Saturday, 20 August 2011

Spontaneous Wildflower Meadow

It's not much but it's ours! The new Community Garden  for our village is set to get the green light any time now, and although not a sod has yet been turned, and the Lottery Award is still sitting in the bank, it's already gone from grass, nettles and docks,

to this

all by itself!

Well almost by itself. Jackie and Jeremy across the road are having a new extension on their house and during the work they helpfully offered to donate a skipful of topsoil to the community garden rather than sending it to landfill. This was earlier in the year, and since we weren't allowed to start work it just sat there doing nothing. But then as the weather warmed up it just burst into life. Obviously there are lots of the usual suspects, Fat Hen, thistles and so on, and I suspect some locals may think it's a big patch of weeds but to my eye it's an impromtu exhibition of what nature can do with so little help from us, and until we can get going with the garden proper, it's just a lovely thing.

Poppy seeds are well known to lie dormant in the ground for very many years, springing into life only when the earth is disturbed and they are brought to the surface for some reason. Hence the famous poppy fields of France after the battlefields of WW1. However on closer examination I found all kinds of other interesting things, presumably seeds from whatever had been growing in Jacky and Jeremy's garden!

calendula and sunflowers

evening primroses
more poppies than you can count

this tasselly grass don't know what it is

 this looks like fennel or dill

and I think this is a tomatillo, though I'm not sure.

lots of brassicas, including some fledgling brocolli

but it won't last long with these visitors chomping away .-  it's a wildlife garden after all!!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Gonna Eat a Lot of Peaches...

Millions of peaches, peaches for me, or so it says in the song, and although I can't lay claim to millions,relatively speaking, I do have more peaches than I could normally dream of producing. I've never seen so many peaches on my peach tree. Normally we're lucky to get half a dozen, and then they rarely ripen properly. Now I know there are lots of lucky people out there who live in places where you can pick peaches by the bucketful every year, and think nothing of it. Not so here in England. We can do that with apples, pears, plums and many other fruits, but the problem we have here is that peaches flower very early in the spring, and unless you are obsessional about watching the weather forecast and hurtle off off down the garden in the dark with a a sheet of horticultural fleece if a cold night threatens, and then remember pollinating insects are also few and far between in early spring so you have to rush back down the garden next morning to uncover them  and possibly also help pollination with a little paint brush if you can, it's certainly not a plant and forget it type of crop.

But this year we had a really lovely warm spell in early spring, which  caused all kinds of odd things to happen in the garden, but the happiest outcome has been my wonderful crop of peaches. I did absolutely nothing to help them this year, no fleece, no paintbrush, but nature has rewarded me with these. I must have had this tree for fifteen years, I even dug it up and brought it with me when I moved here, so I'm extra pleased that it's done so well in the year we're moving away.  They're a bit small, some are a bit pitted and knobbly, and compared with the perfect giant blemish free specimens imported from the meditteranean and the USA they may seem rather unimpressive, but they are juicy and delicious, and all the more treasured for being so long arriving.

Here's the Millions of Peaches song, I never realised how many famous paintings feature peaches either!


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