Monday 17 February 2014

Hazel Catkins

Spring is springing! The snowdrops are amazing this year and shrubs are sprouting. The Hazel bush is covered in yellow lambs-tail catkins. They look dramatic against the blue sky.

Hazel Catkins
We look forward to nuts, cob nuts some people call them, but every year the squirrels get them just when they are perfectly ripe. They leave little piles of shells around the orchard.

Even though no nuts, the hazel is useful. Tall straight shoots emerge from the centre of the tree (withies) which can be cut and used for bean-poles and stakes. They're stronger than bamboos and cheaper than buying poles from the garden centre.

Dramatic yellow Hazel Catkins against the blue sky

Monday 10 February 2014

Winter fare

In the rather soggy winter we're having it's lovely to enjoy the harvest from the garden.

  • Parsley - Picked from the garden this morning for the roast chicken with parsley and thyme stuffing
  • Brussel sprouts - The pigeons have started pecking them now so there won't be many more, but much better than last year when the pheasants got stuck in and destroyed the lot. Going to buy some cages this year!
  • Roast potatoes - The last of the Desirees from the garage store. Actually there a few small ones left which I'm going to use as seed potatoes.
  • Roast squash - They've kept really well in the garage. They are seeds saved from the shop-bought butternut squashes from 2012, not quite so orange-coloured but tasty none-the-less. Make good soup too.
  • Plum crumble - Plums stoned and slightly cooked keep really well in the freezer and are ready to use in a crumble, pie or just with custard. We've got some plums bottled too.

Friday 7 February 2014

Potatoes in pots

Back to the storms - downpours and very windy, but still not especially cold. To try and get an early march on the weather I've planted up two large pots with 3 each of Sante potatoes. These are ones saved from last year and already sprouting in the cardboarded boxes where we store them in the garage.

I've put the pots in the big conservatory where it's dry and a little warmer than outside. Hopefully we'll have some nice new spuds for April or May.

In November I planted two big tubs up in the greenhouse. Nothing showing yet. Last year the conservatory potatoes came earlier than the greenhouse ones where they can get a touch of frost.

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Sunny days

Despite dire weather warnings and floods around the country we have had four days of glorious sunshine. There's a stiff breeze but it's not cold or frosty. Had a good session in the garden on Sunday. There's a lot of  dried couch grass which last year went crazy everywhere, and clumps of wet leaves and soggy foliage to clear away uncovering loads of snowdrops

and few hellebores not quite open, except for this beauty:

Yellow hellebore