Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Chrysanthemums

 There is so little to be done in the garden at this time of year, apart from turning over the compost pile that is. Thankfully now the weather has changed and we are on our way to winter, there is time to curl up with seed catalogues to plan for next year.

I read a post from jo-throughthekeyhole about receiving Chrysanthemums & it reminded me about my dad in his younger years.

My granddad was a gardener & he also worked in horticulture. Whilst my dad didn't follow into his trade he followed the hobby & built a huge greenhouse in the garden of the house he & my mum bought when they married over 60 years ago.

Anyway as the story goes when my granddad retired he still had contacts in the trade. He & my dad ordered each year 1000 Chrysanthemum stools. My dad grew on 700 in his greenhouse & my granddad grew on the remaining 300.

Each year these Chrysanthemums were ready for Christmas & between them they made enough money to run the homemade boilers they had made for their greenhouses & to pay for other supplies they needed for the garden.

There is a chapter on growing chrysanthemums in this style in an old gardening book I had given to me last year -
 I think I shall give it a go next year, after all the greenhouse is empty at this time of year anyway. Though I shan't be growing on quite the same scale. Perhaps removing a couple of  0 would be more like it.

As well as the spray Chrysanthemums I rather fancy some of the fat fluffy ones too. I shall post my selection when I have made a final decision.

Enjoy your day

Friday, 25 October 2013

A lovely little creature

This lovely little creature is 12 today -


My lovely little Harry full of joy & mischief whose only influence in the garden is to relocate any ripe soft fruit into his mouth & not the kitchen.

The boy, who has for the last few days, pestered to have his birthday off school (the last day before half term). He has assured me solemnly that his friends wont be in school, in return I have assured him that they will be & no, you are going to school.

The boy who will be up at the crack of dawn to open presents & eat birthday cake for breakfast ( a rather lovely tradition I think)

Also the boy who try as I might to take an interest in the garden, looks at me, pats my hand & goes upstairs to his room.

Enjoy your day

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Grotty weather

I'm pretty sure the weather has been even more vile this time of year than it was last October. It has poured with rain every day. This is absolutely fine for topping up the pond & filling the water butts. Except I haven't really got a huge amount of stuff that needs watering at this time. A right miserable old trout I sound don't I!

On a brighter note there was a break in the weather last Sunday. It had rained in the morning & then started to brighten up just before lunch. So after lunch with our tummies still full with roasted duck, potatoes, parsnips, spiced red cabbage & green beans I dragged Mike outside to get a bit done.

The beds are looking a lot clearer. The bean trench digging didn't work very well at all. The ground really was too wet. So most of the stuff has been chopped down & piled up. I must take a photo of it as it really is huge.

Hopefully this weekend I we shall start to empty the old compost from the pots onto the mountain. It should help to keep a bit of warmth in. It will be Mikes job to turn the pile over, hopefully that should put off any rodents who wish to take up residence.

Enjoy your day

Friday, 18 October 2013

Dahlias

I rather fancy expanding my range of dahlias next year. I only have a few & thought I would dedicate the left over space I have in the fruit bush bed to my plan.

The space is approx 10ft by 5ft & has the fruit bushes at one end & a small row of asparagus at the other. Incidentally the asparagus has done rather well this year, the five free crowns I got last year have sprouted rather successfully, a couple more years to go & I will be able to have a taste.

I digress, being an old fashioned girl ( I was rather excited to turn 40) I like old fashioned flowers so a few more dahlias would be very nice.



I think a nice frothy mixture would look rather lovely & hopefully give me a few pickings for the house. I successfully edges the front of the bed this year with alpine strawberries & trailing lobelia. It looked rather nice so I will sow some more lobelia seeds earlier on next year. Also it should look nice this time next year, apart from the possible use of netting around the beds to put off the chickens once they arrive next year. I'm sure I can overlook such a thing, you cant have everything can you!

Enjoy your day

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Apple trees to the rescue

When you send a child off to university you never expect to receive a phone call from them after they have been admitted to hospital. Rob woke up yesterday morning with some discomfort & as his stomach became rather more painful as the morning went on ,a flatmate caught a taxi with him to the nearest hospital.

He decided it was time to phone us just to let us know mind, when the word operation was mentioned more than once before they admitted him for observation. 'Just letting you know' he said on the phone, 'I really don't want the pair of you driving all that way & bursting through the hospital doors' he added. After him assuring m he was absolutely fine & visiting would be over by the time we arrived I decided it would be wise to wait for further news. Which was just as well really as my two nephews were staying for the night & my dad & brother were coming round for tea.

Thankfully he was released this morning after several tests & scans they decided no operation was needed, although he is on medication & will need to return in three weeks for a further check up. You may think that my worry was over at this point. Oh no my darling, lovely eldest son had left his I phone in the taxi on his way to the hospital yesterday. I breathed a sigh of relief when he phoned to say he had it back at 3:30 this afternoon, just as his younger brother walked through the door on his return from school. This is where the title of this post comes in.



I blogged a while back about Harry starting high school & how concerned I was about the cookery lessons  & how they don't seem to prepare children properly. They have been every bit as bad as I feared. They have a lesson each week, One week is spent describing what they will be doing the following week. He has been taught to make a hot drink & a rather vile fruit salad swimming in juice. He missed the end of last weeks lesson & after badgering him for a few days to find out what he was supposed to be making, he today told me it was a crumble & he needed to take in a tin of fruit filling & 60p. I quite clearly told him there was rhubarb in the freezer or cooking apples on the trees in the garden. He wasn't bothered by either & after spending a considerable amount of time getting to the bottom of the freezer & not finding any rhubarb I braved the wind & rain outside & picked the above. They have been nicely prepared with sugar & cinnamon & part cooked. He is also rather pleased with his mixture & it is a lot nicer than a tin of fruit filling of which I don't buy anyway.

