Blossom and blues

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now is hung with blooms along the bough‘ A.E. Housman A Shropshire Lad

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The pear tree, too. Beautiful.

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I suppose it had to happen: we’ve been luxuriating in warm sunshine for so long, it was easy to forget how tricky the weather can be at this time of year. Yesterday it was 7 °C, grey and gloomy with snow forecast on the hills; it’s a beautiful sunny day again today but frost is forecast tonight. 😦 I just hope the tunnel temperature doesn’t drop too low at night and shock the plants Roger has planted in there this week.

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There are still plenty of tender plants to go out once all danger of frost has passed. I’ve given some courgette and squash plants away but they don’t seem to look any fewer somehow.

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As for those anchocha ‘Fat Baby’ I’m wondering if they were a good idea.: I can well believe the marketing blurb that says they can cover a shed in a summer. They are threatening to take over the sitting room and I daren’t plant them out until well into next month, by which time we may well be trapped in the house or in need of a machete . . .

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In the kitchen garden patch, the mixed lettuce, rocket and oriental leaves are going well and there are two rows of healthy-looking beetroot seedlings. The carrots and spring onions are through, if still tiny. The ‘Natria’ organic slug pellets I’m trying this year seem to be doing a grand job, although the real test will come when the weather switches to warm and wet – but in the meantime, so far, so good.

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The potatoes are through the ground and will need earthing up later today if we are in danger of frost.

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No such problems with the broad beans and peas, tough little things that they are. The top patch is starting to look like a real veg garden at last.

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We have enjoyed several decent pickings of purple sprouting, it’s so good to have fresh veg from the garden again and there’s nothing quite like those melting green stems.

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I really don’t like shopping and am not given to impulse buys but couldn’t resist this seed mix from Aldi – just the thing to fill up a long skinny planting space down the side of the tunnel. Planted a week ago and there are already little things germinating.

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As for my last impulse buy in France, I can’t believe how quickly these morning glory have germinated in the warmth of the tunnel. Don’t want to get too excited but there’s a glimmer of hope . . .

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Also growing like crazy in the tunnel are the climbing French beans.

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No sign of lemon basil but the green variety is through along with a good sprinkling of radicchio.

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I’ve planted the patch opposite the kitchen garden with a wide variety of ‘wild’ stuff, ranging from a flowering green manure mix to the Co-operative’s Plan Bee pollinator mix. At the front I’ve scattered some poppy seed sent from Finland last year – thank you, Anja. I’m hoping for a blaze of colour and buzz of insects in the summer.

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Talking of flowers, it’s definitely been tulip week in the pots and borders.

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We’re still discovering good things here: a bank of bluebells and several clumps of kingcups have brought a smile to my face.

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In the tunnel, the ragged robin and greater knapweed seed I sowed last week has germinated; I’m determined to increase the number of native species here and keep the garden semi-wild. I thought there was no need to sow Welsh poppies, they are everywhere but so far they all seem to be the orange variety (meconopsis cambrica aurantiaca). In our previous gardens they have all been yellow and I have plenty of seed saved so time to sow for a little variety.

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Finally, a question: when is green not green? Answer: when it’s blue. I couldn’t wait to get started on painting the summer house but only had time to do a first coat on the railings last week – and I’m really disappointed.

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By no stretch of the imagination is that the ‘Gentle Sage’ green on the front of the pot: try ‘Pale Duck Egg’ instead (even worse, it looks like a depressing battleship grey from the top of the garden). So, back to square one and time for some colour mixing before the second coat goes on. No time to tackle it today (sadly, lesson planning beckons . . . I shouldn’t really be blogging, to be honest!) so it will have to wait. In the meantime, I’ll avert my eyes and concentrate on the pretty things in the garden. 🙂

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9 thoughts on “Blossom and blues

  1. Cherry blossom and bluebells? You are definitely ahead of 55N in sunny Wales. I’m watching the Fat Baby achocha saga with interest. It could be the ideal thing to take over the ugly concrete brick wall at the bottom of our paddock (and cover the container, too). But I won’t order any seeds until I’ve heard how they taste! The duck egg blue paint doesn’t look too bad in the photo. I’d definitely see how it looks after a second coat on the railings, might improve – otherwise it’s a good inside of cupboards colour. Fingers crossed all the tunnel plants make it through the next couple of cold nights!

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    • Mmm, I’m wondering whether to take up guerrilla gardening and furtively plant the anchocha next to some of the uglier local buildings that should never have been given planning permission in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty! They better taste good after all this. The paint’s quite pretty, it’s just a lot lighter and bluer than I wanted. It would look ok in summer – and make a great planting foil – but I just think in grey winter gloom and rain it will be too stark. We still have lots of paint left from the original green chicken house so I might try mixing and see what happens. Given that Roger quite fancied something called ‘Lime Fusion’ (I’ll let you imagine that one . . . ) I suppose anything is going to be an improvement. 🙂

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  2. At least these are supposed to be edible – saw last autumn in Kuopio (our nearest city) a really battleship grey electricity contraption on the pavement; it was covered by Bittersweet Nightshade with attractive blue flowers and nice red poisonous berries for any kid to taste. Someone must have got the same idea as you – with a vengeance…

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    • Yes, maybe in future I’ll just leave ‘Lost crops of the Incas’ lost! On which theme I still have my ‘Aztec broccoli’ to plant but I think that’s going to be very tame by comparison. 🙂

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      • Well, in case you decide you really love achocha I suggest you read to Ben and Annie a book called “Blue Nose Island: Beachmoles and Bellwine” – at least they will then be prepared… And yes, I bought it and am going to read it to Alexandra and Eveliina tomorrow.

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      • Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll look out for the story. Actually, I sent some seeds to both mums so Annie and Ben (and since last night, Ben’s new little brother!) will be getting the experience first hand. In fact, Sarah’s plants are currently threatening to engulf the washing machine. I found a Youtube clip about achocha last night, a single plant had completely swamped a pergola. I have a horrible feeling Roger is going to ban me from online seed shopping in future. 🙂

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