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.



Friday, 27 August 2021

Grass cutting

 The patches of grass that we are trying to establish as wild flower meadow have had their annual cut.  Patterns of the former pathways mark the ground and the space looks so different, it feels strange to be able to wander all over the area and not have to follow the narrow routes between tall grasses.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I need to scarify the ground  and find the bare earth so that I can sow some wild flower seed and put in plug plants. It seems to be quite a business to get back to being wild!









There are plenty of vegetables to pick each day and I've made my store of jam and chutney but when I see the leaves of the squash plants die away I know that summer is coming to a close. Once the temperature drops the food glut will cease.

I'm not ready to say goodbye to summer just yet.



Thursday, 19 August 2021

Crime against a plum tree

 The plum tree in our neighbour's orchard is laden with fruit and he is concerned about the branches breaking. But what has he done?!! He handed over this large bucket of hard, green Victoria plums that he had hacked from the tree. They will never ripen so what does he expect me to do with them? Hasn't he heard of propping up the heavy limbs of a tree with forked hazel sticks, a solution that has been practised for many years and that he must have seen us doing when we have a similar problem with the pear trees? What a waste of what would have become the most delicious fruit. Victorias are my favourite.

I find his action so depressing. He is a man with a lot of land, orchard, garden and fields, but so out of step with nature. His obsession is with control and 'tidiness'. I've told him he's suburban! It is different things for different people.

Yesterday the wind was blowing. I'm growing out most of my heavy fringe and it has reached the irritating stage of being neither one thing nor the other. I've pinned back the random wisps with a hair-clip and look like a member of the lower third. I didn't feel like  gardening, what with the green plums and the wind, so we went to look round the open market in Wells. It takes place every Wednesday and Saturday and there is always a lively atmosphere and good local produce to buy. We parked by the cathedral clock, the second oldest mechanical clock in the country, made in 1390.




There were signs up all over the market asking people to wear masks and to keep their distance. Very few complied. One of our daughters works in the NHS and continues to be concerned about the disease and what the coming winter will bring. We are still wearing our masks!








Then, suitably refreshed, it was back home to our windy garden.