Monthly Archives: September 2017

she sows … flowers

A little update.

18 months ago Ron, (man with a digger), came round and levelled the ground that lies between the house and the kitchen garden.  We have gone from this…

to this…

We still have more structural planting to do.  The hedgerow alongside the road is a little thin in places so needs an additional line of native tree whips and the section of hornbeam hedging alongside the track will also go in this autumn.    I’ve placed an order of perennials with a wholesaler which should arrive October/November time.  These plants will fill the front 2 quadrants but as there will be more hard landscaping in the sections furthest from the house, I don’t want to plant anything permanent that may get trampled.   To avoid having large swathes of bare earth through next year, I’m planting a bed of annuals for cutting.

A September sowing of annuals will come into flower in May the following year, this can then be topped up with an additional sowing in late winter/early spring.  Hardy annuals such as Ammi, Calendula, Nigella, and poppies can withstand some frost so I’ve marked out a series of lines and direct sowed.  To this I’ve added lines of transplanted biennials, Sweet William and wallflowers that I sowed some weeks back.

Others such as delphiniums, snapdragons, sweet peas, scabious,  and cornflowers I’ve sown in half trays which I’m leaving in the polytunnel to overwinter.  The sweet peas, when transplanted, will be grown up a number of very excellent obelisks that my nephew designed and constructed when he visited.

Annuals are an excellent way of getting masses of colour into a garden whilst perennials are establishing.

I’m looking forward to a riot of colour next summer.


in praise of pears…

The pears are starting to ripen; in fact a large quantity of the Beth pear, an early variety, had dropped to the ground.  It is a, relatively, modern cultivar, developed by East Malling Research Station, (Williams x Buerre Superfin), and has the RHS AGM, (always a good sign for UK growers).

The pear is delicious and not wanting to miss out, we gathered up most of the fallen fruit.  There is always, as with gluts, a moment when I think ‘what on earth am I going to do with this lot?’,

but once I start prepping, the produce is used up in no time.  In this case, there wasn’t any point in storing the windfalls, (they were already ripe), so we sliced them up for drying.  The pear chips are much sweeter than the dried apple rings, so I can’t see them being around for very long.

I also decided to make chutney with the firmer Beth pears.  I’ve made Tom Kerridge’s spiced version, (here on the BBC Good Food website), on a number of occasions and it’s probably my favourite chutney.  One benefit of this blog being a haphazard record of the holding is that I know that the last time I made this was much, much later in the year, (December!), using Williams pears.  Whilst the Williams is also an early ripening variety, we had kept these fruit in cold storage, (the fridge), and brought the pears out a couple of days beforehand to finish ripening.

The recipe called for 10 pears and I made 4 1lb jars, and these have been added to our larder.

The glut is no more!





summer’s last hurrah…

We picked the peaches today.

We grow one peach tree, (Peregrine), and like the apricot it does produce a reasonable crop.  Both are planted at the back of the Dutch Barn under a cover which helps to reduce peach leaf curl.

As the trees have grown somewhat since planting, the canopy needed to be raised.  Luckily one of our nephews was visiting and was swiftly roped in to construct the new cover.  After a few days shimmying up the ladder/angle grinding/sawing/drilling and relocating one, (possibly more), false widow spider, the new canopy was done.

I’ll need to revisit the form of the trees over the next week to ensure they are as flat to the Dutch Barn as possible.

From the bowl of peaches, I set aside enough to make a trial batch of jam and the rest we cut into segments and filled a shelf in the dehydrator.

I turned the heater on and in no time the utility room was filled with the scent of ripe peaches which was a rather lovely final wave to the summer.