Tag Archives: birds

Summer Was Brief….

Hopefully this will be an up to date blog on the garden after the delayed last post.

Anyway, we were having a couple of weeks or so of sun and some really hot days – to the point where I had to use the hosepipe (temps up into the mid twenties C). It coincided with a period when there was lots to plant out, mainly bedding plants in the ‘flower’ part of the garden but there were also dwarf beans, climbing beans and cucumber plants to get planted.

Now summer seems to have temporarily gone away. We have rain and wind today and more predicted for this week – not altogether a bad thing as it helps get all the recently planted flowers and veg get well established.

There are only a few things left in the greenhouse to plant out now – some more climbing beans, and more mangetout peas so there is now some room to put the peppers and a cucumber plant into bigger pots and locate them in the greenhouse. One pepper plant already has a fruit – a very curious plant as it is only a few inches high…

Anyway some pictures to illustrate the progress:

Broad Beans – with some beans now

The broad bean plants are finally protected with string, however the plants are not too tall (The Sutton) but the dry weather in May may have prevented some bean pods from developing – certainly I can’t see as many as I would have expected.

The cauliflower plants are doing well, not attacked too much as yet apart from one or two – we’ll see if the ‘heart up’ later. They are a mixture of types.

Cauliflower plants

The potato plants have really grown and form quite a forest now – I just hope some potatoes are developing

Potato plants in raised bed

There are three ‘potato bags’ with plants in as well – I just have a problem as to where to put them at the moment – they are just outside the greenhouse and in the way at the moment.

The mangetout peas are in flower and I’ve just planted another eight plants so we should have mangetout to eat over quite a while.

Mangetout peas plants – a mixture of two types – Oregon Sugar Pod & ??

The tomato plants outside the greenhouse are surviving:

Tomato plants outside the greenhouse

I know the plants in the far growbag look a bit scrawny, they are a new variety to me – ‘rainbow blend’, but I think they are ok. There are a couple more of that variety inside the greenhouse looking much the same. The more leafy plants are ‘marmande’ which I’ve grown before.

Tomato plants in the greenhouse

Can’t remember the mixture of varieties right now but the nearest are ‘rainbow blend’ and there is at least one ‘pomodoro’ in there and the one ‘gardeners delight’ that germinated.

Tomatoes are already developing on the ‘rainbow blend’ :

Rainbow blend fruit already developing

The kale plants seem to be slow growing but are at least surviving, although as you can see at least one has been ‘got at’ by slugs or pigeons:

Kale plants ok apart from near left plant

The dwarf beans (two varieties) I planted out only a week or so ago seem to have survived ok – in addition there are four of ‘cannellini’ bean plants (right at the back), a type I haven’t grown before. There are a couple more seedlings just ‘hardening’ at the moment which I’ll add in a couple of days.

Dwarf and cannellini bean plants

The climbing beans are struggling a bit and at least one looks as if it might not survive – not sure whether the current rain and lower temperatures help or hinder that – one though does have flowers and is climbing ok. The only saving grace is that I have several seedlings in the greenhouse waiting to go out so I could cope with one or two of the planted beans not making it – but I’d rather they survived!

Finally,  two cucumber plants are under the ‘door’ protection are doing well and indeed one has flowered and a proto-cucumber is visible:

Cucumber plant with developing cucumbers

I will get round to weeding around it eventually….

Wildlife

The recent trail cam videos revealed only one cat, which is a surprise and steady hedgehog traffic plus a squirrel which still hasn’t made into the rest of the garden – which has saved it from an enforced ‘holiday’!

Birds – much the same as the previous. More butterflies (when it was sunny) and plenty of bumble bees, but very few honey bees. I guess there are no hives nearby.

Some Rain after a Dry Spell

Apologies for this post – started on the 20th May but then after problems with uploading pictures it never was finished…….

Over the last few days we’ve had a fair amount of rain, which was needed as previously we’d had a long period with virtually no rain so the garden really needed it. In fact I’d been driven to getting the hosepipe on the garden – and a day later it started rain of course!

There has been some progress – a few things have made their way out of the greenhouse into the garden.

