Saturday, July 30, 2011

I have worked myself to a standstill

OK, I know, I am far to old to be doing the heavy work that I could do in my younger years!
I worked so hard yesterday, lots of heavy lifting of concrete slabs and laying them behind my garden studio to make a path and access so that I can paint it in the Autumn.

Then all the work up the allotment - I intended to have a rest today honestly!

But after the disappointment of not having the floor laid yesterday, I decided to do something to take my mind off it and created the start of 'Kath's Garden' around the sun room.
I dug out a trench and made a 'proper' flower bed with yellow chrysanthemums either end - they'll look lovely late summer, and there are lavender interspersed with saxifrage - sun lovers.

Unfortunately alongside the walls was a dumping ground for all the rubble, so I had quite a task digging it all out (it was hidden under soil).  I replaced it with new soil mixed with well rotted farmyard manure and along that side I planted penstemons, lupins, Selenium, and a tall Lobelia.  In fact all these will be lovely tall plants in shades of reds, blues, purple, and sunshine yellow, which should flower late summer and look a treat.

The soil where the fish pond was will sink over winter, so as a temporary measure I put down paving slabs just so that I could move my table and sunshade up this corner for a different view of the garden.
In September I'll be raking over the soil again, stamping it down, raking yet again and sowing grass seed.

But for now this will be my view from the shade of the umbrella.  
I hope to be having my breakfast here on warm days, and lots of lunches and teas
It's a perfect corner to sit, and watch, and chill out - and maybe even sketch!
These photos were taken at 9pm tonight - just before dusk.

I ache for England but it is so worth it - I would be aching anyway to a lesser degree.

Mr Lottie has ordered me to rest all day tomorrow.

If I don't feel too bad, I intend to pressure wash the chairs that go with the table, and to give the big table and little coffee table a coat of stain - all  before it is time to cook  a Sunday Roast lunch

Friday, July 29, 2011

Allotment Diary 2011 Me: 60 hrs He: 55hrs

I have had such a busy week working in the gardens.  Hedge trimming, lawn mowing, weeding.  It doesn't sound much, but my hedges are hard work and had gone a bit wild very quickly lately with all rain we had.  I also had to prune my willow arch - for the second time in as many months - it too had grow - three feet of luscious willow branches on the top - it looked like a very big hair do!

The garden room came to an abrupt halt again this week, and although we were promised the floor would be laid today - it has been delayed until Monday - which I hope they stick too as the furniture is now arriving on Tuesday morning and we have nowhere to put it in our tiny bungalow!

On the plus side, Richard spent half a day yesterday and a few hours today getting rid of all the builders rubble and rubbish, and he spread out the excess soil from the footings, which I was really thrilled about.
The lawn is recovering where it had all the bricks and blocks on - and looked dead.  But a bit of tlc and plenty of watering has renewed it.
Seeing this area, it is hard to picture that there used to be a big pond here.  The space is bigger than it looks in this photo.  I think I will seed it and 'live with it' next year before doing any hard landscaping with it.  My first instinct before it was all cleared and levelled, was to have a paved patio on which to put my table and chair - it would be nice to eat breakfast outside.  But the soil will sink over winter because of the pond 'hole' apparently so it's best left for now.

We moved a lot of slabs and laid them behind my studio this morning, then decided to go up the allotment - I must be mad!
I can't believe how tall the grass has grown in one week

And those dreadful weeds have grown from nothing

To this is just a week too.  I had so much to do!
Whilst Mr Lottie did what he does best, I set to with the lawnmower to cut the grass down.  
The row of 2nd earliers need digging up!

I cut down and pulled up all the weeds and mulched between the rows

With grass cuttings to prevent any more growing - or slowing them down!

This is how long my plot is - I don't often pause to look at the length of it!

It's nice to get the lawns and paths back under control, it makes a huge difference

Well YOU know I weeded all around these last week - but here they grow again

And here they grow again too.  I picked 10 mixed courgettes, and made a lovely lunch with some of them.
The pumpkin is going rampant on my compost heap

It's looking good

Three and a half hours later we made our weary way home.   I laid four paving slabs - but gave up because I could hardly stand let alone do any more.

