Summer update 2017
How can Buttercups and Dock Leaves grow SO Quickly!
Summer sun occasionally, summer rain, frequently and a couple of thunder storms dominated the garden weather this summer. May saw late heavy frosts over a couple of nights and this unfortunately damaged the blossoms that were already out, the damson, cherry, pear, the hydrangea and lilac. It was sad. But as the apple blossom was only just peeking out, it survived and we have lots of apples. The blackcurrants and gooseberries did very well. They made a wonderful jammy sauce.
All the plants in the garden seemed to take a long time to get going this year, we planted potatoes, garlic, onions, tomatoes, broad beans and eating peas and sprinkled lots of flower seeds. Although I have to say, after waiting three weeks for the eating pea shoots to appear, I was getting worried! I then realised, I had set the canes up and not planted the peas. The advantage I have found, is that they may well be ready just in time for Harvest Festival.
I pulled the garlic on 15th July and they looked great. I sold the garlic for 30p each and made £7.00 for the garden.
The Honesty plant in the garden has now been flowering for many months and has been a pleasure to see. Hosting dozens of painted lady butterflies, orange tipped butterflies and bees all summer long. Apart from the Honesty plant, the white and purple alliums and nectaroscordum (a relative of the allium family) proved popular with the bees.
We had dozens of strawberries, but the squirrels did eventually find them, we have plans to squirrel proof them next year!!!!
George and I were both lucky enough to have a painted lady butterfly land on us whilst we were having our coffee and biscuit. What an absolutely special moment to have a butterfly land on your hand, it was soft and tickled.
I had a very fleeting glimpse of what I think was a stag beetle (if it was it was a rare treat) the beetle flew past me and went into the bug house attached to one of the sheds. I never saw it again. We have got frogs everywhere, which is very good with weather being a bit soggy this year we have lots of slugs.
We of course continued to weed, fifteen bucket loads at a time with at least 150 buckets left to do. A plant called Selfheal took over the garden (it is a member of the mint family) and as the bees loved it so much I didn’t tackle it until the flowers were done. Eventually all the flowers did start to appear, even the sunflowers.
The broad beans were flattened by a thunder storm but after being pulled back up and staked - they made a recovery.
We have had squirrels, rabbits, moles, a cat, a resident blackbird and of course our robin sharing the garden. An ichneumon parasitic wasp landed in the greenhouse - it was impressive. We also saw lapwings and curlews and geese flying over the garden. The huge pile of branches in the wild area has now been made into three piles for any creatures or insects that wishes to make a home, in fact as I finished two frogs hopped in.
We planted strawberry plants to sell at the summer fair and I knitted some teddy bears, made some woolly octopuses and we had various nik naks to sell. George and I would like to thank everyone who supported out stall in aid of the garden fund and we made £67.00 for the garden.
Our big project over the summer holidays was to refurbish the old chicken coop. I put a call out on Colne Facebook for flags. I had offers of a huge range of flags, (Union Jack flags and Welsh flags etc) I changed the wording, paving stones please! And within 24 hours we had enough to do the job. We were stunned. David Chilvers from Pasture Farm Foods even brought a load up in his trailer. A huge thank you to those who donated the flags. The money we raised at the summer fair paid for the first ton of sand and sheeting we need underneath.
We set to and over six weeks, George laid the foundation sheet, set the sand and laid the paving stones. Once that was complete I ordered a ton of pebbles and we then gravelled the area around the Christmas tree. It was a huge and hard task and was completed just in time for the new term. George did a sterling job.
We were given a gift of plant pots, on a wooden plinth made by a pupil William. We were also given a wellie with plants in it and various cuttings as the summer went on. Warms the cockles of our hearts when that happens. Any seeds or cuttings that maybe going spare would be gratefully received. To top off this year’s strange growing patterns, back end of August and the lilac blossom came out!! That is gardening for you. Thank you for allowing us in your garden and for all the encouragement you give to us.