Monday, 30 July 2012

Onions, leeks and a seaside fairy

We visited the garden today after a weekend away at my nephew`s fantastic wedding near 
Henley on Thames. Three days is too long to leave a garden!!! 
The pumpkins are invading any space they can find. 
 Steve cleared the area where the broad beans have been and put in calabrese and Romanesque. 
I planted 2 trays of sedum plants for the cob shed.
We picked courgettes, (and yes we did make courgette relish) peas, calabrese, sweetpeas, dahlias, statice and helichrysum.

I`ve borrowed Belinda`s idea for this photo. One of the campers, whose name is Rock, (great name) walked through the garden as I was trying to stick the camera to a hazel pole using packaging tape. He just happened to have an extending pole in his van so we used that. It`s not too bad but I think I can do better with the mini-tripod attached to adjust the angle.
Rock is building the decking round the new shepherd`s hut, whilst he`s here.

This view is looking back towards the farm buildings.

The onions are now drying. Its a good crop.

The leeks have been uncovered today. The Queen and Prince Phillip visited us.
The first single dahlia is out. Singles are more attractive to bees and butterflies, as
 they can see what they`re trying to get at.
Whilst we were away a fairy came to stay. It was a very nice suprise.
She must be a seaside fairy as her wings are very shell-like.
She seems to like the sweetpeas.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Courgettes, peas and sweetpeas

We have enjoyed a sweltering hot day. Its so welcome after all the rain. After a couple of hours at the garden we took a picnic lunch to the beach and had another swim.

The greenhouse was in dire need of water so Steve attached the hose to the outdoor tap for the first time this year and gave it a good soak. The little peppers are forming. Thank goodness the hosepipe ban has been lifted.

Steve harvested 17 courgettes. We are wondering if there is such a thing as courgette chutney!! I`m sure our tai chi teacher`s wife has made courgette cupcakes for us.
We also picked calabrese, the first tomato and the rest of the broad beans. There were more helichrysum flowers and bunches of statice to dry.

It is very interesting to chat to the campers who travel here from all over. A young couple today had come from London by train. They had their own allotment, which wasn`t doing too well, due to the wet and rather a lot of slugs by the sound of it. They were off to visit the Gerwood Gallery in Hastings.

I stood for ages waiting for butterflies to land long enough to get a photo. There were quite a few around but not settling for long. The butterfly garden is starting to look a little blousy but there are still Michaelmus daisies and buddliea to come out. I suppose the art is to choose plants which elongate the time that butterflies can feed. September is always a good time in our own garden.

The silky and Californian poppies are so pretty with camomile in the background.

The sweetpeas have loved the previous wet weather and as a result they are still going strong. At this time of the year, the stems are usually beginning to shorten, but these are long and the perfume could knock you over. We have put some bunches in the barn to sell. Recently some visitors referred to the small barn as the "Sweetpea Barn" as they remembered the sweetpeas there from last year.

My last photo today shows a lapful of peas. We had them for dinner tonight. They are sooo sweet.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Tomatoes and pumpkins

This is our main gate. Yurters walk through the garden to get to the shower block in the small barn. We try to keep it closed to keep out the rabbits but we don`t always succeed.

The tomatoes are doing well.

I am picking the dahlias regularly now.

As you can see, the pumpkins are growing away over the sides of the raised beds. The rate of growth is incredible due to the amount of rain we`ve had.

This is the herb garden showing rosemary, lavender, borage and poppies.

We have had great weather for two days. Yesterday we went to a mini outdoor music festival and it was good to see everyone out enjoying themselves. Today we have been to the beach and had our first swim of the year, so things are improving in time for the Olympics and our family wedding next weekend.
I can hardly believe that I`m saying this, but we have run out of room at the garden. Today it was a case of digging something out in order to get calabrese in later in the week. The next space will be when the broad beans come out. Every spare space is full of sedum and spring bedding.
We have staked the sunflowers with sturdier posts, cut some longer grass round the pond edge, trimmed back the mint for new growth to form (still enough for the Pimms) and weeded nettles, thistles and goosegrass along the fence behind the orchard.
There were several butterflies around, brought out by the warmth. I even spotted a small Meadow Brown in the butterfly garden but it was too quick for a photo. There are plenty of bees.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Blackcurrants and poppies

