7 August 2016

Dorset Garden Diary - A Plethora of Gherkins and a Brilliant Day at Countryfile Live

Evening everyone,

How's your week been? Not too bad here, we had some much needed rain then summer came back and looks like it's here to stay for a while...big smile. But we will need some rain, preferably overnight please.

Monday - 15C 59F with spits and spots of rain in the breeze. I had a list of things to do in the afternoon but, finally, rain stopped play. It started just as a light shower then by the evening we had proper rain which the garden desperately needed as the water butts had run dry. I had potato salad for my dinner, all from the garden (not the sultanas!)...very tasty and healthy apart from the copious amount of mayonnaise

Tuesday - started at 17C 62F and still raining. The garden is quenched and the fish are happy because the pond is full and cleansed. We had over an inch of rain from yesterday afternoon to this morning and the water butts are now full again. Unfortunately, some of it found its way into the pottering shed.

The rest of the day remained dull and this evening the fog rolled in, it was more like autumn than an August's summer evening. I fed the plants in the greenhouse, checked to see if any veg was ready for picking and pruned the yellowing leaves off the cucumbers and gherkins.

Wednesday - 16C 60F and more rain overnight. Very windy today, almost gale force and tiring to garden in. I picked most of the chard and froze it for soups and picked fennel for my salad and stir fry. I also picked the ripe tomatoes and cucumbers and took them next door with some potatoes as we are going away for a couple of days and won't be eating them. I pulled up a couple of the carrots that I've been growing in pots to see how they're doing - small and sweet (as in taste not cuteness - although...). These were growing next to each other, so why aren't they both straight!

I realised today whilst working in the garden that there hasn't been any sparrows or blackbirds around for a few days...strange. I trimmed the tomato, cucumber and gherkin plants both in the greenhouse and outside. The turnip and swede seeds that I've sown in pots are starting to appear.

Thursday - 15C 59F and sunny but still windy. As we are going away for a few days I saturated the plants in the greenhouse and put the seedling pots in seed trays and left them standing in water. Thankfully I didn't have to water the garden because of all the rain we've had...good timing weather! We drove to Woodstock, just past Oxford, to visit Blenheim Palace and gardens. It's very grandiose and impressive. We had a sandwich and drink then did a tour of the house; there's plenty of interesting information and pictures about Winston Churchill's life.  Unfortunately much of the house is out of bounds. We then went outside to the water terrace where it started to rain. As soon as we'd put our waterproofs on it stopped. We walked through the grounds to the rose garden. Now, I'm not really a rose person like him indoors, but I did like these
 Iceberg - very pretty plus the added benefit of being thornless
 Troika - orange
Peace rose plus bee

I will have to show the rest of the Blenheim Palace garden pics in another blog as I have a slight technical hitch. The Blenheim Palace folder uploaded onto my laptop doesn't contain the Blenheim Palace pics in the same folder on my phone (still with me here?)...I have no idea why but glad I haven't lost them. I just need to find out how to get the correct pics off my phone.

Friday - 16C 60F rising to a lovely 23C 74F mostly clear and sunny day with a just a hint of a breeze. Today we went to the Countryfile Live roadshow in the grounds of Blenheim Palace. We had a great day looking at traditional craft stall like blacksmiths, wood carving and basket making. We watched dog training, shire horses and a falconry display and listened to a discussion about the weather with Carol Kirkwood and John Hammond from BBC news. There were numerous stands from kitchen gadgets to designer garden wear to wacky socks, live music entertainment and a funfair for the young at heart (notice I didn't say kids). One of my favourite parts of the day was the animals

Mid afternoon we made our way to the Co-op cream tea pavilion and had high tea - sandwiches, cake, scones with jam and cream, a cup of tea or coffee and a glass of prosecco for only £6 each with the proceeds going to charity...very impressed!

By this time we'd been walking round for over 5 hours. We had a great couple days and were very impressed with the roadshow.

Saturday - when we arrived back home (nearly 2 hours longer than it should have been thanks to the holiday traffic) the first thing I did was go out and feed the fish, check the plants and water the greenhouse and veg beds. The courgettes have grown and so have the cucumbers and gherkins. More tomatoes are now going red although not as quick a I thought they would but just as well, otherwise that's all we'd be eating! Him indoors fixed the pond pump so that the water doesn't fall out of the pond from the fountain, removed more oxygenating weed as it has spread too far across the pond then started clearing away the coarse grass that's suddenly started sprouting up in the cracks of the path near the pond and veg patches. He's done a great job.
Then he picked the first of the blackberries, there weren't many but enough for a decent crumble. The runner beans have grown over 5" since Thursday! The squash is thriving
- last year it just fizzled out. Late afternoon there was a cloud of flying ants rising out of one of the flower beds.

Sunday - 17C 62C and foggy. Stayed murky most of the morning then the sun came out and warmed to 21C 70F. I picked veg for lunch and dinner
lettuce, cucumber, courgettes, spring onions, carrot (note it's straight, think I'm finally getting the hang of it!), runner beans, mini peppers and a green chilli which is deceptively warm. I pickled the gherkins, that's the third jar started

There were quite a few blackbirds in the garden early this morning, don't know where they've been hiding but good to see them back. The swede, turnip and lettuce seedlings have grown

I watched Gardeners' World and the jobs for the week aren't relevant for me so that takes a bit of pressure off. The Countryfile weather is becoming coolish then hotting up by the end of the week, rain debatable. Lucky the water butts are full, I could be doing a lot of watering this coming week.

Well, that's all from me, plenty to do in the coming days namely deadheading and clearing the algae from the edges of the pond plus I've been meaning to weed the shade garden and re-do the small cauldron pond...it's on my list! Have a good week everyone, hope the weather stays good for you and catch up next Sunday.



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