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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The wood has arrived

The garden is starting to look colourful as well as productive. There are roses everywhere and the bedding plants are starting to flower. There is strong scent at night as the nicotiana really starts to get going. We bought some crocosmia and yeloow cannas (to complement the ones Venka gave us) at the car boot sale at the weekend. I just knew it was not good to be parked near Morgan's Plants. Good quality, good price and really nice service, a lovely man. But will you please not park near us! We don't need more plants......
Nicotiana, strongly aromatic

The surviving stock

Dave insists this Californian poppy is wishy washy, I like it!

I can't believe what good value anemones are, still flowering like crazy

Dahlias budding

Sweet peas, it's said it is too hot in summer for flowers which is why we put them on the north side of the apricot tree

The veggies are still going great guns. We have lots of peas, mange tout and sugarsnaps in the freezer to brighten up winter dinners. Some of the spinach has gone to seed but the chard is looking great. The broad beans should be cropping by the end of the week, some of the pods are about six inches or more long and just need to fill out. The courgettes are really producing and we will be making more chutney soon, there are only so many you can eat. The runners are now over five feet, Dave is worrying that they look a bit spindly....shows how much notice he has taken in the past! The garlic is starting to yellow so will be pulled soon, leaving room for something else. Salad will not be re-sown now, it can't cope with the constant high temperatures, nor can spinach. I will sow some more at the end of summer. Not sure how the land cress will do, at the moment it's going strong. The potatoes we are eating are truly delicious and I had just a bowl of potatoes and peas with a little butter for supper yesterday, yum yum. Tomatoes have little fruits setting with the cherry types in the troughs having trusses of mini toms, and the cucumbers are fruiting now that they have come out of sulk. The little pears over the chicken pen are doing well, they are a very early, small variety and are great for bottling. Peaches are! All in all, everything is looking promising.
Pretty in pink, borlotti bean flower

Purple sprouting broccoli

Garlic, nearly ready

Long beetroot

How can you resist?

The cue, out of sulk


Grape vines flowering


I hope this doesn't grow any more!

We had a fairly successful car boot sale at the weekend, selling most of the chutney, jam and cakes and a few cards. But although we were busy, it costs for a stall and is a good distance away so not sure if it's worth the journey, which is a shame as it is quite a large, busy site. With proper loos. And a great view. And bacon butties should you desire.

Amazed to see the barley ears have bent over and it's turning yellow.

There is a lot of philadelphus lining the roads now

Although there was a lot of interest in Dave's paintings as always, people were still reluctant to buy. But the painting which took pride of place ('scuse the pun) of Tejas the male lion, has been sold to someone in the UK. Linda has a real thing about lions and we are very happy that she has agreed to buy him as we had decided to stop trailing him around in case he got damaged and put him on our wall. So he is off on his way to the UK. Thank you Linda, it is lovely that he will be appreciated. He also has a new commission to paint a friend's five dogs so all good.

Dave put his brave pants on this week to have a look in the hive to see what was happening. He has been feeding the bees till they settle in but now they are very active and coming back to the hive laden with pollen. The gentle bee man is due to come and check them sometime soon. Dave is getting more and more relaxed

Pleased with himself

We had the winter wood delivered on Friday last bread baking and also cake making for car boot day. Luckily it was a cooler day and four truck loads were duly dumped by the garage. We had agreed that we would take our time moving it, clearing the gateway so that we could shut the gates. Started OK, Dave running back and forth between the gate and the wood shed at the other end of the plot, while I stacked. But Dave being Dave, he decided he would try to get it all done in one day. Just before breaking to make lunch (cucumber and yoghurt soup...yum!) I had slowed to helping unload the wheelbarrow. But with the help of Venka for an hour we got it all done, Dave scurrying about at top speed while Venka loaded and I unloaded. After a drink and a wander round the garden (she approves!) she trotted off with a slab of banana cake and a couple of pelargonium cuttings. So hopefully that is the winter wood bought and paid for and one less thing to worry about. Just the car to get sorted and everything is paid for the year.

The geese are getting proper feathers now. I am staying away. Apart from them being noisy and dirty, they are starting to develop personalities and there is no way I want to see that! Two are booked out for Christmas and Dave still wants one himself. The chicks with Mum Cagney are getting ever more bold and independent. They have been seen in the onion/garlic bed and are regularly in the tomatoes and roots. Every so often they will panic and run for home, but that is getting less. They now have to go through the third hole up on the netting so they will soon be too big to get through. They don't bother sticking together unlike the incubator hatched ones.

In the kitchen it's all fresh spring veg with everything, but the Greek style dishes are coming in now, with dips and fritters and summer salad veg. Dave has also been introduced to another cold soup, this time Bulgarian yoghurt and cucumber soup which is rather like watered down tzatziki, very refreshing and a favourite of mine when we go next door to Venka and everyone else has meat soup. It is simply finely diced cucumber, garlic, yoghurt, mint and salt, let down with water to a light soupy consistancy. I have made my first ever sweet pickled beetroot with the long baby beets, then another with quartered beets. We will try them in a few weeks to see if it worth doing more. Today Dave came home from the market with four kilos of  strawberries so I have made a batch of six jars of strawberry, raspberry and rhubarb jam. It tastes totally different to the last batch, but just as delicious. There is now a batch of straight strawberry on the go and a large bag of fruit frozen. I have to admit I am not keen on making strawberry jam, there is such a fine line between a set and a scorch, despite the addition of apple and lemon. But the cost of strawberries....under a quid a kilo, makes it worth while trying.


  1. Beautiful flowers! I love the color of the delicate poppy.
    Your garden is doing so well, and what a good feeling to have your wood for the winter in. As I have been reading back posts in your blog, I see that you thought you might be canning and freezing too much food. I was wondering if it turned out to be the right amount or if you had lots left at the end of the winter. Your beet pickles look so pretty in the jar.

    1. Thank you Cynthia. We went into the cellar the other day to see what we had left and it is mostly tomato sauce, tomato and pepper suce and lutinitsa, which is a mix of all the mediterranean veg. So will not be making sauce this year. There are also a few bottles of fruit, plums, peach and nectarine, some jam, plum and apricot. And a few bottles of flavoured quince jelly. We have had to throw away a batch of litinitsa, 7 large jars, as it was too salty. This year we will be concentrating on chutneys, canned tomatoes....they are so much better than bought and I didn't do nearly enough. The only jam will be the ones that go wrong, like the slightly overcooked strawberry I made yesterday, which I can use in cakes. And loads more quince jellies for sale next year. I will do fruit, pears and peaches mostly, but we don't really have a lot of puddings to use such as plums. There is not much in the freezer. We used all the veg except some stuffed peppers and tomatoes. All the tomatoes, peppers and stewed apples went into chutney recently. The stewed plums will probably go to the chickens! I have planted too much but we have no idea what might fail in the unusually damp weather conditions this year.

  2. Congratulations on your anniversary of your arrival! Your flowers are beautiful and I love hearing about your garden. Say hi to Venka for me!