Monday, 21 December 2015

Gooseberries



I sense a gooseberry pie in our future!   These little green beauties are doing very well in their second year.  They are sweeter than the gooseberries we used to grow but with the same wonderful tartiness.  Perfect to put into a pie and serve with lashings of fresh cream.
 


Below : The gooseberry bushes grow alongside some of the grapevines.


Thursday, 17 December 2015

Hens

The Red Shavers are such a great breed.  They're excellent layers for sure but they're also so friendly and calm - a real pleasure to have around.





Monday, 30 November 2015

Bouquets Of Flowers

There are few things as cheering as a bouquet of flowers.  The majority of these flowers, especially the roses, were picked from our garden.

 Most of them have a lovely perfume to add to their charm.  Some of the roses have been here many years now including those which were won by my Collies at dog shows.  They seem a lovely memorial to them.



 








Fly Catcher - The Devil's Tongue

This resilient and strange plant has been in the garden here for many years defying those who have tried to get rid of it because of it's terrible smell.  It smells like "something dead" as everyone points out.   

Despite being "dug out" several times it always seems to reappear and in recent years no one bothers it any more.  It is a fly catcher.  It's not a great beauty but it's one saving grace is the quite stunning colour of it's flower which is a very deep and rich plum and only seen occasionally.   This was the flower in November 2015.  The two black stalks coming out of the flower are also somewhat unusual.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Echium Heaven

When I was a teenager a lovely lady in our little town called Mrs Allan had these tall, glorious plants growing everywhere in her garden.  I used to mow her lawn every week (part of my capitalist lawn mowing empire of the time!) and I'd never seen anything quite like them before.  They self seeded and grew everywhere in her sheltered yard and at one stage Dad asked her for one of the plants.  The rest, as they say, is history! 

It turns out these majestic plants are echiums. For years now we too have had numerous towering echiums growing all over our property.  They turn up everywhere.  Most of ours get very tall, 10 or 11 feet high.  The bees, bumblebees and butterflies love them and visit them often for their nectar.

The echiums are tough plants and quite drought resistant.  Although they grow freely on our property which is quite sheltered we've noticed that very few have carried over to any of the neighbour's places which is somewhat surprising considering how abundant they are here.  That seemed to be the case in Mrs Allan's garden as well, so it seems that they like to take up residence in a particularly sheltered spot.  According to the horticulturalists echiums do like protection from the frost so that may be why they seem to do so well in the niche they have found here.

We've had blues and purples but now we've ventured into pink and we will soon have red as we await a "Tower of Jewels" red echium plant to arrive at our door from the North Island.  They're such a fun - and beautiful - plant to have around.

Below : some of the echiums at our place.


 



 The photos below are from the Internet. 
 


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Baby Fruit Trees

This area used to be mostly grass where the dogs played but now we are down to one geriatric Collie, Bridie, we've planted 11 new fruit trees, 6 lemon trees, some gooseberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries as well as a dozen or so new grapevines along the wooden fence.

The fruit trees in this area are:


A Royal Gala apple

A Peasgood Nonsuch Apple
A Granny Smith apple
A Royal Gala/Golden Delicious apple (double grafted) 
A Tydeman's Late Orange apple
A Splendour/Granny Smith/Royal Gala apple (triple grafted)
A Golden Queen peach tree
A Firebrite nectarine
A Moorpark Apricot
A Billington plum
A Black Doris plum
6 Meyer lemon trees

These go with the BlackBoy peach trees already there and a now very large bay tree which is around forty years old.   There are elderberries growing around here too plus a lot of "weeds"! The stinging nettles remain as the Red & Yellow Admiral butterflies lay their eggs on them.