Saturday, 13 June 2009


Believe it or not, I do manage to fit in a few flowers, and this year I've already enjoyed some beauties. It started with the bulbs, then my alpine clematis, the camellias and the rhododendron in its pot. My Gertrude Jekyll rose was flowering its heart out, then down came the rain, and spoilt a lot of the flowers. However the recent dry spell has spare the later ones, and the scent is amazing. Vicky's Ice Cream rose, a white hybrid tea, is now in full flower and despite a few aphids, looks lovely.
The hardy carnations are a bit tardy, covered with buds, but we are still waiting for the blooms to open. Not so with the sweet peas. Air warden looks great, although it's companion was supposed to be blue, not pink. The packet definitely show blue flowers, but every one is pink. Luckily the red does not clash, as I planted them to climb together. Although the beans are technically veg, I am looking forward to their contribution to the colour in the garden having chosen varieties with white and mauve flowers. I've also put snapdragons between the celeriac, so brighten up the view.

Home Veg Garden Update

Where to start? The fruit is looking promising this year, I've raspberrries, blackcurrants, blueberries, cherries and plums, although I might lose some to the June drop yet. The blackcurrants are beginning to colour though, and I swear they were darker tonight than this morning after the sunshine we had. The cobnut trees have a good number of nut clusters, considering they are still only about 4 ft tall, and the apple tree that was broken in the post managed to set 4 apples so far, although again, they might not all make it.I never did get a replacement, but perhaps they meant next season! I won't get so many grapes this year though, as one of the main rods died back, and the fruiting shoots are less. I have got 10 cuttings taken from last year's prunings, so I'm taking them to the Strawberry Fayre next week, where the Garden Club is having a table.
On June 1st I picked my first tomato, Tigerella, from the Dec 27th sowing. I've had 2 more since then, and another colouring up, but I haven't tasted one yet as the girls have had them. The other varieties are nowhere near ready yet. I have been picking chillies for a couple of weeks. The purple jalapenos are much hotter ripe, but the hot lemon are pretty tastless so far, so I'm hoping they develop. As far as the peppers go, I've a ripe Canape, and the 2 orange bell are showing streaks of colour. All are still living in 6 inch pots on the kitchen window sill!
Lettuce and salad leaves abound at the moment, but I've had to resort to washing them with my reading glasses on. I remember Mum serving up greenfly with the salad, and I'm in danger of doing the same.
The cucumbers in the greenhouse are looking good, and I've some fruit set on the cape gooseberries, Little Lanterns. Takae said they are lovely when ripe, so I'm looking forward to later in the year. Vicky is really pleased we didn't lose a single kohl rabi to the slugs, and she's now enjoying them raw, munching on them when chatting away on MSN. The carrots have been really slow considering I planted them in January. We've had a few, and they are lovely, but I don't know they are worth the effort of such an early sowing.
However the broad beans are another story. I've finished picking the first crop planted in November, with some frozen for later, as Takae and I are the only ones who liked them. I've some more coming on, and the earlier sowings escape the blackfly. The globe artichokes have been attacked though, that is one thing Takae didn't take to.
I sowed some of the white beetroot seed I got from a Grape when we visited Wisley, and the roots look around an inch across, so they are on their way, but the radish have been poor, probably because I didn't keep them watered enough in the dry spell. My garlic leaves are looking a bit tired now, but I think it will still be a few weeks before its time to get them up, and the shallots will of course be later, although it looks as if most sets have split into 4 or 5 at least.
It looks as if I will get a few successes this year, but I think a lot will depend on how the weather behaves over the summer!

Update on the Allotment Garden

Well it's been a while again, but as I'm now back at work full time it's hard to find time to do everything I need to do, let alone the things I want to do!
Anyway, where are we with the new garden? Having resorted to weedkiller, my sister dug a lot of it for me, and cleared the thistles and the nettles. Vicky and Takae planted the vegetables I've grown at home, and Daniel mulched the whole lot with well rotted manure. Thanks to all those people, the garden now looks like a veg plot.
The tomatoes do not look well, I'm not sure why, they have been watered well and mulched, but the leaves are small and purple. I've got flowers and a couple of tomatoes set, but I'll be surprised if we get anything much from them.
I bought in some cabbage and cauliflowers, and they are looking well, even though something, maybe the pigeons that live in the conifer, have had a bit of a nibble. The butterflies have not found them yet!
I've climbing French and runner beans. planted in a couple of weeks ago by Takae, but they look a bit yellow, despite the bokashi put under them, and the mulch around them. However, today when I went to check, some are beginning to find the canes, and the soil is still nice and damp underneath the mulch. The weeds are making it through though, so it isn't quite thick enough!
The Cavili courgettes are romping away, and I've planted in another 3 today, as it would be good to freeze enough to see us through the winter. The Black Beauty and Parthenon are not so good. Takae did not put the labels to them, so I can't say which is which, but I've lost one, and another looks decidedly iffy. The peas are not as green as when I planted them out, but there are the first flowers appearing, so that is the main thing. However the 2 pumpkins look very well. I don't know what they are, the label didn't give a name when I bought them, but they are green, and showing the promise of flower buds.
Today, besides the courgettes, I put in 2 Wilkos butternut squash, and 3 Hunter ones from the Digg It campaign, all grown from seed. It will be interesting to see what I get, if anything. I also planted 2 Green fingers cucumber plants, to grow up the 2 bean canes who have lost their tenants, and 4 marketmore cucumbers, up a wigwam of canes. The marketmore cucumbers were from ancient seeds, which I did not expect to grow, but they germinated well in the heated propagator a few weeks ago. The cucumbers did not get much soil prep, as the well rotted compost from home was too heavy for me to lift, and I just dug the bit I needed. They are looking good at the moment, so fingers crossed for a good harvest.
I was still hoping to get beetroot, sprouts and more cabbage plants in, besides sowing some seeds, but with all the cucurbits, space is again running out! Pictures will be added soon!
Oh, and I forgot the celeriac, it's looking good, smaller of course than the ones I planted out at home, but I'm hopeful we will get a crop, especially if I leave it to last for harvesting.