Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pruning the apple tree

We have nice, old Bramley tree in the garden but several years of neglect mean it has got a bit time to hack some off.

I wanted to balance removing the vertical branches and those crossing without removing so much it triggers a bout of green leafy growth.

In the end I removed all the tall verticals and any branches growing towards the center. This has opened it up nicely and I'll reduce the length of the remaking branches next winter.

Friday, October 14, 2011

What have we been doing in the garden?

OK, we're rubbish. 5 months and no posts...not really good blogging is it?

First off, the excuses. I spent most of May travelling in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, waving my camera at unwilling birds. We have both been very busy with work all summer, so only had time to try to keep the garden in a holding pattern - watering and doing some weeding when possible.

April and May were dry months here in East Anglia. Very dry. Despite keeping on top of the daily watering, the tomatoes didn't seem to like the conditions in the Greenhouse and although we got loads of fruit, it was all fairly tough skinned. I ended up making ketchup which should be ready to try in a couple of weeks :)

Otherwise the greenhouse did well - loads of peppers and chillis (although my attempt at air drying the fruit failed...I'll use the oven next time). We had mixed results with the cucumbers and melons - good early crops but struggled to keep them happy as summer went on.

We invested £50 in seeds, bulbs and annual plugs for the main scar beds and experimented at how taller plants would handle the wind...and were pleasantly surprised. The random mix of colour and planting worked well and we will probably keep a similar theme in the final beds here.

We also now have chickens - 5 young bantams that may start laying soon...

I plan to post more details of the past couple of months work later on.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quick bird update - 60 species

Its all happening here in the village - there was a Wryneck feeding in a garden a few hundred yards down the road today and we had a Hobby race through the garden!

This brings us to 60 species recorded from the garden!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Asparagus and more

We have had a busy couple of weekends since I last posted - mainly constructing and moving stuff. Maybe we'll get to the planting and enjoying stage sometime...

Work in progress: Asparagus beds, greenhouse, chicken house and compost bins
Firstly, all 10 Asparagus crowns have produced at least one spear...which is a relief! Hopefully either our neighbour will clip the wings on her 5 chickens or we will seal the back hedge - either way I can remove the temporary fence from around the Asparagus beds.

Asparagus spear
We have concentrated on the area behind the greenhouse that will become the home for our chickens. The area will be enclosed on 2 sides by chicken wire fence, the 3rd side by the back of the greenhouse and the remaining side is 3 meters of picket fence and the compost bins.
3 compost bins and a leaf bin
After seeing the price of decent wooden bins with opening fronts (about £100 each), I visited my local timber merchant (Thaxters of Holt - excellent service and prices) and bought about £80 of wood. 8 hours of sawing and screwing later, I had three bins built. And a matching leaf bin on the side. Total cost: less than £100

Old gate
We decided to give the chicken area a grand entrance, so recycled the gate from the front of the house (removed to make the drive entrance a sensible width).

I planted another permanent resident - an Himalayan Birch 'Grayswood Ghost'. This should develop wonderful smooth, white bark.

Himalayan Birch 'Grayswood Ghost'
It looks a little lost at the moment but the garden should grow around it as it grows.

Finally we moved the old summerhouse to a temporary position to allow the new boundary fence to be constructed...which has gone well too. I'll write more about that project another time.
Tired, old summerhouse

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sussex Gardens: Free plant labels

Roz recently posted a great recycling idea over on Sussex Gardens: Free plant labels: "A cheap and easy way to label plants and seedlings is by re-using plastic food containers like margerine tubs or milk bottles. Just wash out...". Click through to read the full post.

Free plants

The postman has just arrived with our 42 free Petunias from the February issue of Gardeners World. Looks like I will be potting those on this evening!

Tiny petunias!

If you missed the free offer, Thompson and Morgan offer a similar colour mix - click here to see it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

New lunchtime visitors

I was about to nip out for half hour in the garden at lunch when I noticed an odd grey lump by our new asparagus beds...quick look with the bins and I saw there were two Red-legged Partridges sat there!

Red-legged Partridges stood by our wheelbarrow
Not my finest moment of avian photography but I wanted to show the wheelbarrow in the frame.