo version of copper rings, the tape, stuck to home made cardboard rings. It works for a while but then usually flakes off. The real copper rings are quite expensive and I have a lot of plants to protect. But they would last.. perhaps the solution is to buy a few each year and build up a stock.

  7. rachel June 12, 2014 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    Water features are definitely not for me – why would I want to go outdoors to sit near the sound of trickling/splashing/dripping water and realise that every ten minutes I fancied I needed the loo? The dog would like it though.

    Snails and slugs are taking over the world this year. Copper rings or bands, gravel, sand, gritty concrete, it’s all perfectly accessible to them in their mission to conquer Earth.

    • Jessica June 12, 2014 at 9:01 pm - Reply

      I’ve had to get used to the sound of running water having the river at the bottom of the garden. That makes the water feature superfluous really, I don’t know why it’s there. It is a mollusc take over bid for sure.. maybe global warming will get em’?

  8. snowbird June 12, 2014 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    Goodness, that was a close call! At least it can’t annoy you know. The peas are looking good! What is it with slugs and snails this year, I’m even seeing snails out in the daytime!
    Great minds think alike eh….we have the same title on our posts this

    • Jessica June 12, 2014 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      Hand on heart I can say I was not influenced if you got there first…! I haven’t looked at any blogs for two days. Feedly is still down. Imagine the reading backlog when it returns. I’ve just started loading as many as I can on to Bloglovin’.

  9. wherefivevalleysmeet June 12, 2014 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    Your mangetout make such a lovely photo and also a delicious contribution in the kitchen too.
    I was surprised to learn that you had hail, it seems to have missed us. My son rang from Paris to say they had hail stones the size of tennis balls, and his basement was flooded – needless to say the hailstones have caused havoc on the roof of his car – I think you could call it the dimple effect.

    • Jessica June 12, 2014 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      We had the first mangetout with lunch – they were delicious!
      Oh your son’s poor car. That sounds like an insurance company nightmare, there must have been thousands of cars similarly damaged.

  10. Crafty Gardener June 12, 2014 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    I love terra cotta pots and can’t resist them at bargain prices at garage sales. Your potatoes in bags are looking fantastic … mine grow in storage totes and are coming along nicely. I just might have to try bags next year 🙂

    • Jessica June 12, 2014 at 9:14 pm - Reply

      I’ve been collecting the pots for years, and take them in every winter to keep them frost free. The oldest ones are looking suitably rustic now!

  11. angiesgardendiaries June 12, 2014 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    It’s in a damp June I get so glad I don’t grow veg. It’s bad enough watching them devour the foliage of the flowers – but the veg, that would send me over the edge. Not that it takes much – in a crisis I’m amazing, it’s the silly little things that get to me! Good luck with the Slug Gone – I’ve read good things about it.
    Love the pots – very stylish and indeed look like they’ve come from the terracing on a Spanish hillside.

    • Jessica June 12, 2014 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Nice to know the Slug Gone has had good reports. I’ll start it off on the new herb garden. The slimy blighters have already seen off the dill, and stopped on the way to test out the coriander and basil.

  12. Sue@GLAllotments June 12, 2014 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    I am glad the power was switched off. Must admit the number of nematodes needed to wipe out the slugs we would need a mortgage. I wonder why a super predator hhasn’t invaded from another country yet like they seem to for everything that is good in the garden.

    • Jessica June 12, 2014 at 9:21 pm - Reply

      It is getting that way for me with the nematodes. I put it on at double strength too. I’m sure things would be a lot worse without it, but if I’m still waking up and seeing things munched to the ground I do wonder if it’s worth the expense.
      I hope the super predator won’t be a super sized slug..

      • Sue@GLAllotments June 13, 2014 at 7:59 am - Reply

        As long as it isn’t super sized and carnivorous. I wonder if once the slufs in your patch are killed – others move in or maybe they respnd to atck by producing more eggs. We have more of a problem with snails and the nematodes don’t deal with them

        • Jessica June 13, 2014 at 11:52 am - Reply

          The nematodes are supposed to remain active for six weeks. It’s fairly grisly but they use the first slugs as a host to replicate themselves, the baby nematodes then move on and seek out new slug victims. Possibly this year there are just too many slugs for the nematodes to cope with.

