Oca might be ok…

I’ve just started lifting the Oca in a serious way – rather than just scratching around the plants to see what’s there.  It’s been so damp and chilly the leaves are starting to drop and rot even under the netting and, though I’d rather wait longer, I can’t. Major vole depredations as usual. But I got out this handful of sizeable beauties. I hope there will be lots more – but there will at least be enough to have another try next year – The eternally optimistic (delusional) mentality of a gardener…

No clouds in the sky but a lovely Clouded Yellow

How I have waited for this photo – even though it’s not very good! After the miserable weather, and especially after this cold spell, I was thrilled to see two Clouded Yellows in the garden. They really are the last men standing. Even the reliable Speckled Woods have gone now and I haven’t seen a Red Admiral for a while… These have been buzzing around but not settling anywhere for more than a couple of seconds. So I was pretty happy that one finally stopped on a broccoli flower and let me close enough to snap.

Cutting back…

After a fair amount of time spent moping or doing very little I’ve finally spent a day hacking back the dead stems, scratching out the moss and prising out the couch grass ‘onions’. It’s  satisfying to see some semblance of order returning to parts of the most overgrown places – and more importantly, the re-opening up of borders which had felt (although I hadn’t paid enough attention and realised until now), somewhat claustrophobic.

I’m planning on an overhaul of my borders. I’ve finally got to the happy point where I can start to dig out and discard. Previously I was just glad that stuff was growing and filling the gaps – even if that meant having plants that I didn’t overly like but was pleased that they grew!  Now I’ve a substantial list of plants that I can move elsewhere (even perhaps out of the garden into the ditches and hedgerows) and, more importantly, other (better) things I’ve raised from seed or cuttings that now need to be moved from their nursery beds into a more permanent home.

What I’m not good at is ‘imagining’ what things will look like. I can’t plan plantings or juxtapositions of plants. It’s always been a bit of pot luck and serendipity if things have worked – normally I have no space ready for a new plant so things get fitted in and then worked around….even if they’re not ‘working’.



And the rain continues….

The weather, whilst mild and incredibly still for the most part, (despite hail yesterday, and two nights of frost which have now blackened the Dahlias) has been been wet. And horribly damp in the house.

I am a bit of a baby when it comes to getting wet. I hate being wet. When I’m out working I dash in and out of the barn like the little plastic lady of the weather vanes the minute it starts raining.

But now the dampness is interfering with my seed collecting/drying with quite a lot of mould even on things I’d thought were dry – or that would dry if I took them indoors. Of course it’s always a bit of a gamble saving seed. Generally with the big stuff like beans, squash etc. you can tell pretty much if they’re going to be viable. The tiny seeds are more problematic.  I should perhaps germinate samples when I save them to save heartache the following year, but I don’t. What made me think that, was that I’d collected some marigold (tagetes) seed – so nothing special – but was wondering if it was ok. Then I saw that amongst the seed heads a couple had already sprouted. Hmmmmn. So they are viable, but if they’ve sprouted now because of the damp is it worth trying to dry them for next Spring?

And now, after a day where the freeze overnight gave way to a beautiful, sun-filled, sparklingly lit sky, I’m waiting to see what tomorrow will bring. I can’t say that I got masses done, but I feel like I’m getting back in gear again after a period of what can only be kindly called ‘inertia’.

Now that the Dahlias, Nasturtiums, Marigolds etc. have had it I can tackle the cutting back and the weeding more comfortably. There is just so much that needs doing.

In the field today I saw two deer, scared a pheasant, picked some Millers and a huge Orange Birch Bolete (in good condition) which have been cooked down and will be part of tomorrow’s soufflé (just the mushrooms!)

And I collected these most beautiful beans. I call them ‘Isabelle’s Black Beans’ because she gave them to me several years ago and I’ve never found out their real name.

So damp…

Of course it’s been worse. But it is so damp! Visibility about 50 metres. Low cloud. Not raining but so much moisture it feels like it is. My spirits plummeted – and they were already pretty low,  and remained low for the day.

Strangely, as the day progressed, it got warmer and warmer outside. I didn’t realise until I went out at about 4pm. The condensation that I’d seen on my window, and thought that it was cold outside… meant the opposite. It was actually warmer outside than in! Quick – get outside into that warm!

Beanz Meanz…

Obviously not 57 varieties, but I’ve got lots!
I love the colours, forms, markings and abundance….

The harvesting of them has given me a bit of a push. Plus, I have attacked parts of the garden with shears and secateurs. This has made me feel better.

I have also been nurturing this Brugmansia for a couple of seasons. This year it grew well, but the flower buds only started to form at the beginning of October. Too late I thought. However….a mild Autumn and a bit of jiggling of the plant – into the conservatory and leaving the house door open so that the night temperature stayed around 7 degrees…. and….. Voila!

The perfume is amazing. Only at night time. Huge trumpets of custardy yellow loveliness with these beautiful curly, twirly tendrils. When they open wide they’re almost the size of my head!

Now, I need to get it through the winter….