In a Vase on Monday – 17th October 2022

In contrast to last week, I think I might have tried too hard to be clever this week. I was desperate to make use of this Portmeirion vase and of the pin holder I have used inside it… and I thought I would try working with a limited colour palette instead of my usual explosion in a paintbox… but I still feel it’s a bit cluttered and not as elegant as I’d like, plus wherever I photographed this, I couldn’t quite get the colours to reproduce accurately and I’m afraid it looks so much nicer, much fresher and cleaner, somehow, in person than it does in these pictures. Anyway, here are three different shots, each with subtle differences in tones. The first picture is probably the closest to the way these really look to my eyes. I must tell you that the roses smell beautiful. I’m also pleased to report that participating in IAVOM has quite cured me of my reticence to cut flowers for the house, which is a real joy, as it is such a pleasure to bring the garden indoors. It has also inspired me to join a flower arranging course, purely for fun, and it is such a restorative and relaxing thing, so a heartfelt thanks to Cathy for hosting and to everyone who joins in, for providing such inspiration and a lovely sense of community! Hope the week is kind to everyone.

Pop over to Cathy’s blog to see what’s in her vase this Monday and, indeed, what’s in everyone else’s:

Sunday 16th October 2022 – turning point

I’ve actually managed to sleep in a little tiny bit later than usual for the last few days and I feel less stressed and burnt out – consequently, I have had more energy for gardening, and in itself that has made me feel better too. The bright sun was too good to waste today, especially with grey skies in the distance, so all indoor work got postponed to another day and off I dashed to the garden. The Under-Gardener stayed resolutely indoors, though, anxiously watching to see whether Chief Engineer intended to leave him on his own with the Head Gardener yet again. The Under-Gardener finds any splitting of the pack incredibly vexatious.

Every gardener will have certain tasks that, for them, symbolise the shift from Summer to Autumn and for me it’s chopping down and binning the tomato plants. This year’s plants performed well. I’m a lot more relaxed about growing tomatoes these days. I used to fret about blight, now I accept it as a ‘when-not-if’ event and grow only early fruiting varieties or ones that I know will resist blight up to a point. this paid off this year, with plants getting affected but fruit remaining mostly unscathed. The plants have fruited admirably and indeed continue to do so, but I need to start clearing up and making space for cold frames and other over-wintering arrangements, so the tomato plants need to go. I was surprised to find so many fruits remaining: not sure whether to try to ripen these up (I generally find that, given long enough with a ripe banana, all tomatoes will ripen eventually) or perhaps I’ll make a very small amount of green tomato chutney, always so welcome with a Christmas cheese board? Decisions, decisions…

