Tree following, May 2017

Liz’s Tulip poplar…Here in Lexington, Kentucky I’ve seen my tree make significant progress as it has grown a foot in the past month and is now well over four feet high. There are plenty of distinctive shaped leaves that start off pale green and then darken.

     

Note the raindrops on the leaves as, unlike many parts of the UK, there has been a lot of rain here recently, so much that it has caused severe flooding in places.

My usual thanks to Mike for letting me guest post.

 

Flighty’s Dogwood (Cornus)…This tree has really filled out since last month but the numerous flower buds have yet to start opening.

 

 

 

 

 

What is apparent is that that the lack of water here has affected this tree as a few of the leaves are already starting to go red which they don’t normally do until the autumn.

Our thanks to Pat, The Squirrelbasket, for hosting Tree following.

Have a good weekend!

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Watering and wondering

Using a couple of watering cans I water all round once a week if there’s been little or no rain.  In between times I only water plants, such as climbing beans and tomatoes, that need doing more often.

 

As I’ve mentioned previously there’s been little significant rain here for months and I hope that it isn’t a sign of a forthcoming wet summer. I’d rather that it stayed dry than have that happen.

It’s noticeable that some plants are becoming stressed, like the crocosmia as the leaves are going brown.

 

 

Thankfully the perennial cornflowers and sedums are still looking good.         

The forecast is for sunnier and warmer weather later in the week, but only a few light rain showers one afternoon.

Have a good week!

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So far this month…

has been fairly miserable weather-wise being mostly chilly and overcast with some rain at times. The latter has been welcome though as it was the driest winter for twenty years and spring was no wetter.  Although the ground is damp a few inches down the surface is starting to get dusty and cracks are already appearing.

 

 

The poached egg plants (limnanthes douglasii) will soon be showing as a carpet of white and yellow flowers buzzing with honey bees.

 

 

 

The rose ‘Pretty Lady’ is covered in flower buds and the first few flowers appeared right at the back end of last month, which is the earliest I’ve ever seen them.

Have a good weekend!

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On a happier note

There was a frost early on Thursday morning which didn’t last long, and wasn’t very hard, but seemed to affect a number of plants quite badly.  I walked round the site and noticed that asparagus, fig trees, grape vines, hydrangeas and potatoes had all suffered.  It was surprising to read on various online gardening forums and groups that even some plants that had been covered with fleeced or were in polytunnels had been affected. On the plot new growth should appear on the potatoes within a couple of weeks, and the hydrangea should soon recover.  I’m not so sure about the grape vine.

On a happier note it’s good to see the perennial cornflower (centaurea montana)  is flowering and the poached egg plant (limnanthes douglasii) flowers now appearing.

    

In the stone feature the red valerian (centranthus ruber) is growing well.

Have a good week!

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Sofa reading, April 2017

Liz…When Mike mentioned watching hawks in a recent post it reminded me of the highly acclaimed  H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald that I read last year.

It is an award winning memoir written when, after the sudden death of her father to whom she was particularly close, she attempts to assuage her grief by acquiring, then training, a young goshawk.

They are apparently the most difficult of hawks to handle. MacDonald, a a naturalist and historian, describes in spare clear prose her sorrow, challenge and frustration in raising Mabel the goshawk.

She has a close affinity to, and appreciation for, T H White, most famous as author of The Once and Future King, from whom she had learned so much in his book The Goshawk.

 

Mike…I’ve not read Liz’s choice but it is on my to read list.  My book was prompted by hers and is about a rather different bird.

Sold for a Farthing by Claire Kipps is a small, 72 page hardback published in 1954 and tells the tale of a poorly infant sparrow found on the author’s doorstep in July 1940. She nursed it back to health and it then shared her home until it’s death from old age in March 1952.  It couldn’t be released back into the wild as it had a deformed right wing and faulty left foot.

The poet Walter de la Mare called this book a little gem, and it’s certainly one of my favourites.

I found this excellent review which is well reading.

 

Happy reading, and have a good weekend!

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Talking of foxes

The temperature dipped to around zero for a while early this morning so I was thankful to see that there hadn’t been a frost and all was okay when I looked round.

Afterwards I’d started doing some plotting when something over my left shoulder caught my eye. When I looked round I found that it was a fox drinking from the the washing-up bowl pond by the log pile.

 

 

When it had finished it then came closer and went onto the potato patch.

   

It was only about ten feet away and stood there looking around and at me before it turned, went across where I’ll be growing the climbing beans and headed off the plot.

This is the dark one we’ve been seeing recently, but now has a mostly light-grey coat and looks in fairly good condition.

 

I was delighted to see this wonderful animal close-up and take a few photos.

 

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Vegetables and a new book

Last week I was given some onion seedlings which I planted out on Tuesday. Some are the variety Ailsa Craig which are large globe-shaped with a good flavour, excellent for exhibiting but not a good keeper.  The others are Bedfordshire Champion which is a popular variety and a good keeper, but susceptible to downy mildew.  It’ll be interesting to see how they compare with the Sturon sets that I’d already planted.

The first early potatoes Pentland Javelin (middle row) and most of the second early Charlottes (right-hand row) have now started showing foliage so I earthed them up this morning.

The temperature looks like dropping close or to zero a couple of mornings during the coming week.  I hope it doesn’t as the first early Red Duke York (left-hand row) foliage is now too tall to earth-up again and I don’t want them to get frosted.

 

 

The second lot of broad beans Crimson Flowered have appeared just over two weeks after I sowed them.  The first lot are growing very slowly, and all have notched leaves which is a tell-tale sign of bean weevils. Hoeing round the plants is supposed to prevent this but I’ve been doing that regularly to no avail.

At home I’ve sown the sweet corn Golden Bantam seeds in pots to start off on the windowsill. I’ve not done this before having always sown direct around the end of May.

As usual at Christmas I was given a book token which I generally use to buy a non-fiction book, which I did last weekend when I bought The Living Jigsaw by Val Bourne. Since then I’ve been enjoying browsing through it and will do a review once I’ve read it properly.

 

Have a good week!

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