Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A Sowing We Will Go....

Well I have been very lucky in my part of the world with the weather of late, and it has enabled me to get out and sow some lovely seeds and start to get into the spring fever.  Yes I know, it may be too early for some of you, but sowing sweet peas, and onions into trays and then into a cold greenhouse, is very satisfying and you know they will happily germinate for you in the next few weeks.  It's also nice to sow some broad beans too, and the variety I have chosen is 'Crimson Flowered'.  It is an heirloom variety and will withstand most anything it has to endure whilst growing well and producing a good crop.
I have also been sowing chillies in the vitopod heated propagator I have.  It's a brilliant thing, and I highly recommend it.  The varieties I have sown this time are 'Anaheim', 'Jalapeno', and 'Prairie Fire'.  I have also sown peppers 'Marconi Red', and 'Lombardo'.  I will be supplementing these with a few more varieties in the coming weeks.
I am getting excited to be coming into February, as I will be able to sow even more different seeds and more lovely heirloom varieties, with all this in mind for getting my nursery plans on the go.  I have decided that is what I want to do, so I am currently looking for space in which to site a couple of polytunnels, and then we're off!
I will keep you all posted on this development, so watch this space guys!

Happy Sowing!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Well hello 2012! I have been waiting for you!

Yes, it seems it has been a long time coming, but finally the new year is upon us, with exciting connotations of spring days and new plants to sow and grow, allotments to plan and fruit to be grown.

I was at my allotment today, digging up juicy plump jerusalem artichokes, and the day was bright and sunny, and once the fork started turning that fresh earth, the smell was intoxicating!  It just evokes inspiration to get on and do something, even if it isnt much, such as sowing a few nasturtium seeds or onion seeds, or flicking through the wonderful new seed and plant catalogues that have started plopping through the letterbox.  It just feels right, now to do these things, as christmas is thankfully behind us, and we can now positively look forward to the changing seasons ahead once more.

I have spent most of the autumn past, planting loads of new fruit trees, as I was determined I was going to squeeze them in my garden somehow.  I can't wait for spring now, to see all of their beautfiul blossoms frothing all over their branches and knowing I've got such a bounty to come once more.

It really is an exciting time, so what are you waiting for? Lets get to it!

Friday, 5 August 2011

A Guilty Pleasure on Tour!

Well folks, sorry for the absence, but have been very busy and down on the continent this last month!  First we drove down to Chablis in Burgundy, and visited all the vineyards in the area, taking in some beautiful country lanes and everywhere I looked, people had hollyhocks growing tall in their gardens, such a gorgeous sight.  Then, when we got back, it was the job of tidying up my own garden, harvesting the cucumbers, and watching the grapes getting fat and purple, yet making time for alll the potting on of successful rooted cuttings, such as hardy fuschias, rosemary, hyssop, hardy carnation, dog roses, and elderflower to name a few!  Seriously, at this rate, I'll be needing to open up a nursery, as I've got no end of seedlings propagated too.  On the allotment, I've had a few handfuls of pink fir apple potatoes [just to see if anything was there], and endless peas, and now broad beans and borlottis, and after visiting the plot today, my Desiree potatoes are ready to harvest, so I will be back to lift them tomorrow.

So, yes, it has been busy, I've visited a few National Trust gardens down south too, when coming back from France, and the plant sales there were fantastic! I bought some gorgeous unusual herbs, which you just don't get in regular garden centres, and the insects have just gone mad with pleasure, since bringing them back into my garden.

Right, I will leave you with a couple of pictures of my bounty and travelled vistas...

Until next time, enjoy your gardens!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


Oooh, how exciting! I have cucumbers coming! Yes, I know most of you will have grown cucumbers umpteen times, but for me, this year is the first time, because although I've always known how to grow them, I've never had the correct conditions that I could devote solely to them. So, that happened this year, and wow! I'm chuffed to bits that I have been rewarded with lovely plants and what appears to be looking like a really good yield!
Now then, other goings on this week have been that I decided to plant up surplus wooden crates with annuals to poke through the borders, from gaps left after moving other large pots over to a different part of the garden.  I planted up cosmos and scabious, and have done some other smaller pots and dotted them around, with calendulas and some low growing geraniums that I was able to procure from my mother in laws garden, that had self-seeded happily into her gravel bed!  Up came the plants with healthy big roots, and into fat pots of good compost, and watered in.  They have all perked up no end, after a spell of a couple of days rain, so thats my borders re-jigged!
Now all I have to do is sit and wait [oh as if I ever get the chance] to see them coming into bloom over the next few weeks.  Along with bumblebees and hoverflies, the garden is a real haven at the moment, so when the rain does come, I just don't seem to mind it quite as much!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


