Spring in the Garden

Spring in the Garden

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Chickens sharing

Chickens love to share . . .

. . . what other chickens have.

If you have four minutes to spare, sit back and enjoy the relaxing sight and sound of chickens enjoying some cabbage leaves. If you listen carefully you will hear some birdsong in the background, too. The voices are mainly from the neighbours, except the obvious absent-minded outburst.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Flowers for bees and other insects

A little while ago I promised to add some pictures of flowers that attract bees and butterflies etc, but I never found the time. However, I have now taken some photos and I now have the time to post them. Click on a photo if you want a closer look.

This prostrate rosemary is in flower very early in the Spring, and possibly even in February, and it continues flowering into the Summer.

Columbines (Aquilegia) are an old cottage garden favourite and grow where many flowers would not. They don't need it too wet and don't mind some shade.

This bee was clearly enjoying the thrift.

Thyme is also popular with bees and butterflies

as are the flowers on chives.

These little rock roses also attract nectar-loving insects.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009


One home-grown crop I've been enjoying for several weeks is lettuce, although I did buy the initial 8 Little Gem plants as seedlings.

In fact, this photo taken at the end of April shows just one lettuce missing. There is only one left in that tub now, although I have planted four more Little Gem type seedlings I raised myself. The copper-felt mat underneath does seem to deter slugs and snails so long as I don't let the grass get too long, or the lettuce leaves don't hang down. I'm also trying rooibos tea leaves as an added deterrent.

All these have now gone, too, and have been replaced by Romana type seedlings, which I also grew myself. Thankfully it was only the outer leaves that had holes in, and the chickens didn't care, they loved those, while we ate the nice bits inside. However, it does mean I need a copper mat or something to stop the slugs and snails climbing up as the wool alone doesn 't stop them, especially once the lettuces cover it over.

I'm currently working my way through these butter-head lettuces, which have got quite big now, so just the thinnings provide a lot of lettuce. I'm leaving a few to heart up, hopefully.

Monday, 18 May 2009

My First Strawberry

This morning I ate my first strawberry for breakfast. It is the first of the strawberries we are growing this year and one of the Honeoye strawberries I am growing under my blueberries. It is also the first strawberry I have ever grown. It tasted delicious; sweet but also distinctly strawberry flavoured.

Unfortunately I didn't think to take a photo before eating it, but here is how the strawberries were looking a couple of weeks ago.

If you are interested I have posted about the Hampshire Green Fair here, on my Green and Generous blog, as it's not got a lot to do with gardening.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Fox 'attack'

I was eating breakfast this morning when I saw a fox come through the hedge and go straight to the hen coop. The chickens were safe inside, but they ran around frantically flapping, feathers flying everywhere. Of course I ran out shouting at the fox, and it looked for an exit, couldn't find one and jumped over the netting fence around the coop and up the garden. Our chickens remained nervous for some while afterwards.

We now realise this must have been what happened last Wednesday. No one had checked on the chooks all day, and when I went to have a look at them in the evening there were a lot of feathers in one corner and others scattered inside the run. I thought some feather pecking or other aggressive behaviour had taken place, which did seem out of character, but we thought they must have been bored or hungry. Now it is clear that Mr Fox (or his mate) must have shown an interest in them and put them in a blind panic.

This evening I saw the fox again, coming down the top of the garden, so I went out to scare him away.

We're wondering if we might need to invest in some electric fencing as that is meant to keep foxes out very well, although if he's around the edge of that the chickens might still panic.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

A busy weekend

Hubby and I went to the Hampshire Green Fair this afternoon and we had a good time. I'll write more about it in a day or two, with any luck, and will answer any outstanding questions at the same time. Yesterday I was working and then it was our daughter's birthday party so I whizzed round doing last minute cleaning and finishing her cake and then hubby and I went out to dinner, which was a nice change. We were home before ten, but there was no chance of sleeping until after midnight, when the last of our daughter's guests went home.

We therefore had a late start to the day, but I popped a few lettuce seedlings in the planters I'm using to grow lettuce, and added some nasturtiums to the planter with tomatoes, as well as doing a couple of loads of washing to take advantage of the sunshine. We had to stay home until one o'clock as we needed to take daughter and niece to the station, as daughter was accompanying her younger cousin across London and onto her train home.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The Rockery

I'm not sure if it's actually a rockery, but as it is on a slope and has rocks in it, that's what we call it. It had got very overgrown and looked rather sad, so last year hubby cleared out all the plants and weeded it. Then I weeded it a bit more and replanted it, adding lots of potting grit as alpines hate getting waterlogged.

Our efforts seem to have paid off and I'm rather pleased with how it's looking at the moment. It just needs a liberal sprinkling of alpine grit as a finishing touch to keep the weeds down and the moisture in.