  13. Chloris June 12, 2014 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    I love your terracotta pots, they are beauties. Did you grow your lemon grass from bits bought in the supermarket? I am also incredibly impressed by your mange tout.
    It really is the year of the slug. In Suffolk we haven’ t had much rain. Perhaps it is because of the mild winter. They didn’ t get killed off. I use coffee grounds round some of my precious plants and that works quite well. The trouble is we can’ t drink it quickly enough.

    • Jessica June 12, 2014 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      I grew the lemon grass from seed. It’s challenging.. out of four pots sown only one produced anything at all, four little shoots. I’m hoping these will bulk up into a nice clump.
      Coffee grounds sounds worth a try. Don’t they go mouldy though? Ours look like they could produce a cure for something when they’ve been allowed to linger in the bottom of the machine too long.

  14. Freda June 12, 2014 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    Mmm. Whispers….we don’t seem to have many slugs this year. (Am I tempting fate by saying so? I wonder.) Will post photo of my unblemished hostas soon! Lovely to see more of your garden Jessica

    • Jessica June 12, 2014 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      Grrrrr… you have just as much rain as we do, if not more!

  15. Amy at love made my home June 12, 2014 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    I am amazed at the critters that get into different places to much on things!! Not fair hey. It sounds as though the disconnection of the water feature could quite easily have been accompanied by a mad happy dance on your part! In the very first picture, what is in the pot on the right? I thought that it might be a fuschia, but as it is a herb garden I guess not! Just intrigued to know. xx

    • Jessica June 12, 2014 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      Well spotted, it is a fuchsia. It will add a bit of extra colour. Plus it was already in a terracotta pot!

  16. Cathy June 12, 2014 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    Perhaps we should just pretend that our frilly and holey leaves are meant to be like that – a new art form perhaps? It is a very small consolation that almost all of us seem to be having a problem with the slimey unmentionables this year… 🙂

    • Jessica June 13, 2014 at 11:11 am - Reply

      I can live with a few holes, it’s when the whole plant gets eaten and all I’m left with is stalks! The only thing guaranteed to work is old fashioned slug pellets and I’m nervous about using those.

  17. elaine June 12, 2014 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    There’s just no stopping the slimey beasties is there. I’m not keen on mange tout but love sugar snaps.

    • Jessica June 13, 2014 at 11:11 am - Reply

      I’ve never tried sugar snaps. One for next year!

  18. Jennifer June 12, 2014 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    Your plants are so beautiful. Everything is looking so lush and green there. I’ve never seen wool pellets for slugs before. I’ll have to look for them. I also have a water feature that I don’t use, mainly because I think it’s a bit wasteful in a desert climate but also because the mechanism is old and weak and we’re too cheap to replace it. 🙂

    • Jessica June 13, 2014 at 11:21 am - Reply

      Water features have a place, I’d agree not in a dry climate where water is so scarce. They look best in a formal garden environment perhaps which mine is not. They also need to be effective and create a presence, which ours definitely did not!
      If you have slugs in the desert then what hope for me? 🙁

  19. 1secondhandrose June 13, 2014 at 12:02 am - Reply

    Pink Fir Apple spuds are sublime 🙂 Looks like they’re doing very well too.
    I know what it feels like chopping through an electricity supply – one minute the hedge trimmer was working, the next it wasn’t! Good job I use a circuit breaker plug………………
    Mmm, I’ll have a look at those woll slug pellets.
    Rose H

    • Jessica June 13, 2014 at 11:25 am - Reply

      I’m hoping the wool pellets get around the problems associated with traditional slug pellets. I worry about the wildlife, of course, and the effect on the food that we eat. The trouble is all the wool does is make it uncomfortable for the slugs. Ours seem happy to put up with a lot of discomfort to get at my veg!