So, here I am, just sat down after making some more gorgeous raspberry jam.  I think I have to admit that it really is probably my favourite - but only if I've made it myself - I don't really like the shop bought ones.  I have been busy collecting the raspberries on an almost daily basis now, as there are so many canes that are just groaning with ripening fruit.  That doesn't bother me though, as I will happily pick and process these gorgeous jewels into anything I can possibly think of.  I tend to make jam firstly, then when I've probably made at least 5 jars, I will then go on to making a cordial for the kids, they absolutely love it, and I firmly believe that it's much better for them, as its freshly made, only lives a maximum of a week in the fridge [it never gets longer than that, as they are like vultures!] and there are no nasties in it.  I will then move on to making vinegars and liqueurs.  These are some of my favourites too, as they can be stored indefinitely in the dry store cupboard, and mature away to their hearts content.
At the very least, out of all these lovely fruits, a raspberry saucy sponge is made.  This is usually made on a Sunday afternoon, when everyone is chilled out and finished with Sunday lunch.  Then I get this out of the oven, and everyone's faces light up.  As I dish into bowls, and dribble with steaming thick vanilla custard, I see that these little beauties are so very welcome, and are very much appreciated in our house!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Summer Solstice

Well here we are! The longest day! I have been looking forward to this day from early spring, hoping that by now our summer would have well and truly arrived, but for where I live, sadly this isn't so.
We have spent the last week or more, knee-deep in heavy rain, or sodden days and ominous black cloud.  I have started to feel quite low in my mood, as usually this time of year helps with this, usually it being bright and warmer, but this year, after a three week heatwave in April, we've had no summer to speak of.
My garden is looking good though, don't get me wrong, as I most certainly appreciate the wet stuff for the good it does to my plants, but even they are getting fed-up of wet feet, I now think, and would love some warm sunshine to their bones! 
The only consolation I have going at the moment, is that I am heading down to Burgundy in a few week's time, to sit and drink good wine, eat wonderfully fragrant and juicy fruit and veg, and to talk late into the night cuddled up with my husband, about plans afoot, and lifestyle changes being made, and to just enjoy some warmth and sunshine, and no constraints of day to day school runs and phone calls and places to be.  I have been counting down the days, sorting out summer clothes to take, and generally getting into 'french' mindset!
As my spiritual home is France, I am thoroughly looking forward to our trip, and of course, the laden car full of goodies, to enjoy the rest of the year  :)
So, for now, I will put my 'longest' day on hold, and re-live it in a more appropriate setting!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

A Lucky Find!

Well, what a few days I've had.  Sadly, upon reaching my allotment the other day, I found it vandalised.  My netting fence had been torn off its posts, a large dog had been allowed to rampage about in my plot and trample everything, and then leave its dog mess all over.  Needless to say, I was quite upset by this.  After the initial shock, and clearing up, I telephoned the council, to make them aware, and I was told that the police would be contacted as it was classed as vandalism, and the site would be monitored periodically for a few days, as it is right next to a dog walkers recreation area, but it still has stock fencing all around it, so people shouldn't have even been in the allotment site with dogs anyway, as its forbidden.  I still felt sad and low that this had been done, as no one elses plot was affected, and mine is so infant, so I am now in discussion to transfer or take on another plot at another more secure site across town.
Then, today, I decided to go collecting nettles down the river bank, to make my nettle liquid feed.  There I was in thick garden gloves, snipping away good style, filling up a black bin liner, when I came across a big patch of clover.  A quick scan and a joke that I could do with some luck, produced a gorgeous big four-leaved one staring back at me!  Gosh, how happy I was!  I havn't seen a real four-leaved clover since I was a child, so I picked it and made my husband carefully guard it with his life, while I finished getting my nettles!
Needless to say, the trials of the last few days, all started to melt away, and once home, I put the lucky clover into my diary on the day that I found it.  It will now keep with me always.

It just goes to show, there is always going to be something good come out of something bad, even if it takes a little longer than you may think at the time.