Friday 28 March 2014

Sodden Skywatch

Another wet Friday, the ground is sodden, the sky is grey.
All the water barrels are full.
(They used to hold whisky!)

It looks like spring

It looks like spring
but don't be fooled.
Between the bursts of sunshine hailstones have been tap-tapping at the window
and baby, it's cold out there!
I've been dividing the snowdrops, but as you can see my dibber is in the ground, abandoned to the weather. I'm going to put them around the St Patrick's Day daffodils that are just coming into flower.
Maisie's gravestone is surrounded by spring flowers
and there is blossom everywhere. 
This camellia grows outside the kitchen door
looking somewhat battered but still beautiful.
It never ceases to amaze me how delicate flowers emerge and survive in such unkind conditions.

There are promising-looking buds on the tree peony.
while in the greenhouse 'Blue Moon'
is flowering her socks off!
With another variety in bud.

I've had to resort to slug pellets to keep my delphinium seedlings from being devoured.
Once I've planted them in the garden I surround them with grit, which seems to work quite well. I'm loathe to use pellets outside where wildlife may be affected.
The strawberries were so weed infested that it has been easier to dig them up and replant rather than try to weed around each plant. It's probably set them back a bit but it will be much easier  when the time comes to pick the fruit.
I'm feeding Mr Fluffy-Pants and Vanilla for a day or two while their owners are away. They came along the wall to find me. "Help, help us, we are starving!" I didn't believe a word of it!
They just wanted to lark about and get a bit of attention. They were totally unappreciative of my red camellia.
That's cats for you!

Friday 21 March 2014

Rose tinted spectacles

The week has flown by and I've been wearing rose tinted spectacles, rather like the clouds above, because the weather has been dry and, at long last, I've been able to get into the garden and set to work on the vegetable plot. The soil is in good condition and the beds are starting to look quite respectable but it is too cold for planting just yet, the seeds would only rot in the ground. I've got an assortment of things coming on in the warmth of the kitchen and less delicate seeds starting up in the greenhouse. It's a lovely time of year and each day there is more spring colour to enjoy.
And today, especially for Skywatch Friday, a whole rainbow,
looking quite aurora borea whatsit!

It was one big arc but I took the photographs from inside to avoid the rain and couldn't fit it all in from the house windows.
Now there is a storm outside, with rain drumming against the panes of glass. It's a nice sound, when you're warm and dry inside!

Friday 14 March 2014

Skywatch Friday - in the mist.

 The last few days have been very atmospheric, with a heavy mist each morning, slowly lifting through the day and then creeping in again before nightfall. It feels more like November than spring. The weather report was for a week of warm weather but it hasn't happened in this part of the country.  I'm not complaining because at least it hasn't rained and yesterday evening I finally managed to light the bonfire.
I started off with a great heap of debris and it burnt away beautifully - so satisfying!
 By this morning only a small heap remained.
9 am and a murky start to the day for Skywatch Friday.
I rather like it!
But colour is creeping into the garden, the pear tree is springing into action, although the 'St Patrick's Day' daffodils planted underneath will never manage to flower for the saint day on the 17th.
Just look at the moss and lichen, you can tell that we have had months of wet weather.
 I walked past this wall of aubretia while visiting a friend this morning, a glorious burst of colour, just the thing to lift the spirits!

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Vegetable garden

At the beginning of the week I popped into The Pig to thank them for last Saturday's party.
I was keen to have a nose around the newly reworked vegetable garden. Last week's advertisement in the local paper said the following, so I wanted to see what was growing.
The delightful Steph, she with the lilting Irish voice, gave a warm welcome and showed us what has been done so far.
It was impressive. "How come the pigeons aren't eating your brassicas?" I wanted to know.
One of the gardeners said, "Because we are here all the time!" But I'm sure they are not working at first light when the pigeons like to come and breakfast on my greens.
They have transformed a sadly neglected space and it's a pleasure to see.
Although there is still plenty to be done. This area was a central walkway between herbaceous borders.

I've always been rather envious of these beautiful greenhouses. For years they stood neglected and unused. In the past I've sketched and painted in the garden.
Even in its neglected state it was a lovely place to be, with fragments of statuary that displayed its rather grand past.

One summer a young couple  went over the ground with a metal detector and unearthed various items. My favourite objects were these fruit tree labels with their wonderful names. I don't know whether these varieties are still in production - I wonder what a Pitmaston Duchess tastes like!
Everything was flourishing and looking so neat and tidy that I thought of my own vegetable plot with  dismay. I'm still having treatment for my neck and back following from last autumn's car crash and the poor weather has also kept me from attempting any work outside. But, if I don't set to work soon then it will be a disaster.  There is still plenty to gather and eat, parsnips and chard,
 and new season rhubarb coming up.
But, oh, what an untidy state of affairs. Things are much better in the greenhouse, buds forming on the Chinese peonies,
the auricles recovering from their attack of vine weevils,

citrus fruiting,

and the bonfire getting ever higher as I wait for the wind to start blowing from the west.
Watch out!