Sunday 29 April 2018


bee's comfrey

It's almost a tradition to share a photo of this comfrey relative, the name of which always escapes me, at this time of year just to enjoy the beautifully curled flower spray. The original plant came from my late sister's garden just after she died so it's a much loved plant even though she called it a weed for popping up all over her patch.

It's so cold again. That brief five days of summer has disappeared into dreary windy chilly drizzle and despond, but spring has sprung and grimly the blossoms and new shoots are doing their best in the poor conditions. The previous cold snap seems to have provoked a lot of flowers on the fruiting plants but it's so cold and blowy again the pollinators aren't going to be able to do much.

blueberry flower

The blueberries are really heavily loaded with flowers this year, if the weather was better I'd be looking at a bumper crop after a very disappointing one last year but all I can do is keep my fingers crossed that some berries will set. The little apple trees are looking lovely too.


This lavender seems to be as hard as nails, already in flower when we arrived back in March and loaded down with blooms now. I've forgotten the variety but have some idea it was described as Majorcan which makes it unexpectedly tough.

More seeds are planted including some ornamentals. I've got Castor Oil plants this year, poisonous they may be but they are striking, and coleus which for me are the plants of nostalgia as they were some of the first things I tried back in my teens.

The beans are planted but not coming up. They were started in pots outside on the bench and I think that was overly optimistic in the hot spell. I will almost certainly have to try again under cover or wait until it's properly warm. 


Sunday 22 April 2018


lamb abbey pearmain
I took a similar picture of this apple, the Lamb Abbey pearmain, last year on 11th April. We're still 11 days behind but the unexpected burst of summer has given everything great encouragement. We had another massive thunderstorm last night so the best has passed for now but it's still sunny and warm today.

 dandelions on the lawn
This year seems to be the year of things breaking. Various domestic machines overwintered badly and blew fuses and connectors when put back into service. Various parts for the tractor have snapped, deformed or simply fallen off and even the push along lawnmower has died, victim of something that went crunch underneath and ripped off cowling which deformed the blades. They don't last long and this one has done several years but more trouble and expense. The dandelions are pleased though.

overwintered peacock
We were feeling rather despondent over the number of early butterflies about. A good many overwintered Peacocks were here but only one Orange-tip and a single Brimstone, but I've spotted a few flutterbys about that need identification today and a moth that I think is new to me. I've asked on Twitter for help with ID as my usual resources are failing me.

copper beech leafed
Was very pleased to see the Copper Beech in new leaf. Last year it was blighted by a late frost and looked so damaged throughout the whole year that I feared something more sinister was affecting it but it looks beautiful dancing in its new crimson leaves so I think it's alright.

 pink cherry
Not my favourite ornamental tree but this cherry does look well against a blue sky.

These are true potato seedlings, grown from seed I saved from the Sarpo Mira, Arran Victory and Bluebell potates last year. The way things are going with potato patch I may get more crop from these than the tuber sets which are still waiting for a home. Anyway, most of the seeds I've started are still at this delicate pre-pricking out stage.

Actually sown and hopefully growing, other seeds are waiting...

Salt Spring Sunrise
Black Russian
Happy Day beefsteak (started in the UK and looking rather sad)
St. Pierre (bought in because I was so late)
Marmande (ditto)

Nigel's Outdoor Green Chilli (from Realseeds)
Albertos Locoto (also Realseeds)
Lamuyo Bell pepper (bought in)
a couple of sad little seedlings that have been munched by slugs and were from seed saved from a supermarket fruit.

Riana's Corbiere beans
Hutterite soup
Ice Crystal Wax
Striped Bunch

Whangaparoa Crown
Sweet Dumpling
Blue Banana
Some courgettes missold to me by Fothergills last year - they were good strong growers and seem to be the only seed I have to hand but they were not Romanesco.

Raisin Capujiner
Salmon Flowered

Neopolitan Basil
Mammoth Lettuce leaved Basil
Cinnamon Basil
Perilla (it actually came up, quite a result as it nearly always fails for me.)

Wednesday 18 April 2018

A late spring for the broken hearted

leafing up

Yesterday the weather finally became spring like. The leaves are just showing green on the beeches and the oaks are beginning to colour too but we are about two or three weeks later than last year. It's been so wet that even getting prepared for the season has been delayed which means it will be hard to catch up very well.

xtal buckeye

The buckeye is just bursting into glorious colour, hopefully there will be no frost to damage these tender leaves.


There is a fairly large herd of deer roaming around, we've seen them across the land in various places. They are probably pregnant does gathered in a group to avoid predators and give protection at a vulnerable time. Luckily they've not needed to strip my fruit trees this year which is a relief.

muddy little car

I have a new car, this rather cute little 4 wheel drive. I've needed it in the muddy conditions here.
But what of the garden I hear you ask...

It's there. I have seedlings finally, the polytunnel is recovered. The oca are being planted and beds dug, but it's such a struggle. This might be our last year here and the sorrow that causes affects everything. I'll try to document this last season as well as I can.