Sunday 29 November 2009

Introducing Sammy

You were introduced to my son's rabbit, Monty, in May in my post Coming..... Ready Or Not. This is Monty's brother, Sammy, my daughter's rabbit. When we went to buy the rabbits in February of 2008 Sammy was the smallest there, my how he's grown. He's now much bigger than Monty. They're Rex rabbits, quite a large breed, and they tend to have a fold of skin underneath their neck. Monty doesn't have such a pronounced fold under his chin, but Sammy does earning him the nickname Big Fat Sammy Double Chin. During the summer they have their hutches on the grass so that we can just open the hutch doors to enable them to come and go into their run as they please, but in winter their hutches are brought down onto the patio as the grass tends to get so waterlogged. We still give them access to their runs in dry weather, but in wet weather they are spoilt and brought into the house for some cuddles instead. With all the rain we have had lately we decided that now was the time for their hutches to be moved so they are now installed nearer the kitchen door than usual. This also means that they get spoken to everytime someone goes in or out of the house.

There hasn't been any gardening done lately, the rain has just been too bad. It's also got alot colder which means that the plants which were moved into the greenhouse will soon be getting covered in their winter blanket of fleece.

The potatoes which I'm growing in a container in the greenhouse, hopefully for Christmas dinner, seem to be doing ok still. I hope I'm not disappointed on Christmas day.

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Putting My Feet Up

It seems that winter is certainly on it's way. We've had nothing but rain and strong winds for the last week, which means that digging over the allotment has been put on hold. Instead, I'm getting my gardening fix by putting up my feet and reading my magazines. I currently subscribe to Gardener's World magazine and Grow Your Own magazine, and I also have a stack of gardening books at hand ready for the long winter evenings when I'm confined to the house because of bad weather.

One thing I am short of is a good cook book. I have the usual celebrity chef books, Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson etc. but I really want something aimed specifically at allotmenteers which also gives advice about storing and preserving so wondered if anyone has any recommendations.

Now that things in the garden have come to a bit of a standstill I won't be updating the blog as often as usual. There's so much to blog about in the summer months when everything is happily growing away, but much less in winter and I don't want each post to read that I haven't done anything due to the weather, I'm sure it would only get monotonous. From now on I'll only blog when I have something constructive to blog about. I hope that's ok.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Moth Orchid

I'm rather pleased with myself as I have managed to get my Orchid to flower again. I bought myself a Phalaenopsis or Moth Orchid last year and it was in flower for a few months. At Christmas, my hubby's auntie and uncle bought me another Moth Orchid which again flowered until about May. I read up on the internet about getting them to bloom again and the general advice was to cut the flower spike down to just above a bud, which I did. I then waited for months but nothing happened. They looked rather comical actually, bare spikes with no sign that they would flower again. In the end I decided that I would cut the spikes right down to the leaves. Within a few weeks of doing this both the Orchids sent out a new spike, and both are now beginning to bloom. The next thing I'll be Googling is how to repot them. The one in the photo is the one which my hubby's auntie and uncle bought me, and it's roots are growing so far out of the pot that it will definitely need repotting.

I spent Thursday finally putting the garden to bed for the winter. All the more delicate plants in containers have been moved into the greenhouse. I don't heat my greenhouse at all, but as the weather becomes colder I will drape fleece over the pots, and I find that this keeps the frost off them.

I forgot to mention a couple of weeks ago that I did finally manage to get my winter hanging baskets planted up. I have got one at the back of the house with Pansies in it, and two at the front of the house containing Violas. On Thursday I planted the few left over plants into the border to add a little more colour over winter.

Last week I was kindly given the Best Blog Award from Tanya at Allotments4You. I am very proud to say that I have been given the award again this week from Kella at Kella's Musings on Growing Her Own, Wildlife and Her Brand of Parenting. Thank you very much Kella, I'm really honoured that you consider I deserve the award again. Of course, this now gives me the chance to nominate some more blogs for the award as it was very difficult last week to choose just 15, so first of all, here are the rules again:-

Post the award on your blog along with the name of the person who passed it on to you and link to their blog. Choose 15 blogs which you have recently discovered and you think are great and pass it on to them. Don't forget to leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

The 15 blogs I would like to pass this award on to are:-

I hope you will all accept this award as I think you have great blogs. I have also found it fun to follow the recipient's links to the blogs they have nominated as it's a great way to find new great blogs. Other people haven't nominated the full 15 blogs as I have, so I think anything up to 15 will be acceptable.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Another Failure

As you can see, my leeks haven't done too well. I can only assume that the failure's I've had this year have been down to the condition of the soil. I'm trying to rectify this ready for next year by adding lots of manure and compost to the beds. This year it has been a case of planting everything into the soil as it was and hoping for the best. Luckily not everything turned out as bad as my leeks.

