15 November 2015

Dorset Garden Diary - Flowers Play a Big Part in our Lives

It's been a thought-provoking weekend after the horrific events in Paris on Friday evening. How, frighteningly, life can change in an instant. Loved ones needlessly taken away in cowardly acts. As I walked round the garden on Saturday morning, and watched the news reports over the weekend, it struck me just how big a part flowers play in our lives. I tried to download a picture of a field of blue, white and red poppies but, I'm sorry to say, my technical abilities failed me.

Anyway, previous to Friday I hope you all had a good week. Busy one for me but unfortunately not all of it garden-related. The weather has been mild again, although it did turn chilly towards the end of the week for a while. But mainly it's been more of rain and high winds. 

It's been a bit limited on the jobs done front this week but I have, finally, tidied the shed again (yes, this is tidy!).

I sorted through all the seeds I've collected throughout the year to make sure they haven't rotted. I then cleaned the dead leaves and twigs off the seeds that I've been drying, put them in envelopes and labelled them. The stored beetroot was starting to go a bit soft so I have cooked and pickled it. The carrots and parsnips were also starting to get a bit soft and they were turned into delicious vegetable soup. The new potatoes are still ok, albeit they are sprouting but definitely still firm and edible. Apart from one cooking apple which has rotted, the others are storing well. So all in all I'm happy.

I raked the fallen leaves off the lawn. Probably not the best of timings as the next day we had 50 mile an hour winds and I had to do it all again! I collected them up and piled them in a sheltered corner of the garden for creatures to over-winter in. Him indoors cleaned out the blue tit box and I put the old nesting material in the leaves to make it more comfortable to hibernate in. The bird box is now cleaned inside and out and hanging up again minus the indignant spider who was squatting in it. The other two bird boxes were checked but hadn't been nested in. Hopefully they will next year.

Him indoors fixed a couple of loose panes in the greenhouse then reset the pond pump timer as it hasn't been changed since the clocks went back so it was coming on an hour earlier. He reduced the time it's on as the pond is looking healthy and he also cleared some of the aerating plant weed. We have a surplus of it this year. Last year I kept over-zealously buying it to help with the oxygen levels in the pond but it didn't appear to grow and I thought the fish were eating it. Well, this year it has all grown! I popped in to the local pond shop to buy some wheatgerm-based fish food for the winter and also to see if we need to keep the pump on during the winter or not. It's not really clear cut. The pump can be left on or it can be switched off. That's helpful (sarcasm). If it's switched off it needs to be lifted out of the pond and if it stays switched on then it needs to be switched off if frost is imminent. Anyway, the fishlings like their new food and are growing up quickly. They are now 4-5 inches long...I'm not surprised with the amount they eat!

There are more blossomings and new growth this week. This viburnum came into flower on Monday
and this bulb broke through on Tuesday:

Typically, I can't remember what it is though I'm sure I'll find out soon. Do you remember a couple of months ago I rescued a some trays of neglected carrot seedlings from a well known DIY and garden centre? Well look at them now, picking themselves up and looking healthy

and the blackcurrant sage has come into flower again, and this is the primula that was in bud last week:

And I'm pleased, and amazed, that the lilies have survived the high winds.

I went to a different garden centre today and kept the promise I made myself not to buy any more plants. And I did keep that promise. Instead of plants I bought a robin feeder and robin food. I hadn't realised that robins feed off the ground. The feeder is made of fine mesh and stands on a small frame. The food sits about an inch or so off the ground so it doesn't get soggy. I hope the squirrels don't find it.

Thursday night into Friday morning was wild with heavy rain and strong, gusting winds. Just after sunrise we had a squall that sounded like small pebbles being thrown against the back windows whilst out the front...the sun was shining!  At least the rain has washed the seagull deposits off the car!

Well, that's all for this week except today I made the most of some of the garden produce - duck (not garden produce!) with a blackberry jus (or sauce to most of us) followed by blackberry and apple crumble (with cinnamon and mixed spice) with custard and..yep, naughty...double cream. Fasting day tomorrow!