Monday 23 March 2015

Bumble bees

Seen a lot of big bumble bees especially on the hellebores and heathers. We've had a lovely few days with quite a bit of warm sunshine during the day which has brought out the garden flowers nicely - daffodils, hellebores, primroses, little pink starry bulbs....I saw a deep red camellia in full bloom up by a house up on the main road and some ornamental trees looking gorgeous.

However, no honey bees yet. Maybe they are still being fed by their keepers and don't need to get out yet. Hope this isn't a sign of empty hive syndrome around here. There's loads of flowers, both in the garden and the surrounding fields and hedgerows. I can't believe that not enough food can be a problem for fewer bees. More likely disease or pesticides.

Monday 16 March 2015


Harvested our first Rhubarb today. This year I tried "forcing" the rhubarb by covering one of our eight plants with a big black dustbin. The result is slightly earlier harvest of tender pale-pink stems. Some people reckon this is the only way to have rhubarb, though I've always loved our rhubarb just as it comes. Today's "forced" harvest was very tasty. Definitely tender - had to be very careful harvesting to avoid pulling up whole shoots instead of just a single stem. I pulled four stems from the unforced plants and cooked them all together - just roasted in a covered dish with a little sugar. Looked so pretty with the sugar I took a photo. Tasted pretty good too (with custard & cream!).

Forced rhubarb on the right is paler and longer and the leaves look very anaemic.

Rhubarb cut and sugared in the dish ready for roasting.

Thursday 12 March 2015

Sprouting Colleens and Broad Beans

The Colleen potatoes I planted a couple of weeks ago in the conservatory are sprouting already. It's been pretty warm in there during the day.

I'm planning to plant Broad Beans this weekend - some in pots and some direct in the soil. It doesn't seem to make much difference to the success and productivity but it's fun to watch the progress of the potted beans from the warmth of the conservatory! I usually save seeds from one year to the next but this year I've bought a packet of 30 ( masterpiece green Longpod) because some of the saved ones have a bit of brown mottling which I'm a bit concerned about.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Spring sprung!

We've had a few lovely sunny days. The birds and spring bulbs have definitely declared it's Spring. Wonderful to be outside, even just tidying up. Although I love my day job as website designer and marketer I'm starting to resent time spent at the desk and not out in the garden with these lovelies:

Purple crocuses in the grass

Hellebores and snowdrops

Small blue iris peeping through on the rockery. Don't remember this in previous years.
Plants arrive without any help from us - or maybe result of creative neglect!.