Sunday, May 18, 2014

New season .

For the last year we have had something to eat from the garden every day, this is excluding potatoes, onions which we still have, stored from last year, and carrots which are still in the ground, but it's always nice when the new season starts. We have had the first perpetual spinach, true spinach will be ready for picking in a couple of days, today's offering was
Today's offering from the garden.
the first cauliflower and the first real picking of strawberries, we had had the first ones last week but there was only a small handful of them, today there was a bowl full. I thought they were late this year, but looking back I find that we are three days earlier than last year, although three weeks later than the year before that. Maybe the plants and crop of 2012 was still thinking it was in Spain, which is where we brought the plants from. I have no doubt that in a week or so we will be sick of cauliflower, they always seem to come at once, they do however freeze quite well.
Growing well.
The piglets are growing very well, they are making a wonderful job of plowing the ground up, although sisters they are totally different characters, the slightly smaller one being quite shy, she still does not allow herself to be scratched , whereas her sister goes into ecstasy.
Unfortunately it seems that we are not meant to have geese, we lost all three of the goslings, the first two due to cats, although they did not appear to be injured they died  after the cats had got into to the incubator and batted them around. The third one, the first to hatch although not in contact with the cats  just gave up without it's siblings.
The Hubbard chicks are all growing well, we hope to get them in their outside housing and run later in the week when it's not so cold at night, they are still only eighteen days old, we will still give them heat in the outside house though.
Our first broody hen failed to hatch any eggs, on examination we found that the embryos had either died early on or the eggs were infertile. As we had just hatched out three chicks in a small incubator we decided to give Betty Bo Two the chicks to foster. She  proved to be a great mum from the moment the chicks were slipped under her. This hen has been so named after another Buff  Orpington  hen that we had in Spain, she was our favorite hen and when we moved we gave her to friends where she went on to produce many chicks. A hen like that should have a name.
An alpine Aquilegia.
The early summer flowers are now looking good,
                              we have several types of Aquilegia,
one of my favorite cottage garden plants, now in full bloom,
                                     also  Dicentra,
with it's lovely lovely delicate foliage, and heart shaped flowers of pink and white.
The rockery, one year on.

During a trip out we discovered this lovely
Early Purple Orchid, except this one's white.
White Early Purple Orchid, neither of us had seen this before although we have been involved in plant identification for many years, Simon and his sisters when growing up collected wild flowers for the illustrator Barbara Nicholson for Oxford University press, they even received acknowledgement in the books for their contributions.   I, as a child, used to win first prize each year at the local agricultural show for the most different species of wild flowers which all had to be named. Plant hunting is a lovely hobby, although now they can only be photographed, it is always a thrill when you spot something rare. When we lived on Anglesea we never went out walking without finding something rare, including Bee Orchids, Burnett Rose, Marsh Helleborine, and Wintergreen.  Many happy hours have been spent getting the correct identification.
I love to have fresh flowers in the house, more often than not they will be from the garden but I also buy flowers. One of my favorites are Freesias, I always grow these in the sun-room, but I also like to have a vase of them when in season.
Fly killing flowers. Not good me thinks!
Last weekend I bought a bunch from a local store, beautiful yellow with a strong perfume, however this bunch of flowers have been a cause for concern, flies have been attracted to them, have descended on them and within a few minutes have dropped dead. The first couple of days we thought nothing of it, but a week later the flowers still seem fresh, the flies are still coming to them and are still dropping dead. Clearly these flowers have been sprayed with something very toxic, I think they probably are a real cause for concern especially if use for a dining table display where they might come into contact with food. It's doubtful if I will be buying shop freesias again.
The runner beans are now at the planting out stage, we had made one support a few weeks back but we had very good germination, too many plants for the one support so
Bean support, mark two.
Simon has made a second one. I think it looks very good and hopefully will stand up to the strong winds that we get and last for a few years. I am so looking forward to the first runner beans of the season.


  1. Impressive cauli and strawberries! Like the bean support too. I am definitely going to have to get into this basket weaving thing!

  2. We love cauliflower but they all come at once and take such a long time to grow, there will be three more ready by Wednesday so they will have to be frozen. The strawberries were lovely but a very labour intensive crop to grow, will have a rethink on the easiest way to grow them before my back breaks.

  3. Love that bean support. We will have to get instruction!

  4. Will show you how to do them Bridget when you come over. They are easy and only take half an hour to make once you have the materials together.

  5. What lovely flowers, all those purple and pinks! Great to see the pigs fully settled in but sorry to hear about the geese though. That is insane about those freesias, wow! How long were they 'fresh' many flies did they see off?! Crazy!

  6. The flower garden seems to change daily, today I discovered irises in bloom, I had forgotten that I had planted them.
    The cut flowers were worrying, they stayed 'fresh' for two weeks and even though they are now 'dead' I have kept them just to see how long the fly killing goes on, we are now on day 18, something definitely not right there!.

  7. Oh the cauliflower and strawberries look so good. My strawberry plants are just blooming and starting to set. I am still planting seeds! The flowers in your garden look so beautiful. Our lilacs are just starting to go by so I brought a bouquet into the upstairs bath and the room smells wonderful. The piglets are growing

  8. Jus two more cauliflowers to go, I have frozen four and we have had cauliflower for the last four nights, I am now picking a couple of pounds of strawberries a night, time to start the jam making. We planted a lilac tree this year, hopefully it will bloom for us next spring.