Misbehaving sycamore seeds

The monstrous sycamore in my front garden has offloaded most of its seeds.  Some have fallen in the front garden: I’ll try and collect as many as I can before they sink into the soil and germinate and try to grow into new monsters.  In previous years I’ve tried making them into Christmas decorations before they got the chance to germinate but I gave up on that as too fiddly. Secretly I quite like it when the seedlings start appearing in the spring but I have to be vigilant before they get too big. What is a little more embarrassing … Continue reading Misbehaving sycamore seeds

Chillies and mangoes

While in Manchester this weekend I spotted this intriguing sight outside a vegetable shop. A deliberate attempt to confuse the customers perhaps: We were there on a mission to deliver a chilli plant to our wandering assistant gardener: We also delivered a little gift of windfall apples, the last of the autumn raspberries, some green tomatoes, rhubarb jam, marrow chutney and the last jar of last year’s slightly unsuccessful crab apple jelly: When we made the crab apple jelly last year (using juiced crab apples rather than a jelly bag), it was unbelievably sour and very runny. We couldn’t really find a … Continue reading Chillies and mangoes

Not enough mud

I’ve been wanting to add more drawings to the blog but time has been against me, so I was excited at the chance to take part in a Big Draw event that promised ‘garden tools’ to draw.  I had visions of wellies and mud and spades and things like this: I imagined the chance to create lots of stuff to put in the images bank for the blog. On the day there were still lives with flowers and watering cans and not nearly enough mud. It gave me two hours of concentrated drawing time and the chance to make a … Continue reading Not enough mud

Tomato magic

It’s been very cold at night this week and I’ve been working late so not home in time to do any gardening. But I dashed out on Friday to rescue my tomatoes before they got frosted. This year I’ve had a mixture of of San Marzano, Ailsa Craig and Tigerella. Here’s what they looked like in April: And in August: And here’s Friday’s crop: Magic isn’t it?   I’ll leave these in the kitchen to ripen. And the best thing is that this is only a small proportion of those still out there.  It was getting dark, so I took out … Continue reading Tomato magic

Cat self-sufficiency

It was a long day – a very early start, an endless day at work, a late night at the office and home to an empty house for a change.  Just the cat and me.  I slumped through the door, tired and hungry, to find a series of these: scattered through the house. Like the breadcrumbs in Hansel and Gretel, they led me to a lonely, hungry but incredibly self-sufficient, cat. Left all alone in the house, she had raided my knitting basket and entertained herself. Now she’s playing at ‘hundred room dash’ while I type. What does this have … Continue reading Cat self-sufficiency

The bookmark

Bookmarks are very individual. Some people like to buy proper bookmarks, expensive things made of handtooled leather, or laminated with clever sayings about reading and literature. Children’s handmade efforts can often be found inside parents’ and grandparents’ books. Some people turn over corners or mutilate the pages. I like to use whatever comes to hand: till receipts, train tickets, fliers, empty seed packets. My gardening books are full of these oddities, usually with a gardening theme: Sometimes there is no obvious connection, including an out of date library card, old bus ticket and a till receipt from a family outing: … Continue reading The bookmark

Autumnal tasks

Made yet more marrow chutney, planted red onion sets, took the cucumber plants out of the seed house.  Most of the cucumbers have been fantastic this year but they’re finished now. I found a giant cucumber lurking near the base of one pot.  That explains why that plant didn’t produce much else.  Sorry no photo – it went straight into a cucumber relish thing for our tea last night.  Here’s a batch from August though: I had a go at pruning back the overgrown conifers at the back of the garden.  These have been bothering me since we moved to the house. … Continue reading Autumnal tasks