raspberryfool: (Gardening)
The strawberries have been ripening early this year; I picked the first few ripe fruits in the last week of May, at least a fortnight ahead of schedule. Now, the fruits are ripening fast and I have to compete with the birds and slugs for their bounty. But the pickings have been good this year, helped along by the sunshine and a little - very welcome - recent rain. Yesterday I made about 2 lbs of strawberry and raspberry jam.More garden waffle under the cut )

Finally, I'm considering making this a full-time garden blog; since I don't have a life I may as well write about the garden. I'll update when something happens and I might even start taking some pictures. Any objections? Would anyone rather read my usual pointless waffle? Answers on a postcard to...

Facebook friends, I'm very much alive, well and lurking over there, but I haven't been posting due to inertia. Thanks for staying with me, everyone, I'll be back when something happens!
raspberryfool: (Gardening)
Most of my activity recently has been in the front garden, where I've been cutting the privet hedges back severely. They'd become rather thick and matted, obscuring light and making the small front garden feel very enclosed. I've now removed both sides of the roadside hedge, leaving just the top leaves to allow the plants to photosynthesise. Next month I'll remove six inches, to bring the hedge level with the gateposts.

The first load of wood went onto the bonfire in 'West of Plum Tree', which went with a 'whoosh' when I lit it. It scorched the plum tree and the rose bush, which I'm hoping will recover their leaves within a few weeks. Still, the clay soil was well-baked, leaving a lovely large pile of ash for spreading around the garden. The next lot is now accumulating in 'Strawberry', hopefully the strawberry plants won't suffer the same fate.

A visit to the garden centre procured a bag of half-priced, and well-chitted, seed potatoes. I planted these straight away, filling the enlarged 'Midsummer' plot and the standby 'Mint' plot, which I'd planned to retire and grass over. I'd obviously failed to harvest some of last year's crop, evidenced by the 'volunteer' plants pushing through in 'Strawberry'. These also went to 'Mint' - I saw no reason to throw them away.

The leeks in 'Raspberry' and garlic in 'Bonfire' are looking good; the leeks are excellent steamed; the only problem is that soil gets trapped between the leaves.

Indoors, I've planted tomatoes (five varieties), marrow/courgette, pumpkin (didn't germinate!) and butternut squash. For the front garden, I've got sunflowers and hollyhocks to grow in sandy soil against a west-facing wall. My sister gave me a load of zonal geranium plants to add to those that fill the windowsills at the moment - I'm running out of space.

The lilac and flowering currants put on a really good show this year, as did the bulbs, and the wallflowers now brighten the garden with their yellows, oranges and dark red blooms. So the gardening year is well underway, and I'm looking forward to making the front garden as decorative as the back. I'd also like some rain, so I don't have to water everything so often!