October Bouquets

Once the mists cleared the sun actually shined through and the flowers looked so bright. There are quite a few seed heads now, which have a beauty only suited to Autumn, and the bees are making the most of these rare sunny days.

When I first planted the kitchen Garden in Spring I never imagined that I would still be picking flowers in October… Dahlias, Scabious, Lavender, Cosmos, Rudbekia and Burpleum. I confess that I have probably had more enjoyment from the flowers than the vegetables so I’ll have to rethink the way I use the space next year.

It’s Here!

Finally, the sun has arrived and it hasn’t rained since Saturday! The butterflies have started to show themselves and I am convinced I can see the bees smiling as they hum their little songs.

Everything has grown so well – especially the Broad Beans! They had started to look a little tired (probably from trying to turn into monsters) so I decided to harvest them all together and chop the plants down. It wasn’t as cruel as it seems – I have some Dwarf French Beans (yellow podded and purple podded) that were sheltered beautifully by the Broad Beans. Now the weather has improved I want to give the little French ones all the benefit of the sunshine, fresh air and nutrients.

My lovely husband volunteered to remove the pods and shells… no mean feat but “tenacious” is his middle name and he did a great job! Once they were green and naked they were put into boiling water for 3 mins before being plunged into ice cold water. They were gently patted dry and put onto baking sheets to fast freeze. Now this has been done we will look forward to having Broad Beans as we wish.

The shallots were looking in need of harvesting so most of them were dug up and left in the sun to dry. There were a few flower heads starting to appear so it was time and I want them to dry naturally in the sunshine. The garlic is not quite ready yet but it smells delicious! I just need to carefully decide what other crops to plant in their place as otherwise it will be beetroot again :-)

Finally, the cosmos are doing really well. It’s a variety called “Antiquity” from Sarah Raven. The flowers open as a deep burgundy but gradually fades to a dusky pink. I was surprised to see a funny looking bloom this evening and thought I was seeing double at first!

Touch wood!

I’ve always loved Rhubarb Forcers, especially the large teracotta ones, so I was jumping for joy when my sister-in-law bought me one for a present. That was a few years before the Kitchen Garden was completed and so it sat patiently in the house, looking out of the window onto the building site, until it could have pride of place in the new garden. I think it looks lovely (but I would say that…) even though I’m unable to force any of the new rhubarb crowns yet!

At around the same time I also acquired a very ugly little statue known as a “grotesque” (which is similar to a gargoyle but without a spout). I think he’s gorgeous as I’ve always been fond of gothic things! He also sat in the house waiting to go outside in the garden but, not long after his arrival, a strange run of bad luck made me twitchy and so I banished him to the shed… the bad luck came an abrupt end and he’s been in the shed ever since! Really silly… but now this particular seed has been planted in my mind it’s  taken root and, touch wood, I don’t want to tempt fate!! It’s fairly common for sports people and actors to have superstitions… but do gardeners??
I come from a fairly superstitious family so maybe this has rubbed off on me more than I dare to acknowledge. I’ll consider photographing him in all his grotesque glory at Halloween, but even now, I’m a little concerned he’ll break my camera! Ha ha!
The Nectar Bar is filling out nicely now and it’s attracting lots of bees, hoverflies and butterflies. The anenomes are flowering beautifully still, the poppies and cosmos are just starting to come through and I love to watch the red Geums bobbing happily in the wind. Although I have lots of plans for next year, things I’d like to do differently etc I’m really pleased at how great the garden is looking just 4 months after I started!

This weekend I need to sow some more carrots and lettuce – things are growing quicker than I imagined and the successional planting is in the “must try harder” category on my report card.

The forecast this weekend is more rain… I hope there are a few dry spells otherwise it could be the Umbrella Gardener out there!