Four climbing beans – different varieties – are now in the garden. Probably a bit early but they were getting rather leggy in the greenhouse.

Climbing beans – after a few days.

One of  the cucumber plants is now under the ‘door’ protection – again it was getting too big for its pot in the greenhouse.

Cucumber just getting going.- it is a ‘burpless’ I think

Meanwhile the kale is hanging on ok and hasn’t been attacked too much:

Kale plants

The potatoes are coming on well:

Potato plants – earthed up already

The cauliflower plants are ok – one or two leaves have been attacked ?pigeons?

Cauliflower plants – still with ‘CD scarers’

and the broad beans are in full flower but I still haven’t ‘strung them’ yet but being ‘The Sutton’ they aren’t very tall and have managed to survive so far.

The Sutton beans in flower

The mangetout peas are thriving (a mixture including ‘Oregon  Sugar Pod’) and now need support canes

Mangetout peas

The one real disaster is the carrots which after only a few germinated the seedlings were all destroyed – slugs or pigeons – I’m not sure. So yet another sowing will have to go in….

Wildlife

On the bird front, not much to report. The robins have a nest in one hedge – I can hear the chicks when I’m working nearby. Not much variation at the bird table – just the dunnocks (on the ground), robins and blue/great tits plus the odd blackbird. There is a pair of magpies nesting in one tree alongside the garden which is rather annoying, I just hope they done’ have a go at any of the chicks that there must be in addition to the robins.

At the bottom of the garden the trail camera has shown the hedgehog(s) to be active and even coming into the main garden at least once.

 

More Sowin’ and Plantin’

The weather has been a bit variable with showers and some sunny periods so it’s been a bit of a lottery whether I’ve been able to do much in the garden.

However, have managed a few jobs in the flower and vegetable areas.

First, the flower beds – I’ve had a dozen or so osteospermum plants in pots over the winter and I finally managed to get them all planted scattered around the beds.

I took the risk and went to my local garden centre last week as well, always a dangerous thing to do as I inevitably come away with more than I intended. So it proved, though in a relatively restrained way. My objective was to get a couple of Clematis plants for a container that lives at the front of the house. Only one of the plants had survived the winter and that was a plant that was rather disappointing. So two I found two plants – a red flowering and a white flowering plants, both of which might have two flower flushes in the year. They are in the container now and growing well. The old Clematis has been taken out and planted next to the arch that divides the flower area from the vegetables – I needed another climber there so it will be useful.

However, I was distracted at the garden centre by seeing a Dicentra plant – now I’ve tried several times to get Dicentra to flourish in the garden but they only seem to last a couple of years at best – so we’ll see. It’s already planted and seems ok so far.

On the way to the cash desk I passed a stand with trays of brassicas and salad plant – and was intrigued by a tray of a dozen mixed type of cauliflower seedlings. I’ve never had too much success with brassicas in general but haven’t tried cauliflower seriously before so I bought the tray – and they nicely filled one of the raised beds. I think they are hanging on….

Cauliflower seedlings – the CDs are to scare off the pigeons!

The bed with the cloches over (2) is intended for salad cops and I planted a part row longways of ‘Leaf Salad’ (mixed lettuce) under one cloche and a similar row of Swiss Chard (Bright Lights) under the other cloche. I’ll hopefully add more of the rows in a month or so to extend the cropping. Once the cloches come off I should able to plant more salad crops. At least the cloches will keep the birds off for now.

No sign of any of the mangetout peas planted in bed 6 yet, and I’ve planted up a couple of pots in the greenhouse in one of the propagators with ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’ peas as a backup.

In the propagators the flower seeds planted a couple of weeks ago (malop & cosmos) are germinating now and in the same propagator there are more tomato seedlings through (‘Jon Rainbow Blend’ & ‘Marmande’). Also in another propagator some Kale I Planted a couple of weeks ago are now just appearing.

Tomato seedlings and more

 

Kale – just coming through

Still on the kitchen windowsill are the pots of tomato seedlings (still only 3 seedlings – 2 Zuchero & 1 Gardeners Delight), peppers (none yet) and chives (most germinated). Also in a seed tray by a window is a half tray of Marigold and Nicotiana flowers for the flower beds. One cucumber seed has germinated as well on the windowsill.

