Pictorial record of some of the garden at the end of a gorgeous sunny day on 6th May
It has been the warmest day of the year so far here in the Chilterns. I have spent all day in the garden and one of the things I have done is to plant some Hardy Annual Seeds to give me some flowers later on in the summer which can be cut and brought into the house.
Around the wigwam which I made a couple of weeks ago I have planted a mixture of Sweetpeas – Old Fashioned Mixed and Painted Lady. I also have some of these plants in the cold frame which I planted earlier in the year.
In front of the wigwam in rows moving forward are:
– Scabious Tall Double Mixed
– Sunflower Mezzulah Semi Dwarf
Hopefully they will be producing flowers in the next couple of months if the hens leave the bed alone..
Last week I went ‘home’ to Lancashire to see my parents for a few days taking the 2 youngest boys along for a bit of a holiday. I haven’t lived there for over 20 years, since I left University, but I still consider it to be home and am proud to be a Lancashire Lass who hasn’t lost her accent, or love for meat and potato pies and chips with gravy.
We spent quite a bit of time just chilling out at Mum and Dad’s, playing in the garden, swimming and doing local walks. I went to visit my brother’s grave as it is nearly 3 years since he died. He is in a lovely spot next to fields and it is a really peaceful place although it still upsets me to think that his life was so short; he died at the age of 37.
Towards the end of the week I took Mum and the Littlest to Sizergh Castle, a National Trust property on the edge of Kendal. Sizergh is a medieval property set in beautiful countryside at the gateway to the Lake District. It is still lived in by the Strickland Family and boasts a lot of ancient wood panelling some of which was in the V&A until it was returned to the house in 1999. You aren’t allowed to take photos inside the house and although there were some interesting artefacts it wasn’t my favourite NT property. I found it a bit dark and gloomy and it was very draughty.
In the gardens there is a lot to see, and I would definitely recommend a visit during the Summer to see the Herbaceous Borders and the walled Kitchen Garden which looked very bare when we were there, because of the time of year. However, Littlest loved the very scary Scarecrow 🙂
He also loved pulling faces at his reflection in the water tank
We loved the hens, especially the Lemon Cuckoo Neiderrheiner Cockerel who was strutting his stuff
and generally running around to keep warm on what was a very cold day
After lunch we went into Kendal to visit Williams Wools, a lovely wool shop on the High St which is owned by Adrienne Williams
Th shop is a lovely haven of yarnie goods..there are local hand dyed yarns, as well as Rowan, Arancunia, Noro and many other brands. There is a really comfy sofa area in the middle of the shop and lots and lots of samples on display for inspiration
I bought two skeins of Botany Lace to make a striping shawl, the variegated mustard yellow/grey in the middle and the solid mustard yellow on the right
It was a lovely few days in a lovely part of the world.
Today there has actually been some sunshine and I decided to plant my onions sets. They can be planted anytime from now as long as your soils isn’t waterlogged, and as I have raised beds the soil is nice and crumbly and just right for planting.
After digging the bed a few weeks ago, I raked it over and added a general fertiliser. I tend to use calcified seaweed but you could use any general fertiliser that provides nitrogen, phosophrus and potassium
This bed has not been used for onions, garlic or shallots in the past two years to reduce the risk of disease and it has not been manured this year either. Manure contains a high level of nitrogen which can affect onion growth so best to keep that for crops such as potatoes and runner beans who love it.
I planted them in rows approx 25cm apart with approx 10cm space between each onion. They are planted pointed side up and just under the surface, so that you can still see the point. I will need to keep an eye on them until they produce roots as birds tend to pull them out until they are rooted; I’m guessing that they think the onions are worms 🙂 They will need to be watered in dry weather and kept weed free and hopefully I will have a crop by August.
In the greenhouse the sweet pea seeds I planted have germinated and I will grow these on before planting outside in May.
The leek seeds have also germinated and I have moved these from inside the house to the greenhouse where they should be ok.
