Monday 28 April 2014

A Bargain Fig

I've mentioned Morrisons plants before, saying how reasonable they are. This little fig tree is my latest acquisition.

I've fancied having a go at growing a fig tree for a while now, I think they're attractive plants and will look lovely in the garden, but I'd also like to have a go at getting some fruit from it too. This is Brown Turkey, a variety recommended for growing in the UK. It looks a nice, healthy specimen, and although it's only small, it's got more growth than some which were for sale, there were a couple with just a twig stuck out of the plant pot.

Fig trees are ideal for growing in containers as they like to have their roots restricted. If they're planted out, they will make vigorous growth at the expense of a good crop of fruit.

At just £2, I'm sure you'd agree that I couldn't leave it on the shelf. It may have some growing to do but I don't mind waiting.

Thursday 24 April 2014

Tomato Troubles

Tomatoes are my most favourite things to grow. I've been very lucky with them, I've never had any problems growing them, I've never even been bothered by blight. Unfortunately, it looks like this may be the year when disaster has struck.

I sowed the seeds on the 8th of March and they germinated in no time. They were pricked out on the 26th of March after which time I let them settle in their pots before eventually moving them outdoors in to the mini greenhouse which is inside the larger greenhouse. I've always dealt with my tomatoes the same way and have never had any issues, but this year, the seedlings just haven't grown at all and they're looking very yellow rather than a lush green.

I think it may be down to the compost, I've got some other seedlings which aren't looking too healthy either, so I've bought fresh compost, repotted them, and they're now being mollycoddled on a bedroom windowsill where I can see a very slight improvement since these photos were taken.

The seedlings are quite sturdy little things so I'm hoping that this will do the trick and that they'll recover, but I've sown some more seeds just in case they don't. I may be too late sowing seeds now though, so I might have to resort to buying some plants this year. I'm hoping that I won't have to do that, but I shall make sure I've got some tomatoes to harvest later in the year come what may.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Garden Visiting In April - Part Two

My previous post was Part One of our trip to Lister Park in Bradford. After wandering around the botanical gardens, we saw a sign which said Mughal Gardens so we went to see what that was all about.

The Mughal Gardens have been modelled on the fabled Mughal gardens of Northern India and Pakistan. Most of the Mughal Emperors were lovers of nature and comissioned a number of gardens including the Shalimar gardens in Srinagar, Kashmir and the gardens of the Taj Mahal in Agra.

Formal Mughal gardens are a geometric ordering of nature. The avenue of trees, pathways, flowering plants, water cascades and fountains are an example of a fusion between Muslim and Hindu styles.

I love how water is used in this garden, I think most people are drawn to water, myself included.

This is certainly a very different style of garden from the botanical gardens we'd seen earlier, water features in both, but in totally different ways.

Lister Park is perfect for a day out. I'd definitely like to return, though next time we'll leave Archie at home so that we can visit Bradford's civic art gallery which is housed in Cartwright Hall in the grounds of Lister Park, as well as the gardens.

Friday 18 April 2014

Garden Visiting In April - Part One

I'm visiting a garden each month through 2014 and whilst searching for somewhere to visit in April, I came across Lister Park in Bradford. It's situated about a mile outside the city centre and has recently been renovated. The thing which attracted me here was that I read it had botanical gardens. After reading this, I was expecting more than I actually found, but it was a lovely morning out last Saturday, nevertheless.

There was plenty of water around the gardens, little streams running through, waterfalls and bridges over the running water.

Archie certainly enjoyed his morning out and found plenty to keep his attention, including two ducks.

This waterfall is a replica of Thornton Force near Ingleton in the Yorkshire Dales. It illustrates a geological theory.

We were a little late for the full hellebore display, but the tulips were just starting to put on a lovely show to compensate.

I'm fascinated by ferns and how they unfurl their fronds.

There was a fabulous patch of wild garlic, it didn't quite have that full pungent smell about it, I suppose that will come in time.

I find corkscrew hazel really weird, how the branches are so contorted. This is a shrub I'd love to have in my own garden, if only I had room.

You can tell that the pieris and the blueberry are from the same family of plants by the flowers, they're so similar.

I don't really know what I was expecting from this garden, there were plenty of plants to see, some plants which I knew and some which I didn't. There were information boards but no plant labels, though perhaps it would be hard to maintain them in a public park. I think it would be good to go back and see how the garden fills out in the summer.

I've done a post over on my Through The Keyhole blog about other aspects of Lister Park, so do please pop over there to have a read.

This wasn't the end of our garden visit in Lister Park. There was another, more unusual, garden to see which I'll show you in my next post.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Rhubarb Rhubarb

I've been looking forward to harvesting some rhubarb from the allotment and the time was finally right. There's quite a large patch on my new plot, there's these two clumps as well as another clump which wasn't photographed which hasn't yet grown quite as large as these two. They must all be different varieties which I'm pleased about as it should prolong the harvesting period. I've also got a crown of Stockbridge Arrow waiting to be planted out.

I don't usually make a roast dinner on a Sunday, we usually have our Sunday dinner on a Monday, but I'd asked my mum and dad round for dinner on Sunday so I made roast beef, Yorkshire puddings and all the trimmings. I visited the plot on Saturday and harvested the first rhubarb of the season with a view to making a pie for dessert.

