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Showing posts from April, 2010

End of month view : April

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April has not been the cruellest month this year.  It has been warm and sunny and the garden has exploded into life.

This is the side garden, with the hellebores still flowering away.  Everything else has emerged in fountains of foliage.  The hardy geraniums, of which I have loads, are all in leaf and the day lilies have spurted up.  The paeonies are huge and covered with buds.  Conventional wisdom says that paeonies hate disturbance but these were moved last year as part of the making of the side garden when the building work had finished and even last year they flowered.  There are all sorts of things coming up here: eremurus, lots of aquilegia, the sedums and catmint and, against the stone wall, lots and lots of dusty pink oriental poppies.  It is quite stunning the difference between this end of month view and last month's

Leaves are appearing on the apple tree.  The Tenby daffodils have finished flowering but the Thalia is still flowering around the fruit trees.

And here is the …

Today in my garden

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Primroses smiling.
 Hellebores still glorious.
Apple trees in leaf.


We waited for it so long, but spring is well and truly here.

More gardening books - yes!

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Last week another parcel arrived in my postbox with two books for review: First Time Veg Grower by Martyn Cox and Pests and Diseases by David Hurrion.  They are both BBC books under the banner of Gardeners' World magazine.

There could be nothing better for a garden book addict like me than new gardening books.  I probably wouldn't buy either of these because I am not a first time veg grower and I take a fairly relaxed attitude to pests and diseases, but that doesn't mean I don't set right down to reading them.  They have sat by my bed for a week or so as I have worked my through what to think about before you start growing vegetables and how to cope with ants and codling moth.  I have to admit that ants and codling moths haven't been too riveting but I now know all sorts of things that I didn't know before.


I suppose I thought a book on growing veg would feel very much like a reference book, something like The Vegetable Garden Displayed or the RHS book on growin…

And what if no planes flew again?

Volcanic ash, empty airports, travel chaos, empty skies of streakless blue.  I know it is a problem: our daughter in law and grandson are trying to get back from Florida and our other daughter in law's parents are stuck in Mumbai.  But a little voice inside my head plays with the idea of a world with no flight, with travel slow and the world made huge again.  Would we all go back to holidaying in Scarborough as I did as a child, with no more overcooked Brits shouting and peeling their way around the Mediterranean?

We'd have to give up Kenyan beans and Spanish tomatoes and at last treat seriously the idea that we should grow the food for our country in our country.  What would that do to farming and food prices?  I know we would devastate the livelihoods of the Kenyan producers.  I'm not saying it would be some kind of Utopia, but how very different it would be.

All those middle class kids trogging round Thailand in their gap year would be reduced to interrailing around Eur…

Spring walk

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Today was just one of those perfect days.  I had a list of jobs a mile long but looking after the dog meant that I had first to go for a walk.  The land is greening from day to day practically as I watch.  Although the oaks are still bare there is green on the willows and a quiver of buds on the hawthorn.


Dog and I set off down to the river.  She knows she needs a stick but maybe misjudged it with this one.



With every day there are more wood anenomes by the track down to the river.  How do they grow clinging to the edge of the track, in the scant earth between tree roots?


The dog bounds ahead, stopping every now and then to look back and wait for me, as if tethered by an invisible lead.  The trees above my head are full of birdsong, the long liquid call of a blackbird seems to follow me down the track, moving from tree to tree as I go.  Half way down a buzzard glides above the open field to my right, low enough for me to see the pattern on the undersides of its wings.


In the bottom of …

This summer's project

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We move quite slowly here in terms of what goes on in the garden and then I look back and realise that we have done things and maybe it is beginning to show.   The new native hedges which went in during the autumn of 2008 are looking just a bit more settled this spring as they begin to come into leaf.  There are two lines of mixed edible planting: hawthorn for haws, blackthorn for sloes, dog roses for rose hips and hazel for nuts with one of two cherry plums for good measure.  The dog rose leafs first, its new foliage a bright green spurt against the spiny twigs.

And the new fruit trees are a bit bigger this year too, even if the mulberries are still not yet as as high as my head and won't be for years either by the look of them.  The daffodils round their feet are less spotty than they have been.  They are starting to bulk up and to spread and are just beginning to look like the faintest echo of what is in my head.  It was the daffodils which set me off on this year's project…

Easter weekend

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A full few days and now everyone has gone.  I always like this.  I love it when the house if full and busy and everyone is round the table and I love it all over again when everyone goes and the house is quiet and we have the place back to ourselves.

This weekend we had younger daughter and her friends with their three month old baby staying for a few days.  They are great visitors to have.  The girls muck in with cooking or take the making of a meal over entirely and Ady is happy (or at least appears happy!) to help Ian with whatever outdoor project is taking shape.  This weekend's project was making a concrete base to take two 1000 litre water tanks which are going to take the water from the workshop roof and serve the cutting garden and the new fruit and veg beds in the field.

There was still time for much walking of the dog.  There is a great walk down to the river where she can jump and swim for sticks.  Wood anenomes have come into bloom over the week or so she has been here…

Garden - End of month view

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Slightly belatedly I thought I would like to join the end of month view started by patientgardener   I love seeing other people's end of month views and my own garden changes so much and I forget so much that I thought it would be a good discipline to make a record.

So here is the side garden.  There was a very narrow strip of flower bed along the wall when we came, about two foot wide, and not much else.  The whole of the side garden became a building site when we had the utility rebuilt at the end of 2008.  There wasn't much choice in doing this as the yew tree at the corner of the building was pushing it over.  So last summer was the first attempt at reinstating a garden.  I dug a huge new bed, widened the other one and reseeded the grass.  The soil here is probably the stoniest in the garden so it has been a project to work out what will grow here which will also look as if it belongs.
 I have tried to start some evergreen framework.  In the front of the picture is an eleag…