So the sun is out – hot and 26 degrees. Felt hotter in the full sun working hard pulling weeds! Arrived in the morning after a nice breakfast on a terrace in south Hampstead, and once we finally wound our way into the site and onto our little plot we were amazed to find that our strawberry patch is ready to harvest! Had a fair-sized collection from the early ripeners. So tonight’s going to be strawberry and rhubarb crumble. Yum!
Had a great day on the plot. The garlic beds are looking like they are almost ready to harvest. The little pea patch has perked up and is growing well in front of the shed. There’s sign of life with the sea holly at long last. The gooseberry bush is showing signs of fruit, but we’re living dangerously and disassembled the netted cage around the gooseberry and currant bushes, so we’re hoping the birds leave us a few fruit this year. And the deep red damask rose is in full glory.
Cut a few long stemmed roses for home, a posy of Sardinian oregano, a handful of chive… (along with our strawberries and a few wands of rhubarb) and by 5 we were back in our little flat, watching the Giro ride around the bay of Naples and relaxing.
PS: Swung through the Regent’s Park on Friday at lunch and checked on their Echium patch. I’m amazed to say that our Echium in the back patch is doing much better and looks healthier than the plants in flower at the royal park. Wow!
Everything is springing to life. Flowers everywhere. We’ve had a bit of cold snap in the last week of April – a shocking return to winter conditions: grey, overcast, and quite cold at night. But the growth continues apace. Last summer I sprinkled honesty seed around the woods beds full of hope, and this spring we have lovely drifts of purple flowering honesty (aka money plant). They’re thriving nested in around the mid-woods Echium patch, and some of them stand waist-height, creating a dramatic splash of colour. Just shows the wonders of lazy gardening – simply cut seedheads and sprinkle around the place and – voila!
We planted white and pink Asiatic Lily, Lily tree and Gladioli into brick lined island bed, after a full afternoon of turning over the soil and digging out grass and weeds. Fingers crossed for a spectacular display later this summer.
During the week we went out to check on the lily beetles and harvest some fresh rhubarb for a spring crumble. And we spotted a tiny little wood mouse – one on the path and the other a veritable king in the castle, peeking out from the very top of a leaf composter. Very cute and very tiny! No bigger than my thumb.
The little guy on the path was hopping along with big huge feet, which helped to identify these little critters as ‘field’ or ‘wood’ mice – as distinct from house mice. To find out more about types of mice in the UK see the Woodlands Trust identication guide.
In the UK Wood Mice do not hibernate and can live up to 3 years. Due to so many predators they tend to live only a year, but these little critters have plenty of nestling spaces providing safe mouse houses. We decided not to dump the kitchen waste slops on his head, but I did place a nice chunk of cucumber in at the top of his composter castle to give him a tasty nibble.
We visited a garden centre on Saturday morning to see about getting blight resistant tomato plants. No luck! But we did pick up snow peas, garden peas, a flat of purple french beans and red lettuces. I planted the peas and lettuce but still have to plant the beans.
We’re down with the bug and have joined the ranks of the Covidians. So not up to doing much in the yard. But the sun shines and we wanted to check on the garden. And guess what?? The big tall Echium in the middle of the back patch meadow has magically come into flower. Wow! We started this plant three years ago and it’s now finally come to flower. Sadly, after flowering the plant will die down – but not before a real explosion of flower – and we will be sure to keep the seeds to start it all over again.
It is the start of spring. An astronomical fact measured in the tilt of planet earth. And all the trees are sighing with abandon and relief. I’ve been convalescing with covid and feeling quite sorry for myself but the big guy’s taken lots of photos of green giants to cheer me up. Life springs forward and can’t be stopped! Whewf!
Enfin! At long last, emerging from the funk of winter. Spring has been with us since January – with the annual appearance of snowdrop. But this year things are a bit screwy, shall we say. We’ve had crocus very early in February, along with daffodil. Wood violet are in flower and have been for at least a few weeks, and lungwort is also in bloom, as are the meadow planted vinca with their pretty open faced blue flowers. The primrose in the half circle bed have come and largely gone – they were flowering since January! Tulips are out by late February/ early March. The climate’s gone a bit bonkers to be fair. London still has frost alerts at night but day temperatures can be balmy in the teens.
Plants and flowers that used to show themselves in steady succession are all out together.