Monday, 30 June 2014

Moving into summer

With the rain behind us for a couple of weeks, the garden work has been mainly weeding and grass cutting to get back on top of things after the wet weather.  It is still early in the summer but my New Dawn rose is now at its best.

 The weight of the blooms has dropped it slightly over the door, but it is having an excellent year.
 In the vegetable garden, the peas have recovered from the attack of the wood pigeons and are now growing quickly.  I have re-used the apple tree prunings from the winter to provide support for the peas.  Because the pigeons are still around (though they have moved to a neighbouring plot for their meals) I have left a barrier of netting around the peas and beans which extends above pigeon head height so they cannot get at the plants.  Working well so far!  There is another sowing of peas behind this batch so plenty to come yet.
 The strawberries have started cropping and there is a lot of fruit.  The plants were put in new last spring (2013) and this is their first good cropping.  You generally get 4-5 good crops before replanting is required.  The dry weather means the slugs and snails get fewer strawberries than they would like, good for us...
 My peony has just two blooms this year, I will have to ensure I feed it a bit more, to get more flowers.  But they are lovely.
 Not sure whether I like the flowers more closed or open, with  splash of yellow.
 This is actually a wildflower, purple toadflax, which seeds itself.  Pretty and interesting at this time of year as it is quite tall.

A few days ago I went collecting elderflowers to make elderflower cordial.  Do it on a dry day, shake the insects off them, then put them in  large pan.  Pour over boiling water and let them steep for an hours.  Sieve the liquour off, then let it settle in a large, wide jug as some vegetative matter does get through the sieve.  Once that has dropped to the bottom, pour off the clear liquid at the top, put in a pan and heat with some sugar to taste, add a splash of lemon juice and hey presto elderflower cordial.  Keeps around a week or two.

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