Still a few overwintered perennials to plant out – mostly Doronicum and a few spring flowering plants as well but it’s beginning to get under control. The main plants to get into the ground are the broad bean seedlings – looking very much ready now.

Broad bean seedlings ready to go in

Just to show spring is here – here is a picture of one of the Kerria plant – it is actually in the veg area as well…

Kerria coming into full bloom

Wildlife

Nothing much different, the Robins still appear if \i’m doing any work on raised beds. The great tits, dunnocks etc. still visiting the feeders and fortunately no squirrels have appeared  – yet.

Raised Beds All Ready To Go

Today I finally got the last raised bed cleared of weeds and forked over. A couple of course, are already in use, having garlic and broad beans growing in them and one is full of strawberry plants. but all the rest were just a bit weedy and needed forking over.

To some of them I’ve added the spent compost from the tomato growbags of last year where there is space to do that. I’ve still got two more growbags full to put somewhere though – probably onto some of the flower beds.

The raised bed I use as a sort of cold frame with an old door propped over it needed a bit of work as the soil was leaking out thanks to a ground level change so there was a space underneath one edge (it’s been like that since I built it but I’ve ignored it so far). So I finally put another board inside the bed to plug the leak – then re-spread all the contents along with a growbag of compost.

In the greenhouse most of the broad beans are now showing shoots – need to wait a bit longer to see if there any failures and if so I’ll stick some more beans into pots.

‘The Sutton’ shoots a few days ago so there are more now

There is still plenty of clearing up to do and I have still some flower plants in pots to plant out yet – they have been hanging on all winter so they must be hardy!

Inside the house,  the sweet peas I sowed a couple of weeks ago are now shooting. No sign yet though of the tomatoes and peppers in their plastic bag covering.

The daffodils in the main flower bed area are in full bloom now and odd little clumps are popping up in the flower borders. The first primroses are in flower in the ‘wild’ part of the garden so spring is really here…

Daffodils in flower

The first Primrose

Wildlife

Not too much to report, just the birds, and the most notable point is the way the robins seem to appear as soon as I start work on a raised bed – once they gain confidence they are happy enough looking for food around me while I’m digging.

Friendly Robin

Maybe next time I’ll have something to report from the trail camera which has been out a few weeks now.

More Planting – and Some Preparation

Well the weather was reasonable around 8degC and dry so I felt compelled to get out in the garden and get on with something….

Firstly some work in the greenhouse – and a check on the mouse traps. I’ve been afflicted with mice for a couple of weeks – they eat most of my first sowing of broad beans – but a couple of traps seem to have sorted that problem out.

I have resown my broad beans – now they are all ‘The Sutton’ since the mice seem to have preferred the ‘Aguadulce’. I noticed this morning that one bean was just through – I guess one of the original sowing.

Also, while in the greenhouse I thought I would sow some tomatoes and peppers for germinating inside the house (my heated propagators are full of broad bean pots – not with heating, just because the covers keep any mice away). So some ‘Gardener’s Delight and ‘Zuchero’ tomatoes are in pots plus some Sweet pepper ‘Blockie’ and some chives (the garden clumps are looking a bit thin).

Then some work in the garden, I cleared one of the raised beds (no. 2) and added one of the bags of compost from last years growbags giving it a good fork over.  Then I put a couple of cloche tunnels over ready for – well I’m not sure yet.

Cloches and broad beans beyond

Cloches and broad beans beyond

Then cleared another bed (6) and half of one (it has some plants waiting for transplanting to the flower beds in one end). Still several beds to go but t’s a start.

I’ve put the cover over the rhubarb now as it was just starting to shoot – makes me think of rhubarb pie (and custard) mmmm.

