This Morning Over The Garden Wall…

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…we have a forest of Granny’s Bonnets. How did so many of them blow in and settle here?

We do of course confess to a spot of guerrilla gardening on our boundary with the field, and this does involve a tacit understanding with any passing flower life that if we clear back the couch grass and other less interesting invaders outside our hedge, wall and fence, then they are welcome to drop in for the spring and summer season. Two years ago we had the profusion of opium poppies. Then there was a borage jungle. This year the aquilegias are claiming the stage.

Further along the boundary behind our old privies, creamy flowered comfrey has also arrived, and feverfew is a frequent visitor there too. Beyond the privies is the fence, upon which he-who-builds-sheds-and-binds-books likes to lean while ruminating on the next project. Here I have encouraged purple-spired toadflax, wild stock, pink campion, moon daisies and foxgloves to multiply and, in the past, scattered corn cockle seeds that now self-propagate and put on annual show. I also move any ‘spare’ herbaceous perennials out there too – especially plants of the late summer, clump-forming variety that will stand in when the wildflowers have gone their way: Rudbeckia, perennial sunflowers, Golden Rod, Michaelmas daisies, phlox and helenium.

It’s a sort of give-and-take gardening with borrowed landscape (and in every sense). It gives great pleasure, not only to us, but to anyone passing on the field path. You never quite know what will be happening out there. At present, too, the rapeseed blooms are providing a golden backdrop. Though not for too much longer because, even as I am writing this, the crop is busy setting seed. Then it will be on to the next scene  at the guerrilla garden theatre. Us the ever-willing audience.

copyright 2018 Tish Farrell

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A Bit Of Magic On Monday ~ Quintessentially Exquisite Quince Flowers

I discovered the quince tree (Cydonia oblonga) at the allotment only last year. It was hanging in large golden fruits like overfed pears. They had a subtle fragrance too. And I was entranced. It seemed as if the tree had materialised from out of some ancient Persian painting. Later I discovered that this was indeed one of its homelands (in that belt of southwest Asia between Armenia, Turkey, North Iran and Afghanistan). On Saturday evening as I was going home, I caught the tree on the last lap of flowering – petals like finest Dresden porcelain. What a treasure. And then I started thinking about quince jelly and quince ‘cheese’ – the dulce de membrillo – as made on Spain’s Iberian peninsula and eaten with Manchego cheese. And then I thought how very generous is the plant world to human kind.

copyright 2018 Tish Farrell

Look What I Found At The Allotment Yesterday – An Unexpected Cauliflower

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As vegetables go, cauliflowers are sneaky entities. I could swear there were no signs of this one a few days ago. In fact  when I ventured to lift the protective mesh to give the outer leaves a prod, I decided it was probably a cabbage. It and the four other ‘cabbages’ were looking pretty healthy too – an astonishing feat after three lots of winter snow and months of never ending rain.

I bought the seedling plants on line in October from Delfland Nursery, along with sprouting broccoli plugs which have also grown strongly and served us well. I’ve used this company several times, and they are brilliant when you have forgotten to think ahead and sow for autumn and winter crops. Or just forgotten.

Anyway, after the long overwintering I thought the ‘cabbages’ deserved a feed and gave them the last of some vintage homemade comfrey liquor which I discovered in the polytunnel during an unlikely phase of tidying. That was a couple of days ago. And look what happened. I’m going to try for giant beanstalks next, though promise not to facilitate the advent of any outsize fee-fi-fo-fumming individuals. A hen that lays golden eggs might be fun though.

copyright 2018 Tish Farrell

April’s Changing Seasons ~ Bleak With Bright Blooming Intervals

Here in Shropshire we’re back to wintery temperatures after last week’s four days of summer. The header photo was taken on Sunday up at the allotment – damson blossom against a stormy sky.

But despite the coolness, plant life seems to be thriving:

Out in the woods:

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In monochrome:

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As seen from Wenlock Edge and in the Shropshire Hills (on a hot day last Thursday):

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And out in the garden:

Who knows what will happen next:

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The Changing Seasons:  April 2018

Please visit Su to see her changing seasons over in New Zealand

Awakening To Poppies

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Few garden flowers do awakening more flamboyantly than oriental poppies. They are true spirit-lifters. This one is also catching the early morning sun – along with a tiny crab spider. They are also very obliging on the renewal front, each year creating several suckers which are easily divided to make new plants. And if you cut them right back after the first flowering, you will  be blessed with a late summer flush. Bees and hover flies love them too.

Their vegetation is fleshy with a tendency to break, but they are surprisingly hardy. The leaves have been up in my garden for a couple of months now. But I’m guessing it will be a good few weeks before we can enjoy this year’s round of poppy power. For now, the photos will have to suffice.

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Daily Post: Awakening

Frigid February But With Flowers ~ The Changing Seasons

We’ve had gales, sleet, snow, frost, downpours and sunshine, lowering skies, gloom, dankness, glowing sunsets, and starlit nights, and throughout all variations it has been bitterly cold with far too many Arctic blasts and draughty peripheries. Yet despite the chill factor, some things seem to have been growing since December, many of them out of season.

For instance, up at the allotment this afternoon, I came upon a very confused globe artichoke. In the last few days it has grown some very chunky buds. Too soon, I tell it. It was also surrounded by a vigorous bouquet of spanking new foliage. In the garden at home a butter coloured geum has been flowering, one stem at a time, all winter. Likewise a blue penstemon. I have also been cropping the wild garlic leaves for several weeks. They are shooting up along the old railway line beside the Linden Walk.

All of which apparently tells me that it can’t have been as cold as I think it has.

Certainly the spring flowers have not been deterred – celandines, snowdrops, primroses, crocus, flowering currant and hellebores all quick off the mark – with daffodils just on the cusp of opening.

Here then are February scenes around and about the Farrell domain in Much Wenlock:

 

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The Changing Seasons: February