  20. nataliescarberry June 13, 2014 at 3:59 am - Reply

    Looking splendid as usual! You have such a lovely place with so much growing space. Enjoy the fruits of your labor. Blessings and hugs, Natalie 🙂

    • Jessica June 13, 2014 at 11:35 am - Reply

      Thanks Natalie.
      A lot of space for weeds too!

  21. Sarah June 13, 2014 at 4:28 am - Reply

    Look at your lemongrass! Doing very nicely indeed. Mine looked exactly like that (I sowed from seed too) and it grew and grew and grew….you may need a bigger pot! 🙂

    • Jessica June 13, 2014 at 11:39 am - Reply

      I hope I do need a bigger pot! It’s still looking a bit sparse.. but responding now that it is outside in the sunshine. Might have to hold on the Thai curry for a month or two yet though..

  22. Linda June 13, 2014 at 7:29 am - Reply

    Terracotta pots are on my mind at the moment so I was interested to see yours and the work you’ve been doing in that corner by the greenhouse.(I’m hoping that I can post this comment as I’ve not been able to do that lately when I’ve clicked the Post Comment button).

    • Jessica June 13, 2014 at 11:47 am - Reply

      I’m really sorry you’ve had a problem commenting Linda. This one came through, obviously, but WordPress didn’t recognise you as a previous commentator for some reason. Perhaps you’ve changed your email address? It puts all ‘first time’ comments into a moderation queue to help me filter out the spammers. I hope whatever the issue was it is now solved.
      I love terracotta, especially if it looks aged and well used. I bet there are some beautiful ones to be found in Italy.

  23. islandthreads June 13, 2014 at 8:36 am - Reply

    Jessica I’m envious of all your lovely hard landscaping, I could do with some of that, I’m surprised the little slimy devils climbed your rough surfaced trough, I hope the new deterrent works, I’m very grateful to the thrushes and beetles that help keep them down in my garden,

    your herb garden looks very mediterranean on the sun baked terrace, isn’t in nice to collect veg fresh from the garden, your mangetout looks yummy, Frances

    • Jessica June 13, 2014 at 11:56 am - Reply

      I love the gravel area, and some of the paved paths. But most of the hard landscaping consists of unattractive concrete slab. In excavating new drains we found the remains of a possibly very old cobbled path. It’s on my to do list to reconstruct it, but it’s a job for the future.

  24. Suzanne June 13, 2014 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    It is all looking so good! I really like your black plant labels! I’ve been thinking I could make some with that ” blackboard” paint. Hmm… Maybe I could have don’t that in winter? Well no time now to do it. I’ll add it to the list.
    Your potato bags are doing great. I know it takes a ton of compost to keep up with the growth. You can mix in soil, peat moss to the compost too.
    When I did grow them in the past I also used composted chopped up leaves but you have to plan for that ahead too.
    It’s too bad you don’t like the water feature. I’m sure you can update that too. Ever think of using a large decorative pot as a fountain?
    Easy to fit it over the existing plumbing, let it fill and spill down the sides. Then clusterd with your other potted plants it would surely be a nice focal point. Lots is rain here.
    Suzanne, NY usa

    • Jessica June 13, 2014 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      I bought the plant labels but that is all they are, wood covered with blackboard paint. And not very good wood at that, they are quite flimsy. Making your own would be a much better bet.
      Really LOVE your idea of the pot based water feature… watch this space. Would terracotta be too porous and a glazed pot better?

      • Suzanne June 17, 2014 at 8:50 pm - Reply

        Sorry to be so neglectful replying. If you take in the pot before frost ( if you get frost or freezing temps there) you could use terra cotta.
        I think the terra cotta would take on a nice patina of moss and such. Still either way would work. Easy to put together.

        • Jessica June 17, 2014 at 11:47 pm - Reply

          We’ve started looking for the pot, visited two garden centres this weekend but not found it yet. I’m thinking tall and narrowish, large stones inside for stability, so that it will rise above the other pots that I group around it. We could have a problem with water pressure if it is too voluminous, the pump output is pretty pathetic. May need a new pump as well..