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had a leguminous year in the veg patches this year. Here’s a selection of my beans for drying and storing. I don’t recall planting anything that looked like the pretty bi-coloured ones on the right: I did sow a few seeds saved from last year, could these be some strange cross-breed I have created myself, by accident? I rather like their half/half look, anyway. The Greek gigantes at the bottom are interesting. The smaller ones are from the first sowing, which yielded more pods than the later sowing, but much smaller beans (as you can see!) The real pleasure in the gigantes is for them to be – well – gigantes, so I think this tells me I need to sow later, space plants better and give them a sunnier, more sheltered spot, for the biggest and best beans. Pfffft, they don’t ask for much, do they? They are so incredibly tasty that I shall persist, nonetheless.
This rose has several flushes through the year and keeps going up to the first frosts. I love it. I suspect it is a sucker from a parent bush next-door. The house next door has recently sold… I do hope the parent doesn’t get uprooted. Actually, that’s a salutary reminder to take cuttings…
A neighbour very, very kindly gave me a large number of robust strawberry plants (and a taster of the fruit, too – large sweet fruit that do not compromise on flavour in pursuit of size.) Since all my plants had succumbed to a virus, this is timely – a new bed, with adequate spacing and longer hours of direct sun, is one of the autumn/winter projects.
Like cosmos, tithonia is one of those things I find a right old faff to raise from seed every year, but still I do it, and I am always glad I bothered.
Clematis armandii looked very poorly, and I heard Christine Walkden on Gardener’s Question Time describe it as a ‘big, gutsy, hungry plant’. I gave it a good feed with some slow release feed and a heavy mulch with garden compost and it bounced back, even putting out multiple new shoots. These have now been tied into the pergola. I just hope the pergola stays up: I fear it’s a far from expert build (and no, we didn’t build it ourselves!)
This is an enigma: can anyone help? This birdbath was made by simply Gorilla-gluing a glazed plant saucer to the base, which we found in the garden when we moved in. I’m enormously fond of it, because I love kitsch. And it’s certainly that. This year, unlike all previous years, it simply will not hold water for any length of time – I end up topping it up daily. I’ve seen blackbirds, magpies and crows emptying it with vigorous bathing from time to time, but I don’t think that’s what’s doing it on the daily. Could it be that the glaze is crazed and the water is gradually seeping away through tiny cracks? If so,wouldn’t it take longer than a day? I am mystified. Can I seal it with anything? I suppose I could sit a plastic saucer inside the glazed ceramic one, but it would not look very nice…
I’m always at home to clashing colours but the pinky-purple of the shorter asters alongside the peachy pink tones of dahlia ‘Waltzing Matilda’ is too much even for me. These poor asters get moved every year. They are very forgiving about it. I have found their colour strangely hard to place in amongst the more usual autumn tones. Somehow, it just doesn’t please my eye in the way the darker, taller aster ‘Helen Picton’ does, but it flowers so enthusiastically that I feel a bit mean complaining about it.
After repeated attempts to raise passion fruit seedlings by mucking about with the seeds (soaking, fermenting, scoring, sanding…) to no avail, I decided I’d just scoop the insides of a fruit onto some compost and dump more compost over the top. I now have a ridiculous number of seedlings but I suspect they’re all too small to make it through the winter. They’re incredibly slow growing… I suppose at this puny size I can always bring one or two into the house to over-winter!
Salvia Amistad has had its best year ever. I’ve failed to take any cuttings and I think it’s a bit late now. I’ll do as usual and lift the whole thing for the winter soon. It doesn’t mind the cold too much but the combination of cold+wet seems to do for it, so I had better make space in the greenhouse, asap.
This extremely contrary courgette has chosen now to start producing. I am thee only gardener I have ever known not to experience a glut of courgettes. It is beyond infuriating.
This acidanthera is wholly unremarkable to look at but smells divine. As another thing that needs overwintering in the greenhouse, though, I’m not entirely sure it’s completely worth the effort it requires…
I should have done a before and after shot here. This weekend, meuhlenbeckia has been my nemesis. This one was making a break for it under the fascia and encroaching under the fibreglass roof…. I took it in hand just in time, I think. It’s had a stern clipping and now the bits and bobs on the wall can be seen again, as can the light. I keep it because it is utterly bomb-proof, but that does mean it’s a bit of a thug. I have seen it trained on wire forms and clipped into topiary shapes, much like box. In a garden in Funchal, Madeira, I have even seen it coaxed into some incredibly suggestive shapes, resembling… erm…’the male form’. I am not sure why anyone would want to do that in a formal garden, but it certainly made me (and my mother, and Chief Engineer) laugh. I don’t think I’ll try that at home, though.
The artichokes have been lifted from in amongst the flower border, to a site all of their own, with better sun. The crop was disappointing this year and Bob Flowerdew asssures me that plants grown in a mixed flower border look atchitectural but always under-perform. I want them for the chokes, so they will have to have their own space. There’s far too many here and I have, as usual, planted too densely. Oh well, let’s see what happens… they can have a nice mulching of horse manure for the winter, too.
The Under-Gardener has not felt very outdoorsy today and he’s not feeling very bookwormy this evening, either.

Six on Saturday – 15th October 2022

Hello to SOSers around the world! First things first – sincere thanks to Mr Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday – his last for a bit. You have brought joy to many, Mr P, I hope your rest from hosting is restorative and that we still see you from time to time. Read his post on this, and catch up with all the other SOSers, here: .

