The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies. Gertrude Jekyll

Annie's Little Plot

Annie's Little Plot

Friday, 3 May 2013

Spring has finally sprung

Thought I would try and write a less frantic blog post this time, though I think that will be hard as its such a busy time. I'm struggling to find time to write my blog and I'm behind on reading all my favourite bloggers but I'm sure I'll catch up soon. I've been busy in both the garden and at the allotment. In the garden my spring plants are finally getting going, with masses of primroses and an ornamental cherry blossom whose flowering was short but very sweet.

The daffodils are just finishing but they have been lovely, amongst others I have 'Jetfire' and 'Minnow', the coolish weather has kept them flowering for such a long time. Another plant which seems to have liked the cool weather has been the violas and the pansies which have really taken off again in my garden. My tulips are just starting to colour up.

One exciting sighting has been a flock of birds in a tree in the park near my house, I walk through it on my way home from work and a couple of evenings, at 5.50-6ish, I've walked past and there has been a flock of biggish birds making a lot of noise, I would describe it as trilling, but on mass. The first time I walked past I knew they weren't anything normal but I couldn't really get a good look to see them. Anyway they were there again the next evening and this time I stopped and tried to get a good look, they were the size of a blackbird but sort of plumper and light coloured, plus they had a crest on their head. So I texted my bird guru, my brother Will, and he said they would be Waxwings (this page has a link to listen to their sound, I just played it and confused Bob my cat, his ears were twitching all over the place!), gorgeous birds over from Scandinavia, he thought they were having a pre-roost gathering and would soon be flying back home. Well they've gone again now, not seen them since, but a lovely surprise.

At the allotment my fruit bed is coming on a treat, I've got masses of flowers on my redcurrant, going to be my best harvest yet and my gooseberry bush likewise has lots of flowers and the bees have been busy there. I think I'm going to have to properly net the bush this year, as much as I love the birds, this crop is for me.

Its peak rhubarb season and as with many other bloggers I've just started harvesting mine, my first dish was a rhubarb and ginger crumble which was delicious. I have some plans, if I have enough, to have a go at making some rhubarb wine, following the advice of the lovely John Wright, a recipe he posted in the Guardian in 2011.
I've planted my onions and shallots, which I got going in modules and my garlic is doing well, there are some tentative plans to build a sort of greenhouse in the corner of this bed so I've had to put my maincrop onions in one of the other beds.
I've some broad beans which I sowed in modules, the ones I sowed direct have not come up yet, neither have my peas! I never have much luck with sowing direct.
My potatoes are in and I'm waiting for the first shoots, though we've had a few light frosts this week so hope they will be OK.
I've been trying to finish off the structure of my allotment, last year I divided the big main plot into 3 beds, though the paths at the bottom end of the plot were not finished as this bit was a mass of buttercups and grass. I've been finishing off the ends of the beds and the paths. I can't decide whether to dig up this green path in the picture below and create a woodchip path. It looks quite Ok at the moment, but if you look closely its full of buttercups, though maybe if I keep it short like a lawn the grass will take over. Will leave it for now and see whether it causes much trouble. The patch of earth next to the fence has got my thornless blackberry plant, three raspberry canes, which are just starting to come up and a tayberry, which I'm hoping will get going this year. I've done my final digging of the year digging over these bottom beds, with plenty of muck, this is where my squash and courgettes will go. I'm hoping for better things for these this year.

I've had my first and probably my last crop from the only surviving plant of Purple Sprouting Broccolli. I planted them too late and most got demolished by slugs, note to self, be organised this year.
Finally a quick thanks to Anna at Green Tapestry for the lovely gift in the post, some foxgloves seeds, I'll sow them in a month or so, one of my favourite flowers.


  1. I've only seen waxwings once, I love seeing unusual birds, especially if they visit my garden. The daffodils seem to have lasted ages this year, it must be down to the cooler temperatures, they've put on a lovely display though. Enjoy the weekend, let's hope for some nice weather so that we can get some jobs done.

  2. How lucky to see a flock of Waxwings my OH will be green with envy. Your plot is looking very tidy and organised and the fruit bushes look really healthy - fingers crossed for a good harvest this year - I hardly had any fruit last year not even raspberries for the first time ever.

  3. How lucky to see waxwings - apparently their have been lots this year but guess who hasn't managed to see one even at the RSPB reserves that claim sitings of them!

  4. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a couple of messages, so nice to hear from someone new! We too have had the first of our rhubarb, it's gorgeous with ginger isn't it? Last year , even though we netted our fruit bushes, a blackbird managed to get in and ate all the gooseberries, I hope he had tummy ache! Your plot is looking so neat and tidy and your veggies well advanced.

  5. A most enjoyable post and photos.
    It's been a good year for daffodils and tulips. Fingers crossed that it'll be a good one for soft fruit. Don't worry too much the potatoes as even if the foliage does get frosted it just sets them back a week or two until it regrows.
    Lucky you seeing waxwings like that, they're a bird that I've never seen.
    Enjoy the weekend, and happy gardening. Flighty xx

  6. How wonderful to see those waxwings; I didn't see any either this year even though there appeared to be lots of sightings of them. Your fruit bushes do look good; I'm pleased the bees have found them. And I look forward to reading about the rhubarb wine!

  7. Your garden flowers are looking lovely! I must say your fruit bushes are way ahead of mine. I only have a few leaves to date!!'re HARVESTING rhubarb???? goodness me, mine has only just begun to grow, I am jealous!

    What a wonderful surprise to have a flock of waxwings visit, I don't think I've ever seen one.

    It's funny how some of us are behind or ahead of others isn't it, my spuds, beans and peas are up and coming on a treat now.xxxx

  8. I'm nipping out to harvest the first of my rhubarb today, and I can't wait, there's nothing like that first crumble of the year is there. Your plot is looking great, and the fruit bushes really healthy.

  9. Waxwings are one those birds I'd love to see but never have. How brilliant to have caught a glimpse of them Your plot is looking great. My blackcurrants and gooseberries are stuffed with flowers so I'm looking forward to a good season. Rhubarb wine sounds intriguing. I'm going to try my hand at cassis this year with all my blackcurrants.

  10. A belated thanks for the mention Annie and also thanks for your email too. Glad to hear that foxgloves are a favourite and hope that they do well for you. It's hard fitting it all in at the moment. Your allotment looks in great shape - mine is a bit hit and miss this year and I have some horrific weed problems to deal with with :( Interested to read that your red currants are so floriferous as my bush is looking as if it will produce more fruit this year and the white currant is positively dripping. They must have enjoyed all that rain last year more than we did.

  11. Well it turned out to be a very busy post. I know exactly what you're up against trying to keep up with the plot, your garden and your favourite blogs as well as doing your own posts so I don't mind you being a bit sporadic in your posting as mine have been exactly the same. I'm up for yet another very busy weekend this weekend but I am hoping this will be the last hectic one for a while...fingers crossed for the weather!!