Category: gardening with children

Rain, rain and more rain!

self-seeded cowslip plant

One cowslip plant has self-seeded to become a large patch in our orchard –
stakes mark the outlying plants to prevent them being ‘mown out’

After a more than unusually warm end to March, with accompanying drought, is there anywhere that is not now soggy and waterlogged? And it’s likely to remain so, and cold with it, for a while yet. Take a look at today’s BBC Weather website – and click on the link to weatherman John Hammond’s explanation on why this is happening. The damp conditions have actually favoured our expanding cowslip patch, begun from a single (purchased) plant five years ago – not one taken from the wild.

Continue Reading

End of month miscellany

potager in early summer 2011

My potager in early summer 2011; it’s development is still ongoing

With the mild weather we’ve had this January, I should have been out in the garden, titivating the potager and beginning yet another reclamation project of areas that escaped me last year. But circumstances have made this impossible, though I do enjoy our outdoor space every day when letting out, feeding and shutting in the hens. Crocuses and snowdrops already in flower, hellebores of various types with lime-green or deep purple buds ready to open, and the modest shrubby winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) releasing its delicious scent whenever I walk into the sheltered patch where it is growing.

Continue Reading

Gardening Book Recommendations

adding perennials and herbs to the potager

Work in progress – adding perennials and herbs to the potager

There’s something about August and – for those with children – the school holiday period, that has one thinking of changed directions. Such a good time to learn something different, or catch up on those books piled in the bookshelf that you hoped to read when you had a spare moment. Spare moments rarely come for gardeners; there’s always more to be done outside. I’ve just spent the morning expanding the potager; adding more herbs and planting some of the perennial plugs bought earlier that will attract welcome insects throughout the autumn and next spring and summer.

Continue Reading

June Miscellany: pest control, begonias and vegetables

village scarecrow competition

Our village held a fun ‘look alike’ scarecrow competition for the village fete – I dare not show the photo of me holding my ‘creation’; you might not know which was the scarecrow!

Scarecrows, begonias and an update on our allotment and new potager all feature in this first June posting. As the days lengthen towards mid-summer, there still does not seem to be time enough for us to accomplish all we seek to do out-of-doors.

Scarecrows always make me smile, but they serve a useful purpose in the garden – so long as you keep moving them around! Once a customary sight in farm fields (where clothing past human wearing could be recycled), traditional scarecrows as bird-deterrents are now less common. Farmers – and gardeners – employ all manner of objects to protect their crops: foil discs and strips; plastic fertiliser and compost bags hung from poles; bottles on sticks; humming lines; fake birds of prey; spinning mini-windmills; flags, kites and balloons; guns and other exploding devices; cat-shaped standalones with flashing eyes; fleece, netting, cages … one’s garden or allotment could begin to take on the appearance of a shanty town!

Continue Reading

Planning the Perfect Potager

discussing garden design plans

Discussing a secluded area in our Cotswold garden sorely in need of reclamation; almost a total makeover – but I have such plans (though bringing them to fruition will take time, and hours of work).

Rain in the wind, and falling from the sky – and I wonder when I will ever get back to the joys of plunging my hands in the warm soil, and actually sowing and planting anything, let alone harvesting young and succulent salads and vegetables. I return to my series of photographs taken around the garden in early January, and the plans that I was trying to formulate in my head for this year; always more than I can ever accomplish! Last week I blogged about my passion for herbs – but that is as nothing when compared to my PASSION for POTAGERS. Potagers? Best described perhaps as productive yet ornamental kitchen gardens. Not just food, but glorious colour, and the ongoing delights of watching edible plants grow, whilst also accommodating beneficial wildlife, no matter how small the space.

Continue Reading