Never fear, however, as Jim at Garden Ruminations will be taking over as host – and you can take a look at his amazing garden and his excellent blog here:

Now, in haste, six from me before I have to dash off for beers and live music. Soggy, messy but holding on just about sums everything up here… anyway, let’s take a look…

Every year I wonder whether I can really be bothered to raise a couple of trays of cosmos… every year, I’m glad I did. Sedum (or whatever they’re called this week) are always such good value too, aren’t they?
I’m enjoying the agapanthus heads, the canna leaves behind, and the lobelia that has cheekily self-seeded in the paving cracks. I love it when plants do that. It feels like such a bonus freebie.
Very blurry but nonetheless very jolly rosehips. I recently made rosehip cordial, but not from hips from the garden because there simply aren’t enough (and the blackbirds have started in on these already!)
This little clump of cyclamen puts up with all manner of abuse and still obliges every autumn. I think the leaves are as pretty as the flowers.
This was a labour of love. Like an idiot I planted a meuhlenbeckia on the trellis on the fence. It ran riot and popped up amongst the irises, making a right tangled mess. I lifted and separated the iris, painstakingly removed all the meuhlenbeckia roots and divided and replanted the iris. Fingers crossed they settle back in ok. I have probably over-planted, but then again these iris are quite forgiving. We’ll see.
Rather messy but at least still colourful. Which, come to think of it, is probably also a good synopsis of life in general.

In a Vase on Monday: 10th October 2022

Nothing fancy or clever this week, this week we simply have a vibrant collection of casualties that had snapped off and needed cutting, haphazardly grabbed, trimmed down and stuffed in a jam jar. Waltzing Matilda is the dahlia that keeps giving and she’s really my star performer this year. The helenium has been fabulous too and I’ll definitely be buying more of it to build up a bigger block. Aster Helen Picton is a bit tall and wayward, making her prone to falling over, but the rich purple is so lovely that I’ll forgive her pretty much anything (I dithered about pinching off those spent blooms but I decided they were quite pleasingly autumnal). The Bishop series dahlias have really under-performed for me this year but you can just see a rather ragged Bishop of Oxford peeking out – Llandaff has done slightly better than him this year but still not especially well. There was something about this year that the dark foliage dahlias did not like… heat and drought perhaps…) Anyway, I am grateful to the border for still holding some late colour, and grateful to Cathy for hosting IAVOM! Hope the week is kind to everyone.

Pop over to Cathy’s page to see what all the other IAVOMers are creating this week!

Sunday 9th October 2022 – ups and downs

I’ve been feeling very up and down recently (tipped much more in the down direction) and it’s made blogging and, indeed, everything, feel like very hard work. Everything seems to take me longer than I want it to and nothing ever seems to be finished. Ordinarily I would say that a good long stint of gardening would sort me out, but recently I’ve felt so knackered and generally used up that I seem to run out of steam and enthusiasm long before I run out of tasks. Never mind. This too shall pass. In the meantime, things are still getting done, albeit slowly, and there is much in the garden to lift the spirits. Let’s take a look.

For some reason I went all-out with beans for drying this year. I think I was seduced by interesting varieties from the Heritage Seed Library (which all keen UK vegetable gardeners should join, by the way: Last year, I failed to dry my pulses quickly enough and a lot of the crops were lost to rot and mould. I need to spread these out somewhere to dry them properly to avoid that happening again. Come the zombie apocalypse, self-sufficiency in an easily-stored protein crop like dried beans will be very useful indeed.
I don’t actually know what these are. I got them last year from the Heritage Seed Library and they’re delicious. They produce a white, very round thing that looks like a cross between a pea and a bean and makes a really nice dried pulse for soups and stews. I think it might be Eastern European. These aren’t quite ready to pick, so Ive taken off some of the foliage to let the light and air get to these pods to finish ripening off a bit. Fingers crossed for a bit of warm dry weather this week.

Two lots of long-suffering brassicas. The collards on the left above are being turned into doilies by caterpillars (how DO the little buggers get in through the butterfly net?). The broccoli on the right is being shredded by the idiot wood pigeons. The collards might bounce back when the temperature drops. The broccoli will not. The only time I like wood pigeons is when they’re in a pie.

This brassica is altogether happier, but how edible it is, well that’s anyone’s guess. This cavalo nero has perennialised (well, it is now in its second year). It is a little munched by critters but doing surprisingly well. The leaves might be a bit tough, but this might be an advantage for soups and stews, where it will hold its form and not go soggy or slimey. Perfect for ribollita!
The squashes are rather small this year – I don’t think I watered diligently enough during the heat, nor did I have them in the best position. I’ve got a sheltered spot with more hours of sun in mind for them next year. We live and learn.
The last of the carrots, with some tiny red onions that had been swamped by other things. The bloody carrot fly has ruined most of these. I will try a veggie mesh tunnel next year. Interesting that the shorter, stubby, less tapered varieties seem to suffer a little less. Earlier sowings do better too. The carrot fly has two key breeding points in the year I believe – I need to pay more attention to when to sow in order to maximise the chances of outwitting them.