The rain held off for our visit to the garden today. The grass is getting very long with all the rain. And the weeds keep growing!! 
I split a row of wallflowers and Bellis daisies then spaced them out. These will be our spring bedding. I planted out another tray of sedum for the roofing. We weeded the leeks and dead-headed flowers. This keeps them going for much longer.
We decided that we had better harvest the blackcurrants as they were at perfect ripeness today. The strong smell reminded me of the sixties when we picked blackcurrants at the beginning of our school summer holidays for our pocket money. They were hand-picked up until the seventies. Now its all done by machine.
I don`t think anyone grows blackcurrants commercially in this area any more. Good memories.
Everywhere I look in the garden, there is something I want to do!!

The buddliea is flowering for the first time. Surely the butterflies will come soon.

Holly`s honeysuckle is flowering this year.

 The beetroot are looking good.

Love in a mist (nigella) and the home-saved poppies.

The first flower on our Japanese anemones. The orange centre is stunning.

Today`s harvest. The blackcurrants are in the coloured bowls.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Barn dance and orbs

Last night we had the barn dance at the farm. It was held in aid of Farm Africa and it was the 21st. birthday of the event. The Catsfield Steamers played with their caller, Jane. We had a ploughman`s meal ....all 220 of us. It was a great evening, with young and old joining together to dance.

 Here is the cake that was raffled as a celebration of the 21st. anniversary.

For those of you interested in orbs....there are rather a lot in this photo.

A few weeks ago this barn was knee deep in cowpats.

Not a good photo but orb presence is astonishing.
The haybale tables were decorated with flowers from the Freshwinds Garden.

We walked home. The lane, usually so quiet was very busy and extremely muddy. Incidently we saw a small green light in the woods alongside the lane and discovered it was a glow-worm. Not seen one for some years.

A poem to share.....

I wish I were a glow worm,
A glow worm`s never glum, 
Cos how can you be grumpy
When the sun shines out your bum. 

Friday, 13 July 2012

Sedum for cob shed roof

Here is the sedum bed back in May.

And here it is in mid-July.

I was very inspired by a lady whose home was featured in the programme Grand Designs.
She took all her own cuttings to make the living roof for their house. She took thousands of cuttings.
Well I haven`t taken thousands but I have taken hundreds. They are doing so well in this raised bed that I am now able to take cuttings from the cuttings. There are more coloured ones on the way so it will add more interest through the seasons.

Here are the pumpkins. They are quite literally growing overnight. Interestingly we have seen no fruit forming as yet.

Today`s harvest. Seeing as we can`t leave cauliflowers to spoil, or eat 4 at once, some are destined to become picalilli (spelling!!) 

I think this strip of wildflowers is at its most beautiful. However I have been saying that for the past few weeks. I saw a butterfly was a Cabbage White. The lack of butterflies was mentioned on TV last night. We need a bit more sunshine.Buddlieas are just about to flower.

Barn Dance tomorrow with The Catsfield Steamers.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The way it was

We have had a good visit to the garden today but we got rained off before I had taken my usual last-minute photos. Steve has made the willow arch a bit more robust. It is growing well but gets blown around quite a lot. I planted out more wallflowers and more comfrey against the barn. We will use the comfrey to enhance our own compost later. I will also be laying the bigger leaves under the tomato plants as extra feed.
One area in the raised bed has been used for sedum cuttings. These will become the living roof of our cobbed shed. They have filled out well. I had to rescue one lot which had been covered by self-seeded poppies. They went into a more open space. I brought broken bits home and planted up another 3 trays. Lots more to say about the sedum roof but I will post more at a later date.
I picked the first dried flowers....statice....and I noticed the helichrysum (also for drying) is nearly ready to pick. Wonder if anyone will want dried flowers. The white statice would be great for wedding buttonholes.
The weeding is a pleasure as the soil is so damp.
We had broad beans, cauliflower and courgettes for our dinner this evening.....delicious.
The barn is cleared, ready for the barn dance and the haybales are waiting to be arranged. There will be lots to do on Saturday.

