welcome to my little suburban oasis, filled with flowers,fruit trees and vegetables

Sunday, 27 December 2009

picked this week

some last minute brussels sprouts for Christmas dinner - got a bit worried with the constant frost - thought it wasn't going to be possible to pick any!

snowdrops and blackbirds.

mild again today and noticed that the blackbirds have been going round the garden turning over leaf rubbish but also lifting snowdrop bulbs, so I've been out re-planting them

Saturday, 26 December 2009

after the frost

the snow has melted away at last. have had over a week with daytime temperatures barely above freezing - today is mild by comparison and sunny.
taken the cloche back off of the broad beans - the stems of some look completely rotted through from the frost and only likely to survive by shooting from the bottom of the stem.
also opened up the front of the sten house - all the plants in there should be frost hardy, just thought last week's super cold spell might have been too much for them - all of these look ok, brought the hyacinth bulbs inside just before Christmas as I thought they'd had enough of a cold snap to start them growing.
peas, leeks and brassicas that were looking very bad during the frost have now picked up again.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

midwinter garden

we've had several days of hard frost with some days not above freezing at all, followed by some snow.

the over-wintering peas are still standing - just.

have had to re-cover the broad beans with the cloche

the leeks and broccoli are bent over by the cold
even the brussels sprouts look under the weather

Sunday, 20 December 2009

picked this week

nothing picked from the garden this week. have lifted the second piece of ginger - this is better grown than the first but both have new bulbs that are bigger than the originals.

Saturday, 19 December 2009


two days of hard frost, now some snow, at last. the broad beans are not looking very good at the moment, really bent over with the cold. after the earlier frosts, we'd covered them with a cloche but took this off last week. leeks and peas are also bedraggled but not as badly.

Thursday, 17 December 2009


a very cold day with some snow - first at lunch, which melted, and again about 3-4 in the afternoon -now have slight covering on pavements though not on grass.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

picked this week

surprisingly busy week. have lifted the last potatoes growing under a cloche -there aren't many and they aren't very big but considering they grew from just the sprutting bits they're not so bad. lifted a very small red cabbage and was surprised that it filled a jar for pickle, but it did. have started picking and freezing brussels sprouts ready for Christmas day. managed to get some rocket for sandwiches - can't get any spinach as it is on a greenhouse shelf and the Christmas tree is in the way.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009


been lifting some bits and bobs from the veg patch today - the potatoes from under the cloche as their tops had been frosted off, some very small beetroot and a small red cabbage

december flowers

winter jasmine

an extremely late antirrhinum


Sunday, 6 December 2009

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


a cold night at last. bird's water frozen this morning. nasturtiums totally wilted - pulled out their remains. peas and small cabbages standing well but the broad beans look flattened by the cold - hopefully they'll pick up but meanwhile have put a cloche over them.

Monday, 30 November 2009


gathered up the small, unusable garlic cloves and planted them outside today. garlic needs a spell of cold weather to grow properly and, though we've had no frosts so far, this week is forecast to be cold


in B&Q at weekend for bird-nuts and found bulbs on half-price sale. so I've bought a bag of pale pink hyacinths in case the saved bulbs don't flower. these are not prepared bulbs for forcing indoors, but ones to plant in the garden. having potted them up, I'm going to leave them in the greenhouse for a while to chill before bringing them indoors.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

picked this week

some more brussels, a little bit of broccoli, radishes - some from the cold frame and some strangely shaped ones from the garden, bits of rocket and spinach for salad, and a Christmas Tree

christmas tree

lifted the Christmas tree today. this was purchased many years ago as a "root- ball" tree. after it's first year as Christmas Tree it was planted outside, in the garden but in a pot to prevent the roots spreading too far. it wasn't used the following year, or possibly 2, as we had several different ex- Christmas trees planted out, but it has been lifted and re-used before this year. this tree has not grown particularly tall yet, though it is getting rather wide, but some that we have bought as 2metre trees have grown too tall and then been chopped down rather than lifted for subsequent Christmases.

Thursday, 26 November 2009


a sunny day, so it's more obvious how the laburnum tree is blocking light from the garden. unlike everything else, it still has its leaves which means more shadow from it. so, out with pruners and ladder and chop off some height and a lot that overhangs the fence. have saved some of the straighter branches for stakes and pea sticks - none of it very thick, up to a couple of inches at most.