Enjoy your day

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Compost

I have oodles & oodles of dead & decaying material in my garden. The compost bins are full & I am highly reluctant to send any of this off in the brown bin to be recycled elsewhere.

At first I was going to clear a space & pile the stuff on the largest of the veg beds over the winter period. The only minus point to this idea is that we are surrounded by fields. I'm sure the resident field rats would be only too happy with a bit of extra warmth over the cold snap.

Then another thought occurred, I shall be digging a selection of bean trenches instead.


The idea is you dig a large wide hole, line it with newspaper & tip in all your garden waste.You then top it up with the soil that you removed earlier. It will rot down nicely giving you some lovely growing material for next years harvest.

I am planning to do two wide trenches in the largest veg bed. Then next year, I will grow my beans first & then I shall plant my winter brassicas.

The only other thing I need is a dry day this Sunday, the last two Sundays have poured with rain & made me very reluctant to venture out. Anyway I'm pretty sure you shouldn't dig when it is wet & I'm sticking with it. Such is the life of a veg gardener.

P.s I still can't find the cable to add some photographs. Not that you would want to see any of my garden at the moment. It looks like a small allotment that hasn't been touched for a few years.

Enjoy your day.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Christmas

Morning all, a more positive spin on things this time round. Now the main gardening season is now tailing off I focus my attention else where. Being part of a close family, we tend to spend important dates together. The next one on the card apart from birthdays is Christmas.

My sister & I love planning for Christmas & we tend to start in October. For the first time ever she is hosting Christmas day. This honour tends to get left to me apart from a disastrous Christmas day last year, when, my brother who is single, no children & lives alone decided he would like to give it a go.

Picture the scene now, a bachelors house at Christmas, no decorations, no tree, a fridge full of beer & a 'I thought you would be cooking here' reply from him when I asked why the veg hadn't been put on. Just as well my sister & I had sorted out who would be supplying what before hand. Just to make it easier on this single boy, I was supplying the turkey & ham, my sister the puddings & my mum the wine. Lets just say frozen roast potatoes & parsnips were a great help.


 These are my trees above, affectionately known as big tree (it really is huge) & little tree. I compulsive buy more tree decorations each year & it is a vice that I will not be giving up. Imagine my delight & Mikes groan when last Christmas I spotted an upside down tree that fixes to the ceiling. I haven't got one yet but it really is a matter of time. I have just the spot for it, on the hall ceiling, & of course the boys have a tree each for their bedrooms.


The images above are paper wall decorations from the dotcomgiftshop christmas range & will be ordered as they truly are me & just gives you some idea of my style of Christmas decorating.

I always thought Christmas would be more lovely when the kids were little & the promise of a visit from Father Christmas was in the air. It always slightly saddened me as the boys aged each year that maybe the magic would wane as they lost interest. This I'm glad to say hasn't been the case & both boys at the age of 19 & 12 look forward with glee from November onward each year. The visits to see Father Christmas have stopped but the mince pie, sherry,carrots & porridge for the reindeer are put out without fail each Christmas Eve. Santa tracker is put on the laptop in the evening & each of the boys look at it, although now Rob will look at it when he returns from the pub with Mike before both attacking the turkey to make a sandwich.  
The boys still open their Christmas stockings on mine & Mikes bed. There is still a mad scramble to get to the top of the stairs first before Mike leads the way downstairs, & he is always the first one in the sitting room to check if Father Christmas has been.

Traditions are made & dropped each year as our lives evolve, instead of the Christmas Eve crib service hopefully we will be attending midnight mass instead, though in reality Mike will be dropping me off at the Church & picking me up afterwards. I really look forward to Robs return from uni at Christmas & love to see him wondering round the house seeing what decorations are new & eating mince pies. The traditions that have stuck from the past few years are -

The men tend to go to the pub for a drink on Christmas day before lunch, the year we all went lunch was served very late that day.

Mike tends to cook on Christmas day, I say cook but really everything is prepared in advance & Mike just prods things & makes the gravy.

Whoever is hosting Christmas also hosts the great present swap. This spectacular event involves us opening gifts to each other which ends up in a big scramble. Prosecco is served at the scramble along with sausage & bacon rolls.

As my sister & I have planned the day we tend to put out feet up, especially as the kids are older now.

Baileys & chocolates in the afternoon are a must, if we were allowed to get away with a bottle of each flavour we would. , but we are not.

I am happy to consume my own body weight in Snowballs during the entire month of December.

I would really love to watch the Queens speech in the afternoon, I have never got to watch it yet as people tend to whinge.

Anyway basically we like Christmas, we spend it together & it takes an age to plan. The kids getting older hasn't in anyway ruined it for my sister & I. Also because this is mainly a gardening blog the parsnips will be supplied from my very own veg garden, sown by my very own hands.


Friday, 11 October 2013

A poorly neglected garden

What an absolute age since last blogged. September has passed by and we are nearly half way through October.

Running round after a sick father has proved to be completely impracticable with having a full time job, a family and a veg garden to look after. After being admitted to hospital again (dad, not me) my brother has finally decided to step up and help out a bit more. Which has been an absolute godsend as both my parents are extremely difficult people who putting it mildly don't really like each other.

My poor little garden has been severely neglected and is very overgrown and really really needs a good chopping back. Due to the lack of time I have been able to devote to the garden one of the pear trees looks a bit iffy and the peach tree may be on its last legs.

Never mind there is always next year, no photographs this time as I have lost the cable again which is a shame as I did manage to harvest a lovely crop of coriander seeds.

Anyway that's me for now and will be blogging again soon.