The raspberries are still really productive. They are meant to be a mixture of summer and autumn fruiting varieties but they all steadfastly refuse to fruit until autumn – I think this is due to the point in the year at which they get the most direct sun – I think they’re probably a bit shaded here and don’t get going until the point in the year slanting autumn sun has worked its way round the garden in just the right direction. I never planted a golden variety but here we have one, just the same. It tastes exactly the same as its red cousins.

Here we have proof of my indolence: an entire bed of bolted iceberg lettuce. I am considering letting them go to seed and seeing whether I can get viable seed from them, but I think these might be F1 hybrids, so probably not. In the next bed, a selection of perennial divisions and cuttings for friends and family, so I haven’t been completely unproductive. In the top left of the shot you will note a unhappy pieris…
That pieris is getting moved, so we can create a new veg bed in better light. I’m giving up on trying to grow food in this darker corner, instead I’m creating a new semi-shaded seating area. Chief Engineer took on digging duties, closely supervised by the Under-Gardener. I did manage to lift the pieris myself but ran out of steam for planting (though I did manage to lift and move a small lilac tree after that). The pieris got a hefty dose of ericaceous feed and a final warning about bucking its ideas up or getting served with notice to quit.
The beans are taking over the rose arch and I don’t have the energy to argue with them at the moment.
Soggy Bottom really needs taking in hand, but I quite like it semi-wild and it is partly intended as a wildlife haven, so I think I’m likely to keep prioritising other jobs, and just spend a whole day on it when the weather is colder and more has died back.
The callicarpa never fails to delight. It’s utterly unremarkable for much of the year but these berries mean it entirely earns its keep.
Starting to flop over a little now, but these delphiniums have been star performers. Considering how miffy they are about taking off from seed, they really are surprisingly robust once they get going.
A martyr to red spider mite and pot-bound to the point of cruelty, I thought I’d lost this brugmansia in the very hot summer, but potting it on into the nifty planter made by Chief Engineer has saved it and its even had a late flush of flowers. In just a few weeks I’ll be fleecing it every night. It’s a palaver, but it’s worth it for the heavenly smell of the flowers. It roots very easily from cuttings so I’ll take a few before it gets trimmed for the winter.

It’s the usual chaotic jumble, but there’s still quite a pleasing amount of colour in the garden.

I’m with the Under-Gardener today: it all feels like awfully hard work.

In a Vase on Monday. 26th September 2022

I haven’t had time to participate in Cathy’s lovely IAVOM for weeks, so it’s nice to be back with a blast of colour. I couldn’t quite decide which of these was the better photo, so have added both. I suppose the first is slightly better, if only because it doesn’t include a view of the washing on the line like the second one does!

Here we have a collection of the bright jewel colours I was aiming for with this year’s dahlia re-stocking. They have been slow to get going from the tubers that arrived earlier this year but they are finally starting to perform as I had hoped. I’d have liked more orange to add into the mix, but these are very pleasing, and Waltzing Matilda in the centre is my favourite – such a complex blend of colours, she is a real dazzler. the asters are called ‘Helen Picton’ and I love their rich purple, which makes a nice change from the paler asters that are more commonly seen. I was really stuck for foliage so ended up adding some paeony leaves, which seem to have held their form and colour very late into the year this year, though perhaps I am misremembering their previous performances.

This peculiar vase is a vintage piece I picked up in our local tip shop. It has a funny wire frog inside to hold the flowers and it is the very devil to work with.

Here is that peculiar frog. It is less helpful than it looks! Perhaps there is some secret to using it that I haven’t quite cracked yet. To its right, a rather lovely Portmeirion jug, also from the tip shop. I do love to return from the tip with more than I went there to dispose of!

Pop along to Cathy’s blog to see what is in other people’s vases today:

Six on Saturday – 3rd September 2022

I am frazzled and so is the garden. There is much to be done, yet no energy or motivation to do it, and the plants are similarly exhausted after so much heat and so little rain – now is not the time to be upping and moving the gardener or the plants. So, we tinker around the edges, and deadhead when we can be bothered, and wring our hands at the outbreak of red spider mite that threatens the new dahlias. And we wait, for a better state of mind. And the rain comes at last, in the night, and we are grateful. This too shall pass.

