Monday, 28 July 2014

Rabbit Proof Planting (I hope)

After heavy rain, the little house garden soil was just right for planting up.
We took 4 trays of plants today and got them all in.
The sky was black but we didn`t get any hailstones...... we`ve just seen the size of them on the local news.

Gandalf remains dry under the cob eaves.

This is how the garden looks after today. We`ve surrounded each plant with chipped bark.
Steve has continued with the chipped bark on weed suppresant under the trees.

We did quite a bit of weeding in the raised bed as well. There were a lot of butterflies.
This is a small tortoiseshell on inula.

The wild area.

Teasels in flower.

Boomerang shaped courgettes. Not sure how this happened.

My list of rabbit-proof plants, researched from the internet.

Evening primrose
Bee balm
Lambs Ears

(The rabbits have attacked the yarrow in the garden)
It remains to be seen whether this list proves to be correct.
Will keep you posted.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Survival of the Fittest and the Fenced

It`s interesting to take stock of what has managed to survive up to this point in the year.
Now is the time for harvesting and quuite honestly I  am surprised that we are harvesting anything.

The weather has been fine but the set-backs have been myriad: - escaped sheep and the worst infestation of rabbits I have ever encountered.
This year`s wild areas are not a patch on the previous years.

The corn marigolds don`t seem to have been affected.

This area has been well-protected until right into July. Somehow it defeats the purpose of a garden when it has to be covered for such a long time. It needs to be seen.
I am keeping the cornflowers dead-headed.

The Hatings Runners had a party in the garden at the weekend. Think some of it had to be undercover.

We worked in the polytunnel before it got too hot. Even so, it was pretty unbearable after an hour.
Things have gone mad in there and we had to cut back pumpkins. We`re wondering how much fertilisation is going on in there and whether we ought to do it artificially.

 We`re going to have 
a good crop of tomatoes.
I picked a good dahlia colour to keep indoors.
We filled one of the middle beds and put in sweetcorn, broad beans and peas. 
We hope these will go on well into the autumn.
Outside the cabbage patch has at last taken off after such a bad start.

Left is now, right is in June.
I planted some iris corms in a spare patch.
This especially for Mary W.

Some of my latest crafts.

Some harvested lavender ready to spread out to dry.

The flower arrangement I created for Frazer`s baptism on Sunday.

And here he is with his blond curls.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Little House Garden

After all the rain, it seemed like a good idea to make a start on the new garden beside the little house.
In my previous post......

.........we began by clearing the brambles and nettles.
This time the ground was easy to work and we constructed the retaining walls from logs.
It was quite an art to choose the right log for the right place .... a lot of them needed to have curves in the correct places.
It was hard work but most satisfying.

Here is the first layer.

Some logs had to be sawn to shape.

Here is the second layer.

We raked the soil, to graduate the bank, by quite a bit. 
We don`t want the soil to wash away in the first wet weather.

This is the huge pile of chipped bark which we will use after planting, 
probably with a weed membrane down first.

When I blog the planting, I will attach a list of the plants I use.
We still need to buy more.
I have also collected foxglove seedlings from the strawberry patch, potted them up and they have made good plants. This is an ideal spot for foxgloves.

Monday, 14 July 2014

The Barn Dance 2014

After the willow basket making course, Paula and I created 10 floral displays!! in a very short time,  for the haybale tables in the big barn. All the flowers came from the garden. Everything was ready for the barn dance that same evening.
The proceeds will be going to Farm Africa.

It was balmy evening for a chance to feel cold anyway with all that leaping around.
The newly reformed Catsfield Steamers played for us.

Tim and Anne stepping out together.

The thing I love about the barn dances is that we get all age groups dancing and enjoying themselves together. I think this is quite special.
There is always a lot of giggling when people go wrong and there are smiles on everyone`s faces.

Anne, Tim, Gemma, Ian and James.

Gemma and James in full swing.

A bit blurred but fun anyway.

I even got Steve up to dance!!
(Good orb presence as per usual)

Great atmosphere, good fun and good food.

Basket Making at the Little House

On Saturday 12th July I went to the one day basket making course at the farm.
Our teacher was John Waller.
Here is his website.

He arrived with a truck loaded with willow wrapped in damp cloths, lap boards and lots of samples....a baby`s cradle, a hat, various shaped baskets and wooden spoons. It was very interesting to look through his album of photographs of his work.

We set ourselves up on the decking of the little house. Gemma, part of our group, had stayed 
there for the night. The course was her birthday present.
My sister Paula and our tai chi friend, Sarah, made up the rest of the group.
After tea and introductions we got stuck in ..... with a base.... and that was not easy.

This is John`s demonstration base.

Once the base was made we worked on boards with the basket upright.
At various stages we needed quite a lot of space so we were able to expand out into the hayfield .

We used two different colours of willow. One lot would dry out in a very short time and was kept wrapped in damp cloth.

As the day wore on the sun came out, my concentration began to waver and it got very warm.

Gemma working hard on her creation.

Paula getting on with her sides.

Here is John`s demonstration basket, evenly spaced and nicely proportioned.

By 4.30 we all had a basket!! And we all felt very proud of them.

I did not find the course easy. The weaves are quite complicated. But, I did enjoy myself and 
didn`t notice the time passing. 
I look forward to a time when we can harvest our own willow and we can make our own 
baskets from our own willow.

Thanks to John for his patience and expertise.