March delights

My thanks to Glo (Porcelain Rose) for this Q & R Award and Recipe which looks rather delicious so I’ll be giving it a go in the summer.

Q & R Award and Recipe

The rhubarb has just started to appear despite something, a fox I would guess, digging around over the top of it some days recently.

I’ve been doing some plotting most mornings this week as it’s been dry and sunny, although the wind has remained rather chilly.

On Tuesday I could hear a robin close by but couldn’t see it for ages until I realised that it was sitting in the hawthorn just a few feet away from me.

Robin in the hawthorn  More white crocuses

The white and yellow crocuses are still doing well with lots of bees on them.  The daffodils won’t be long as the buds are now appearing.

The forecast is looking good so it looks like I’ll be doing plenty more plotting right through into early next week at least.

Have a good weekend!

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Q and R…

continues the sort of Plot A to Z  occasional series of posts.

Among the Pollen & Nectar Meadow mixture seeds I mentioned recently is the ornamental grass Briza maxima which has the common name Quaking grass.

If I had a garden then I think that one of the shrubs in it would be a flowering Quince.

Moving on to R which includes my favourite soft fruit and a really lovely flower.

I love Raspberries so have about twenty plants, a mix of summer and autumn fruiting varieties which give me plenty of fruit over a long period.  I see that they are reported to be an especially healthy food according to various websites including this one.

Rhubarb is a plant that is seen on most allotments and mine is no exception.  At this time of year the stems are just starting to appear above ground, although mine have yet to do so. Once ready to pick I usually take home just a few stems to cut up, gently stew for a few minutes then eat with a sprinkling of demerara sugar.

The Rose Pretty Lady is the plot’s star plant as it starts blooming during May, or early June, in time for rose lover Nikkipolani’s birthday, then continues through to late autumn.

Rose 'Pretty Lady', mid May 2014

Have a good week!

Edited Wed, 4 March to thank Glo (Porcelain Rose) for her Q & R Award and Recipe for this post which sounds delicious, and which I will try in the summer.

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Snowflake and White Goddess

Dahlia 'Snowflake'Much as I would like to grow more dahlias I am constrained by a lack of space so generally I only grow one or two.  In the past I’ve grown colourful decorative types which have fairly large blooms but this year I’ve bought a couple of white Snowflake pompon tubers which have smaller globe-shaped flowers.
Gladioli 'White Goddess'


I also always grow some gladioli and usually buy new corms year to year. This year I’ve chosen the variety White Goddess.

It’s been an unsettled week with plenty of rain at times so the only day that I’ve been to to the plot was Tuesday to have a look round to see if I could decide where to grow these.  I think that they’ll all go together on the flower patch alongside the grass path just beyond the hawthorn.

The weather looks like remaining changeable through to at least early next week with more rain and very windy at times.

Have a good weekend!

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More armchair gardening

It was nice but nippy this morning so I took a walk round the allotments, and then across the road to the horticultural trading shed.  There’s heavy rain due later this afternoon, and the week ahead is looking decidedly unsettled with plenty of rain and high winds at times.
The New Vegetable & Herb ExpertThat certainly means I’ll be doing some more armchair gardening reading The New Vegetable & Herb Expert by Dr.D.G. Hessayon that I bought last week to replace my old, well thumbed, edition.

It was published last year, replacing the earlier one, and with over six million copies of all editions sold I would guess that most vegetable growers have a copy on their bookshelf.

It’s one of around twenty Expert Books that cover almost every aspect of gardening. I also have a copy of The Flower Expert and find both of them useful reference books.

Have a good week!

Posted in Lawn lounging | 22 Comments

Crocuses, crocosmia and compost

Ladybird on log, 17 Feb'15Yesterday was another sunny day so I spent the morning plotting.  I dug over several small areas where I’m going to grow the tall single sunflowers.  It was warm enough for several ladybirds to be active on the woodpile.

The yellow crocuses were open in the sunshine and honey bees making the most of them.

Crocuses, yellow and honeybee 18Feb'15 (4-15)

New crocosmia growthNew crocosmia growth has started to appear so I roughly cleared the old leaves away to give it some light.  I will do a proper tidy up and weed round later on.

This morning started sunny but it soon clouded over and was starting to rain as I walked home.  Whilst there I looked at the compost heap which I’ve left alone since November and was pleased to see that there are lots of red worms in it, and that it’s good enough to turn out and use. I’d normally be hoping to do that during the next few weeks but this year I’ll probably leave it and just dig out a bucketful or two to use when I plant or sow the runner beans, sweetcorn and tomatoes  during late May or early June.

Have a good weekend!

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A blooming good year!

Last Sunday was calm, sunny and warm enough to do some plotting without gloves. The sunshine persuaded the first crocus to open which was nice to see.  There are plenty more to come, like these yellow ones.

Crocus, white, 1-15   Crocus, yellow, 1-15

Sorting out some seeds during the week it struck me just how many more flower seeds I have than vegetables.  Much as I like growing, and eating, my own vegetables it really pleases me to see all the flowers that I grow from seed every year.

Annuals that I’ll be sowing include pink and white Corn Cockle (Agrostemma githago), Pot Marigolds (Calendula officinalis) Flighty’s Favourites various colours , Cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) various including the white variety Snowman,  Cosmos (Cosmos bipannatus) mostly white, California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica) orange, yellow and white, Sunflowers (Helianthus annus and debilis*) Autumn Beauty, Tall Single and Vanilla Ice* bronze, cream, lemon, mahogany, old gold and yellow; Sweet Peas (Lathyrus odoratus) various colours,  Love-In-A-Mist (Nigella damescena) blue and white, and Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) including orange, red and yellow.

Gardening smilesI’m particularly looking forward to growing some tall single sunflowers as I’ve not grown any for a few years and, as I do every year, I had to buy a packet of nasturtiums Tom Thumb Mixed from Chiltern Seeds as their catalogue for this item says…If you can’t grow these, you’d better give up gardening as a hobby!

Thanks to Karen, Sunny Day Photography, for this garden smiles picture.


Let’s hope that for all of us it’s a blooming good year!

Have a good week!

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Tree Following, February 2015 – A fig tree

This year I wanted to follow a tree that is markedly different to the willow that I followed through 2014 so I spent several weeks looking around at various candidates. I narrowed it down to a handful then had a another look before deciding which one to follow.

Trevor's fig treeIt’s a fig tree (Ficus carica) at the other end of the allotment site on Trevor’s plot.  It stands about twelve feet high,  perhaps twenty five years old and is probably a Brown Turkey.

As you can see it looks dormant at present, and rather uninteresting, but I hope that by next month it will be showing signs of new growth.  Click on the picture to see a larger image.

I don’t eat figs and know little about them so I’ll be learning all about it as I follow it’s progress through the year.  As well as reading the Wikipedia link above I found this 2005 Guardian article Fig Easy, written by Monty Don, an interesting read.

See Lucy’s Tree Following post for details of what it’s all about, and this post for other tree follower’s posts for this month.

Happy Tree Following, and have a good weekend!

[PS ~ I’d like to say thanks to everyone who commented on Liz’s guest post, and I know that she was delighted with them.]

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