  25. Christina June 13, 2014 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    Your pots are beautiful, simple shapes, beautifully proportioned. I grew some lemon grass from seed too, very slow as you say, I think it needs intense heat and tropical amounts of water. The potoato bags look very smart and if you use nematodes you at least know they aren’t escaping into the rest of the soil but doing their stuff where you put them, perfect.

    • Jessica June 13, 2014 at 9:21 pm - Reply

      Thanks Christina.
      I’ve learnt the hard way about using the pots that narrow towards the top.. it’s very hard to get plants out again, once the roots have filled out, without damaging them or breaking the pot! The shape is so elegant, but now I use them either for annuals (like the chilli plants) or with a pot within a pot like the lemon grass. I can lift out the inner pot and move it up into something bigger next year if needs be.

  26. casa mariposa June 14, 2014 at 1:05 am - Reply

    American slugs are cheap drunks. A saucer of the grossest beer imaginable and they’re goners. Narrow topped pots are the pits. I have one I use simply because I love it and it had the audacity to survive being run over by the car. But I put a single basil plant in it every summer and have to fight to get the dead roots out in the fall. I think I big urn bubbler/fountain would be fabulous in the fountain spot. 🙂

    • Jessica June 15, 2014 at 8:52 am - Reply

      At least with dead roots you are free to hack. My biggest mistake was to put a ginger lily in a narrow top pot. Big fleshy roots that I really wanted to keep. I don’t know how but both plant and pot survived. The shape must have an inherently strong structure!

  27. jacktowers4 June 14, 2014 at 10:09 am - Reply

    A couple of seasons ago I tried using a very fine horticultural grit as a slug deterrent. I just sprinkle a band of it an inch or so wide around the base of the plant, making sure there are no gaps for the slugs to slip through. For rows of plants such as peas I sprinkle it around the whole row, rather than fiddling about around each individual plant. Remarkably it does seem to work, as since trying it I’ve not had any damage at all. It might be worth giving it a try.

    • Jessica June 15, 2014 at 8:55 am - Reply

      I will, that’s a good idea. And it should last longer than the wool pellets too. I tried some of them as I was planting out yesterday. It needs a lot to create a decent band around the plants and they’re not cheap. We’ll see whether they actually work.

  28. CJ June 14, 2014 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    Ah yes, England in June. Blissful isn’t it. It’s all looking lovely chez you, despite the nibbled leaves. I just read Alys Fowler’s Guardian column and she is extolling the virtues of Bull’s Blood. I love the terracotta pots, and the potatoes are looking amazing. What a shame about the fountain, I am sorry. Can anything be done..?

    • Jessica June 15, 2014 at 8:59 am - Reply

      We dismantled the fountain yesterday to have a look at it. A pot placed over the top with the bottom hole sealed around it could work, it’s a case of whether the water pressure is strong enough to maintain a flow. It really is pretty pathetic.

  29. sustainablemum June 24, 2014 at 8:31 am - Reply

    Your post has reminded me that slugs don’t seem to be visiting my garden at all this year, of course writing that has now fated my garden! Perhaps it has something to do with the two frogs I found earlier this year……..

    • Jessica June 24, 2014 at 9:54 am - Reply

      I hope your garden survives. I’ve found frogs too, fat ones… they just can’t keep up! I’d be tempted to get ducks, were it not for all the foxes, but then they’d trample my flowers with their big flat feet.

  30. Vintage Jane July 1, 2014 at 8:27 am - Reply

    Your garden is looking beautiful. Somehow, gardening has passed me by so far this year, something that saddens me. Despite the good weather we have had, I just haven’t had the time to ‘get out there’. Your post has made me realise that when we return from camping at the weekend I need to roll my sleeves up and get digging!

    • Jessica July 1, 2014 at 10:42 am - Reply

      I know what you mean, a lot of my garden is looking an absolute mess. I just haven’t had enough time. Have a great weekend, I hope the weather holds for you!

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