Mr Propagator continues to host Six on Saturday for us, even though he’s running a race on Anglesey (thanks MrP!) so head on over to his page and see how all the other SOSers around the world are getting along:

The morning glory on the left self-seeded from a pot stood at the foot of the pergola some years ago: every year I think they aren’t coming back, and every year, eventually, they do. Pleasing red berries on the honeysuckle on the right, too. Rose Gertrude Jekyll battles on above the rudbeckia on the third column in the background.
The morning glory is so exuberant that it’s taking over this chair. I’m letting it. These chairs are damned uncomfortable to sit on anyway. (I’m counting this photo as an extension of the previous one, so not counting it as one of the six. I know, that’s cheating.)
The tomatoes have been excellent this year. Not the biggest yield but by far the best taste. Best varieties have been red romello plum, green zebra, Goldwin’s golden cocktail cherry, and costoluto fiorentino. I read that tomatoes are self-pollinating and should come true from saved seed. I’ll certainly try this out. Please ignore my chipped bowl: we are clumsy and the kitchen is full of unforgiving surfaces.
The borders are jaded but still trying: the gardener can relate. Thank god for rudbeckia and their indefatigable happy glow.
Dahlia whaltzing Matilda glowing in the (welcome) drizzle.
A late sunflower. I think this might be Valentine. The sunflowers were all short this year, I think they were hungry. I shall cosset them more next year.
Agastache Navajo sunset, grown from seed. I’ll grow more – it has proved very drought tolerant and gives a pleasing pop of orange over a long season. I like it here with this variegated thyme. I don’t usually like variegated plants but I love all thymes so this one gets a reprieve.

Six On Saturday – 13th August 2022

Happy Saturday to gardeners and readers around the world and a special thank you to new followers – it’s so nice that people are interested in following what we’re up to in the garden, and I can only apologise for not posting much recently. The hot weather makes me lazy and one must bear the welfare of both gardener and plants in mind… a heatwave is no time to be digging, or moving plants around, or trying to raise seedlings. So mostly we have been sitting in the shade and enjoying the garden as inhabitants not as caretakers: it makes a pleasant change, to be honest. We’ve also been sharing it with others by making time for some outdoor dining and entertaining and that feels like what it’s meant for – sharing the results of our hard work (both in terms of environment and produce) really makes it all feel worthwhile and special. So – further thanks to everyone who visits and shows appreciation and encouragement. All too often – and I think most gardeners will share a knowing smile at this – when someone comes to view the garden, we say “oh it’s not quite at its best at the moment”, or “oh if you’d only been here last week, you’d have seen…”. We can always find fault, there’s always something we are not quite satisfied with. Today I did my little walkaround looking for things that are thriving despite the very challenging conditions and there were a surprisingly large number. Yes, some things are struggling, but the overall picture remains pleasing. There’s a lesson for life in the garden, as usual.

Pop over to The Propagator’s page to see what he and all the other SoSers are up to this weekend and check out his participants’ guide if you fancy joining in the fun. Thanks for hosting, as always, Mr P!

The rudbeckia never lets me down. I love it with the echinacea and the perovskia. The echinacea has flowered less prolifically year on year, I read that it should be lifted and divided after a few years if this happens. That’s a job for cooler days, for sure!
I’m cheating here and I’m going to count this as an annex to the earlier pic, so not counting it in my six. Bee approval of the rudbeckia.
The helenium seems to relish the hot dry weather. I love the pronounced central bosses, I’ll be looking to propagate more of these, or perhaps introduce some of the other varieties to give different colour and extend the season. No idea whether this is Moorheim Beauty or Sahin‘s Early Flowerer, which is annoying, as one has thrived and one has disappeared, so it would be helpful to know which in order to capitalise on its success! Nigella seed-heads behind – I love these so I just leave them in, it also saves me bothering to need to sow more. It does mean there’s an awful lot of seedlings, though.