We had some nice weather over the weekend which enabled us to spend some more time digging over the allotment. It's a long hard task so we're getting as much done as we can before the winter really sets in and whatever isn't done then will have to be done in spring. I wouldn't have got half as much done without my hubby and son's help. They worked like troopers. When I first took the allotment on my daughter was really keen to help, but sadly her enthusiasm has waned along the way. She's quite happy to do little jobs like planting seeds or picking strawberries, but isn't quite so keen on the more laborious tasks. My son on the other hand is always happy to help out, and really is a huge help when jobs need doing.

I also dug up some parsnips this week which we had for Sunday dinner. When I say we, I actually mean myself and my daughter, no one else will eat parsnips, but I have to grow plenty as my daughter would eat them by the plateful if I let her. They were delicious and definitely one of the successes.

Sunday 8 November 2009

A Little Bit Of Magic

This is Skimmia Japonica - Magic Marlot. It's an evergreen shrub and fairly new on the market. This is now in it's second phase. The first phase is white flower buds, in the second phase the flower buds change to a deep pink as you can see, and finally in the third phase the white flowers open and these are apparently scented. I only bought this plant in spring so I'm witnessing these phases for the first time. It hasn't put on alot of new growth this year but I don't know if this is because I have it planted in a container. I'm looking forward to seeing the flowers open and finding out what sort of scent it has.

After a bit of a dull start today has turned out rather nice. It poured with rain last night but today has been dry, sunny and really quite warm. I took advantage of this and spent the day doing jobs in the garden.

I've tidied up the flower border again. There were still a few flowers around when I last did this, but everything is now well and truly finished for the winter so I've cut alot of things back. Some foliage has been left behind for insects to take shelter in throughout the winter. I saw two ladybirds today, one native and one which I think may have been a Harlequin. Hopefully I can get the native species to hibernate in my garden so that they are still here when I need help with the nasties in spring. The small pond still needs sorting out but I didn't have any rubber gloves, so that job has been put on hold for another day. The plants in the pond have really thrived this year so they do need a little cutting back and their roots need trimming.

The spring bulbs which I bought for the garden have been planted today. I planted some Fritillaries around the small pond, and also some Narcissus - Minnow which produce up to five flowers on each stem and are a creamy yellow colour.

I am the proud recipient of this Best Blog Award. This was kindly bestowed upon me by Tanya at Allotments4You. Thank you very much, Tanya. I'm pleased that you enjoy my blog. That also goes to everyone else who regularly reads my blog and makes a comment, it's very much appreciated.

I now have to pass this award on to other blogs who I think deserves this award, but first of all the rules.

Post the award on your blog along with the name of the person who passed it on to you and link to their blog. Choose 15 blogs which you have recently discovered and you think are great and pass it on to them. Don't forget to leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

The 15 blogs I would like to pass this award on to are:-
I hope you will all accept the award as I think you have great blogs. Other people haven't nominated the full 15 blogs as I have, so I think anything up to 15 would be acceptable.

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Hooligans At Halloween

I was going to show you a photo of my son's elongated pumpkin which he managed to carve into something resembling Shrek (complete with ears) but unfortunately I didn't take a photo on Halloween. I had left it in the conservatory and intended to take a photo today, but when I lifted it up it had started to decay, and collapsed. So instead, here is a photo of my daughter's tiny Hooligan pumpkins which she instisted be carved for Halloween. They're only about three to four inch in diameter so you can imagine it was a tricky job. I think they are rather cute.

All my good intentions of having the allotment dug over before winter are dropping by the wayside. Time is ticking on and I'm getting nowhere. Family life has taken over and there's always something more important to do. Digging over the allotment seems to be way down on my list of priorities. I've got the next few weekends off work so I'll have to make more of an effort to put in some hard work.
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