Sunflowers and Garlic

The sunflower below popped up  as a surprise a couple of months ago – I think a bird must have planted it (although how he managed to handle the trowel is beyond me!). It’s so pretty and seems far more robust than the ones I planted.

The other good news is that the butterflies are starting to emerge and I’m trying really hard to photograph them. I’ve given up hopping around like a mad woman and I just stay still and ask them to come to me (not that this approach helps much either!). There are a loads of Cabbage White butterflies desparately attempting to break through the net on the brassicas to lay their eggs… but even they were too quick for me to clearly photograph.

I’m pleased to say that the Tortoiseshell Butterflies are the divas of the butterfly world and didn’t seem to mind the camera. They love the nettles that grow in abundance around my garden – I’d noticed a few holes in the nettle leaves and hoped that the caterpillars would soon be butterflies.

British butterflies aren’t very exotic but they certainly are pretty. I’ll try to photograph some of the Peacock Butterflies we have but they don’t tend to hold still when I ask them to so I’m left wondering….  do butterflies have Ears?
Moving on, the tips of the garlic had turned yellow and were looking rather scruffy so they were dug up and left on a wall to dry. Just as I’d finished tidying the bed the sky grew darker and I could hear thunder in the distance. Worried that the garlic was never going to dry I hung it over an old rake in between two low walls and covered them with a cloche.

My fiendish plan seems to be working – the air is circulating around the garlic and the rain is being held at bay. The cyclical nature of gardening means that as one job is completed another begins. And the big question I have at the moment is…..

…. what on earth shall I sow in this bed now that the garlic has gone?

Weeds Part 1

The new Kitchen Garden was designed to be both productive and beautiful. It’s like entering another world and it has such a tranquil quality that I almost hear the plants growing. It’s a very new garden but somehow it feels extremely old, as if it’s always been there, and perhaps it has – I’ve simply dreamed about it for such a long time!

It looks neat and tidy with clean lines and tidy raised beds… each bed has a purpose and each wall will support different plants to hopefully provide year round food and interest.

However, the rest of my garden doesn’t look like this! Half of it is still undergoing building work and has the beginnings of a driveway. The remaining areas are covered in nettles and thistles (but I like to think of these as a wildlife haven rather than a jungle!).

West Garden

One day I hope to transform the area under the trees into a woodland garden with lots of ferns and bluebells. In the meantime it will just be mowed and used as a path to get to the chickens!

The weeds near the shed have grown so much that even the pheasants don’t venture in it anymore! There is a wooden seat against the shed so please believe me when I say there are weeds here!

But as long as I can reach the doodles, and they can still look out of the enclosure without straining their little necks too much, then that’s okay. They seem very happy and we’re getting lots of eggs from them again! Even our little one-eyed chicken has settled down nicely and is usually the first to snaffle the food!!

I hope you enjoyed “Weeds Part 1″… Part 2 is somewhat scarier and may have to come with a suitable warning as those of you with a nervous disposition may be adversely affected!