A tale of two sewing machines

You’ll be wondering what this has to do with gardens. It does, be patient. This is the first sewing machine: It’s a hand powered Singer, nearly a hundred years old and belonged to my grandmother. We looked it up online and the model suggests it was made in 1923 and it still works perfectly well. To be honest I can’t imagine my grandmother ever using it. She wasn’t the domesticated type, though she was certainly a gardener and I love that I still have her annotated gardening book – for more on this see here Anyway, the sewing machine passed … Continue reading A tale of two sewing machines

Midsummer

It’s the midsummer solstice and I was having a look round the garden to see what is growing this sunny weekend. I remembered the twenty-six vegetables which I wrote about two months ago and wondered how they are all doing. Two months on, they are (nearly) all flourishing. Here’s an update: Apples Howgate Wonder – have developed pingpong ball sized fruits. Not so many as last year but they should grow to their usual grapefruit sized wonders 2. Apples, Red Falstaff, growing well and reddening up nicely 3. Apples, Sunset, promising clusters of fruit 4. Blackcurrants, never the most prolific … Continue reading Midsummer

Just like two peas in a pod

My love for growing peas crept up on me slowly. It was the flowers that caught me first and then the possibilities of pea soup, pea salad and pea and bean guacamole Last year I saved a whole lot of pea seeds to grow again I sowed them in egg boxes to avoid the mice and planted them carefully in different raise beds, with more than usually meticulous labelling to make sure I knew which was which, and prickly sticks to keep the cats off They’re all growing beautifully now. Here are the ‘Salmon Pink’ with their strange flowers, growing … Continue reading Just like two peas in a pod

Teasels

Teasels have been growing in my gardens for over twenty years. We bought the first one as a small plant from a wildlife stall at a garden show when my boys were tiny. We loved the name, we loved the way they grow and we hoped the plants would attract goldfinches. That one plant grew strong and tall and scattered its seed around. I haven’t planted a teasel since but they’ve always been there, popping up in surprising places and looking magnificent. I love these plants but I’ve never seen a goldfinch eating the seeds, until today. So here’s today’s … Continue reading Teasels

A little domestic wildness

It’s June so it’s time for #30DaysWild , the campaign run by the Wildlife Trusts to get everyone to spot a little bit of wildness every day in June. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years and most years I treasure the chance to stop for a few minutes before or after work or over lunch to notice the wildness in the city around me. This year it’s a little different, with the wildness restricted to my daily walks or my own garden. Working from home, I can nip out with a cup of coffee or over lunch … Continue reading A little domestic wildness

Counting bees

For yesterday’s #SixonSaturday I was counting bees, or at least counting the flowers that the bees like in my garden. I found my six: foxglove, sage, chives, comfrey, yellow poppies, cotoneaster but there were more: raspberries, wild roses, rocket, red campion, clover, nearly all self-seeded and thrown around the garden. The sage and the raspberries and the chives grow where I planted them, providing us with food and flowers and more bees I sowed the rocket last spring and it lasted valiantly over the winter, growing tough and woody, now flowering with abandon and attracting bees The others, although chosen … Continue reading Counting bees

Support systems

For today’s #SixOnSaturday theme I took a closer look at the pea tendrils, clinging to a variety of rustic poles in my vegetable plot: As you know, I love pea plants, for their flowers and, of course for their peas, but it’s always worth taking a closer look at their clever support systems: beautiful tendrils clinging to the nearest twig. I use rather rustic poles to hold my peas up, cuttings from other parts of the garden mainly. and the peas wind their way round these as they reach for the sky. Note the bottom right picture though, where a … Continue reading Support systems

Garden joys

Two months ago I started my main seed sowing of the season: tomatoes, cucumbers, chillies, peas and some flowers. I said I was ‘sowing seeds of hope‘. I didn’t know then that we would still all be in lockdown two months later, but I looked forward to a summer of vegetables. Today, I’ve sowed some more seeds but mainly I’ve been planting things out in the garden and being thankful for all that grows there. I posted six of my favourite flowers for #SixOnSaturday on Twitter Clockwise from top left: The roses are starting to come out in the garden, … Continue reading Garden joys

Six from the allotment

I made it along to the allotment last week, for the first time in a while. We’ve been trying to social distance there and my allotment partner had been doing all the work this spring. I had a day off from working from home so made a trip to the allotment to do my share, complete with gloves and hand sanitizer for dealing with the gate. Here’s what was happening there. There was a friendly robin, sitting in the apple tree and hopping round my feet. It was excited by all the digging, finding food in the freshly dug soil. … Continue reading Six from the allotment

Digging the runner bean trench

Last summer I planted phacelia in one of my raised beds as a ‘green manure’. It has been growing slowly over the winter, providing a shady place for cats in this strange sunny spring : .. and just about to burst in flower. The problem is that I need that bed to grow runner beans which I sowed in paper tubes last week so the cats and flowers may just have to move somewhere else. The phacelia flowers are lovely though and the bees like them so I made a start on digging the trench for the runner beans, leaving … Continue reading Digging the runner bean trench