Monday, 23 November 2009

flowers from the garden

nasturtiums, fuchsias and verbena in November

Sunday, 22 November 2009

peas, beans and cabbages

in between the rain, we've been planting out veg to over-winter. Feltham First peas, a mix of Aquadulce and Bunyard's Exhibition broad beans and a variety of cabbages - Spring Hero, Offenham Flower of Spring and Advantage. the peas and beans have sticks to keep the cat and the birds off, and the cabbages have their little plastic collars to protect them. all of them have been raised in the half-covered sten house and are a little delicate and leggy, so I'm hoping there isn't a sudden sharp frost soon.

picked this week

a handful of brussels sprouts - that's it

Saturday, 21 November 2009

ginger plants

these are the two ginger plants that have been growing all summer. they are now starting to turn brown - as you can see - so I think it's time to lift them and see it there's actually any ginger root underneath.

Friday, 20 November 2009

bulbs and weeds

a mild sunny morning with blue sky and less wind than yesterday - though we've missed the gales forecast for elsewhere this week. started out to plant some bulbs in the garden - these are mainly ones received through freecycle so, although there's obviously daffodils, tulips and crocus amongst them, it's going to be a bit of a surprise when they flower. anyway, bulb planting led to trying to lift some more of the campanula and a bit of general weed clearing - no matter how much of the campanula is lifted, it still grows back.
still have antirrhinums, nasturtiums and lobelia flowering well and some odd bits of welsh poppies; a couple of flowers on the pinkperennial geranium; winter jasmine and the hardy fuchsias are both flowering; seen buds on polyanthus this morning, a yellow one, I think.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

warm weather

18th November - by family tradition, we expect snow at this particular time of year. Yesterday was bright, sunny and very windy. Today is still windy but very wet and mild.


a wet but fairly mild day spent out in the greenhouse sorting through last year's bulbs and planting them up. quite a mix of bulbs, jumbled together - daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and some small ones that might be crocuses or muscaria. some to stay out in the garden but mainly they're to bring into the house, hopefully just after Christmas when nothing at all is growing outside.

Also set a tray of Winter Density lettuce - should start to grow in this mild weather- and re-set lupins - only one surviving from previous batch

Sunday, 15 November 2009

picked this week

the first brussels sprouts - not many, just enough for two for dinner, some outer cabbage leaves from a plant that's been growing all year but not forming a heart, some small broccoli shoots. have pulled rocket from the garden and spinach from the greenhouse this week and radishes from the late sowing - these are growing well but some are been eaten by slugs and of course the two strawberries.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

strawberries in November

was out tidying the garden after a windy day or two, and happened to notice there were still flowers on the alpine strawberries. I was even more surprised, when looking closer, to discover two strawberries - both of a good size, for alpines, and starting to ripen - you can see the actual size from the finger tip in the photo.

Friday, 13 November 2009

early brussels

had quite windy weather over the past few days and the brussels have fallen over. I haven't really been checking them for sprouts but discovered some, ready for picking, while we were staking up the plants.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

picked this week

a handful of runner beans as we took the plants out, some rocket and spinach leaves.

Friday, 6 November 2009

november flowers

nasturtiums, calendula, lobelia, welsh poppies, outdoor fuchsia, gaura lindheimerei, antirrhinums, - not what you'd really expect to find flowering at this time of year

end of the runner beans

pulled the runner bean plants out today. some hidden beans on them but not many and not necessarily fit to eat.

nasturtiums - again

nasturtiums are still trying to take over the patio

get into the house

and elbow out the leeks

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

christmas dinner

counting the days till Christmas - at least we'll have brussels sprouts

Monday, 2 November 2009

weeds still growing

it's not the right time of year for these welsh poppies and amongst the cabbage isn't really the right place but they're still flowering and brightening up the veg patch.

Sunday, 1 November 2009


very wet and very windy today. so far weather has remained mild with no frosts, maybe it's getting ready to change.

picked this week

still some runner beans, some rocket, young spinach leaves from the september sowing, a couple of small radish from the late sowing and two large ones left over from earlier - these were nothing like as woody as I expected but were amazingly fiery, probably the last beetroot, some second shoots of broccoli and a very small cauliflower. picked some more ripening chillies to hang and dry.

crops for spring

peas and broad beans are now both growing well, so it looks like the holly sprigs are helping to keep the mice away - also they were moved to a higher shelf. all year round cauliflowers are now through and the various cabbages are getting ready to be planted out. have now moved the young spinach to the greenhouse to be able to pull from it over winter and ought to get some lettuce set. still have peppers and, surprisingly, some chillies growing in the greenhouse - none of the fruits are very big so it's not easy to spot the difference (till you eat them)

Saturday, 31 October 2009

halloween pumpkins

two of this year's pumpkins carved for Halloween

Have weighed the two remaining pumpkins; the one seen here is 9lb 12oz, the other is smaller at 6lb 13oz.

