Solstice

I usually try and capture the light on the shortest day of the year. Yesterday I wasn’t convinced there was any, there certainly wasn’t any sunshine. I lit this candle at breakfast time as the ‘sun was rising’ but the sun hid behind fog and clouds all day. Oh well, at least it’s getting lighter now in theory and the sun will no doubt emerge some time over the holiday period. Advent calendar update: we’ve had Bella, sprouts, redcurrants, tomatoes, pink peas and some festive holly I’ve fallen behind a bit with the small moments of wildness and wonder, but … Continue reading Solstice

Dreich

It’s dreich, a word chosen as the most popular Scottish word in a poll a few years ago – link here. Anyway, it’s usually reserved by me for November which is month which is nearly always dreich. Not May. But here we are, experiencing a dreich May and trying to make the most of it. Despite the incessant rain, there have been some moments of sunshine and I did manage to get into the garden to look for ‘wildflowers’ for ‘International Biodiversity Day‘ on Saturday. I found this little collection, all growing in the lawn and tweeted it for #SixonSaturday … Continue reading Dreich

Holes in the hedge

One of the disadvantages of lockdown is that I’ve spent too much time over the winter looking at the garden and getting depressed about the bits that really don’t look good (most of it actually at this time of year). While I blog and tweet about the lovely little spring flowers – here was yesterday’s #SixonSaturday, the lawn is a mud bath, the pond is overgrown, the raised beds are full of either deadish plants or are covered in cardboard or freezer baskets (to keep the cat off) and the hedge at the back of the garden is looking very … Continue reading Holes in the hedge

Shed clearing – musing on plastic

Last weekend we cleared out the garden shed. It was in dire need. Here are some ‘after’ pics. I couldn’t face a ‘before’ one. You’ll just have to imagine the disordered piles of plant pots, bits of useful stuff, rusty tools and endless reams of plastic sheeting that ‘might be useful one day’. When I say, ‘we cleared out the shed’, I mean that my husband decided it was time to repot some houseplants and needed to reach the pots at the back. In order to do so, he needed to take everything out of the shed, so that I … Continue reading Shed clearing – musing on plastic

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

Store cupboard cake

Warning! There is not much about gardening in this post but there is cake. Everyone else has just discovered gardening and growing their own vegetables. I’m delighted and I really hope they stick with it. I should have spent the whole day in the garden too but it’s bitingly cold. I did sow some seeds and check up on my recently sprouted seedlings The peas have emerged in the egg boxes, but it is too cold to plant them out so I’ll leave them for another week or two. I also sowed tomatoes and cucumbers in the house and resowed … Continue reading Store cupboard cake

Sowing seeds of hope

We are living in strange times. Plans are being cancelled, people are worried. Yesterday, I tried to keep a focus on the future by sowing seeds. Here are some I sowed earlier, some mixed salad leaves, in a pot in the seed palace, just germinated but ready to grow into something exciting in a few weeks: Yesterday I made a start on the more delicate seeds, sowing tomato seeds in a little propagator indoors. I’ve started with two varieties: Tigerella and San Marzano. I have some others in packets but I’ll sow a few at a time to see what … Continue reading Sowing seeds of hope

First frog

Today I spotted my first frog of the season, not in the pond, but deep in a compost bin. I had been doing some spring tidying: weeding, hacking things back, looking for signs of new growth. I went to deposit some woody prunings in my very long-term woody pruning compost bin – made from an old leaking water barrel. It’s been sitting there for four or five years, not doing very much but today I noticed that it had produced some quite useable compost. I emptied some out and sieved it, producing three bucketfuls of beautiful crumbly stuff. I’m not … Continue reading First frog

Solstice marmalade – a new tradition?

Probably not, but that’s what I found myself doing on this dark solstice morning.  My excuse was an accidental purchase at the local farmers’ market. I had gone along to stock up on the last minute Christmas veg and preparation for an influx of sons over the next few days. Oranges were on the list and it was only as I was paying for them that the stall holder told me they were Seville oranges, bitter and suitable only for cooking, or marmalade.  Not being the kind of person to start complaining, I duly paid for them and brought them … Continue reading Solstice marmalade – a new tradition?

Autumn light

It’s just after 5pm and light is leaving the sky, the inevitable effect of the clocks going back and the beginning of the dark months of winter. But we’ve been blessed with a glorious autumn day and I’ve spent most of it in the garden and allotment. I cut back my runner beans which seemed to be finished for the year, leaving the sweet peas which clamber up between the beans. They should survive until the first hard frost: I also cleared out the cucumber bed. The cucumbers have been awesome but have now stopped growing. I raked over the … Continue reading Autumn light