A lovely hot shower soon rejuvenates one - but here I sit exhausted but happy at our achievements today.

Lunch was stir fry of fresh picked courgettes, onion, cauliflower, shredded cabbage, new potatoes, tomatoes,  seasonings, and cubed fresh tuna - yummy.

Monday, July 25, 2011

My first harvest of..........................

It was in April when I started off this and now I have my first harvest of this
Worm wee!  It's not the slightest bit smelly
and I can dilute it many many times
It really is a brilliant plant food.

And look - there's more on the way!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Night Night All

Night night Poppy  - what are you doing in the nest box?
Where are the others?
Too hot indoors girls?
Night night Daisy and Gozzie - you get pole position because you are the oldest?
Goodnight Mary, Henrietta, Snowy, Bluebell, Zola, Freckles and Willow.
Good night Dolly - I can see you in the nest box on the left hand side at the back

See you in the morning


Friday, July 22, 2011

Allotment Diary 2011 Me: 59 hrs He: 55hrs ....cont

No builders, no electrician, no body here today so we were free to go up the allotment.

What a shock - two weeks ago these beds were weed free!

This dreaful weed started appearing on our allotments down one end a few  years ago. and since then it has spread rapidly each year at this time of the year and no-one knows that it is called

So our primary mission today was to weed out as much of it was we could.

And to pick some cauliflowers and one of the cabbages

This is how the perfect and weed free potato bed looks today.

We dug out every single weed two weeks ago.  Interestingly there are no thistles or any of the other thugs we dug out - just this weird unnamed weed.  We didn't have enough time or energy to tackle this bed today

So two hours later the difference is quite dramatic

I was rewarded with a nice first crop of courgettes and squash

With more to come in the future in this lovely weeded bed where the early potatoes were.

And this squash is on the compost heap

And it has grown dramatically in just a couple of weeks of rain

I wish I had taken a 'before' photo of the rhubarb bed - you couldn't see the rhubarb for weeds
We  had a nice harvest to bring home - a small trug of new potatoes, two cauliflowers, and the first of our cabbages.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Today in my garden......

Things are progressing slowly.  I cheered up the building site with some lavender plants - netted to keep the pigeons, and chooks off until they take root.

The unusal weather this year has created havoc in the garden.  The deep snow killed off some plants, the hot summer weather in spring meant that my spring and summer plants and shrubs were all in flower at the same time!

But I still have some pockets of colour.  I have some perfumed Stargazer lilies dotted here and there and due to flower soon

It's my 'shades of red' season in the garden

Some of my hardy fuschias have survived

This bush is positively dripping with them

The 'green row' but will full of colour soon with Cosmos - there's one Japanese basil plant in the pot second from the right - near enough to my door to grab some for lunch

Don't these just make you smile?

These are in Maxine's garden bed - with lilies and other plants due to flower later
I took the garden photos this evening when it was drizzling with rain.  The bantam babes had had their evening meal and were in a nice quiet tranquil mood, just chilling out and quietly 'cooing' to each other, winding down at the end of the day!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chicken heaven

I ran out of chicken food over the weekend so paid a visit to a friend of mine who buys in bulk and lets me get a sack from him.  He lives locally so no trips to the nearest town which stocks it.
I just adore visiting him, a he has so many chickens - these are baby Seabrights

And here are some more - they are so cute.  My two came from this breeder

Look at the size of the baby turkeys compared to the Seabrights the same age.
My friend hatches these out in incubators - a very clever man

 Some people think turkeys are ugly, but I do not - they make a sweet little noise
Yet more Seabrights

He has chickens, here, there, and everywhere, and all sorts of breeds.

I just love seeing them freeranging around his huge garden - these are too young yet.

I am not going to post any more about the garden room until it is finished.
I write about the saga with the builder - but decided against posting it - I wouldn't want to be reminded of all the hassle when I look back on it in a years' time.

It is still a work in progress, but hopefully it will be finished by the end of next week - fingers and toes crossed!