Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Early April garden update

It's been a glorious week for gardening, in between ticking off the work on the 'to do' list in the studio, I've been working hard in the vegetable garden.

Ta-daaaaa! Just a teeny tiny corner to finish off and it's all spick and span. This has been achieved without any help from the under-gardeners – in fact, it looks so tidy because the hens have been banned from working in the vegetable garden. They couldn't resist scratching the soil back over the paths, I had to put my foot down with a firm hand!

Some of the beds are already planted with shallots ('Pikant' and 'Golden Gourmet'), tree-onions, garlic chives; but no large onions this year, they've been a struggle to grow successfully in the recent wet summers.

This bed is planted with 'Crimson Flowered' broad beans which were started off in the greenhouse. I saved seed from last year and planted only the pale green beans as these tend to have the best crimson flowers. At the other end of this bed is the strawberry patch.

In the heated propogator in the greenhouse the tomato seedlings are ready for pricking out. No sign of 'Lisa King', never mind. Lots of 'Liguria', these have a fantastic flavour when cooked; and this year's pick from the HSL catalogue 'Tiger Tom' is looking good too.

This year's strategy is to sow little and often and keep the crops coming right through the summer and continue into winter and plan for next spring (I've said this before, will I succed this year?). Here's a small batch of chard 'Bright Lights' ready to prick out.

It's not just veg – the salvias grown from RHS free seed are doing well. The hardier varieties are in the cold frame and the tender ones are still in the greenhouse benefiting from the heat of the propagator during the chilly nights. They are in their second year and I'm looking forward to creating a salvia border – it will be well protected with twiggy sticks to deflect the attention of the under-gardeners!


  1. I wish I had the patience to sow little and often. With a packet of hundreds of seeds it seems so unfair to only sow 6 at a time!

  2. What a lovely garden. I haven't had a garden for a couple years now, and miss it! I am helping my mom start hers, but I wont get to see it in the middle of the summer, when it looks lush! I love your name for your chickens, the under-gardeners, very cute!
    Everything in your greenhouse looks great.

  3. Ooh Celia, you've got me very excited. I haven't really had time to do much garden-y stuff so I'm living vicariously through the PPP garden. I love your perfect broad bean patch and liguria sounds like a good recommendation to me. I was wondering, do you have any spare PPP seeds? I could swap you for a little something.


    p.s., I'm very happy to make you a pair of ear wires from scratch and attach the little tourmalines. Sorry the earrings have been tricksy.

  4. what a lot of work has been put into the garden! & it looks lovely (sorry, undergardeners). who is walking your path in the first picture?

  5. Hi Matron - I'm not very good - actually rubbish! - at sowing little and often!

    Thank you dowhatyoulove :-)

    Hi Silverpebble - I'll see what I can do, I'm sure I have some spare seeds for you and Misses P1 and P2. Thanks for offering to sort the earrings out :-)

    Hi Petoskystone - thank you! I have been working hard. It's the tabby studio assistant, aka 'the wild-creature' walking along as if she owns the place ;-)


  6. wow thats an impressive veg patch!:) I will be attempting a few veggies this year in grow bags & pots (garden soil is teribble). I shall be interested to see how things go through the summer for you.

  7. It has truly been a wonderful week for gardening. Your patch is looking immaculate-it must be a good feeling.

  8. Your vegetable garden looks very well kept. We are just starting to create ours from an overgrown jungle of brambles and nettles!

  9. I love seeing pictures of your garden Celia - it is so English and beautiful! I like the idea of using soft twigs to deter the undergardeners - we've done this around our artichokes but as the girls have been under house-arrest for a few months while the garden recovers, I haven't been able to test it's success. The salvia border will look lovely.

  10. What a nice lovely big garden!

  11. Celia,

    You've made me suddenly realise that I need to get on with my seed sowing! I've only just finished cleaning the greenhouse and sorting out exactly what to plant this year. I came across a packet of Mr Frearns Purple Podded which is a climbing french bean from Ryton. They are a couple of years old but my gardener husband says they should still be viable. Thanks for the reminder and the ongoing inspiration.

  12. It all looks very neat and productive Celia. Mine is still in the digging and home-made compost adding stage. Got a little behind with hen-run construction! I love crimson flowered broad beans. They would be a delight if they only flowered but I think the flavour is better than most too.

  13. Celia, I especially like the looks of your strawberry patch. That's a real artist at work. I'm also fascinated by the narrow stone pavers between the beds. I imagine this is what you crouch on while you are working your soil and planting and weeding. I wonder how you do it without stepping all over the bed behind you. I thought my 12" inch paths were too narrow for my big, clumsy feet.

  14. Wow! These look great! I love looking at the work of fellow gardeners. It is such an art form. Good luck with everything!

  15. Hi Celia! i recently had the pleasure of meeting a gardener from your side of the pond, and she was kind enough to share with me a couple of seeds of purple podded peas--which, she informed me, came from your garden. I'm just tickled purple!

  16. Hi Julie - every year, like every gardener, I want this season to be the best!

    Hi Threadspider - it's great to actually get the patch under control.

    Hi Thegardensmallholder - good luck with your new garden - you can have nettle soup and blackberries if all else fails ;-)

    Hi Jacqui - I'm hoping the twigs will be enough to put them off (mmmmm....?)

    Hi Spruce Hill - this is my favourite part of our garden :-)

    Hi Printed Material - yes you must! Mr Frearns Purple Podded Beans sound lovely.

    Hi Veg Heaven - Crimson Flowered Broad Beans are so tasty, and the skins are tender too - I love BBs!

    Hi Ed - I must have smaller feet ;-)

    Hi Marisol - I'm with you - gardening is an art form.

    Hi Curmudgeon - that's fab! It's what heritage seed saving's all about. Hope the PPPs do well in the Pacific North West!

    Love Celia


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