I forgot to take a photo of the pie before it was cut in to, but this is a photo of what was left after everyone had eaten their fill. Don't look at the nasty brown bit where the filling had bubbled out of the pastry, we'll just ignore that.

I'd harvested enough rhubarb to make a second pie which I gave to my mum and dad to take home with them as rhubarb pie is their absolute favourite. I actually prefer a crumble so that's next on the cards.

Monday 14 April 2014

Blog Anniversary Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered my Blog Anniversary Giveaway, I had a fabulous response, I'm just sorry that I can't send a prize out to everyone who entered.

I'm pleased to announce that the winner drawn from the hat at random is Trayci from Please May I? Congratulations, Trayci. Can you please let me have your address so that I can get the prize sent out to you.

I had so many lovely comments on my giveaway post so thank you all very much for those, they really made my day.

Friday 11 April 2014

The Chips Are Down

Well, the potatoes, which will make the chips, are down in the containers, at least.

This year, I'm growing three varieties of potatoes. Here they are just after they were first laid out to chit.

1st Early - Arran Pilot.

2nd Early - Anya.

3rd Early - Pink Fir Apple.

I usually grow all my potatoes in containers as I used to find so much slug damage to them on my old plot, but now I'm on a new allotment site, I'm going to have a go at growing some of them in the ground again. I'll just sow a row of each variety to try it out.

The rest of the potatoes will still be grown in containers. I like this method of growing them as they come out so clean and damage free, but there are downsides in that they take quite a lot of compost, they require lots of watering and, if you've got lots of buckets on the go, they can take up quite some space.

The first three containers, one of each variety, were sown on the 16th of March. Three tubers were placed in each bucket, and here you can see where each tuber has sprouted some foliage. I shall fill the bucket bit by bit with compost as the foliage grows until the whole bucket is full. The containers are residing in the greenhouse at present until the nights warm up a little, and you can see petals in the buckets which are being dropped by my little peach tree which is also living in the greenhouse.

I've since planted up more containers and I'm hoping to get some tubers in the ground very soon.

Don't forget to enter my Blog Anniversary Giveaway if you haven't already done so. You've got until twelve noon on Sunday the 13th of April 2014 to leave a comment on the appropriate post.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Sowing, Pricking Out And Potting On

April is such a busy month for gardeners with all the sowing, pricking out of seedlings and potting on to be done. Sunday was the day for sowing my cucurbits, squash - Autumn Crown, Little Gem Rolet and Custard White, courgette - One Ball and Parthenon and cucumber - Mini Munch and Crystal Lemon.

If you remember last year, I had great success with Mini Munch cucumbers. As the name would suggest, the plants produce mini fruit, and they were prolific. I wasn't very keen on Crystal Lemon and wasn't going to bother growing them again, but my dad was particularly fond of them so I'll grow a plant or two just for him now that he no longer has a garden of his own.

I also sowed some morning glory - Heavenly Blue. They should look nice scrambling up the fence. I noticed this morning that they're already starting to germinate, hows that for fast work?

My tomatoes were sown on the 8th of March and I got them pricked out on the 26th of March. They're now residing in the mini greenhouse which is inside the big greenhouse for a bit of added protection. I've found that by moving them outside at the earliest opportunity where they can get extra light, it makes for healthier, sturdier plants.

Don't forget to enter my Blog Anniversary Giveaway if you haven't already done so. You've got until Sunday the 13th of April 2014 to leave a comment on the appropriate post.

Monday 7 April 2014

Cute As A Newt

Look who was lurking around our little pond over the weekend.

It was time for a bit of a tidy up of the pond, and the border where the pond is situated. As you can see, it's full of Marsh Marigold which is just starting to flower. As the pond was installed to attract wildlife, small logs have been placed around the sides of the pond for insects and creatures to use.

The logs have fungi growing on them and are utilised by all manner of wildlife.

It was when Mick moved one of the logs that he found this little fellow underneath.

I don't know the first thing about newts so if anyone knows what kind this one is, I'd be very interested to know.

Needless to say, the log was placed gently back on top of the newt and the tidying up of the pond didn't happen.

Our pond is tiny, only 84cm X 64cm, but it's teaming with wildlife. There's always a frog or two to be seen, though they've never spawned in the pond, but we're well visited by baby frogs so they must spawn nearby and then use our pond for a holiday.

It just goes to show that you don't need a huge pond to attract wildlife.

Don't forget to enter my Blog Anniversary Giveaway if you haven't already done so. You've got until Sunday the 13th of April 2014 to leave a comment on the appropriate post.

Friday 4 April 2014

Plain And Simple For Me

I've always loved the traditional, plain, old, yellow daffodils, the ones you see growing at the road side or growing en masse in a field and blowing in the breeze. Therefore, it was with trepidation that I bought the variety Professor Einstein last autumn. Would it live up to my expectations from a daffodil?

The answer is a resounding no. Some of them have come up blind, that is with foliage but no flower, but the ones which have flowered just don't cut the mustard. I thought it would be a nice change to have something different to the usual yellow this year, but they don't do it for me. Professor Einstein has white petals and a striking, flattish, orange cup, nice enough but not what I want in a daffodil.

I'm pleased that I have some of my beloved yellow daffodils planted in the garden or else I'd be really disappointed this year. How about you, do you have a favourite variety of daffodil?

Don't forget to enter my Blog Anniversary Giveaway if you haven't already done so. You've got until Sunday the 13th of April 2014 to leave a comment on the appropriate post.
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