Well, it’s been here for a while really…We’ve had a couple of warm days, but mainly it’s been quite cold, still. But then, it is only April. I have, at last, been to B&Q today and bought some plants. I went on the bus. I bought some heathers, some pansies, some lavender, and a pathetic-looking tulip because it was on the sale shelf and I felt sorry for it, but also partly because it’s called “Für Elise”, and our friends have a daughter called Elise. I might give her the tulip to look after if it doesn’t die. So, this afternoon I did some weeding and planted a couple of the heathers. Then it got too cold, so I went in. Things are starting to look more spring-like; the forsythia is now in full bloom, the daffodils have been and gone. The tulips’ leaves have come out, but no sign of flowers yet. I discovered some kind of narcissi in a couple of pots I’d piled up in a corner near the shed (this is where pots go when there is no room in the shed), so that was a nice surprise!
Last weekend, Mr C and I went to the British Museum with my mum. She wanted to go to see the Ice Age Art exhibition, which we did, and very fascinating it was too. I found it quite hard to take in how old the objects were. I hadn’t been to the British Museum at all before, so I was quite excited to go, and I really loved it. Now we know how easy it is to get there we will go again (I hope). I think the Lion Man in the Ice Age Art exhibition was my favourite object of the ones I saw, but I also liked the huge Assyrian lion (and lots of other things). Last night I dreamed that I was holding a large cat. Not as big as a lion, more like the size of our neighbour, Big Cat (AKA Fat Cat).
Other things I’ve been doing include knitting gloves and waiting for trains. At least we had a nice double rainbow to look at when the trains were delayed on Thursday:
This year hasn’t been a very successful year in the garden, crops wise. I planted peppers, spinach, thyme, runner beans and radishes, and all but the peppers have been eaten by slugs and snails. The peppers have only survived thus far because I kept them indoors until yesterday. The Busy Lizzies I planted at the same time as the fruit and veg are still going strong because I put them out of harm’s way on top of the shed. I’ve put one pot of peppers there now, and one on the top of the dustbin. They look un-nibbled at the moment. It is all very frustrating and makes me wonder why I bother trying to grow my own veg at all. I think next year I won’t bother with beans because this is the second year they’ve been eaten – I think I was being a bit optimistic planting them again. They didn’t get eaten the first couple of years I grew them, so I wonder if those were a different variety that slugs and snails don’t like the taste of. I’ll investigate and see if there are any slug-unfriendly varieties of veg and things out there, but I doubt it! Having said that, they don’t seem to like tomatoes, or chilies, and apparently they don’t like hot (spicy) plants in general, so perhaps I’ll have to stick to trying to grow those in the future.
On a more positive note, the raspberries remain largely untouched by slug or snail, and the strawberries are doing well – I just have to pick them before they’re properly ripe (and ripen them on the windowsill) so they get rescued before the become tempting to those greedy gastropods.
Unlike most of my other plants, which have either not grown because it’s been too cold (peppers) or been eating by snails and slugs (beans), the raspberries are doing quite well. A week or so ago I saw the first red berry:
This weekend, I picked the first crop. Only a few, but it’s a start, and they taste nice.
Today I transplanted the seedlings from their pots inside to bigger pots outside. There is one large pot of thyme, two pots of patio pepper, and two pots of chilli peppers, as well as a pot with the runner beans in. They now have longer canes to run up. I also replanted the spinach, to try to replace the plants that have been eaten by slugs.
This afternoon, I weeded the raspberry bed. All the rain and sun has made the weeds grow wonderfully, so the bed was covered in them. I took out about half of them, and then it started to rain. At first, the drops were heavy but few, and then the rain got heavier and heavier until it was like the rain you get in Malaysia – especially as it was still quite warm outside. There was some thunder as well. Needless to say, I went inside, leaving my weeding half-done. I think a bit of our guttering might be leaking or blocked as there was a (very) mini waterfall splashing out of the gutter at over the back door, which was a bit worrying. Also, the slabs on the patio-sort-of-area are obviously (a) uneven and (b) not very well-drained, because a little pond formed there, and the water was rising up the side of the plant pots in the area. Eek! The water went away pretty quickly once the rain stopped, thankfully.
I resumed and finished the weeding. It was quite satisfying. I got muddy and saw lots of snails. I’m pleased to report that there are raspberries growing on the raspberry bushes, so perhaps we’ll get to eat home-grown raspberries this year!
Yesterday, I spent most of the afternoon in the garden weeding, digging and planting. It was fun. I got mud on my hands and my jeans and pieces of budleia in my hair. I felt like I’d actually achieved something with the planting, even though the general tidiness of the garden still leaves a lot to be desired. I console myself with the thought that wildlife likes a messy garden.
I planted quite a few seeds:
In this tray there are pots with various things in, as you might be able to see from my messily-written labels. There are runner beans, radishes, thyme, patio peppers, chilli peppers and Busy Lizzies. In the garden, I planted some spinach, and some new bulbs I bought at the weekend. I wanted something to replace the dead-looking lavender by the front door. I’m not sure whether it’s actually dead or just sleeping, but it doesn’t look very healthy. I also planted some corguette seeds in a pot, which is now under a chair in the kitchen.
Excitingly, the raspberry canes have begun to sprout:
The forsythia is looking lovely:
I did some digging and tidying up at the back of the garden opposite the raspberry canes. I’m thinking about planting some vegetables or fruit there, but I haven’t decided what, yet. I suppose I should hurry up and decide, otherwise it will be too late! It will have to be something(s) that like shade, which might narrow it down a bit. Maybe rhubarb. I will do some research.
Some potatoes fresh from the garden (last year). There are more fresh things at this week’s PhotoHunt page.
I finally tidied the garden up today, after doing practically nothing with it since September. I hadn’t even taken down the remaining tomato stems and stalks, as by the time I’d picked the last edible tomato it was too cold to spend very long outside (although I must admit I have a very low tolerance of cold).
So, today, I tidied the tomatoes away and did a bit of weeding. It was good to be out there doing something productive. The raspberry canes seem to have been unharmed by the snow and it’s nice to have a clear view of the garden. There’s also some space at the top of the garden opposite the raspberries, which might do as a very small vegetable patch. I will look into this, but I’m not sure if the soil is deep or nutritious enough. I suppose the latter can be remedied with some compost.
I moved a few of the herb pots around, and Badger (cat) has just been eating, or at least attempting to eat, the chives, which are miraculously still alive after the snow. They must be very hardy, but I’m a bit worried about Badger eating them – I don’t think cats are supposed to eat chives. I think cats tend to eat grass when they’re unwell, so I hope Badger is alright. I saw Stripy giving him a swipe earlier, so he’d obviously not been behaving himself!
Most of the daffodils are out in the front garden, and now we’ve cleared the top of the garden we can see ‘new’ rows of daffodils there, as well. Now it’s March, it’s time to plant seeds, so I need to decide which fruit and veg to try and grow this year. I think I’ll probably try peppers again, although last year’s weren’t all that successful, and definitely tomatoes, as they always seem to do well. I’m tempted to buy one of those small plastic greenhouse-type things – if only so that the kitchen doesn’t get overrun with seedlings again, but I don’t know if the weather will be warm enough to put very young plants outside, even in a pretend greenhouse.
The Welsh word for child is ‘plant’. I always think that’s quite appropriate, somehow.
Badger the cat takes a snooze in the garden...with one eye open...
There are more ‘fluffy’ photos on this week’s PhotoHunt page.