Thursday 23 May 2013

Magnificent Magnolia

This year our magnolia tree has been magnificent. It started flowering 4 weeks ago and we had a dodgy couple of mornings after frosty nights when we thought the flowers had been "toasted" by the frost. This often stops them opening and they look sad and still-born while all the spring flowers are bursting into life around the garden.
Here it is in it's glory:
Our magnolia tree.

Friday 17 May 2013

First cuckoo

This evening I heard my first cuckoo of summer 2013. Unfortunately not in our garden but about a mile away in the Gorse Field near Hough Mill, Swannington.

Gorse blooming  in the Gorse Field.
Hough Mill
I joined the Coleorton Heritage Group tour of the old coal mines in the area with a guide from the Swannington Heritage Group who own and care for the land and have restored the mill.

It was a beautiful evening and lovely walking through the spinney of native English trees and wild spring flowers like red campions and lady's smock.

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Dogs Tooth Violets

We have a terrific variety of plants, trees and shrubs in our garden - thanks to the design and gardening skills of Hilary and Pat, the previous owners of Froggarts Cottage. One of the loveliest spring flowers is the Dogs Tooth Violet.

They are also called Yellow Adder's Tongue and Trout Lily but their proper Latin name is Erythronium Americanum.

I think they rather like shade and damp, but we had some in the fern garden which flowered each year but this year no leaves or flowers and I think they were drowned in the awful wet we had over the winter.

There's a nice description of the Dogs Tooth Violet - which is actually a lily - on the Old and Sold website which is about auctions and old stuff but has a really eclectic selection of articles (old and new) about stuff.

Sunday 12 May 2013

Beans, beans, beans!

No posts for a few weeks - partly due to the great change in weather, especially over the May holiday, which meant that we could get outside and DO stuff.
I finally got the runner beans planted. Although we usually follow a random crop rotation policy, this year I've kept  runner beans in the same place as last year. Haven't had time to move the frame (made by the previous owners from scaffolding poles and the heavy wire mesh that builders use in reinforced concrete). So I just dug over the soil and put in a couple of barrow-loads of home-grown compost before popping in 48 beans. Hopefully by the time they emerge any risk of frost will have passed. (Was pretty cold  (4 deg C) last night though).
The 60 broad beans (Masterpiece Green Longpod seeds saved from last year's harvest) planted out from pots started are looking great despite the wind. I'll need to stake them up as they get bigger.
We've planted 60 french beans (Blue Lake) in pots in the conservatory. They are quite tender and have lost loads in previous years through putting them out too soon. So they won't go outside until the start of June when in theory nights will be warm.