Monday, 30 March 2009

River Cottage in Spring

On Saturday we spent another lovely day visiting River Cottage HQ celebrating the return of Spring. There were talks and demonstrations on growing vegetables by Mark Diacono Head Gardener at RC, cooking seasonal vegetables and making pasta by Tim Maddams, Head Chef at RC Canteen and an illuminating talk by John Wright, wild food expert, on collecting sea weed and foraging by the coast. There were stalls filled with gardening paraphernalia, a talk by Dave Wiscombe on keeping bees, which always fascinates me, plus the usual stuff, yummy food and drink, animals, including baby lambs and for entertainment the Uplyme Morris Men.
I absolutely love visiting RCHQ, it has such a lovely atmosphere and is filled with a gorgeous light.
Talking of light, on the way home above Bridport, I saw a rainbow. It's the first rainbow I have ever seen from start to finish. In other words I saw the whole thing. It was an amazing sight seeing it coming up out of the ground, so to speak.

We are all reved up and ready for Spring now. I have planted the garlic cloves into modules and popped them in the summer house. The bed which had the bonfire on it, has had the ash dug in and compost added. I have raked it and we put the new cloches on top to warm the soil up ready for planting. We have marked out new beds, ready for the turf to be stripped off - exciting times ahead, if not a little back breaking!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

The Scent of Spring

This week we have had the most incredible weather. Although there is still a little nip in the air, we have had wall to wall sunshine for the whole week.
The sunshine has brought the Spring flowers into bloom with their soft colours and scents filling the air.
I tided the front garden this weekend and was blown away by the scent coming from the Skimmia. I had never noticed it before probably because I never spend any time in the front garden. It's one of those wasted spaces, with scrubby grass and a car parked on it for much of the time. I am at a loss as to what to do with it. Where is Matt James when you need him?



Monday, 16 March 2009

Yellow - The Colour of March

Today I woke up aching after my first proper workout in the garden of the year.
The grass was cut, edges trimmed and the leaves from the Winter drop were sucked up and burnt on a bonfire.
The sun had a warmth to it - Spring is definitely here!!
I took a trip into Bournemouth last week and paid a visit to Wilkinsons. They have a fantastic gardening department and I got all sorts of bargains. I bought a couple of clear plastic covered cloches for £4.99 each. They are going to be excellent for putting on the soil to warm it up before planting, or for keeping off the rain, if it gets really heavy.
I also purchased some lovely gardening gloves, which are too lovely to wear, for a couple of pounds. Their live plants need looking over before purchasing but you can certainly pick up a bargain. I bought two blackberry plants and two blueberry plants for £2 and £3 each.

The garden is coming back to life after its Winter sleep. Buds and shoots are appearing and there is anticipation in the air. My Tete a Tete are heralding the beginning of Spring with their yellow cheerfulness glowing in the sunshine and with the clocks going on an hour in a couple of weeks, that really is something to look forward to.

Tete a Tete

Kerria Buds

Raspberry Shoots

Monday, 2 March 2009

What do you wear to garden in?

When you get dressed in the morning, knowing that you have a day of gardening ahead of you, do you have clothes dedicated to the task? Do you look presentable like Rachel de Thame, or do you look like me; joggy bottoms splattered with paint, the oldest t shirt from the drawer and no make-up! The clothes I wear in the garden, used to look tidy, until worn out and tatty and then relegated to the gardening wardrobe. I know it seems kind of pointless, looking your best, when you know you are going to get covered in dirt but really I think I need to make more of an effort so I am going to look in my wardrobe for newer clothes to relegate to gardening duty and maybe a touch of mascara at the very least!

The sun shone yesterday and I was glad to be outside. For a brief moment, there were no children in the neighbouring gardens and it was peaceful. Instead of enjoying this moment though, all I could think of was that the little blighters would return at any second to spoil the birdsong and then there it was, shouting from the top and side of the garden. My daughter tried to remind me that she and her brother were like that once but somehow it doesn't sound so bad when it comes from your children!

After muttering 'shut up' a few times, I turned to the jobs in hand. To move the raspberries which I grew in pots last year into beds and do some weeding. The raspberries did quite well in pots last year but you have to be quite vigilant with the watering (which I wasn't always) and they didn't fruit as well as the ones in the ground. They are autumn fruiting raspberries, which are cut to the ground each winter and now have lovely green shoots over them, a sure sign that spring is on the way. The weeding and cutting back were quite satisfying jobs. I got quite excited to see new shoots on the clematis which I purchased last year but hadn't planted out. I was a bit worried that it hadn't survived the cold weather we had this winter.

I found a few spring flowers to photograph in the garden. Pulmonaria also known as Lungwort and Bergenia. It was thought that the plant had medicinal qualities, as the leaves have white spots on them, resembling diseased lungs and therefore it was used to cure pulmonary disease during the plague.



Fingers crossed for sunny weather next weekend. Lots to do in the garden and I must sort out my wardrobe before then.


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