Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Not recommended

One of LP's other jobs is helping out at a nearby farm.  It was that time of year when the chicken sheds are stripped out and deep cleaned and I was offered a couple of trailer loads of well rotted poultry poo.  With one large compost bin completely empty it would have been rude to say no . . .

With the benefit of hindsight, I might not accept such an offer again.  Even though the muck I received came from the bottom of the shed and was very 'mature', during the heat of summer it still had a rather more pungent aroma than Management was happy with (I just figured it smelled of the countryside . . . )  It has also weeped and seeped sideways and made quite a mess of the grass.  When we eventually get to use this bin it will be interesting to see whether all the smell and seepage was worth it.

(finally published on 1st April 2015 . . . !)

Monday, 28 April 2014


Gardeners need to have patience and be able to plan for the long-term and nowhere is that more true than with asparagus.  Despite all the work now, I won't be eating anything from this bed for a while.

Obviously, I had help.

Note to self:  Ken Muir Ltd

Asparagus 'Gijnlim' This variety was raised in the Netherlands and is a male dominant F1 hybrid, producing heavy crops of succulent green spears just one year after planting. The advantage of F1 hybrids is that they require fewer plants than seed raised asparagus to get a worthwhile crop. Very good flavour.  RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Asparagus 'Pacific Purple'  Bred in New Zealand, this variety produces heavy yields of purple spears that are sweeter, more tender and even richer in antioxidants than green asparagus. They have a very low fibre content meaning that almost the entire spear is free of the tough fibre normally found on the bottom of green varieties. This means that they are ideal eaten raw and added to fresh salads. They are also delicious when cooked. 

(finally published on 1st April 2015 . . . !) 

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Bag End through the year: Coppice

April 2014: The Coppice is definitely a Spring garden, so much in bloom it's hard to choose what to select.  In celebration of a new macro lens, many close-ups this month:}   The hellebores have been outstanding this year and many have set seed.  Dicentra have grown nearly two feet tall in a couple of weeks.  Ferns planted barely a month ago are putting on lots of new growth.

March 2014: February was wet and miserable and not a lot was going on. March is full of blooms and buds and the promise of a new season. The hellebores have been fabulous but the Snowdrops and Winter Aconite were not so good, perhaps they missed a proper cold spell? The comfrey is in bloom early which seems to please the few bumblebees that are around, and the primroses and cowslips are flowering their hearts out :}

Erythronium dens-canis 'Pagoda' (Dog's tooth violet)

Assorted (unnamed) Helleborus hybrids

Helleborus argutifolius


Euphorbia Redwing Charm

Symphytum (Comfrey) probably ibericum


January 2014:  I adore this part of the garden, especially early in the year.  Although the snowdrops and winter aconites have not yet put in an appearance we have long catkins on the hazel, a few battered primroses and the hellebores look like they are getting ready for a lovely display.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Unexpected progress

LP won't be available next week, so he came in yesterday afternoon and all of today.  We finished assembling the fruit cage so all I've now got to do is put the netting round, then I can plant the new strawberries which have grown strongly since their arrival a month ago.  It would be nice to think that's a job which will go fairly smoothly but I'm not deluding myself - access at both sides is difficult to nearly impossible and it's not going to be easy.

LP spent the rest of Thursday and much of Friday on carpentry duty and the result is some outstandingly tidy edges on the lawns.  In a triumph of recycling (and not having to buy more materials), we've taken down more of the original paddock fence which is no longer needed to reuse the timber.

He would have finished too, except Management and I decided he'd have more fun helping us 'play' with the pole pruner and chainsaw and shred all the cotoneaster rubbish that was destined for the chop.

There is now significantly more light in the vegetable patch and and even bigger pile of wood destined for the log store.  The juniper got a bit more 'attention' and the view to the Top Pond has suddenly opened up.

Monday, 21 April 2014

What could be better than a Red Squirrel in the garden on Easter Monday?

THREE red squirrels ....... what a brilliant start to the day :}  Who needs chocolate bunnies and fluffy chicks?