Monday 25 April 2011

Happy Easter!

Weather is glorious, but no rain means a lot of watering needed, and seedlings wilting away.

I had to make some rhubarb jam, as the plants have decided to grow this year, and very fast... incidentally they are bolting with all this heat, and it's impossible to stop, so after chopping three buds, I've given up.

Asparagus, also, has started to make good spears four years from planting: unfortunately, asparagus beetles (Crioceris asparagi) have noticed too! Here they are chomping away... I must say that the spears that have grown through a patch of self-seeded parsley were left alone, though: maybe companion planting is the answer. In the meantime, I have killed the offending pretty little nasties.

My first ever artichoke has also appeared on last year's plant - actually two of them - they are a great temptation, but I will follow Mark Diacono's advice in his book "Veg patch": I will be brave and chop them off so the plant will concentrate on the root system instead :(

The plot looks lush: even my neighbour Keith noticed it's looking at its best ever.

The home pond is also joy: frogs, tadpoles and newly emerged damselflies have been joined by newts! I do not have a good picture, and I have not had time to check which species it is, but here's a blurry snap. All the creatures I had created my ponds for have now moved in: I'm happy!

But I am officially behind schedule once again, with my uni exam fast approaching, and the drought is not making it any easier to manage... that is one of the reasons I have not been writing much; however, you can follow the unfolding of spring in my gardens on the photo album.

Saturday 9 April 2011

Sun and Guerrilla

It was warm, unbelievably so: in the greenhouse 35C/100F made it very uncomfortable to work, and outside plenty of water was required to keep you going. But glorious. Flowers. Butterflies. Fragrances. Even a new pollinator I had never seen before, like a small bee. Unfortunately I had no camera with me.

Most of the seeds I've sown since March have germinated: finally on top of the time schedule, I have already potted on artichokes, Calendula and basil. Hubby's new little greenhouse came in very handy, and I have made a makeshift one with a spare wire basket trolley and some large bubble wrap: should be fine I hope.
And the last trench to sow potatoes is ready and weeded.

At home, spawn in the pond is alive and developing: I'm so glad.

Most of my seedlings and plantlets, nurtured over the last few years but which did not find a permanent place in the garden and plot, have finally fled the nest and been driven to a new home. As I was worried that several were becoming pot-bound, I contacted Richard, the mind behind the Guerrilla Gardener movement, who was passing by - it is good to know that my loved plants will end up making some derelict place more beautiful. I may see them again, thriving in the soil, on the website pictures!

The garden is now tidier, even if I still haven't mowed the lawn, so at the end of a long day, I sat there enjoying it and realised I really look forward to the end of my uni exam so that I can pick up horticulture once again...

Monday 4 April 2011

Shipshape plot

All charged up for having completed my uni essays, I went to the plot to tackle the big remaining task: the old, derelict shed, sheltering ratsand who knows what else.

Armed with a dust mask and a crowbar, I descended on the offending pile of rubbish, and at the end of the morning all was clean and tidy, and all nesting insects were exposed much to the enjoyment of a friendly robin.
Next step will be to transfer the compost heap there, so that I can free precious planting space in a spot that is now sunny, after the hollies have been cut back. At this time of the year any hybernating creatures should have left the heap, so it's ideal.

A productive weekend, I managed to find on Harrod's website the greenhouse door wheels that I needed to fix my wobbly door once and for all. They also have greenhouse shelves, which come quite handy at this time of the year, when my greenhouse is full and bursting with propagators. They should work on all greenhouse models, will try them at the weekend.

I have only been once in the evenings of this first week of BST, but I got my first crop of rhubarb. And for dinner on Sunday, my second crop, nettles, went into a delicious omelette!

-- Post From My iPhone