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, 20 April 2012

Grow your own

Well, I'm no longer a member of the RHS (the stack of un-read copies of The Garden and unused membership card just didn't warrant the sub) and I only rarely watch Gardeners' World (sorry all you Monty fans but he just doesn't inspire me to garden) BUT apparently it's National Gardening Week, so why not? Let's go for a little tour of my plot . . . I've been beavering away with renewed enthusiasm this year!

It's that time of the year, twixt cold frosty nights and very warm sunny days, when there's not room to move in the greenhouse! I daren't risk putting those tender plants outside; the tomatoes are getting bigger every day; I need space for more seed trays and modules; and when that chill wind is blowing I need a place to sit and have a cup of tea ;-)


I've planted the potatoes . . . International Kidney in large pots which will be topped up with leaf-mould as the shoots peek through the soil (thanks for the tip Fiona). Juliette and Ratte in the new bed along the side of the greenhouse.


The 'fairy-fences' (Fiona's term) or 'slug-hotels' (Cliff's term) are looking good . . . whatever they're called they stop the soil falling onto the paths, the planting area is maximised and they are made from pruning and cost nothing. And I had fun weaving them and they look pretty.


The pea wigwams this year are made from home-grown miscanthus grass stems and dog-wood prunings. I am waging war with the pigeons, I know that they plan to wait and lull me into a sense of security before they strike and peck my precious pea plants. I have wrapped the bottom half of the wigwams in wire netting – it's not visible from a distance but is protecting the young pea plants as they get established. To deter those pesky pigeons without compromising on style, I've made yards of APB (anti-pigeon-bunting) from coloured plastic mail-order packaging and scrap bias binding – again this cost absolutely nothing. Cliff says they look like prayer flags. I'm praying that the pigeons are scared of APB.


Now this is a good sight :-) Aspargus poking their fat little noses through the soil!


The Artichoke survived a -16C freezing and is looking good; and yes, more APB!


The recent rain has refilled the Dragonfly Pond; and there's a new dragonfly sculpture – Cheep the cockerel jumped onto the wooden chain-saw sculpted dragonfly and snapped off one of the rather rotten wings! So I bought this new metal one when we went to Belton House at Easter.


Yep! The Orange 'chicken-proof fence' is still in situ and it's worked pretty well. The Round Garden and Box-hedge Border are beginning to look good again. When will I take the fence down? Er, pass!


The view through the severely pruned Hazel Arch across the Round Garden to my studio. I've planted Sweetpeas around the metal obelisks and sowed seeds of Gypsophila, Amaranth and Ammi Majus – all flowers for cutting. The seeds are from Ben aka Mr Higgledy (his excellent web site will make you want to grow flowers and smile all at the same time!)



Happy gardening . . . let the growing begin!

Celia
x


20 comments:

  1. Crikey, you have been busy. I have some tomato seedlings on a windowsill so far.

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  2. I love that hazel arch, I might just copy that idea.

    I can confirm the efficacy of the waving prayer flags. I made a few last year with some ribbon I have and some foil ironed between clingfilm and they kept a field of buckwheat seeds free of the blessed birds. We had not had pigeons around our land at all until we planted a field of buckwheat and we haven't seen them since we put up the prayer flags either. You have to look hard but these are mine in action and they were sufficient to keep the pigeons off http://thejourneytosomewhere.blogspot.com/2011/06/first-glut-of-year.html

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  3. Celia, you put me to shame. I've only put in some beetroot and fennel so far and have two butternut squash plants on the windowsill. My excuse is that I've been away!

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  4. I am in the same situation with the greenhouse - full to bursting - out in the garden nothing much happening except foliage - wish the weather would warm up so I can do some planting. Your garden is looking lovely already

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  5. wow what a great looking garden ..dont think mine will ever look like that .. :-(

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  6. Your garden is lovely. I'm definitely going for the street party look with the bunting, what a great idea. So much more tasteful than the mobile made with 'free from the Daily Mail Cliff Richard Christmas Songs CDs' I had in mind!

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  7. oh you've been so busy, I love your pigeon bunting, I think I will be needing some of that!

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  8. Thank you for your lovely comments... if you look closely you'll see that I'm not obsessive about weeding, but that means we get lots of butterflies and bees and some pretty wildflowers in the mix!

    I'm not guaranteeing that the APB will work, but it makes a nice rattle in the breeze and looks great - fingers crossed! I will be making more :-)

    Have a lovely weekend
    Celia
    xx

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  9. Celia, that Gardener's World comment is almost sacrilege... except that I share it with you. How I miss Geoff!! I love that prayer flag bunting and might nick that idea too except my problem isn't pigeons , it's rabbits and badgers...... perhaps if I laid them across the ground to trip them up instead.....

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  10. Love the greenhouse at this time of year can't move for little seedlings growing on. Plenty of promise for the season ahead!

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  11. Your garden looks lovely Celia, would you like to see my two tomato seedlings?

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  12. It looks fab. We are so far behind I doubt we're going to catch up now - it would help if it actually stopped raining long enough to get outside.

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  13. I am hanging my head in shame reading this. I have let the weeds take over our plot ever since baby rabbits discovered it last year but we still have the seemingly indestructible artichoke and asparagus.

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  14. Great to have a look around your garden. I too love the hazel arch and I envy you your asparagus! I have had two goes at establishing a bed with no success whatsoever so I might just have to accept the inevitable! I use the chicken fencing too. It works beautifully for the Light Sussex and the Welsummer and Barnevelder. I have two Frisian bantams and they are the world's best escaping chickens. Nothing seems to keep them in including clipping their wings!

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  15. I have problems with birds eating my peas too. Not pigeons though, sparrows. Love the coloured flags, they look great. Hope they work for you. I tried old cds on strings didn't seem to work for me.

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  16. Gosh how very busy and industrious! Dave has been busy in our garden too - he recycled an old window frame, to make a planting bed for his veggies and planted a big tub with seed potatoes. I also now have two pots of salads outside the back door - "cut and come again"! He's growing me some flower seedlings... we were debating about planting out the cornflowers, as they've gone mad, but the rest are too small just yet.
    The tree pruners came in January and the pruned trees are looking good. And our plants on the new archway are going great guns (all except a clematis, which seems to have "wilt" and has gone floppy... we'll see if it recovers).
    But you have done Loads in your garden - masses!! So impressed. It will be fab when it's all growing madly in the summer.

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  17. Very busy! I had to laugh as my copy of The Garden is sitting in its plastic wrapper in the kitchen, where it has been for the past fortnight. I do like Members Day at Chelsea but it's rather a lot to pay for the priviledge of buying a Tuesday ticket. I think my sub may be going too.

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  18. I too cancelled my RHS subscription this year, just too much we want to get done in the garden and not enough time to make the most of the subscription. Still I've got a stack of last years magazines and a long list of gardens I'd like to visit when we find the time.

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  19. I LOVE gardening, and its always fun to see other peoples plots. I hope the weather improves for you, so that you can get those plants out in the ground.

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