Thursday, 30 June 2011

Local inspiration

I went for a nice walk today, past the Pontyclun Allotments. Rows and rows of broad beans, peas, and other wonderful veg. 

One of the allotments had a grape vine growing on it:

And I spotted a first blackberry in the hedgerow!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011


...9 little slugs won't make it through the night. I went out with my torch, and picked them of my plants and then they had to die. 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


I just finished reading the fantastic novel, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. 

This passage from the end of the book is wonderful. 

"Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.
It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.

A harvest: broad beans and mint

I picked some broad beans today, and made a lovely meal with them, a recipe from Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries, orecciette (pasta) with ricotta, broad beans, and mint (also from the garden).  

Monday, 27 June 2011

Spinach out, spinach in

What changeable weather! It started off another beautiful day, then by 10am it was rainy. 

Pulled out the last of the radishes (the ones that hadn't really grown) and the spinach (the slugs had eaten them too much at the start of their growth, so there wasn't much left) and I sowed some more spinach seeds, and some broccoli. 

Sunday, 26 June 2011

The weeds are alright

Just watched a really interesting BBC programme all about weeds - The Wonder of Weeds. Weeds are good for the wildlife! 

Alpine strawberries in little pots

Wow, what a glorious sunny day! Especially compared to yesterday. 

I spent so much of the day out in the garden. I finally potted the alpine strawberries into separate little pots. There won't be any strawberries from these plants til next year.

I repotted most of the tomato plants, and put new canes into them, as they'd all grown right past the canes I'd already put in, they were far too short! As it's such nice weather I've moved some of the plants outside. 

I sowed some Wallflower "My Fair Lady mixed" and some Honesty seeds into the bed at the back of the garden (notes that I need to remember: the Honesty seedlings should appear after 21-25 days, then I should thin the seedlings to 5cm. They then flower in Sept-Oct. The Wallflowers need keeping damp, then thinning out to 15 cm apart. Pinch out the growing tip when 10-13 cm tall to encourage bushiness. Flowers late winter to spring). 

I planted some spring onions (white lisbon) in a pot. 

Here are some more photos of the garden.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Honeysuckle in the rain

Rubbish weather today. Rainy & windy. Perfect opportunity to cut some of the honeysuckle that has got out of hand, whilst the bees aren't around. So pretty I had to put some in a vase!

Cut some sweet peas:

The tomatoes are growing wild. They're too big for the kitchen window ledge now, so I've moved them to sit by the french windows. Several of them are bigger than the bamboo cane.

Avoiding the expensive garden centre I ended up buying some compost in Poundstretchers! Only £2 a bag, and I got some courgette & cornflower seeds for £1, and 15 bamboo canes for £1. Bargains galore. 

I saw an episode of Gardeners World last night, they visited Gardeners World live and the Best in Show garden was a wild garden, with clover and daisies growing in the lovely long grass. Just like my garden! Inspiring to know a garden doesn't have to be perfectly manicured to be appreciated.

7 slugs had to die tonight.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Ode to a wild rose

On my walk home today I spotted this gorgeous wild rose in the hedgerow: 

And these beautiful blackberry flowers: 

One of the neighbours has the most amazing display of lavender in their front garden. It was looking it's best today!


And the bees were loving it. 

In Grainy's Garden news, I ate some peas straight from the pod today, they tasted like sweets! Amazing. They will probably never reach the kitchen, I just can't help but eat them there and then in the garden. 

Another gorgeous sweet pea flower: 

My potatoes aren't quite ready yet, but I couldn't help but check what was going on down there in the soil... so I dug one up, boiled it, and ate it. It tasted amazing! So fresh. 

More tomatoes on the vines: 

And I planted some poppy seeds which came free with Saturday's Telegraph. Here's the packet so I remember what variety they are!

Monday, 20 June 2011


Deaths tonight: 2 massive slug & 1 tiny one. All heading menacingly towards the tasty tender runner beans I planted out yesterday. 

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Sweet peas in their natural habitat

A gorgeous day, and we took a trip to the Gower, to Port Einon, a very beautiful beach. It's an important and protected area for wildflowers, and I spotted some wild sweet peas:

Here's a very similar looking sweet pea from my garden:

Here are some more wildflowers from Port Einon: 

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Foxgloves in their natural habitat

Today we took a road trip to the Brecon Beacons, and a walk to the Ystradfellte waterfalls. 

This is the Clun Gwyn fall. An amazing place to take a picnic.

And here are some foxgloves in their natural habitat!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Do tomatoes grown indoors need pollinating?

A friend at work today asked if tomatoes grown indoors need bees to pollinate the flowers to make them fruit. A good question! 

The Gardener's World website tells me though they do need pollinating, they don't need bees to do it. It says "you will need to pollinate them. This is easy as the male and female parts are contained within each flower. Just give the plant a good shake to dislodge the pollen. Water your plant regularly and feed once a week with diluted tomato fertiliser when flowers appear."

So I've given my tomato plants a good shake! 

Deaths: 15

My first sweet pea flower

Slug deaths: 4

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

A sunny day, I got lots of planting done!

Just look at the foxgloves! 

A lovely warm and sunny day today. I got home from work and immediately went out to the garden. Late last year I dug up a massive bamboo plant, it took weeks & I felt sure I'd dug it all up, but I was wrong...I found some bamboo shooting up in the middle of the lawn! 

I planted some more carrots, and some more beetroot, the last lot was eaten by the slugs, so this time I've put the tops of plastic bottles over them to protect them. I planted out the nasturtiums, amongst the radishes and cabbages. 

I planted some fennel seeds. I also repotted the two sweet pea plants I've got by the decked area, they were looking a bit yellow & had grown too big for their pots. 

I planted some more mixed salad, and repotted the coriander plant that seems to be doing quite well. 

Some of the spinach has recovered, I thought it had all been eaten by the slugs, but some of the plants survived.

The big growing plant behind the magnolia tree (not sure of the name) is going crazy, and is growing some beautiful yellow flowers, the bees love it! [update: I think it must by a type of honeysuckle]

Monday, 13 June 2011

Rain makes my garden happy

The garden is lush. It's been raining so much, the plants are happy. 

The sweet peas are about to flower! I'm very excited about this, they are my favourite flowers.

Death to the slugs: 5 (4 tiny ones and 1 giant one!|)

Thursday, 9 June 2011

A secret place

There's a secret place near where I live. It's beautiful, with a big lake, and lots of lovely birds and wildlife. I took these pictures when I went there after work this evening.

A rose for Hay

I was working at the Hay Festival last week. After each show, someone from the festival hands each of the speakers or performers a long stemmed rose. I was lucky enough to be given one of the roses, and it's lasted well!

Pea pods

Here's a pic of the first pea pod!

 And the nasturtiums are growing well: