Monday, 19 May 2014

Wildflowers and Apple Blossom

 On the allotment I am slowly working my way through the planting, with lettuce, spinach, cabbage, beetroot and parsnip going in this week.  Still some weed infested bits to clear.  The fruit is doing well; the plums, gooseberries and currants are set while the strawberries and apples are flowering.  This is the Blenheim Orange, a tree that has been somewhat troublesome.  It needs pollinators to set fruit and both of the compatible pollinators tend to start flowering ahead of it.  This means pollination is reduced, most frustrating.  But it has a lot of flowers this year and there are more apples on the plots now, so I live in hope.
 Walking back from the plot is rather nice if I go the long way, so here are some pictures of what's flowering in the wild now.  This rhododendron hangs over the river - while not a native plant they have long escaped gardens and can be found in all sorts of places.  As long as they don't damage the native flora, I'm ok with that.
 You can actually buy this kind of fern in garden centres, but high above the river bank they grow entirely naturally under the tree canopy.
 The bluebells are just coming to an end but they are still dotted about under trees.
 These grow among the bracken on a sheer edge above the river.
 Such a beautiful flower but they don't last long.
 These are the roots of a huge tree which sits on top of the rock face, it's quite incredible that the tree grew there at all.  Now the roots and rock provide accommodation for wildlife - you can just see a hole on the right hand side.
 This is another fern you can buy in nurseries but which grows wild here.
 And here's a large patch of wild garlic which seems to be getting bigger each year.  I love the smell of this.
 Right now a lot of wild flowers are in bloom - the photo here does not do it justice but the combination of blue and white here is great.
 And here's one of my favourites - meadowsweet which wafts its fragrance in your face as you pass by.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Spring Moving On

 Though we do have frost forecast this weekend, it has been a warm winter and spring and things are much farther ahead than this time last year.  The strawberries have started to flower - I planted a new bed last year so they produced very little, but it looks like we will have a good crop this year.  Strawberries generally need to be replaced every 5 years, so I should have a few more good years with these plants.
 The onions, garlic and broad beans are doing well in the sunny weather we have had lately.
 These are my last narcissi of the year, tiny flowers only a couple of centimetres in diameter but highly scented.  It's a shame they are over so quickly.
 These are rosemary flowers, I left this young bush unpruned last year to develop a good framework of branches and it has rewarded me with lots of tiny flowers.
 My bedroom windowsill has been home to a few tender plants - this dwarf pepper which is destined to stay here all summer.  It is now flowering and doing well despite the fact that a few weeks ago the cat decided to snack on some of its leaves, which is why there are fewer leaves near the bottom of the plant!
 The bedroom window gets a lot of sun in the summer and is effectively a greenhouse, so I have also started some tomatoes here too and will keep a few of them here over summer.  I can open the sash window to allow pollination to take place, and it will be warm and sunny.  I will pot these tomatoes on this week.
On the vegetable plot, the currants and gooseberries are in full flower, and I am planning to start planting veggies in earnest this week once the frosts are over this weekend.  Have a good gardening week!