More red in the border, which was one of my objectives after last year. This echinacea was an impulse buy in a market in Cornwall and its done far better than I expected. The carex next to it gives pleasing autumnal accompaniment. I was sniffy about mixing grasses into the herbaceous border, but actually it’s worked well in helping to fill gaps, add movement and lend a fluidity that makes the whole border look more cohesive and mature.
Just starting to go over, the alyssum and hyssop have proved a lovely combination and are much loved by the bees. These two make good low-level cover around border edges and tolerate having taller plants nearby very well, so I’m going to try to work them in elsewhere in the borders to keep building that fuller look we all strive for. Golden rod just in view behind – I grew it because it has herbal medicinal properties and birds love it, but actually it’s also proved very attractive, in my opinion, and it gives useful height in flower arrangements (and is prolific enough for me not to feel guilty about cutting it for the vase!)
The way this combination appears and then gradually evolves delights me every year: hydrangea paniculata, miscanthus and self-seeded cow parsley. The cow parsley appears throughout the garden now. I don’t mind at all – it’s pretty, light and airy, fills space without being a thug and is loved by friendly insects, especially the hover flies, who are welcome to the aphids!
The view from my deckchair, under the shade umbrella. Really, it could be worse, couldn’t it?

Saturday 30th July 2022 – Six on Saturday

Back after a little break… the garden is running away with me a bit, as it tends to do at this time of year, but this weekend I’ve rediscovered my garden mojo and am getting back into the swing of things.

Relax: nothing is under control.
Melon. An actual melon. I grew that. If it gets ripe enough to eat, I’ll be astonished. If it has a sibling join it, I’ll be utterly amazed and I’ll buy a lottery ticket.
Of course, when the zinnias open in their psychedelic sweet shop colours, all their fussiness is forgiven.
The garden is abuzz with insect life at the moment. I don’t know this species of butterfly but I can assure you all it was much easier to photograph than the flight of the bumble bees that are currently rampaging around the lavender.
Here’s that lavender. There are at least 15 bumbles in here, honestly. The lavender is blocking the path. I shall have to set up a diversion with a sign saying “Bees feasting: please use alternative route”.
It’s not always the things that shout loudest that have the most impact. I’m enjoying the subtle contrasts of shade and form here between the spent alliums, the glaucous lysimachia, the developing heads of sedum and the spires of rosemary. Perennial sweet pea thuggishly muscling in on the act to the right: what a dependable and welcome thug, though.

Head over to The Propagator’s page to see what everyone else is up to with their Sixes on Saturday: Wishing all the SoSers and indeed all readers and gardeners around the world a fabulous weekend (and, for anyone in the same position as me, fingers crossed it stays dry all weekend then rains heavily during the week!)

July 2022 – oh hello again!

Hey, hello! I haven’t seen you for a while.

Every year, there comes a point at which the garden overwhelms me. It goes so crazy, and it seems so big, and so rampant, and so much a living thing with its own drive and appetites that I just can’t keep up… and I admit I almost lose heart a bit, or surrender to it, or leave it to its own devices, or something. I certainly lose interest in writing about it, or trying to articulate my thoughts about it… if I have a spare second its spent watering, or deadheading, or harvesting, or staking something I didn’t stake soon enough and that is now flopping over, or chopping something back so that it doesn’t completely engulf its neighbour… all this to say, I haven’t blogged for a while because I’ve been drowning in garden a little bit (plus catching up with life, which has been greatly missed, but does distract one somewhat…)

So here are a few pics, taken over the past few weeks with the intention of blogging each time but having never quite gotten around to it. No narrative, just dive into the overgrown blowsy craziness. I have a full weekend of gardening ahead this coming weekend (plus a glamorous assistant joining me!) and I hope to document the work that gets done and share a few pics at some point in the weekend. I have big long term plans… and a very exciting greenhouse melon to show you all. It almost makes up for the carrot fly, and the pea moth, and the cabbage whites, and the mole damage…

As I type, dusk is settling and the evening is heady with the perfume of brugmansia, night scented stock and trachleospermum. The air is very still. I can just hear the stream at the bottom of the garden above the ceaseless rumble of traffic driving too fast on the main road at the front of the house. And above all of that I can hear the garden saying “Oh you’re back! Nice of you to join us. Look what we’ve been up to while you’ve been distracted… isn’t it fabulous?” And I have to agree, yes, yes, it is. Like life, it is messy and it is imperfect and I can find a million things wrong with it but yes, it is still fabulous. And I love it.