Thursday, 15 June 2017

Early harvest

The garden is beginning to provide us with its bounty.  We've had a few lovely strawberries from the baskets in the greenhouse, a kilo of gooseberries, rhubarb and some chard from last year's sowing and a handful of sugar snap peas.

We're looking forward to having some broad-beans in a few days and we've had a few meals from potatoes (kestrels) grown in big pots.

Strawberries (Elsante) in the greenhouse im May

The Elsante strawberries which we've had for 2 years produced early but have nearly finished now. We've got some more strawberries from a neighbour which are just ripening now. Don't know the variety.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Seed-head feeds

The spring flowers, like aquilegias, bergenias, bistorts have mostly gone over now leaving heads of dead flowers - which are turning into nice, ripe seeds. The general view of gardening is to dead-head to preserve the strength of the plant for next year and to tidy up. But don't be too hasty - seed heads provide a great food source for birds, especially needed at this time of year to feed hungry youngsters and second broods.

We were delighted yesterday by a pair of bullfinches feeding on the aquilegia seeds, the male resplendent with his orange-red chest and his more sombre brown mate. While we were watching them a goldfinch perched on a bergenia seed-head and pecked energetically before moving on to another dead flower (a blue flower like a cornflower - don't know it's proper name.)

The goldfinches are nesting in a neighbour's conifer.

Keen to have a balanced, diet the bullfinches had a feed of aphids on our roses before they left us. (Thank you guys!)

The other beauty of not cutting back too quickly is you get seedlings, or you can be organised and collect the seeds and sow them in pots. Also the seed heads are quite attractive as garden features. (I knew I could justify my lazy gardening style!)