Here are some photos taken in November 2010 on the day when Steve and I met Anne at the "plot" and decided to make it into a garden.

The pigsty is no longer there but the greenhouse is, of course. The weeds were mainly nettles, burdock, docks and brambles. The seeds are still germinating.

This is the raised bed!! At one time this was to have been a wormery. The soil is fantastic as its full of well-rotted manure.

This is the middle of our garden. It is quite astonishing how this is now covered with lush green grass. It does have a few docks and burdock which still come up, but every now and then we dig out a few.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Stormclouds and cauliflower

Great excitement at the garden today. There were lots of yurters around, dodging the heavy downpours.  They enjoyed looking round the garden, taking photos and asked lots of questions. They couldn`t believe the garden was only created last year. When the rain got too heavy they dashed off in their wellies and we retired to the greenhouse to tie tomatoes.
Andy came with the old shed. Who knows what that will become!
I split the bellis daisy plantlets and spaced them out a bit, in rows around the garden, They will be for spring bedding. I did the same with more home-saved seedlings of forgetmenots from home.
We uncovered the newest row of climbing French beans and Steve put in pyramids of hazel. The ground was great for weeding and planting. Lots of dock seedlings to get rid of.
We harvested quite a bit....a huge cauliflower, courgettes, broad beans, a handful of sage to dry and a bundle of strawberry plantlets to pot up.

 Steve and Andy unloading the old shed.

A delicate poppy in the butterfly garden. Still no sign of any butterflies.

This is Tom the scarecrow guarding the sunflowers.

Today`s harvest.

The newest climbing French bean row.

Stormclouds over the barns.

Thanks to Belinda, I now know the unknown flower. It is called phacelia.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Ferns and forgetmenots

We had a lovely visit to the garden today. It is looking very pretty especially our wild flower areas. We`ve seen a couple of butterflies. I think they are a bit late this year. The strawberries are nearly finished and all in all have been a disappointment. I am wondering how to protect them next year. I think the proximity of the barn is a problem.
I planted 2 rows of rescued forgetmenots which seeded themselves in our strawberry patch at home ( yes we have another garden) I also put in another tray of wallflowers to beef up for spring.
My niece Hazel, gave us 2 huge ferns and we planted them near the pond.
And of course I picked the sweetpeas.

Six months ago this was just a hole in the ground. Today it was covered in whirlygig beetles. As you can see the water level is down quite a bit despite the rain.

This is our largest wild flower area. It is right at the entrance to the garden.

Calendula edging the sunflower bed.

Last year we lost the peas. This year they have had 4 protections to get this far. I planted them in compartment trays keeping them in our own greenhouse where they had to be protected from mice. I then planted them under a tunnel of chicken wire (to keep rabbits off) Next  they had hazel pea sticks to climb up and to protect them from pigeons. Lastly I put slug pellets down (friendly ones of course)
With all that work we will hopefully get a good crop. They will be worth it.

Here is a view of our garden looking east. The huge raised bed is on the right with the herb garden in the foreground. Halfway down is the strawberry patch and you can see how close the barn is.
Next weekend is the annual barn dance at the farm. The proceeds go to Farm Africa.
Photos to follow I hope.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Sweetpeas galore

This is what happens when you don`t visit for a few days.
This is me having picked them all. The perfume is stunning and filling our house.

How could I have missed all these sideshoots on the tomatoes! I fed them for the first time today.

I replenished our little nursery.

Here is a general view to the west, towards the gate and the far woods.

There was soft rain as we gardened but it was warm. Everything is romping away. The pumpkins have grown 3 feet in as many days. There must be quite a few mice with tummy ache by now. We have lost a great deal of fruit to them. Has anyone got any ideas about a way to discourage them? 
I had intended to carry on with the nettle clearing.....they are encrouching onto our paths.....but I was soon waylaid by more urgent jobs such as sweetpea picking!! Can there be any better way to spend a Tuesday afternoon? I also planted more French beans, disbudded dahlias and checked the greenhouse. 
One of the horses was really enjoying life.....galloping around wildly and neighing, just for the joy of it.

One last thing........
does anyone know what this flower is?
It was in a flower seed mixture especially for butterflies and bees.
I love its spirals and the misty mauve flowers.