26 April 2011


One of those near perfect days today. It's sunny and warm, and the garden is a real sun trap and is blocking out the worst of the breeze which is cool on the exposed fields of the allotment.

I was along at the allotment this morning and planed out the broccoli seedlings, and covered them with the cloche tunnel. I also riddled over the soil in between the broccoli and red cabbage, since the Cavolo Nero and spinach seeds seemed to be doing precious little. The bed was planted with potatoes last year and there seemed little point - or indeed time - in riddling out that enormous bed, so the soil is pretty rough: stony and lumpy. But now part of it at least is soft and crumbly and just begs for you to plunge your hands in it. Or maybe that's just me! Anyway, I've re-sown some spinach and Cavolo Nero, making a note for myself here that I really must cover the kale plants when they grow this year, as last year they were absolutely decimated by caterpillars.

Speaking of caterpillars, we've been seeing a lot of the woolly bear caterpillars around the house. They seem to be migrating just now - we stood and watched one very determined one make fairly swift progress across the street and up onto the grassy verge. They're funny looking things, like their hairy bodies should be poisonous, but they're innocent enough. Apart from wanting to eat my plants of course.

Gardening work is over for today, and probably for a few days in fact as I'm pretty much on top of things for the moment. I've grown impatient at the lack of progress with the peas I planted at the allotment and have sown some in pots in the greenhouse to see if I can start some of there. It could be that it's just a bad lot of seeds - it happens. It happened sigh the sunflowers (Velvet Queen) - only two of them have germinated :-(

A surprise to me in the garden was the emergence of a plant which I'm pretty certain is Bergamot. It certainly has the same kind of foliage and the leaves smell faintly of orange. But I didn't label it, and chances are that it was a seed I sowed last hear and forgot all about it! If it is, it should have the most gorgeous raggedy pinky red flowers and be a real bee magnet.

My laissez-faire approach has spread to some self-seeders in the garden: acqueligias, or "granny's bonnet" as we call them here. I've tended to just let them settle where they may, and they're springing up in between paving slabs and at border edges, and since they're so lovely, and varied, I'm content to just leave them be. Sometimes a haphazard approach to gardening is one that can bring real joy and delight in my eyes. If gardening is humans shaping and controlling Nature, then it's only right that Nature be allowed free reign to some extent :-)

So just now I'm sitting out in the garden, with Classic FM playing out through the open patio doors. The hens are industriously digging through their run - except the one who's in lahiniv and chatting away to herself. The cats have chased off the mouse for the time being. Swallows are nesting in the eves and swooping up and down and chirruping noisily, and blossom petals from the pear tree and one of the apple trees, is floating off in the breeze and covering the patio and beds in a soft sprinkling of confetti...

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