Thursday, 28 May 2015

Of Lettuces and Leeks

We uncovered the leeks and what greeted us was a mass of weeds....well actually there were some quite interesting plants amongst them....mallow, borage and feverfew.
I brought those home to pot on.
And nestled in between all of that, some recovered leeks, which, if you remember, got eaten.
They are OK.
I remembered a technique that can be used when you plant leeks and that is can cut the tops off as you put them in. I never do it myself.
So next time there will be some careful weeding going on.
We have some new ones to replace any lost.
We began our visit strawing the strawberry patch and later Paula and Steve netted them.

Thanks Tim for the straw. There was quite enough.
Can`t wait for the crop.

We weeded the carrots, spring onions and parsnips.
The two gooseberries are covered in tiny fruits.
I am keeping a watch for the gooseberry sawfly.

Next I pulled up all the myosotis plants in the lavender bed. 
I shall wait until it rains to plant anything in the bare ground there.

I put more French marigolds in the polytunnel and some nicotiania.
The first will deter greenfly and whitefly and the second will provide perfume I hope.

The lettuces are fattening up really well.

And Steve noticed our first cucumber.
This time last year the polytunnel wasn`t even up!!

The sweetpea plants were a bit scrappy when they first went in and due to losses from mice eating the seeds way back, I only had one plant per cane. Well it doesn`t seem to matter because these plants are fantastic. I tied them all in. I can`t wait for the first ones to pick and maybe if you come to stay you will find some in your yurt or the little house, filling the space with their unrivalled scent.

I have planted some late sweetpea plants and hopefully they will give us a later crop of flowers taking us well into the autumn.

My goodness we are enjoying the asparagus.

Asparagus, radishes, coriander and 3 tiny new potatoes from a plant growing in the wrong place.

There were lots of yurters around, all families with children enjoying the animals.
Here is Nicholas and his sister learning how to handle Harry and William.
Day has just given them a lesson.
Earlier they were busy finding worms for the chickens.
Tim was busy sawing logs to keep those yurt fires burning and in between he was showing new arrivals to their yurts.
Oh it`s a busy life.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Marvellous May

After helping my brother James to plant up his summer bedding all morning and well into the afternoon, Steve and I made a much later visit to Freshwinds......
and yes we did do quite a lot more planting!!!
Two aubergines, a row of parsley and a row of coriander in the polytunnel .
I also added quite a few more odd tagetes plants and French marigolds as companion planting.
Seven cardoons went in the shrub bed.
The ground was hard and took quite a bit of working before I could plant them.
(More about this plant when it flowers.)
It is totally amazing to think that most of the plants in this bed are cuttings and over-grown items from our own garden.
 It was busy, busy, busy with yurters watching frogs and checking out the cob shed, Tim and Hollie sawing logs and arrivals.
We added another tray of plants to the nursery.
I checked out the newest planting which was fine .
Harry and William were happy swinging together in their hammock.
So cute.


The deep purple comfrey was attracting the bees and soon the foxgloves will be doing the same.

The poached egg plant is thriving after seeding itself from last year.
It is a good plant for bees and butterflies.
The intense green of the new hornbeam hedge is the green I wish I could wear.....if I could find it.
 I am rooting some mint.....there are plenty of new shoots to choose from!!
We are still enjoying our Moroccan style mint tea.

At home I spent a happy half hour in the last of the sun, enjoying the flowers of late May.
Here are a few of my photos.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Freshwinds Buzzing

Freshwinds is buzzing this holiday weekend.
We made a lightening visit just to water. 
The car park was full of cars and excited people arriving and greeting each other....
with sleeping bags, guitars and other necessities for a yurting break.
We know that excited feeling only too well.
In the garden itself there were visitors getting to know the new animals,
and buying plants from our little nursery.

Here is Flash Harry.
He likes a bit of spinach.

The ferrets were causing quite a stir as well.

The rabbits and guinea pigs are becoming great friends.

The cucumbers, aubergines and peppers are in.
I`ve planted them in flowerpots with the bottoms cut out.
This is mainly to aid watering and make a deeper run for the roots.
There is a handful of chicken pellets in each one.

Last year I tried growing sweet williams on in the polytunnel but they got too hot, wilted and died except for a couple of plants. Now they are coming into their own and providing welcome cut flowers. The perfume is delightful.

I cannot believe the spurt of growth on the strawberry patch and the herbs continue to flourish.
I think my astonishment is partly realising just how much damage rabbits can do.

The aquilegias are looking particularly good.
But underneath I see my next job.

The flag iris matching the wild buttercups.

And at home the new compost bins are almost complete. Hooray!
We have had bags and bags of spent spring bedding all over the garden.
Now it has a home.

And on this early Bank Holiday Monday, the yurters and campers will be waking to a glorious day.
The sun is shining and its going to be a lovely day.
And in the words of one yurter.....
"I`m coming back`s an idyllic place to stay."

And I hope they all have a wonderful time.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Azaleas, Peonies and Blue Poppies

This is a personal record of our visit to Borde Hill Garden, Haywards Heath
 in the High Weald of Sussex.
 There had been rain all morning but the sunshine came just in time for our visit. Towards the end of the afternoon there was a cutting wind coming from across the fields.
We were lucky enough to visit with our friends Nick and Sally. 
Nick is a voluntary guide at Borde Hill so we had an individual guided tour.
Right at the beginning of the visit we had the privilege of seeing Andy Stevens, the head gardener, hard at work replacing old wooden rose pillars with his new design in metal. They were called corset pillars and he told us that climbing roses should be spiralled round to encourage flowers. Square pillars did not work so well and were, anyway rotting. 
Later we saw him carting the rotten wood away.
It`s not a wonderful picture but you can just see the shape of this one waiting to be placed.
There were many sculptures around the gardens, some of which we agreed should be kept in the garden and this was one of them. It was placed in the middle of the rose garden which was ready to burst into flower.
We also peeped into the Victorian greenhouses, an enticing glimpse into the past.
In 1997  the garden received a Heritage Lottery grant for their restoration.

We also wondered where this door led to!

The tree peonies were stunning.
Next we came across the bleeding heart plants and this rather beautiful piece of work.

A rather unusual periwinkle was growing profusely at the base of the shrubs.


 The house was set well back across the lawns, bordered by magnificent oaks in all their spring glory.

We then came to the Italian garden with its dark pool reflecting the blue sky.
In the Round Dell we saw ligularia, towering gunnera and bright pink candelabra primulas as well as a range of bamboo.

A roped off set of wonky steps ......

.......and a most unusual plant with strange leaf markings.

On arrival at the Potting Sheds I had the distinct feeling of familiarity, 
as if I knew this place already.
I don`t.

Herb Robert was growing in the walls here, along with many other plants and mosses.
As we wandered through the Garden of Allah, we were treated to the most tantalizing vistas of the countryside beyond, as well as the wafting scents from the champion magnolia which Nick suggested smelt like germolene. I agreed,
Quite soon after that we were treated to the most astonishing sight of blue poppies which I have often tried to grow.
They made me gasp out loud.

The Azalea Ring faced us across the lawns, with the most glorious array
 of colour and in some cases perfume..

Some of the metal sculptures did not appeal to me but this one was clever, using what appeared to be old supermarket trolleys......inorganic to the organic.
At the tiny nursery I treated myself to a geranium "Gravetye" as a pleasant reminder of a lovely afternoon in good company, the sunshine and with a promise to myself that 
I will be back.