Friday, 30 October 2009


not intended as an ornamental shrub but looking like one

Sunday, 25 October 2009

picked this week

getting less from the garden now. still some runner beans- maybe 2 dinners worth, the last cucumbers,5 extremely small potatoes, one radish - unfortunately half-eaten by slugs, still some rocket growing.

Saturday, 24 October 2009


set some small sprouting pieces of potatoes in the open garden a month or so ago and, as the nights have grown colder, covered the area with a cloche. these are still growing well but will have to wait and see if there are actually any potatoes growing under there.

Friday, 23 October 2009

peas and other things

the peas we've set to over-winter are now coming through - not very big yet but growing. next to them on the shelf are the pots of broad beans - the sprigs of holly are supposed to deter mice from digging them up.

have cleared the cold frame of courgette plants today - no fruit at all to be taken off.

Thursday, 22 October 2009


taken cucumber plants out of the greenhouse today. not had any real frost but these have stopped growing and fruiting, and are turning very mildewy. took some very small cucumbers off - gherkin sized mainly

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


a lovely sunny autumn afternoon spoiled by the trees outside the garden. if they weren't there we would have a lot more light, sunshine and heat not only in the garden but also in the house. we contacted the council about the possibility of them being cut down, even if only by a small amount, but although on open shared land they are apparently owned by the developers who built the properties so the council cannot help. fortunately, they will soon lose their leaves and then we will have some sunshine again.

Sunday, 18 October 2009


the nasturtiums are still flowering well even though the winter jasmine is now out alongside it. they've grown madly this year with one trailing 8/9 feet under the patio doors.

picked this week

runner beans, cucumber, courgettes (the last of them), super-radish, some rocket leaves, the last of the baby corn

Thursday, 15 October 2009


a totally wet day today - the first for quite some time. Set All Year Round cauliflowers and re-set the Broad Beans yesterday. No gardening today, staying dry inside.


started to clear out a patch of lanky running-to-seed radishes and found one at least that was still growing. Super-radish! heart-shaped too.
later sowing, from September, is a couple of inches high with no roots really yet - hopefully sunshine and no real frost will allow them to grow.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

baby corn and broad beans

pulled out all the corn stalks yesterday and was surprised at the amount of small baby corn still there unnoticed. Will use them all up in tonight's stir-fry.
the broad beans set last week aren't doing well. all the pots have little hollows where the bean has been removed, probably by a mouse. the only good thing about this is that earlier this year when we had a rat in the garden, the council rat-catcher woman said that having mice in the garden was a sign of NOT having rats.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

autumn butterflies

another glorious sunny week, though cold at night, is bringing basking butterflies, mainly the larger ones - this Red Admiral and camera-shy Peacocks, to the michaelmas daisies and remaining calendulas.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

picked this week

runner beans - on the increase again this week, actually frozen some. some bits of broccoli. another really small cabbage. several cucumbers though less than last week. two courgettes.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

peas,beans and autumn leaves

have been tidying up the garden ready for winter and sowing Aquadulce broad beans and Feltham First peas but getting distracted by the wonderful colours of autumn leaves.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


got a lot of the garden dug yesterday ready for sowing peas and broad beans. spread the big bin (220 litres) of compost over it all and today the rain is helping spread it in. also picked up more horse manure last night to top up the bins.
this is the first real rain we've had in over a month. August was damp, September was very dry. the bare ground in the veg patch was starting to crack from being so dry and beetroot and radishes were running to seed. it was beginning to drop quite cold at night ( forecast of 6 degrees) - should be warmer with some rain

Sunday, 4 October 2009

picked this week

MORE cucumbers - particularly the Crystal Lemon type which are fruiting better now than all summer, some runner beans - more this week than last, beetroot, rocket, rhubarb - probably the last of it, have taken the red chillies off of the plants to dry them.

Saturday, 3 October 2009


a variety of small cabbages for spring growing in the sten-house - Offenham Flower of Spring, Spring Hero and Advantage- and a row of winter cabbages that was planted close in by the felthan first pea row.