In the house, a number of my pepper and chilli seeds have come through but I will keep these inside until the risk of all frost has passed, They can then live happily in the greenhouse.
I can’t believe how much I have achieved in the garden over the last few days. The combination of warmer weather, longer days and a more positive attitude has really made a difference.
When we extended our house 18 months ago we had a patio installed in front of the French Doors at the end of the kitchen. Because the garden is lower than the house, it had to have a brick wall built under the flagstones and then steps built on three sides down to the lawn. This made it look quite harsh and hard and so I decided to soften it by planting yew all the way around. This will eventually knit together into a small formal yew hedge, but at the moment it looks like this:
I got my lovely Husband to dig the trench last weekend just before it snowed and my Dad helped me this weekend to get the bare rooted plants in. They had a good layer of horse manure added to the bottom of the trench. I can tell you, that stunk the car out when I brought it home from the garden centre, and as it was pouring with rain, I couldn’t even have the windows open. Anyway, I now need to trim the tops of each yew to roughly the same height and keep it well watered. Hopefully by next summer it will look more like a hedge.
While Dad finished off I got some Old Fashioned Sweet Pea seeds into cardboard pots and spent some time in the greenhouse where it was a bit warmer. I will start them off indoors and as soon as they germinate they can go into the cold frame.
When we built the extension a lot of the garden got trashed and I moved a large number of perennials, roses and shrubs into the veg garden. Most of these have now to either been moved or given away so that we can grow lots of veg again this summer. I made a start on Saturday by moving a Viburnium Tinus and a Hebe Buxifolia to the borders either side of the back door. This allowed me to clear out two raised beds which I will be using for potatoes so they have been manured and turned over ready for some Maris Piper tubers to go in in a few weeks time:
The bed behind them has Asparagus crowns in it which were planted 2 years ago so I’m hoping for a good crop this summer.
I haven’t done a huge amount of knitting this week; the snow has gone away and the sun has even said ‘Hello’ on occasion so I have abandoned the needles to get out in the garden. Life for me is a huge amount of knitting between December and February before it starts to be taken over by jobs that need to be done outside.
Our garden is not huge – about 1/3 acre – but with a husband who only ever cuts the hedges twice a year and occasionally shouts instructions from the sidelines when I am mowing the lawns, there is more than enough to keep me busy.
And this year there is a huge amount to do as I continue re designing and landscaping parts which I hate and parts which were wrecked by our builders last year. The first major task is to sort out this mess:
It slopes really badly so needs a retaining wall built and the horrid 70s crazy paving path has to go. Although I like to think I can crack most things E (he’s my husband) has begrudgingly agreed to pay for a landscape gardener after spending months saying ‘Oh I can do that..it will only take a couple of weekends’ .. When I said ‘well get on with it then’ he suddenly decided it was too complicated and we have now got someone who can start in April, so it may get finished this summer. I’ll keep you posted on developments.
One project that did get completed last year was putting up a new greenhouse which E and my Dad did for me and a mighty fine job they did too
This sits between the garage and the shed and will be used this summer for growing tomatoes, peppers, chillies, cucumbers and whatever else I can squash in there. I love growing Heritage varieties of vegetables and was really pleased to receive these in the post this week:
They are from a lovely family run nursery called At The Garden Gate a small nursery nestled deep in the Galloway hills of lowland Scotland. They grow heritage varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs, along with roses, fruit trees and native trees, and offer a mail order service for flower and vegetable seeds. Their website is http://www.atthegardengate.co.uk and I would highly recommend them. Janey, the owner is so helpful, the seeds are beautifully packaged and they arrive very quickly after you have placed your order.
One of my favourite varieties which I bought was Webbs Wonderful Lettuce.
Both my grandfather and my Dad used to grow this when I was little. I have really great memories of picking lettuces and tomatoes in my Grandad’s Cedar Greenhouse which must have cost him a fortune before having them with roast beef sandwiches and cups of strong tea.
Its still a while until I can sow any of these seeds and a long way until we can eat it but in the meantime I will dream and plan and hope we have a better summer than we did last year.