Daffodils are mostly out now and the snowdrops are m mostly over flowering now. One or to other flowers are out such as some cyclamen!, pulmonaria and ‘elephants ears’ (Bergenia cordifolia)

Daffodils (this bed is undeplanted with  perennials

Daffodils (this bed is underplanted with perennials)

Pulmonaria of some sort I think

Pulmonaria of some sort I think

'Elephant Ears' -

‘Elephant Ears’ – Bergenia

WIldlife

Robins always in attendance when I’m gardening and anxious to get any grubs they can find. The blackbirds are also very busy but I haven’t seen any territorial disputes yet. Also, long tailed tits keep appearing on the feeders as well as the usual blue & great tits.

No more squirrels so far!

A New Year – Not much goin’ on

Well here we are in February and the garden is a wasteland – full of weeds as the winter hasn’t really been that cold (9 degC on Thursday!) so they have kept on growing and the lawn is muddy as we’ve had enough rain just to keep it wet.

All in all I’ve not felt much like working in the garden and there have been more important things to deal with inside in any case. I’m also missing encouragement  from my neighbour (no longer here).

All I’ve done recently is a bit of hedge cutting – particularly in the flower border area as it’s the best time to give it a good cut (the section is mainly holly) while the perennials etc. aren’t growing. I’ve also chopped down the remains of the nettle patch at the bottom of the garden. I’m hoping to insert an open composting heap into that area this year as I seem to be generating so much compost now – three bins on the go!

Regardless of my efforts things are growing – the garlic is coming along nicely and the two rows of ‘The Sutton’ broad beans are now up (see below)

Broad Beans just appearing

Broad Beans just appearing

The fact that the Autumn planted beans are up highlights the fact that I should be spending some time in the greenhouse getting some more beans planted into pots – I’ve just restored the WiFi connection in the greenhouse in anticipation – well sitting in there planting needs a bit of entertainment!

Bulbs are springing up all over the place of course and soon there will be daffodils appearing in flower all over the garden – but first of course are the snowdrops – not quite open yet though (see below) but this year there will be more patches of snowdrops thanks to some planting a couple of years ago.

Snowdrops - not quite open

Snowdrops – not quite open

Wildlife

A recent review of the trailcam set on the lawn watching the bird ground feeding spot near the house revealed a fox having a good look round, as well as the usual cat etc. Some good pictures of robins and dunnocks but strangely no mice at night. No hedgehogs either so maybe they are actually hibernating just now.

A couple of squirrels need to be evicted during the last month as well…

A Little Progress

What’s been happening over the last few weeks you ask? Well not a lot really in the garden – mostly because I’ve had plenty of other things to do.

I can’t even use the weather as an excuse, it’s been mostly much milder and dryer than it should be – which has meant that in the flower beds plant have been flowering when really they should have been ready for composting.

However, gradually I have cleared all the raise beds bar one with some turnips left in it and the one with strawberries of course. All the potatoes have been dug up (well I’m sure there are some small ones left that will produce annoying shoots next year). Indeed all the potatoes – for there weren’t that many – have been consumed and they were pretty good.

So today I finally removed the tomato plants and growbags from inside the greenhouse – I’d been hoping some remaining green tomatoes would ripen but no luck. So that’s cleared some space in the greenhouse now. The chilli pepper plants are just about hanging on – some chillies are ripe but I suspect not many more will ripen fully. We have one plant on the kitchen window, on which most of the peppers are ripe, and they have been used in our cooking already. I removed the last sweet pepper plant today, it was only there as I hadn’t got round too it since I had harvested the last pepper a couple of weeks ago. I also moved a couple of lemon grass plants (growing in small pots) into the kitchen before they could be zapped by frost (one plant was already in the kitchen).

The big news though is that some planting happened today! Yes one of the raised beds is now planted with garlic (White Casablanca) – in fact in the ex-potato bed. Plus three cloves in a large pot (I’ve grown garlic successfully in it previously.

The only other work was to plant the last of the pack of 50 daffodils at the bottom of the garden. There are a fair number of daffodil bulbs there already, but most are ‘blind’ so a few more flowers will look good in the spring.

No pics this time. but I may add later.

Wildlife

The trail cam revealed hedgehogs still active into October and greenfinches have been active on the feeders.

Only one squirrel has been seen round the feeders in the mast coupe of months – and that one has been evicted!