Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The lavender hedge is at it's peak now and the bees are busy collecting nectar from it. The hedge is getting on a bit and I have started to take cuttings to replace it but it thrived on a hard prune in the spring. Nearby the scabious that I put in last year are coming into flower too.

The front garden has a lot of shrubs which do a grand job of dampening the noise from the road. The shrubs have got a bit overgrown and I am starting to cut back some of the biggest thugs - one bin-full at a time! But at the moment they are glorious in their abundance and I could stand at look at the symphony of green for hours.
The strawberries have been fantastic this year but are coming to an end now and the courgettes are just beginning to crop regularly. That's the good news! The bad news is that most of the veggies have been decimated by pigeons. The tops have been removed from bean seedlings, beetroot leaves have been pecked until nothing remains except upright purple leaf veins and they have even pecked off the carrot tops. The only thing they don't seem to like are turnips. So I have had to start again with the beans and beetroot. They are all at their most vulnerable stage at the moment and so I have been rigging up what protection and bird scaring devises that I can - hence the bottle tops hanging from canes etc. It looks like our beans will be late this year.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

We are gorging ourselves on strawberries at present while the bees and beetles are gorging themselves on the ceanothus which is in full flower. Sitting close by it sounds much like being at an African football match!
Yesterday I picked the first courgette.. and some of the last of the broad beans. There are a few small pods on the plants so we may get one more taste although a couple of the pods I picked yesterday had no beans inside.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Only one of the runner beans that I planted a few weeks ago has come up. So I decided to buy some more. Julian Graves and Robert Dyas didn't have any. I didn't try Wilkinson as I don't need anything so bad as to face their queues. As usual dear old Boones down the High Street came to my rescue. Not only did they have runners but I had the choice of 4 varieties (I chose Polestar)!

I also bought some parsnips to try. I will have to find some space for them in the next couple of days or so as it's getting a bit late to put them in.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

The Oriental Poppies are at there best now and the paeonies are just coming into flower. Although they are later this year they seem to be having a good one as there are lots of buds on each plant. I have 3 fragrant varieties. The fragrance is heavenly, what I would describe as old fashioned rose. The white one at the front has very slender stems for the size of the flowers and I have removed several that were knocked to the ground during the recent downpours. They are now in a vase in the yoga room where we can enjoy them.

The roses are in bloom and they too have a good number of flowers. I catch their scent when I go up the back steps or hang out the washing.

Yesterday I cleared out one of the big pots and planted a courgette in it. I already have one courgette in a pot, planted out about a month ago, and small fruits are developing on it already. The pot had had some chives growing in it. They had increased in girth dramatically and it was quite hard to get them out. I split the clump and planted up two pieces in pots which I have plaed either end of the trough in which I've put some carrot seed. The idea being that their smell will confuse carrot root fly. The trough is also up on the retaining wall to further try and outwit the fly which flies close to the ground (where the carrots normally are). The chive flowers are a real bee magnet. There seem to be a lot of mason bees around in our garden at the moment. They are always welcome.

I have a couple more courgette seedlings which I started off a couple of weeks ago. They will be put in the ground when the broad beans are finished.

Having planted up the courgette I just had enough compost left to fill a squat pot in which I planted some kenyan beans. The pot is up on the back terrace this year, for the first time, so we'll see how they do up there.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

I haven't forgotten this blog - I've just been rather busy lately.

Among other things I have been learning XHTML & CSS to create a website for Mark's new aikido club - Wellsprings Aikido. Check out the results of my efforts. XHTML & CSS itself haven't been too difficult to pick up but IE's interpretation of standards, it's little foibles and catering for IE6 & 7 as well as IE8 has driven me to distraction! It will never be finished and I will never be satisfied of course but I'm happy with it as it is at the moment. I now intend to rewrite our yoga websites (www.yogawithanne.co.uk & www.yogawithmark.co.uk) to get away from using Publisher - another MS product with limitations and foibles! I will probably start with Mark's site, as it is much smaller, while I work out what to do with some of the material on mine.

I have also got a bit disheartened by this blog regularly being targeted by 'comments' in chinese each kanji of which is a link to a porn site! I am moderating all comments and so simply delete them. I guess they are using some sort of automated system and so I will be targeted until the end of time.

This last week I have started to harvest broad beans and strawberries. Delicious. I never liked broad beans until I grew them myself and I still don't if they are not young and straight from my garden. I'm not sure how I came to grow them in the first place since I didn't like them. But picked before the beans get big and that tough outer skin they are superb.

We have two varieties of strawberries fruiting. One is producing smaller, firmer fruit and the other big juicy fruits with fantastic flavour. Fortunately woodlice seem to be concentrating their attack on the first variety and not the second. I hope that they don't read this blog!

The kenyan beans are showing now but no sign of the runners. I think that I will try and get hold of some more beans this week and start again. Last week I bought some plugs of leeks and popped them in. I've never tried growing leeks before so fingers crossed.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Finally, Spring feels as though it is on the way. Our drive runs east west which means that the back of the house only gets the sun in the summer. The morning sun is now just beginning to creep around the corner, a phenomenon that always raises my spirits.
Yesterday I got out and finished cutting back the lavender hedge and cut off last years flowering stems on the hydrangeas, sedums, scabious and a few other alpines. There is still plenty more tidying up to do! I am hoping for a dry spell to dry out the soil a little so that I can get out and do some weeding soon.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Well, the resolution didn't last too long. A bitterly cold wind and having a tooth pulled (it didn't go without quite a fight) put paid to spending a short time in the garden each day! But I'm raring to go and in anticipation I have been looking at the seed catalogues and thinking about what to put in this year.