Category: flowers

A successful harvest

September Gardening Gleanings

As my four-year stint writing this blog for Dobies of Devon comes towards its end, I approach the future with a sense of adventure. Harvest in (well most of it) – the perfect time for reflection. Maybe my musings and these September Gardening Gleanings will inspire you to assess your own plot and re-establish its identity. Unlike Spring when all is bustle and busyness, or Summer when the days are insufficiently long to accomplish all the necessary gardening tasks, the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” (Keats) allows you to step back and THINK.

As Andi Clevely says in Your Kitchen Garden Month-by-Month, you “might want to change the arrangement of beds, plan different crops, or even try challenging new methods such as extending the season by growing under glass or mulching as a labour-saving alternative to heavy digging.” Why not?

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Four raised beds filled with vegetables and herbs in Summer 2013

Gardening Opportunities

If you live, as we do, where Winter extends into Summer and we have little or no Spring, and then suddenly Autumn creeps upon us unawares, it seems highly sensible to take advantage of all possible gardening opportunities. By which I do not mean out in the garden on days when you can, and potter in the greenhouse, shed or conservatory when you can’t. I mean open your mind to help from elsewhere. It seems highly sensible to take advantage of online-catalogue offers – seedlings, young plants and potted specialities to fill gaps, or to populate a complete bed.

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The scented bliss of sweet peas

Garden resuscitation

Since I last blogged, it’s been perfect for gardening – neither too hot nor too cold, and with showers to refresh the vegetables. The flower patch has come into its own, too. Dead-heading when appropriate has meant that there is a continual supply of cut flowers for the  house. Joy indeed. But as I picked and weeded and made notes of things to do next month, it came to me that gardens – being living entities – do from time to time need resuscitating. A revamp. Gardeners themselves may also feel the need for rejuvenation; it’s all too easy to become set in one’s ways because “that’s how I have always done it.”  So garden resuscitation is the order of the day; the thought would never have come to me had I not been tidying ‘The Shed’ – not the one with tools and gardening paraphernalia, but the one in which I store a library-full of BOOKS.

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Our vegetables are fast coming on stream, with more variety than we usually manage

July Gardening Miscellany

Weatherwise, it’s been perfect for gardening; just a little rain, but all my newly acquired plants are now well established, and the ‘hungry’ ones – beans and sweet-peas – are fed weekly with diluted seaweed extract. Even though we made a late start (wet and cold in the high Cotswolds) we still have far more produce than two of us can possible consume. My July Gardening Miscellany will take you from our own plot, through the garden gate for inspiration near and far, and then to hopeful holiday-time activities and relaxation. All with gardening as the catalyst, of course.

The flower patch is already attracting a whole range of insects

The flower patch is already attracting a whole range of insects

Creating a flower patch within the vegetable ‘allotment’ has been perfect for attracting insects – mixing climbing vegetables with the flowers has intensified pollination. Vegetable trials of new varieties are ongoing, some are better than others – at least they are in our soil and conditions. Once established, we never water; it’s a waste of precious resources, and with produce and flowers packed close together, the heavy clay ground does not dry out. Though we do take advantage of ‘grey’ water and water butts.

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potagers combine vegetables and flowers

Flower Garden Vegetables

How many gardeners, I wonder, are adamant that flowers and vegetables should never mix, but be kept apart – one is pure decoration, the other grown for the kitchen. This was certainly so in former times, when the vegetable plot was kept well out of sight of the house. In reality, the nearer it is to the house the easier the harvesting.

I’ve always hankered after thoughts of an established potager where all is a glorious mix, though not all flowers and veg co-habit as happily as one might wish. Sometimes a surprise occurs and the notion of flower garden vegetables is almost forced upon one. A vegetable runs to seed – what a beauty – and hey-presto; a new entrant for the cutting patch. I had forgotten the joyous exuberance of my original potager, back in the late 60s, before digital photography was a possibility – not that that had anything to do with it, only that I wish I had more images of that rather special form of growing so much of what I love in a small space.

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