Sunday, 17 June 2012

Mid June snapshots

A cop-out, I know - I've written nothing substantial in months, and I apologise. Sadly, life's got in the way recently, and not in a good sense. Anyway, here are a few pictures and a bit of text. The photo above is of my first substantial harvest this year- potatoes! These are 'Red Duke of York'. I bought a bag of seed potatoes for £1, planted two to a sack, and covered with last year's spent grow bags and some homemade compost. I planted them in mid-March, gave them minimal water, fed them twice with homemade nettle feed, and earthed them up twice too. So they've hardly required much input. They've occupied a very sunny, but slightly rain-sheltered spot at the front of my house, and thrived. I don't know if this is a good harvest - approximately 300-350g per seed potato - but I don't eat them much, so I don't care. The colour is enough for me.

There's a large pot - very large in fact, probably a metre across - that's taken up space in the back garden for years. Originally bought to house a tree, sunk into the ground to prevent it getting too big. The tree died, and the pot was exhumed and filled with spare clay I dug out elsewhere. That's it - it gets waterlogged because there are no drainage holes, but still it's attracted wildlife and flowers. I'm happy for buttercups to live in it for now - they are so cheerful, and they can't spread or cause trouble (they are terribly invasive). I hope to turn it into a small pond one day.

The peony is in full bloom - and it's the best year yet. There must be twenty flowers on it, some already fully open, some still in bud. It flopped over, and even tied up is unruly, but it makes such a great cut flower, and is the most voluptuous thing in the garden. Always reminds me of some sort of dessert.

Colour is creeping in elsewhere. After spring bulbs, shrubs, and annuals like forget-me-nots are over, but before the summer annuals get going, it can be rather a green season, from mid May to late June, but the roses are starting to take over. I don't know this variety's name - I stuck all the spare pot-bound plants my parents had collected over the years in one bed, which is the dedicated flower space in my garden now (there are roses in other places too though). This is delicate, single, and an unusual purple colour. Roses are my favourite flower, and I would grow many more if I could.

Inside the greenhouse, things are getting crowded. But look how healthy the repotted tomatoes are - there are dozens and dozens of plants, eager to be squeezed in anywhere I can. Twelve have been put straight into the garden, and I'll put three or four into each large potato bag. My friends will take some, and the rest will be put wherever I can find room. Lower left you can see a sunflower - another success this year. Those already planted out are large and stocky.

Finally, the harvests to come. Last year I luxuriated in a bumper crop of raspberries - I picked over 7 kg and left many more - but this year there seems to be an even greater number! My thanks to the several species of bee I've watched pollinating them. For me, this is the easiest fruit crop by far - and I didn't even plant them. They grew of their own accord, and all I've done is kill off competing plants and prune them as required. The best kind of gardening!