Sunday, 24 October 2021

My day

I imagine that some women my age spend a day doing a little light dusting then paint their nails and eat cake. I am as raggle-taggle as my autumn garden and just as undisciplined. Painting my nails would be a complete waste of time.

I have picked the last squash that had been growing in one of the compost bays and spread the compost on the cleared veg beds. It is SO satisfying to have your own rich, free compost!

This left me with an empty bay. Time to turn the contents of this year's composting. I do this job with my jeans tucked firmly into my socks and the cuffs of my sleeves covered by my gloves. I'm on the look-out for snakes, rats or whatever, I know they like the warm, secluded heaps of vegetation. No problem this time, only two fat toads, always welcome in my garden.

The leaves are falling now that the nights are cold so the empty newly turned-over bay isn't empty for even a day.


The compost has been spread on the cleared patches of the veg garden and I've planted them with green manure, one area with just barley seed and the other with a mixture of rye, vetch and forage pea. We'll see which is the more effective.  The idea is to stop leaching. In the spring I'll dig the resulting crops into the soil.

Courgettes are still cropping although it will not be for much longer. The leaves are a sorry looking sight.


All the pears have been harvested and are ripening inside. I took a hint from the birds, as soon as they started pecking and eating the pears on the tree I picked the whole crop, still green. Happily it was the right timing - they taste delicious!

The Blue Lake and Cobra beans that reached for the sky are still up there and I'll have to get the ladder in order to collect them. Those lower down have been brought into the house to dry out ready to store for planting next spring.

Gardeners are always looking forward!

Friday, 15 October 2021

Home again,

home again, jiggedy jig. We've been in Yorkshire for ten days. Day one the heavens opened and we sat with our knees to the fire and spent our time reading. The water level in the beck rose and the water roared, the other side of the dale was obscured by mist and rain. Was it going to be like this for our entire stay? Oh dear, we had planned to do lots of jobs before the winter. I read the book to be discussed at the village pub the following week, the October book choice, 'Precious Bane'. I doubt I would have finished it had the weather not been so bad.

But the following day, and those that followed, were glorious! All tasks completed. Himself went up the ladder and worked on the chimney while I dug out the garden, removing nettles and buttercups and dividing overgrown perennials. Neighbours carried clumps away to plant in their gardens. "What is it again?" 'Phlox."

I've planted white tulips and a variety of alliums. Gardeners are always looking forward!
It was wonderful walking weather and we enjoyed our usual routes. Not a soul to be seen on the moor tops - just how I like it.  The light changes dramatically, one moment the hills look dark against the heather and bleached grasses and the next they are bathed in shafts of light. I've walked this landscape for many years, it is a very meaningful place for me.

This walk is along the old peat moor track, an easy stroll from the village.

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Wet, wet, wet.

 I've been deconstructing the garden furniture today ready to haul it into an outhouse. The heavens opened while I was halfway through the task and now the wooden furniture and I are sodden. 

There are loads of berries on the the trees and bushes. Does this mean that we are in for a hard winter? I don't know whether that is an old wives' tale or if it has any basis in fact.

A blackbird is nesting in the bush to the left of the kitchen door. Whenever I come outside it flies out of
the bush in front of me screeching it's head off. You would think it would be used to me by now.

There has been so much rain that our grapes are starting to rot. I picked a bucketful and made a couple of bottles of juice.. It looked beautiful and was quite sweet. I didn't drink much and a good job too. Oh, the bellyache!

The freshly picked corn on the cob are far more successful.

 The light levels are low, there is obviously far more rain still to come


I'm going to hunker down inside.

Friday, 24 September 2021

Cooler weather

It is definitely autumn now, the night temperatures are chilly and I've put the pots of greenhouse tomatoes outside to make room for the various citrus trees and bushes that have spent the summer in the open. The squash are inside as well, apart from a mammoth one still growing on the compost heap.

The citrus are at various stages of fruiting. Only the Meyer lemon is a successful crop for me, prolific and flavoursome. The other varieties don't do very much but will be pampered through the winter months nevertheless.



It's crowded in the greenhouse, I keep banging my head on these lemons, they dangle down from the tree and are always getting in the way!

I'm busy taking cuttings. Some that were taken last year are already fruiting.

I have two trays of delphinium seedlings. When the seed is gathered and sown while still fresh then germination is almost one hundred percent.

 The tomatoes grown outside have been more prolific than those inside but the crop has been much reduced by blight so I won't be growing that variety again. (The seed packet came as a freebie with my gardening magazine.)







Another free seed packet promised lots of pink frills. It didn't turn out to be quite what was promised, however, although still lovely. Clearly most of the parentage is cosmos Purity, a variety I've been growing for years.

There are still a few nice roses to pick and artichoke flower heads to admire.

The sweetcorn are ripe. Mouth watering!

A second sowing of mangetout are cropping well and the courgettes continue to play hide and seek. I'm tired now of picking cucumbers and the leaves have mildewed, so that's it for this year.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Figs and things

Early autumn in England can be wonderful when the weather is kind. We are having some lovely days. Last night friends came to supper. It was warm and still and we sat outside for a long time with our drinks before going in to the house to eat. I think that we all appreciated being outside so much because we are aware that it is the year's dying fall and that all too soon we shall be confined to quarters.

I've been wandering round the garden at dusk and in the dark just lately  admiring the moon and the bats skeetering about and listening to the nearby hoot of an owl. I love that noise. Enchanting!

Because of the mild weather the veg garden is still cropping well. At long last the fig tree is producing some ripe fruit. Rather grudgingly, only one or two figs ripen at a time but they taste delicious.

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Glorious weather.

It is glorious weather and there is the added bonus that life seems to be getting back to normal. Neighbours came to supper midweek, seven of us chatting away happily into the small hours. At the weekend family were home and we spent all our time out of doors, with meals in the garden and long walks in the woods. Batman was full of energy, but you can see that 'Robin' looks rather weary!














We have the ladder out to cut back summer growth, rambling roses reaching skyward, the last of the plums to pick as well as some of the ripened apples. What a good purchase this ladder was, I should have bought one years ago.


The pear tree is laden with fruit. I never know when to harvest the crop as they are hard to the touch. I know that they should be picked to ripen off the tree, but at what point do I do that? The other problem is that even if I manage to pick them at the right point they don't store so it will be feast or famine on the pear front!








A view of the house from the top of the ladder.