When we first moved into Mudville some 15 years or so ago, we inherited a rather straggly looking hedge, running down the side of our property and marking the boundary. It had obviously been neglected for many years and so we took on the no small task of bringing it back to good health. Seven years later and the hedge was transformed beyond recognition to a vibrant, bushy and green wall of nature, giving cover and shelter to the wildlife within. Then for a variety of reasons, we haven’t been able to do the trimming for the last 4 years or so and the hedge once again began to take on a sparse appearance, becoming tall and spindly and not looking in anyway shape or form like the well cared for hedge we had looked after so diligently. Continue reading
The summer holidays seem a long time ago now, as the temperatures take a decidedly downward turn, the sun sinks ever lower into the sky with each passing day and in the garden, plants start to give up the ghost, shrivelling and turning brown as the last of their fruits reach full maturity and, in the case of the pumpkins and winter squashes, start to develop their autumn colours and hardened skins. Yet it was only two weeks ago that the Mudlets’ schools opened their doors once again, at the start of yet another academic year and hordes of excited children arrived in the playgrounds, anxious to catch up with their particular set of friends, sharing news of holidays, outings and all manner of goings on.
So as the chill night air once again starts to envelope Mudville, I have decided that now is the time to share the summer happenings of our little family, to reminisce of warmer days and new experiences. Continue reading
Wow! Where has this year gone? It only seems 5 minutes since I was planning what I was going to plant in the school garden, agreed to help in the local community garden and took the decision to back off from blogging for a while to allow my mojo to heal and rejuvenate. As for my own garden, it has had the year off to replenish the depleted nutrients which have resulted from several seasons of year on year growing and in spite of zealous digging in of fertilisers. My beds are currently buried under a generous layer of farmhouse manure and freshly mulched hedge clippings, ready for the autumn/winter weather and local population of worms to work their magic, breaking it down into the much needed, aforementioned nutrients. With any luck growing season 2018 is going to be a good one. Continue reading
That’s the only way you could describe the state of my largest greenhouse. In fact it was far more than a bit of a mess, it was a bona fide disaster zone and I needed to sort it out pretty quickly. You see with the Jack Frost just around the corner, it was imperative that I moved the chilli plants which were in the smaller greenhouse, into the large one, so that I could set the small one up as the winter lodgings for some of the outdoor plants which weren’t frost hardy.
A couple of weekends ago I spent about 7 hours across two days, in my vegetable gardening clearing away, pruning, digging up and planting, untangling bean vines from bamboo structures interwoven with garden wire or garden twine. I hoisted, shifted and dragged bags of compost, spent and unused growbags, pots, tubs, house bricks and windblown branches from one place to another. By the end of the weekend I could feel with the usual gentle reprimand from muscles not used to so much activity and treated myself to a long, hot soak in the bath to placate them. Continue reading
Back in June, a quick survey of the hanging baskets and tubs dotted around Mudville, resulted in Mud deciding that most of the 6 or 7 year old baskets had well and truly outlived their usefulness and many of the herbs and plants, needed repotting into larger tubs or pots. So we all piled into Annie and headed off to the garden centre on the first of many trips, to replenish the baskets and plants. One area that we really wanted to address, was the corner near the barbeque which is almost entirely in the shade for most of the day, due to the gazebo and so that first trip was mostly dedicated to finding a selection of shade loving plants, with which to dress the covered well. Continue reading
Okay, let’s be honest, up to a week or so ago, as Summers go, the weather we’ve had so far this year has been…. well….. less than ideal. In fact if I’m totally honest, with the exception of most of the second week of Wimbledon, the lack of sunshine and warmth has been immensely depressing, frustrating and off-putting. Poor old Mud has been thoroughly cheesed off because since leaving his job three weeks ago, he hasn’t been able to get on with any of the jobs on Ciggy, Annie or the workshop that he had planned to do and has spent much of the last few weeks muttering about how he shouldn’t be at all surprised because this has been typical of his luck in recent years, in respect of the weather on his days off! Continue reading
There comes a time each growing season, when gardeners have to decide that the chance of hard frosts has passed and they can start to move seedlings and young plants out of their greenhouses, into their final positions and for me, this year, that day was Thursday just gone (19th May). It was a warm but not overly hot afternoon, with a gentle breeze – perfect conditions really, especially for planting the willowy, fragile bean plants. Continue reading
You could be forgiven for thinking that for a vegetable gardener, the sight of the first potato leaves of the year, sitting happily in the lovingly prepared beds, would be a reason for joy, for celebration, not to mention relief that the carefully planted seed tubers hadn’t rotten away, unseen, deep underground but had been quietly doing their thing before bursting out into the light of day. So you may be surprised to learn that this was not my reaction when, last weekend, with the sun warm and bright, I headed off down to my vegetable patch, clutching carrot and parsnip seeds, only to find that not only had the local weed population decided to take full advantage of the recently enriched soil but proudly sitting in the carrot bed, brazen as you like, were little clumps of potato leaves! Continue reading
On a morning like today, with the sun shining and the outdoor temperature an impressive 14.5C, you could almost believe that Winter was finally losing her grip on our part of the world and that Spring had arrived. That’s ‘almost believe‘ though, not ‘know for sure‘ because one thing that gardening has taught me over the last few years is that Ma Nature doesn’t read books and most certainly does not follow all the rules, or that the advice in regards the seasons and specifically their start and end dates, written by experts can only ever be regarded as guidelines, best case scenarios and should not be followed verbatim. Warm as the day is today, there is still the possibility of snow and hard frosts have been known to hit as late as the back-end of May, as I learned to my cost back in 2010. Continue reading