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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