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

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

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

Twelfth night

It’s twelfth night, the festive season is officially over and for many a return to work, school etc. I don’t return to the day job till tomorrow, having taken an extra day to take my mother to a non-urgent hospital appointment. This was tedious for both of us but mum and I made the most of our journey on the bus, watching the beautiful light in the sky, then came back to my house in the subsequent rain for coffee, Christmas cake, cats, scrabble and the very last of last season’s tomatoes* This little beauty was the last of the … Continue reading Twelfth night

Reclaiming Paradise Awards 2019

And so the year turns again. As we move towards the 2020s, we look back at the high and low points of 2019 in the garden and allotment with the annual Reclaiming Paradise Awards. Most successful vegetable My garden and allotment are all about vegetables and this year has seen a great crop. Among the successes have been: Swiss chard, peas and beans, potatoes, tomatoes, marrows, courgettes, cucumbers, sprouts: The peas come a close runner up, but the winners for 2019 are the onions, overwintered in the garden and on the allotment, followed by a second summer crop on the … Continue reading Reclaiming Paradise Awards 2019

Borscht – or a use for beetroots

Since my garden and allotment don’t quite supply me with vegetables all year round, the weekend started with a trip to the farmers’ market to top up the veg supply. I like the market because I can by localish organic vegetables with NO packaging. I love the way the stall holders pile up all the muddy veg and then tip it into assorted cotton bags – finally a use for these, which seem to breed in our cupboard. They do get all muddy but you can wash the bags (and the veg for that matter) and no packaging is used. … Continue reading Borscht – or a use for beetroots

The year’s turning

Plums are dripping off the trees, apples are falling on the ground. Tomatoes are beginning to ripen and we are drowning in marrows Autumn has arrived. For the first time in over twenty years there are only two of us in the house to share in all this bounty. My older son has finished his studies,  for the moment, and moved on to do voluntary work, while my younger son starts a new course away from home next week. We miss their youthful enthusiasm, mess, music and musical friends. There are still some musicians around, popping in from time to … Continue reading The year’s turning

Green

It’s been a scorchio day here as everywhere else in the country. I went for a wander and passed an in ice cream van, selling, among other things, mint choc chip ice cream: I had been thinking about my Dad, as I often do at this time of year and now six years since we lost him. His childhood was during the Second World War, a time of rationing and few sweet treats. This led to him taking great pleasure in sharing childhood delights like ice cream with us. Ice cream in my rural childhood came in blocks from shops … Continue reading Green

Rhubarb, weeds and a bunch of flowers

What a glorious day it has been today. I started in the garden, doing a little weeding, down on my hands and knees and was rewarded by this little gem of a viola, pushing up between the paving stones on the back patio: Then I weeded the strawberry patch: It may not look like much to you but I assure you it is a lot tidier than it was. While I was down on my hands and knees amongst the weeds, I harvested some nettles, dandelion and hairy bitter cress and made weed pesto: Weed Pesto bunch of fresh nettles a … Continue reading Rhubarb, weeds and a bunch of flowers