Come rain or shine

We were relieved to wake to a rainy day on Tuesday.



Not nearly enough – it dampened rather than soaked the ground – but it did freshen everything up. We can water and water to keep plants alive but there is nothing like the way nature does the job.


Dodging the showers, I decided to go for a walk and see if the foxgloves were flowering near the river. They are, banks and banks of them a-buzz with bumble bees, and there was plenty more to see besides.






With the chestnuts coming into leaf and catching the other trees up at last, there is a wonderful feeling of burgeoning growth and fullness to the woodlands.




We were soon back to sunshine and bright skies again – and a landscape so green it almost hurts the eyes!


It’s been perfect weather for planting. Roger has planted 150 leeks next to the carrots and potatoes; that should surely be enough for us, although there are more plants left so maybe just another little patch somewhere? I mean, can you honestly have too many leeks?


I’ve nabbed a bit of the flat polytunnel patch for summer cabbage and calabrese, both of which will be done and dusted before the tunnel goes up. I’ve also put a couple of rows of autumn calabrese and broccoli in the main veg patch, next to the borlotti beans. There is something so satisfying about seeing meals of the future in the pipeline.

On the subject of beans, after last year’s chaos of having to tether the poles with guy ropes, this year I asked Roger to help me sink the poles. Hopefully, with a bit of man muscle on the job they will stay put even if we do end up with twelve foot plants again. I’ve planted four lots: the reliable green ‘Blue Lake’ and a mix of green, yellow and purple, all of which we’ll eat as whole pods; a climbing borlotti which we’ll shell and dry; finally, a runner bean. The latter is a bit of a turn up for the books for us as it’s the first time we’ve grown runner beans in almost thirty years. We both prefer French beans, finding them crisper, tastier and not inclined to do that stringy thing. These, however, are a far cry from the standard issue scarlet runner: a white-flowered variety called ‘The Czar’, they form fat creamy butterbeans which should be perfect for drying and using over winter. I’m really interested to see how they go.


Beans again – these beauties are so good!


In the dappled shade of a peach tree, the mint, chives and parsley I planted over winter are all thriving and adding great flavour to our salads. Speaking of which, we should be pulling the first lettuce in another week or so.


The raspberries I moved from under the pear trees and planted along the veg patch fence have been flowering for some time: the pollinators have been busy and it looks like we might be in for a tasty crop this year.


On the aubergine / pepper/ cucumber terrace, the French marigolds have started to flower. I look on them as companion plants, pretty and useful at the same time: Roger, however, was quick to call them ‘frivolous flowers’, taking up space on the terrace that he’d worked so hard to build for fruit and vegetables. Mmm, possibly not the time to mention several other little floral enhancements I’ve slipped in around the place. (Oh come on, he loves them really! 🙂 )


The little potted geraniums are starting to make a splash of colour up the steps . . .


. . . and there are roses everywhere. Gorgeous, gorgeous, frivolous things! 🙂




4 thoughts on “Come rain or shine

  1. No, you can’t have too many leeks! Glad you got a little bit of rain at last. The broad beans are looking wonderful. I’m not so keen on fresh runner beans either, but last year I dried/froze the large beans and they were absolutely delicious in the winter stews and very pretty. This year, we’ll eat the French beans fresh and freeze all the podded runner beans (most of them don’t dry here). Too windy to do any gardening here today or any outdoor job other than stack wood in the lee of the garage. Good thing the tomatoes, cucumbers, chillies and peppers don’t know what’s going on outside. They wouldn’t last the day.


  2. We’re looking into a new freezer at the moment, we used to always freeze beans rather than dry them but our freezer here is so dinky there’s just no room. They are such a brilliant food ( like leeks 🙂 ). Hope the wind drops soon, this always seems to be a tricky time of year in the garden!


  3. Did you get lots of rain? Our swap seems to have worked. We’ve had 20C all week and no rain for two weeks so far and none on the forecast for this week. Just about to water everything really well.


  4. Rain, yes. Lots, no . . . although Sam and Adrienne flew in on Friday and as per usual the weather gods were ahead of them and sent a day of thunderstorms with more forecast next week. It has at least dampened everything and freshened it all up a bit, stuff is certainly growing like mad. I’m glad things have perked up for you, it must be a relief to have some real warmth at last, even if you are having to water. It’s never, perfect is it? I guess that’s what makes gardening so interesting – we’d be bored otherwise! 🙂


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