Monday, 28 April 2008

Everything is blooming ...

I was surprised to see that my broadbeans are just starting to flower, but when I checked my dates, they are about two weeks behind last season.

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The strawberries are getting in on the act too:

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I was still thinking of moving them, but looks like I'm too late. Nearly every plant is in flower, despite having frost only last week !

The lottie is postively blooming at the moment:

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The pond is a writhing mess of tadpoles and the water is looking a little murkier, so I hope they get busy and start eating the algea. The pond skaters have arrived, just a couple, but they are already jealously guarding their little patch. The King Cup is in full flower and is absolutely stunning:

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Unfortunately the weeds have also gone 'boom' and I've had an explosion of Shepherds Purse at the bottom end of the lottie, with a liberal sprinkling of obligatory danelions:

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Actually, they look rather lovely in the weak sunshine and the bees were buzzing around them.

Some of my tomatoes have germinated, which is a wonder in itself. I decided that the house was too cold to germinate them, so thought I'd give them a helping hand and placed the onto the bedroom radiator ... not realising it was on full. A couple of days later OH pointed to them and asked if I was trying to cook them :) Having moved them to a windowsill, around 10 have germinated. I potted them up at the weekend and then took the remaining seeds home. A couple of hours later OH found then upside down on the floor of the bedroom ! The pesky cat had knocked off the tub - so now my remaining seeds are all jumbled up ... grrrr.

One of my neighbours called in to say hello. She was cursing the meeces, who have been munching the peas that she sowed in the greenhouse. Being such an experienced allotmenter(!) I shared with her my top tip for direct sowing peas. No messing about with paraffin, or holly (honestly, where are you going to find holly in the middle of a city). No, no, no, you just need a plastic mini tunnel. For some reason the meeces leave the peas alone so that they can germinate in peace. Last year I had a fleece tunnel and a plastic tunnel side by side and the fleece tunnel was raided over several days and decimated, whereas the plastic tunnel wasn't touched. She looked at me a little skeptically I'm sad to say, but she'll rue her doubting ways when I have the best peas on the block !

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This is one of my herbs, I've totally forgotten what it is - maybe Oregano ?

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... and here is .. erm, another one:

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I realise how far behind last year I am when I look back to April 07, but the weather is so different (better I think) this season. I've only just started to sow my main things. My courgettes are just poking through:

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and I finally feel it is safe to sow my beans - boy, have I got a lot of beans this season:

Canelloni and Borlotti beans from Seeds of Italy (would recommend them, you get plenty for your money):

Milky Canelloni:
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Yin Yang kidney beans - we've not yet tried the ones from last year. I keep meaning to make something with them, but the house has been upside down for so long I've lost track of where they are:

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Tee Pee dwarf beans - they look really interesting on the packet, with their black pods:

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and I couldn't resist planting some Scarlet Emperor as well. They were fantastic last season. I've tried to restrict myself to ten of each.

I'm using some root trainers for the first time. My dad gave them to me, so we'll see how they go (I'm slightly suspicious that if they were that good, surely he would have kept them for himself !!?)

The wildlife garden is stirring back into life slowly. I'm keeping my eye on it to make sure that no nasties get a hold, such as thistles, bindweed or creeping elder. It is a little difficult to tell what should be there and what shouldn't, so I'm trying to leave it as much as I can. I planted a couple of Lupins last year and so far they seem to have escaped the slug & snail buffet. I used to adore walking around my mum's garden when I was a little girl, looking at the lupins after it had rained. They are truely stunning plants and I think undervalued as a garden plant:

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Whilst gathering rhubarb from the wild end of the lottie, I managed to disturb this little critter. He's a very different colour from my usual visitors. I'm wondering if he was the albino baby we found a year or so ago in the pond:

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My last job of the day was to make a start on clearing the Shepherd's purse, and I found a ladybird basking in the sunshine:

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Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Distractions, distractions !

oh dear, I may never get anything done again !!!

The new kittie arrived at the weekend. He has just got over the sniffles. He has two switches - on and off.



Oh my God, he is soooooo cute and gorgeous. We have spent hours watching, laughing, stroking, coo-ing ... I have to really tear myself away to go to work

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He loves my laptop - the flashing lights, fingers dancing across the keyboard, the heat, the mouse and images swirling around the screen ! Oh and of course, its very comfortable for a little snooze !

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We love him to bits already, but he still doesn't have a name ... although 'terror' seems to fit him. I'm boring everyone I meet with tales of how cute he is and OH calls me at work to tell me that "the kittie has woken up" or "the kittie has eaten some food" or "the kittie blah blah blah".

I think he and Ianto are going to be really good friends, they've got over the surprise and shock of meeting each other and have been spotted 'kissing' (ooo, maybe they're the only gay cats in the village !)



Sunday, 13 April 2008

slowly, slowly ...

I realised that I needed to get sowing seeds, otherwise there will be nothing to plant later ... the weather is atrocious, really cold and wet, so I was a bit half-hearted really, but I did manage to do my tomatoes and peppers ... finally I hear you say - most people I know already have fairly sturdy plants, never mind. I'm sure they'll soon catch up:

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I've also planted some courgette seeds, but am going to wait until next weekend until I sow anything else - hopefully the weather will a bit warmer then.

I purchased some seedpotatoes during the week, I've got Kestrel and King Edwards to join the Vales Emerald. I'm thinking of popping a few of my Pink Fur Apple in too. It was too cold this weekend, so perhaps next weekend I'll tuck them up

I seem to have lost another couple of panes of glass from the greenhouse, but it looks as though someone may have thrown something at them to break them vs the wind, as the pieces are very small have have a 'shattered' appearance. Nik & Marcele next door said that they've also had some panes broken and they suspect vandals too. They're replacing theirs with perspex type material.

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whilst clearing away the glass, I thought maybe it was time to dig the borders over. I stupidly tried the mizuna and yep, it blew my head off, it has now made a great addition to the compost heap - which had two little voles running around .. aww, so cute. Look what I found making itself at home in the greenhouse ... grrrrrrr

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My fruit trees are bursting into life, my plum especially looks very solid and healthy:

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My Lidl's Crab Apple gives the lottie a gorgeous splash of colour:
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and here is my Bramley Apple tree - it urgently needs staking as the recent winds have left it listing:
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The phacelia has germinated very well, despite the cold weather and the ground is covered with little seedlings;

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ooo, the tadpoles have arrived ... the pond looks brown, there are so many !

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I think this is one of my favourite photos ever, the tadpoles are still inside their eggs and were wriggling frantically. They look like baby sharks !

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My king up is bursting into life
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and the forget-me-nots have started to flower

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