Friday, 20 April 2012

Shades of Green and Blue

The past few weeks have been a bit of a blur.  Since leaving the 9-5 and going it alone I’ve found myself busier than ever and this has been reflected in a serious lack of time to blog, tweet and garden (shock horror).   I’ve found myself writing and blogging for several other sources, which is great fun as well as bringing in an income, but this blog, where it all began, has been neglected somewhat.  I’m now in a place where the dust has started to settle a bit and I can see that boundaries need to be drawn so that I can manage things a bit better.  This means that I can also find time to do the things that I love once more.

It hasn’t been all work and no play though.  I’ve been able to sow a few seeds and repot the tomatoes, chillies and cut flowers.  I’ve also started to put the hazel obelisks in to place at the allotment ahead of planting the beans and peas and I have plans to create hazel sweet pea supports too.  Hazel always looks so much nicer than bamboo, I think, and as it’s locally sourced (from the private wood at our stables) you can’t really go wrong.

Harvests have also been quite good lately.  The chickens are now in full lay and over the past week even Edna my Lavender Araucana, who I wrote about in Operation Araucana, has also started to lay.  This news is a sure sign that she is well on her way to being fully accepted in to the flock.  Her gorgeous blue/green eggs are always a favourite and certainly improve the look of the egg-skelter.
The Rhubarb has also been producing well and we’ve enjoyed the first crumble of the year.  Rhubarb is a big favourite of mine and I can foresee many more cake, crumble and other desserts and dishes to come.  The purple sprouting broccoli has produced well but in an effort to clean up the plot and with a large slosh of optimism, I left it uncovered.  This has resulted in several well-fed pigeons and slightly less well-fed humans.

In other news, the latest competition winner, winning two gorgeous solid granite table torches from Garden Items, is @ericahughes.  Congratulations!  But it doesn’t end there!  Our next competition will launch soon and this time it’s in association with the fabulous Sarah Raven.  Keep your eyes peeled!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

New blooms from the cutting garden

Where once there were blue skies, now we find grey.  It’s hard to believe it but only a week ago I found myself sun burnt after a morning of potato planting but it’s true.   Over the course of a few hours at the allotment, in which I planted a mix of first and second earlies and a crop of maincrop spuds, I found myself with a light lobsteresque sheen that over the course of an evening developed to a nice shade of Pantone 1777.   That week of beautiful weather, in which most gardeners reveled, has now been replaced by a heavy patch of gloom and we again find ourselves looking ahead to Summer but will we get one?

For now, new growth and fresh blooms pierce the melancholic hues of April giving light relief and hope of things yet to come.  I guess to many this drizzly and damp patch is heaven sent but there is no hosepipe ban here and the soil has barely dried out from Winter.  A few more weeks of sunshine would have been welcomed but alas, it was not meant to be.

Only last weekend I cut the first of the blooms from the cutting garden, a mix of tulips and daffodils that  remain almost perfect on my hall side table as I write.  A jumble of bargain bucket and poundshop bulbs, they are nothing special but they have truly earned their place on the plot and continue to produce masses of gorgeous blooms that allow me to bring a splash of sunshine indoors on the gloomiest of days.  This will continue for a few more weeks yet as there are plenty more to cut and I'm hoping that this will last until the sunshine reappears.  Aside from the vase pictured above, I’ve also combined dark red tulips with a gorgeous peach Chaenomele to produce a fiery combination.

Over  the next year the cutting garden will expand with the addition of yet more Dahlias, Gladioli, Lillies, and many other gorgeous annual and perennial plants, most of which are waiting in my garden, ready to be planted in to the second cutting garden on my other allotment plot.  Other bulbs lurk in cardboard boxes awaiting their time to unfurl their potential and I just need the time now to get planting.

In competition news, the winner of the bulbs ‘in the green’ from Thompson & Morgan is Rosie (@leavesnbloom).  Please email: ryan@ryansgarden.co.uk to claim your prize.
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