July Jam…

I’ve made Gooseberry jam. I’ve made a couple of jars of sweet gooseberry pickle. I’ve made a few jars of  a South Indian spiced gooseberry pickle. I’ve given gooseberries away. I’ve allowed the blackbirds to help themselves to gooseberries and I’ve not said a word against them…. There have been a lot of gooseberries. They’ve almost all gone now. Just two later ripening bushes left – and I have made a half-hearted effort to protect them from the blackbirds. (Although yesterday two of this year’s young ones crashed into the windows and died – probably overladen with gooseberries!)

In fact all of the soft fruit has done well – and didn’t seem to suffer from the killer frost earlier in the year despite my pessimism at the time.

The top fruits generally are poor. There will be fights over the few apples that escaped the frost and the very few greengages are not destined to make it back to the house. I will be watching for them to ripen and will eat them as they do. The pears might be ok but it’s a bit too early to be sure.

It looks like it’s going to be a phenomenal hazelnut crop. Although it doesn’t pay to be too complacent as sometimes the shells are empty and sometimes the weevil worm gets them…and for the very first year there will be walnuts (15 of them!)




Still hot….but I’ve nothing to complain about. Oh yes I have, the evil mice!

It’s getting crowded in there….
Crocosmia ‘lucifer’ with both wild and golden marjoram in front.Lychnis chalcedonica with white Verbascum chaixii and the first Dahlia.So far no Blight despite many, many warnings. There was an adequate amount of rain last week just when it was getting properly worryingly dry, which has replenished my stocks a little. The tomatoes are setting fruits and growing well in the ‘greenhouse’. I’m digging potatoes daily and the various beans are coming along nicely. Some of my Dahlias are in full flowering mode already and the butterflies are plentiful and loving the heat.

But the cloud which doesn’t have a silver lining is this. The beautiful, much anticipated and lovingly tended pea patch has been stripped bare by mice. I know for definite it’s mice and not pigeons or people because there are neat piles of nibbled empty pods all along the rows of plants.

I put down a trap, baited with cheese, (after  having tried in vain to persuade the cat that she wanted to stay on guard). The next morning the cheese and the rest of the peas had all gone but the trap hadn’t sprung. I’ve re-sown but it’s getting a bit late in the season to be confident of a second crop – mildew is often a problem later on, especially in hot weather.