2 Aug 2015

garden share: august

It should be acknowledged that, as a single woman in possession of a home and garden but mediocre upper-body strength, I must often rely on bloke friends, my dad, and occasionally a paid tradesman to help out with ‘the heavy lifting’. The bloke friends are paid in cake, and dad is re-paid in kind (I’d like to think) when I help with the weeding or deadheading or general tidying up when I visit him and mum for a weekend.

But I have recently recruited a whole new group of fellows, eager to help out, providing their cheer for free and even bringing their own tools with them:

It’s still the quiet, cold time of year — I can’t recall a year with more frosts and snow-on-the-mountain — and gardening is still restricted to weekends. So what have we been up to in the garden?

There’s been very little rain, so we’ve been watering the peas, which have happily re-shot since being pecked off by sparrows. The tinsel must be working:

The garlic is growing strong, though we really must weed out the nettles that are popping up everywhere:

Lemons on my original tree are ripening very slowly, but the fruit this year is the largest I’ve ever had, quite possibly because when we got my new tree, the lady at the nursery shamed me into feeding it more regularly. I love how the bright yellow orbs punctuate the bare garden on a gloomy day:

And we’ve harvested my first broccoli! So tender and slim of stem, it made for a modest pasta dinner that night, along with some anaemic, hairy carrots sown a couple of months ago:
 

Inspired by Bek, we’ve started drawing up planting schemes for spring. There won’t be any real action until the soil and weather warms up around October, but it was a pleasant evening sorting thru my seeds (why did I save so many marigold seeds? How old are those butternut seeds from dad?) and working out where to put things. The plans we’ll run past dad, to see if we’ve got the rotation thing right.

Otherwise, we are enjoying the first hints of spring:

This is much needed colour for this time of year. My ornamental garden is also slumbering, and I do miss seeing the riot of bright colour that comes in spring. Every year I tell myself ‘this is what winter is’, but it’s no less depressing.

So acid-yellow lemons, yolky jonquils, and red gnomes are just the ticket to make me smile until those long-away warmer, brighter days arrive.
 
My original gnome, well over ten years old, and a little weather-beaten:
 

36 comments:

  1. e, gnomes AND tinsel, clearly it has been a long winter:) I did so appreciate what you did with your opening sentence. Jane Austen, eat your heart out..

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    1. it's now quite festive in the vegie garden! especially with the snow falling this morning - a first for my time here! very exciting.
      ha, I couldn't resist a little play on JA :-)

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  2. e, gnomes AND tinsel, clearly it has been a long winter:) I did so appreciate what you did with your opening sentence. Jane Austen, eat your heart out..

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    1. ah jo, two lovely comments :-) thank you! :-)

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  3. Gnomes are hard to resist aren't they? Your broccoli looks lovely...I am still waiting on mine. I think I may have planted it too late this year. I love your plans, I often make these also, and often change them completely as times passes! Happy gardening to you.

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    1. happy gardening to you too jane.
      I LOVE garden gnomes and have wanted some for years - they must have fallen out of fashion, as they were so hard to find. until now! they do make me smile.

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  4. Wish I could get my lemon tree to fruit! Possibly planting it in the ground might help (it's lived in a pot for the past 6 years). I'm about to plant out my winter broccoli today and it will be a while before I'm going through my seed box as we're just going into late summer here in the UK. Lovely to have the whole of the growing year in front of you - enjoy!

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    1. I thought everyone says lemons do well in pots, caro? maybe yes planting out will help.
      I feel guilty for not having shown the tree a bit more love over the years - I always intended to rip it out. now it is proving that with a little love (and citrus feed) it is a valuable tree in the garden!

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  5. It does help to fertilize those plants. I've been remiss on my peach tree and I don't think the peaches will get very big this year.

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    1. yes, the lemon tree is now proof fertilising works. it's a good lesson for all my trees, daphne. I hope your small peaches will be sweet and juicy though.

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  6. Winter can seem long can't it. But I always think it makes spring and summer that much more glorious. It won't be long now. CJ xx

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    1. it feels very bitter at the moment - we are having a lot of snow and frosts this year, and for the first time since I have lived at my home (ten years) snow FELL in my backyard! I was vey excited.
      so yes the happy jonquils make things brighter and we just enjoy the summer sunshine when it does finally arrive!

