Monthly Archives: May 2016

oh to be in england…

I LOVE the froth of Chelsea, and this year it was extra frothy as many of the show gardens went au naturel.  Funny that, as the english landscape is the result of hundreds’ of years of intervention.  Still – let’s go with the flow and get out and see the real stuff!

DSC_0534sublime views….

DSC_0637gorgeous planting palettes…

DSC_0574to the simply OTT

DSC_0599and full blown blowsy….

DSC_0594it’s all out there to have a look at.  FAB.

On the holding, we have been picking the spring veg. – salads, artichokes, asparagus, peas and broad beans.  When I was small, I hated broad beans – they came in the frozen mixed veg. that we had dished up with the Sunday lunch. I tried to hide the grey beans under something else, usually with limited success .  Now the broad bean is my favourite spring bean, mixed in with peas, what a treat!

DSC_0663DSC_0665Then, add home grown potatoes and herbs ….Sunday lunch, LOVE it…






hare today!

putting aside the bad puns… we saw a hare this evening; the first we have seen on the smallholding, so very exciting!

hareThe brown hare, Lepus europaeus, is not native to the UK but was introduced, probably by the Romans.  As with many wild species, numbers are in decline.  I’m so pleased that we have at least one here.  It helps that we have lots of long grass with some runs cut around the trees in the orchard.

I’m keeping my eyes peeled for more specimens!


oh you pretty things…

In the orchards the plum and damson blossom scattered away, superceded by the pear blossom of the trees near the piggery.   Now is the turn of the cherries and apples to flower.

DSC_0486DSC_0487Whilst there is good evidence that hand thinning of blossom improves the quality of the apple crop, I can’t bear to do this, so I reduce down the small fruits after the June drop.  I would much rather have an orchard full of blossom!

On the subject of lovely things, I bought this pretty auricula for £1.50 at a local plant sale which had been organised to support the continuation of our village library.auriculaThe local villagers made donations of plants and gardening books; we gave our spare chilli and tomato plants.   The sale made a tidy sum for the library fund.

I’m a great fan of going to local plant sales, I think you can find far more interesting specimens than the stuff stocked at the large chain garden centres.  Failing that, I like to check out the smaller, independent plant nurseries.  Invariably, they are run by passionate horticulturalists.

Back to auriculas.  Calke Abbey (NT) has a terrific theatre; I’ve visited the Abbey but never at a time to see these primulas, I must make a diary note for next year.

Photo credit: National Trust

Photo credit: National Trust

Now, I must find a terracotta pot for my specimen.   Could lead to an obsession!

happy birthday sweet…

fifty eight!

ohbreakfastBirthday breakfast for the lovely OH.  First asparagus picked this season.


chasing butterflies….


14 spot ladybird

I’m doing quite well on my ladybird spotting, (2 spot, 7 spot, 14 spot and, uh oh, harlequin).   So I’ve branched out a bit and have started to record the butterflies.  Which is tricky, as they are a little aimless in flight and skittish when the weather is less clement; still, they are less tricky than the bumblebees.  I’ve been using a couple of websites, such as UK Butterflies, to help with identification.

The Speckled Wood is very pretty:

DSC_0366as is the Orange Tip and Peacock:

DSC_0465DSC_0361I’m not sure about this white one; I should have taken a picture of the underside as according to the Butterfly Conservation website this is more help in distinguishing between say, Small White, Large White and Green Veined.

DSC_0473I’ll know better next time!