Friday, 27 June 2008

A star flower

I once read that Campanula or Bellflower was a good plant to grow at the base of a hedge as it would grow in the dry soil. At the time my little privet hedge was quite new and there were large gaps between the plants so I decided to plant just one Campanula to see how well it would grow.

That was about ten years ago and now that one plant has spread along the base of the hedge. Apart from tidying it up after flowering, I don't really look after it at all but despite being neglected, at this time of the year it seems to burst into life covering my golden privet hedge with a mass of pale lavender star shaped flowers.

Just the sort of low maintenance gardening that I like.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Potato harvest

I planted these potatoes in pots at the end February, two tubers to a pot. Today I had run out of potatoes so I decided it was time to see how well they had grown. The chickens watched closely as I tipped out a pot and found some good sized potatoes.
This pot contained 1 lb 8 oz of potatoes which seemed to be quite good considering they were in a relatively small pot. We ate them this evening, I always enjoy the first new potatoes from the garden.

If I had plenty of room I probably wouldn't bother growing potatoes in pots but it is a good way of getting a few potatoes from a small space.

After I had gathered up the potatoes, the chickens scratched through the compost eating anything they could see that moved. So potatoes for us and plenty of bugs for the chickens.

Monday, 23 June 2008

More wild orchids

Back in May I posted about finding some Green Winged Orchids. I knew where they were growing and made a special trip to find them. This weekend we were out for a walk and I wasn't thinking about orchids at all and we stumbled upon loads of them.

I wandered around taking photographs and spotted four different varieties. This blog seems to be turning into a wild flower blog but these were just too beautiful not to share the photos. I'm not very confidant with orchid identification but with the help of my trusty flower book " The Concise British Flora in Colour " by W Keble Martin ( I have owned this book since I was six) and looking at photographs on The Hardy Orchid Society website I hope I have got the names right.

This one is the Burnt Tip Orchid.

The Common Spotted Orchid

The Fragrant Orchid

Lastly, the Pyramidal Orchid

They are such beautiful wild flowers, a definite bonus on our Sunday afternoon walk.

I hope these names are correct, if I have made a mistake please leave a comment.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

An Ending

The last exam, the last time in school and the last time this battered old school bag will be flung down in the hall at the end of the school day. My eldest son is no longer at school. He is unsure what he wants to do next and now will be trying to find a job, earn some money and decide whether university is the right path for him. So changes ahead and decisions to be made. I worry that he doesn't know what he wants to do but I'm sure that it will all work out in the end.

First though a few days to relax after the exams, then in a couple of weeks we are on holiday and after that some serious job searching.

The years that he has been at school seemed to have flown by and I can still remember very clearly walking away from his infant school after leaving him there on his first day. How quickly that tiny little boy has grown.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

A day in my life

This is the third month that I've joined in with Jenny's project, recording the days activities on the 14th of each month. Jenny has listed those taking part this month here.

This month the 14th falls on a Saturday which is probably the day of the week that has the least routine. Today, unusually for us, we were shopping.

First though, as it was a fine and sunny morning, there was walk round the village to buy bread and a newspaper before we went into town.

We had several things to do in town. The first was to take eldest sons bike for a general service and to get the gears repaired. As we couldn't all fit in the car with the bike as well, my youngest son used his season ticket and went in by train and we all met up in town.

The second task was to buy eldest sons 18th birthday present. He had chosen a camera and after many many hours of internet research he was quite sure which one he wanted and where to get the best price, so that was a quite straight forward purchase. His birthday isn't for another couple of weeks so it has now been hidden away.

After some clothes shopping for we had coffee in the park.

The flower beds were planted with brightly coloured bedding plants. I don't really like this type of planting, preferring something more natural looking but somehow these blocks of colour seem to fit quite well into town parks.

Since 1831 there must have been thousands of people who have rested in the sunshine and enjoyed the flowers.

Back home for lunch. The afternoon was still fine so I worked in the garden and then the allotment. I made some bread dough to make pizza for dinner so I worked in the garden while I started it off and then drove to the allotment to garden while the dough was proving.

There was weeding and watering to be done but at this time of the year there is harvesting as well so I have something to show for my efforts. I picked lettuce, broad beans and some pinks.

I chatted to my neighbours. I watered their plot while they were on holiday last week and as a thank you they gave me some garlic.

I used some of the garlic in the tomato sauce for the pizza topping. No pictures of the pizzas, we ate them before I got the chance.

After dinner I spent an hour on the phone to my parents while the rest of the family watched Dr Who. I've never liked Dr Who, I still remember being scared of the daleks!

That brings me up to the present and I am typing this. I have ironing to do when I have finished but I will make sure that I read some of the other "day in my life" posts first.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Chickens and eggs

Our two chickens are enjoying the bright summer weather. The lawn which they almost destroyed during the wet winter months has recovered so they once again have plenty of grass to eat. With the long summer days they now spend up to fourteen hours a days just wandering around the garden eating- seems like a nice life!

They are quiet most of the time but there is quite a bit of fairly loud clucking at egg laying time. Recently, a rather bleary eyed teenager came downstairs complaining that the chickens were really loud that particular morning and had woken him up. Chickens do get up much earlier than teenagers but then most living things get up earlier than teenagers!

I joked that perhaps the noise was loud because they had laid a really big egg. When I collected the eggs, I found this

a huge egg.
It is longer than the width of my hand, I'm not surprised there was a lot of clucking.
We have now had the chickens for almost a year. My husband has been writing down the price of the feed, grain, straw etc we have bought in that time and yesterday he worked out that our eggs cost us around 70p a half dozen. I realised I no longer know the price of eggs because I haven't bought any but for free range organic eggs (we buy organic layer pellets ) that must be well under half price.
So two of the advantages of keeping chickens, reasonably priced eggs and a method of waking teenagers!

Thursday, 5 June 2008


Everything has all dried up now but earlier in the week we had a lot of rain. The fields at the bottom of the village were flooded,

our garden got very wet,

and so did this chicken!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

A traditional hay meadow

Its been really wet here so to cheer myself up I thought I'd post some pictures of a lovely hay meadow taken last week before the wet weather.

This meadow was owned by farmer, Ron Ward who used no chemicals on the land. On his death it was left to a wildlife trust who are managing it traditionally so that the mixture of wild flowers will be maintained. The hay is cut late so that the flower seeds have chance to set and it is also grazed.
There were many different flowers though I could only take photos of the ones near the edge of the meadow so as not to trample down the long grass. I also saw loads of butterflies but they didn't stay still long enough for me to photograph them!


red clover



The whole meadow was full of flowers and it is great to know that this little bit of traditional flower-rich grassland is being preserved by careful management. One hundred years or more ago, meadows like this would have been a common sight in the countryside.