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  7. Is spring coming already! Must be heading north soon. Love your tiny carrots I bet they were so sweet when you ate them. It is surprising when you get advice from some people and you feel compelled to put it into action and it really does pay off. Look at those lemons! Have a great month, love the gnomes.

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    1. thanks lizzie - and again, for connecting me up to the garden share loop.
      the carrots were on the earthy-carroty side. I was surprised at how pale they were; I wonder if it is a seasonal thing?
      yes, I definitely look after my lemon tree now :-)

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  8. Oh, how cute are your gnomes! How is your garden today? Covered in snow?!? I need to go feed our lemon too - our tree is looking so sad and the fruit is tiny and with very thick rind, I don't think it got much water over summer.

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    1. the gnomes are such hearty fellows - they better be, with the weather we are having today! not covered in snow, but it was so pretty to see the snow flurrying around this morning before I cam to work.
      we are all learning lemon-care lessons then :-)

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  9. Wouldn't it be great if the gnomes actually did the gardening while you were at work! Any excuse to put tinsel in the garden. xB

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    1. oh but they are! aren't they?... :-) one is standing about with a pipe; I really need to explain my non-smoking policy.
      and yup, love a bit of silver tinsel - anywhere, anytime :-)

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  10. I'm really sorry e, but I hate garden gnomes. Except for maybe that last quite weather worn one. That one looks kinda nice.
    I do love however the knobbled short carrots. Maybe I'm just weird that way.
    Cheers for the shout out too ;)

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    1. ah you are very welcome bek - thanks for inspiring me to sort thru my seeds!
      and that's okay about the gnomes. if we all liked the same thing, life would be very dull. and it means more gnomes for me :-)

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  11. We had gnomes in our garden when I was very young (although it sometimes embarassed me) and your little friends brought back some happy memories.

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    1. ah, AA - embrace the cheesiness! I must admit i have recently seen a concrete native lady in someone's front garden last week, and cut-out car-tyre swans (painted white) in another ... I think i'll stick to the gnomes!

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  12. Very cheery little helper you have there. I am impressed you have your new season plan ready to go, I need to do the same

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    1. I thought i was behind the 8-ball, kyrstie - seems everyone I read is sorting and ordering seeds for the new season, I thought I better hop to it! now the weather just needs to improve ...

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  13. They look like the roly poly carrots? watch out for the gnome thieves....

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    1. oh! I had not thought of thieves! oh dear!
      they were funny little carrots. I have had success with that variety over the summer, but I fear it may be too cold now for them.

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  14. I love the gnomes and, thanks to you, I now believe that no garden is complete without a row of tinsel. Does tinsel really deter sparrows?

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    1. the tinsel does seem to have deterred the birds from coming back - the peas have re-grown. I guess it's anything sparkly and blowing in the breeze that can shoo them away.
      but anyway, it does make the garden rather pretty :-)

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  15. Looking fantastic! I also have huge lemons this year as well. Not complaining! Wish I had as many as you do though :)

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    1. thanks jem - to be fair, this is the first really successful year for the lemons. I usually envy other gardeners their lemon crop!
      once can never have enough lemons, so I am rather chuffed.

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  16. So has your garden survived #Snowbart as I believe it is now known? Loving the gnomes and the lemons. I think I better get feeding my tree this weekend, although I won't get any fruit (it's only a new tree) but if I get in the swing of it now next year it will be lovely. Liking the idea of tinsel too. Maybe that might work with the neighbours cats that use my garden as their beds - and trample everything in the meantime!

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    1. hello CC, and welcome to dig in. 'snowbart' - love it! I hadn't herd that one but yes, that is very apt. there is still a beautiful covering, sparkling in the early morning sun.
      grr about the cats! tinsel might work against cats, though they are wiley creatures. I have read that sprinkling napthalene or pepper - something pungent - around deters them. but tinsel looks good :-)

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  17. LOVE the gnomes and the carrots. I pulled some carrots out of my garden today and they are so severely deformed. But turns out they make good teething rings!

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    1. maybe it's winter that deforms them? but who cares - you (and H) have put them to good use! :-)

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