Once the snow had gone….

Yesterday, I posted a similar shot to this:

However, instead of snow, the sun was now shining. So, almost by instinct, I was out in the garden, tending to the patch where I had put down extra cardboard and compost in a second attempt to quell the grass which had preceded it.

I was somewhat bemused to find that inspite of the snow, sleet and rain that the compost was quite dry. I realise that the building is likely to shelter the front garden but it just shows how important aspect might be when planning a garden.

That said, everything seems to be doing very well in the front. No doubt all the organic matter that has been added will be holding moisture as well as adding nutrients. But I was a little sad that my fine (textured) compost was being used for what is essentially an ornamental patch rather than one for growing food.

The bright side, of course, is that ornamentals have other important uses – apart from the pleasure they bring. Not least, they can be composted to!!!

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What’s that white stuff?

This morning, when I pulled back the curtains, I was rather surprised by the above scene. We have had hail and sleet this week, with unpleasantly low temperatures, so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. However, it is May on Sunday….

The bizarre weather doesn’t seem to have stopped the birds around doing what birds do. For the second time in history, I even saw one in my apple tree.

A magpie and pigeon were having a set-to two doors along – Mr Pigeon presumably felt disinclined to share his lawn and all its worms. In the end, the magpie got the message and took sanctuary in my tree, although I missed a shot there and instead here he is, having moved to the fence for one final ponder on his chance of success down the road.

In all this excitement, a cauliflower seedling I was hardening off got left outside but the snow and such like doesn’t seem to have done it any harm. Maybe it’s time to get it outside permanently then.

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Spreading the muck

After finding a blue egg shell on the patio yesterday morning, I was taken up with doing some research into birds eggs and then their behaviour in general. I had been intending to start digging for the next hugel bed but was waiting for the predicted rain to soften the contacted soil in the herb garden first.

Unfortunately, this rain turned out to be a short burst of hail towards the end of the afternoon, so it’s as well I had something else to occupy me. And watching the birds as I was reading about them was such a pleasure.

I couldn’t get a decent shot of Mr Blackbird who has made my back garden his territory but he’s the one on the left hand side perched on the green (council) fence. He’d been foraging away in the garden, when the other one you might just be able to see decided he fancied a go in the same area.

Oh no, said my blackbird. He chased the intruder along the fence and across the path into the garden behind. And again and again, as Mr Intruder clearly wasn’t getting the message about who the straw and worms belonged to. Eventually, though, stern words did the trick and all was peace once again.

However, Mr Blackbird and his wife appear to be quite partial to the compost some of my onions are growing in. In fact, they’d chucked a good few of them out of their growing space while I was at work today.

But do I mind? Not a bit…. Apart from the entertainment they provide, it’s great to have some help with getting organic matter into the soil!

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The blue birds egg

For the first time in my life, I have been presented with a bird’s egg upon opening the back door.

It wasn’t crushed when I saw it on the patio but the shell was quite fragile. In comparison with a hen eggshell, it was like tissue paper (of the craft-making kind).

There were also the remains of something inside the shell, which I take to be a natural part of birthing, as opposed to predation. I do hope so, at any rate!

Which leaves me with the question of bird species. I have definitely seen robins round about but dunnocks… Before today, I had never heard of these little sparrow-like birds, so perhaps the shell is from a neighbouring dunnock rather than a robin.

All the same, I am glad to have learned something new this morning. ‘My’ birds are so fascinating – just today also, I saw birds passing food to each other mid-air. Pity I couldn’t get a photo of that, too.

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Chives, tomatoes and three sisters

Over the last few months, one or other of the indoor tomato plants has delivered a fruit. Not quite as small as the one today – but now that the days are longer and warmer, production has improved!

Outside, the chives are magnificent. It’s still natural for me to think of buying food in rather than relying on what we’ve got in the garden, so these could be left to adorn the garden. However, it seems silly to add to our food bill, when there are tasty morsels growing right outside the back door. And these will grow back again.

Outside, in addition to picking, I decided to resow runner beans, as there is no sign of the first lot coming through. At the same time, having just been prompted by an article on The Three Sisters, I added a pumpkin and a sweetcorn seed to the hole. It will be interesting to see which of the plants appears first – if in fact any of them do.

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Ivy and other unwanted growth


The ivy featured in the photo above came with the fir tree as a moving in present from a friend. It was therefore a little hard letting it go – but needs must.

Whilst the ivy was in a pot it was fine but after two years in the ground I could see the potential for it to take over. And that isn’t going to happen. 

I’ve got to dig the main roots out yet but at least I’ve made a start by pulling up/out much of the plant. It certainly liked to spread about and dig in where possible.

That is not, however, the only vegetation in need of removal. The bluebells are gradually taking over the back garden, and at a pace that makes the ivy positively pedestrian. So, I am going to let them flower first, then the leaves can go in the compost bin, while the rest will be delivered to the household waste disposal site, along with the ivy.


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Upon moving the Elijah Blue

It’s been a long time since I have spontaneously gone into the garden and then ended up on a roll. Blame it on my ornamental grass, Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’, if you will!

The grass lived in the forest garden until this morning. I bought it three years ago at an RHS garden show, as much as anything because I was determined to buy something at the end of it, having chosen the final day for that very reason.

Anyway, at that time, I did not realise I was inadvertently developing a forest garden, so I popped in the ground with other ornamentals, which are now also being transferred to the front garden.

It almost broke my heart to dig up one of the primroses which had happily appeared by the finishing off compost bin.  It’s joined some of the cowslips my dad gave me a couple of years, which have multiplied quite a lot. (I thought at the time of their move that they were actually primroses, and I have since found out that the two are related.) But as I prefer primroses, the cowslips might be moving on again!

Not today, though…. Instead, I turned my attention to the glory-of-the-snow around the crab apple tree. Out they came and guess where they moved to?

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