Veg Patch

To read the story of my Veg Patch in chronological order use the links in the Blog Archive

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

New life always wins!

The garden has been breathing  a sigh of relief this week. Finally it would seem that the unbelievable series of storms that hit the UK over the last months have burned themselves out. Devastation is a pretty good word to describe the damage that they caused and although on a minor scale compared to the poor people who are still flooded out of their homes, we did suffer a bit. 

Yes it was those bl**dy Eucalyptus trees. Known as the widow-maker in Australia because of their propensity to fall on peoples heads, they started to dive all over the lawn here as soon as the wind got up a bit.. Heaven know what possessed the previous owners of this home to plant them in a spot that receives the full blast of any sort of wind that set off in the USA five day previously!!

So gradually since Christmas, Jim came up with ever more inventive ways of propping them back up. St Valentine and the now infamous storm put an end to that.  Sadly the five smaller trees are now firewood and we have a huge gap to fill in the garden. 

This was the entire rootball of a five or six year old 15 feet high tree. No wonder they couldn't stand up. 

The beach here took a bashing as well.. huge boulders have been moved but luckily there was only major damage to one beach hut, and it was one of the older ones. 

The hut owners of the next place along the coast were not so luck. You may have seen the pictures on the Uk news of Milford on Sea and the devastation caused. I do hope they are replaced but it may take a while because as well as damaging the huts, a lot of the beach they were standing on has gone as well. You can read about it here

In the garden amazingly my brussel sprouts stayed upright 

It was time for them to come out though, so I picked all the remaining edible ones 

These have been blanched and frozen for another day. It then only remained to clear the bed ready for its next crop

I haven't decided quite yet what that will be but I have plenty of choice, because as usual, just a little bit of sunshine and all my seedlings are growing like mad

And there are loads more planted, yet to germinate, and hundreds more to be sown 

Outside my Autumn sown flowers in the cutting patch are looking very perky

And my garlic, shallots and onions are doing very nicely

and I can alway rely on the good old Rhubarb

So at the moment its just getting going, but hopefully in a few weeks it will look much fuller

The Camellia I moved here with us, and planted in the ground has rewarded me with some beautiful early colour

And for now that about it. One benefit of the amazing seas was some lovely bits of driftwood have been washed up amongst all the rubbish

And heres the sea, a couple of days after Valentines Day, a whole lot calmer

Have a great week and keep your fingers crossed for more sunshine and no late cold snap. 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

A flower farm, a trip to France and more Seedypenpals.

Finally I have something to write about. Rather than ramble on about nothing in particular, I have waited and waited for something to happen in my garden. Sadly because of the rather rubbish weather, I am still waiting, but in the last two weeks I have had a few adventures and so now I have stuff to share. 

Just in case you have missed the date, Friday is Valentines day. That means flowers and chocolates are everywhere and companies are publicising their products. Now last weekend in the UK a major floristry company made a bit of a hash of advertising a bunch of flowers for a ridiculous amount of money. It was noticed immediately by lots of people I know , as the company were claiming that some of the flowers in this bouquet were grown in Britain. It was simply not possible. If you looked at the picture in the advert, none of them were flowers that are currently in season here. 

So step up the British Flower community. In a very timely article in a major national newspaper, an interview with Georgie Newbery at Common Farm Flowers was published. Those that read regularly will know I visit the farm occasionally. As I read the article entitled "Win a heart with local British Flowers"  it occurred to me that she may be getting rather more orders than normal, So with time on my hands I emailed and offered some help, I had barely hit the send button and back came the reply of "Yes Please." 

Yesterday morning found me up with the lark and off on a shortish but rather wet and  slow drive to Common Farm in Somerset. I arrived to the usual cheery welcome and mug of coffee . First order of the day was sorting out the huge piles of greenery that Georgie's husband Fabrizio had cut , all sorts of lovely bundles of Ivy and Bay were trimmed and popped into buckets. Then the flowers arrived. 

In the summer months the flowers are all grown on the farm, but at this time of year it is just not possible, so boxes and boxes arrived fresh from Cornwall. They were beautiful . We set to work opening all the boxes and unwrapping the flowers. The table soon began to fill up and the aroma was wonderful. 

Now the serious business began, Georgie and Emily began to create the posies and larger bouquets.

The chat was hilarious, with much singing along to classic FM. All the while beautiful creations were lining up on the dresser. And then I was shown how to aqua pack the flowers. I started slowly but was soon twirling my raffia ties with a flourish and casually flipping huge bunches of flowers upside down with one hand... Never thought I would learn how to do that. 

Then after a quick bit of photography for The Common Farm website..

The flowers went into huge boxes for the journey to their lucky recipients. 

After several tea stops we had finished. It had been a long day and I still had the drive home, but it was a brilliant experience and I have already been signed up for Mothers day. 

Here are some of the flowers that you could have on your table at the moment if you buy British . I think you will agree that they are rather special.

And then on to other things, in fact other countries. Last week Jim and I took the opportunity to visit our friends who live in South West France for a few days. Jim was going to be doing some car stuff so I contacted  a lady who I met last spring though the Seedypenpals Scheme. Sarah also lives in the same area, in fact only 20 minutes from my friends so we arranged to visit her. We drove into the pretty village where she lives exclaiming with pleasure when we spotted her house. 

We had a brilliant afternoon chatting all things flowers, food and music with Sarah and her husband Michael. And in true seedaholic fashion, I had some seeds with me to give to her. Now I have a large seed collection, but it was put to shame when Sarah went and brought her boxes in for me to rummage through. 

I was very impressed. They were huge and bursting with all sorts of interesting things, so I came away with new things to try this summer, including some french squash which  apparently grow like a long skinny butternut squash with a bend in the middle . 

You can all visit Sarah as her Villa is a Chambre d'hote, or B&B in english . Visit her website  for more details Villa Leon

And then back where we were staying I went for a short stroll around the tiny village. Its a very agricultural area, and every house has a barn of some description and loads of animals. Some of the barns were very old and beautiful, As were the hens and cockerels

Imagine walking our of your front door every day to a view like this 

Back in the UK I was the lucky recipient of a plethora of bounties from my current Seedypenpal,  Bev. 

I shall enjoy growing them all. And just to prove I haven't given up gardening, even though the weather gods are determined to make it as difficult as possible, I have planted loads more sweet peas, chilli's and quite a lot of different perennial plants. 

And finally taking advantage of a rare few hours sunshine, Gibson sunning himself on the beach .

Have a great week wherever you are and stay dry .