Sunday, 15 April 2012

A Spring Walk

This weekend Braveheart's sister, brother in law and one of his nephews came for a visit. We were delighted to welcome them, as they had not seen our house and garden before. We went for a walk together along the Wey Navigation, where I saw these lovely, cheerful pots of flowers on one of the houseboats.

I loved this spring blossom

and these brightly coloured barges

 and this graceful swan by the weir

I also completed a new project this weekend, this crochet lace doily. I am quite addicted to doily making at the moment.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Path is Long, with Many a Winding Turn...

We've been spending some time in the garden, and here is our new garden path! It will run from the house all the way down to the vegetable bed, and I think it really pulls the garden layout together.

While I was outside, I took some photos of the garden emerging into Spring:

An apple tree, planted last Spring

Japanese Maple, planted last Autumn




Sunday, 11 March 2012

First Shoots

Guided by the plan I posted in January, I started sowing seeds indoors in February. Here are tomatoes on the left and peppers and chillies on the right, a few days ago:

Yesterday I potted up the tomatoes as they had all grown their first true leaves:

At the back are courgettes and spaghetti squashes, which grow so fast you can almost see them! At the front, Salvia Superba.

I've also sown Pumpkin and Butternut Squashes - the first pumpkin seedling was sighted before lunch today - and French Marigolds.

Outside we have started clearing up, and sowed onion and shallot sets in one of the raised beds and the first salad leaves under a mini polytunnel we got for Christmas. There is already a change to the plan, though, as the broccoli are clearly not going to be finished in time to plant the early potatoes, so after crisis discussions we have decided to try the earlies in big potato planters and see how that goes.

At the end of last year I cut all the lavender flowers from our lavender hedge and hung them in bunches in the shed to dry. This month I bought lots of organza bags from eBay and filled them with the dried flowers to make lavender bags. I've done 24 so far and still have three bunches to harvest, which will make another 12 or so bags. Here's some I prepared earlier:

What I'm reading: The Eyre Affair

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Vegetable Garden - The Plan

Taking into account crop rotation, space constraints, the number of cauliflowers we can actually eat and so on, we have produced this plan for the vegetable crops in the first half of this year. Now I need to check what seeds we have already and get the ones we haven't got. I'm planning to sow some peppers and chillies next weekend, a bit earlier than usual, but this year I'm hoping to sow everything a little earlier to give a longer growing and fruiting season.

This plan doesn't include the herb and salad beds, which I usually sow in succession with whatever I feel like through the season. This year I have red and green leaves, rocket, spinach and mustard. I'm thinking of getting a big cloche for the salads in the first few months.

Saturday, 28 January 2012


Last weekend Braveheart and I decided to walk to RHS Wisley and see the butterflies in their glasshouse. It was a bright winter's day, and a pleasant walk. There was a long queue at and inside the glasshouse, but there were lots of interesting plants to see, and a couple of butterflies escaped from the hothouse and fluttered past us!

Once we were in, we could see lots of huge exotic butterflies, perched on leaves, eating fruit or nectar and flying above our heads. They were amazing, completely unafraid of us. We took lots of pictures.

After we left the glasshouse, we went to see caterpillars and pupae hanging in cupboards, and some of the newly emerged butterflies waiting to be taken to the glasshouse and released.

It was a little corner of the tropics on an English winter day.

What I'm reading:
Last Train from Liguria

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Winter Garden

We've got three crops over-wintering this year. In the right hand bed are leeks, which we've done before and which are coming on well. As soon as we have finished the last of the carrots we will start eating these. Or maybe even before...
Two new crops for me are purple sprouting broccoli, at the back by the fence, due to flower in February, and cauliflowers, in the left hand bed, due February/March. I'm looking forward to being able to eat home grown broccoli and cauliflowers, so I hope they do alright.

While I was taking these photos I saw these little narcissus in flower. They are right by the house, so sheltered from the wind.

And here in the front you can see what the wind did to some of our fences! Luckily none of my plants or shrubs was damaged.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A Wild January Night

The wind has been blowing hard here since this morning. Three of our fences were down when we got home and we had to go out and put them back up in the dark. I held (and wound) the wind-up torch and Braveheart lifted up the panels and replaced them. One or two of them are nearly just a pile of sticks now but if they can last until the weekend we can send out a repair party.
On the way to and from work the roads were covered with branches and even, in a few places, a tree.

All this makes me very happy to have finished and be snuggling under my Babette Blanket, the perfect companion for this weather. I started this in 2007, I think, and made excellent progress for a few months. In November of last year I decided I would like to put together all the squares I had crocheted, and then I was determined to finish it.

Even though it's January, we have started thinking about this year's vegetable gardening. We bought shallot and onion sets at the weekend, so have  now got to work out where they should go to follow the crop rotation.

What I'm reading:
The Bones of Avalon