Monthly Archives: May 2013

Planting Season

Cherry Blossom

Cherry Blossom

May is an amazingly busy time in the garden, and there is so much to do to ensure flowers, vegetables and fruit are plentiful. So hurting my back last weekend was not a good idea. I’ve had to look longingly at all the planting out and nurturing I should have been doing and just watering all the seedlings and young plants I’ve raised. The weather, of course, has also played a part in delaying planting, since it was hot and then cold again. My lettuce etc, only just being hardened off, would have suffered for the cold. But now my back is on the mend I plan to do some planting under cloches. I’ve bought a couple, but for small things like lettuce, milk cartons with the bottom taken off will suffice to protect from cold winds and give me a reasonable early crop.

As I can now walk again without wincing at every step, the next few days should see me catching up and getting plants in the soil.

Wandering down to the greenhouse this morning I could appreciate the cherry blossom trees in my garden. Two were here when we arrived, but one I brought from my old address, in a container, is looking stunning. I’ve planted it in the border I cleared of Spanish bluebells last year, and it’s looking very happy and healthy. I just hope the wind we’re getting doesn’t blow all the blossom off the trees, depriving me of that wonderful colour.

Bees have started arriving in the garden, as I took care to plant spring flowers such as cowslip and forget me not. I’ve seen them enjoying the rosemary, too, which they love and is now in flower. Three colours of drumstick primulas, one of my favourite spring flowers, adorn a corner of the flower bed, and will provide lots of nectar for those bees too. I had the red and the lilac form, but no white. I bought some last weekend at the flower festival in Spalding (see previous post here) and planted them as soon as I got home.

How does your garden grow? Are you doing better than last year?

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Trees Are In Trouble! Join The National Survey

The Great Oak in Nottingham Forest

The Great Oak in Nottingham Forest

A new tree survey has been launched today. It is the first one to involve the public and it needs you. Designed in collaboration with Forest Research and FERA (department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) and run by OPAL (Open Air Laboratories network) a survey pack has been issued for you to download and be a part of saving our trees.

In the past decade at least 17 new pests and diseases have been found in Britain, attacking some of our most iconic trees, including the mighty oak and the chestnut. I for one would be very sad to see our trees dying due to these unwanted pests from the continent. I have a chestnut tree at the end of my garden. It’s a favourite of mine from childhood with its sticky, fat buds and fresh unfurling leaves.

The environment has changed. Our recent years of unusual weather patterns have stressed the trees, and this leaves them even more susceptible to pests and disease. Losing two seasons in the last year (no Autumn and no spring) has further added to their distress. Now we can get involved with conservation in a way we could never have done without the internet, so this is going to be the largest, most extensive tree survey ever.

To take part, click this link which takes you through to OPAL’s tree survey page, but there is lots more on there for you to get involved in if you wish.

Can you help save our trees?

Flower Festival Last Parade

We spent the bank holiday in Spalding, home of the nationally known bulb festival. My Dad went  years ago and took cine film of it. Yes, that long ago. Ever since I’ve wanted to see it, and as I now live much closer checked the website last week to see when it was.  The bank holiday weekend was it. But I was very sad to see that the local councils can no longer finance the parade. I’m glad I went. It was on my bucket list.

It’s been going since the 1930’s. Now, unless private backers can be found, the festival will continue but not the parade. It celebrated the bulb growing industry, and floats decorated with flowers paraded around the town. Here is what won’t be again in the future. Unless you know a backer….

Here’s what’s gone. Hopefully not forever. What would you miss?

Spalding Parade

Spalding Parade

Spalding Parade Town Hall Float

Spalding Parade Town Hall Float

Spalding's Rainbow

Spalding’s Rainbow

Spalding Horses

Spalding Horses

Spalding's Dragon

Spalding’s Dragon

There were lots of walkers and performers

There were lots of walkers and performers

Spalding Parade

Spalding Parade

Spalding's Elephant!

Spalding’s Elephant!

Spalding Parade. A Beautiful smile!

Spalding Parade. A Beautiful smile!

The Town Hall's Goodbye. So Sad!

The Town Hall’s Goodbye. So Sad!

Here’s a link to the festival Site

Food Glorious Food

Apple Blossom

Apple Blossom

Warmth and sunshine with us at long last. I now have a greenhouse full of seedlings and a new 14′ x 9′ raised vegetable bed. As space is limited for vegetables, I’m aiming to get the most out of it for my money. Kohl Rabi, a root veg said to taste like a cross between cabbage and turnip is over £2 each in the shops. Seed packet to grow plenty, £2. They’re growing well in modules before I plant out to beat the slugs. Also in modules are lettuce, salad leaves, turnip, leeks, cabbage, broccoli and calabrese. I’m growing food we love to eat. I have to have a special diet as I’m celiac and have food allergies to dairy and eggs. Variety in my veg is therefore important. My apple tree is flowering now, and this year there are some bees around, so hopefully there will be pollination and fruit.

There will also be french beans, runner beans and sugar snap peas. I’ll wait until after the forecast gales and rain in the next couple of days before doing much planting, though. Not least because of my back, which has me hobbling around at the moment.

How does your garden grow?