It is the end of April and it is still really cold. Yes, I am going to mention it again, I do have to work in it, and I’m still wearing my woolley hat.
Although spring is a bit slow, we have had plenty of rain here in Suffolk and things are growing nicely. It’s great to see the tree peonies in flower, it is the first year for 2 of them. I don’t know the varieties I am afraid as they were put in by the customer and only have generic peony labels.
As I drive around I am enjoying the cherry blossom in all its forms, pink, white, single, double, but I also have a fondness for pear blossom with its delicate pink stamens.
This is the first apple tree to flower in the orchard. There is a lot more to come.
I have mostly been weeding and edging this week including edging paving stones in the grass. At least I can see where I have been!
So why did I think I could actually write one a week? Now it’s the beginning of May and it’s been a warm but wet day today and everything is looking lush!
Fast forward and it’s a nearly year since I wrote the last post. I’ve set myself the task of writing a blog post each week while I wait for my daughter to a have a drumming lesson. We’ll see if it happens!
After a cold winter, it’s beginning to feel a bit more spring like with blossom on the trees and daffodils out all over the place.
So the reason for the long gap, not just laziness, shortly after starting the last post my mother passed away suddenly so my time for the last year has been taken up with, ‘dealing with stuff’.
While I am still wading through admin, I have also moved house and there has been a lot of sorting of both mine and my mother’s things. I now have a much smaller garden and I also lost my allotment space, at the pub, if anyone has been following my previous posts!
April seems to have been particularly cold but the blossom is out and I have sowed some seeds. This is big news as I didn’t manage to grow anything last year. I will introduce you to my new garden in another blog post.
….A few days later and it’s still April and still freezing. The grass is growing though and the spring leaves are bursting out in all their greenness. I think I’d better stop procrastinating and actually publish these blog posts.
As we all know, it has been an unusual and difficult year all round but especially for the hospitality industry. The Queen at Brandeston, where I manage the garden has met each new challenge full on, opening a local shop and serving food and drinks as takeaway, then sitting outside and inside, as permitted, at different times.
Last week I was there on Easter bank holiday, trying to catch up with jobs in the vegetable garden to make sure I was ready for the growing season ahead.
Usually the pub would be busy, but this year it was just me and Mr Blackbird feeling the chill of snow showers.
I was weeding the final beds to be done and he was following me, filling his beak with worms. He must have a family in the hedge.
Every year I hope to keep on top of the weeds with a little bit of regular hoeing but once I spend more time planting, watering and sowing seeds, the weeds take overk. So I will just take this moment to enjoy the vegetable patch being under control before it all goes crazy again.
There are already some things coming on. I have winter lettuces and chard under green mesh, which seemed to have survived the recent late frosts.
There are some tiny radish seedlings and peas planted out, having been started off in the the greenhouse in early spring.
The wild garlic, which I planted a few years ago, is looking well and finally spreading. I just have a bit of a problem in that bed with tiny field maple seedlings.
There is lots of self seeded coriander in the herb garden and the chives are romping away as always. The only bed not sorted out yet is the flower patch.
A week on and the flower patch is still waiting to be brought to order but I have planted 14 kg of pink fir apple seed potatoes to be used in the pub kitchen. A main crop variety, they should be ready, once they have flowered, late summer.
With the tables and outside space restored and and the glamping facilities re-vamped and improved, The Queen is ready to welcome people to sit outside to eat and drink and stay. Visit the website here for opening hours.
I’ve been enjoying the sunshine today, with temperatures up to 19°C it seems to have gone from winter to summer over the weekend.
I’ve been looking for wow moments, well I did used to work in early years. These are the moments of the year that I really get excited about, peas ready to go outside is one of them.
The first destruction of seedlings by slugs is not!
Cumin though, last week, nothing, I thought that I’d sown them too early. This week seedlings!
Ah, the crown imperials, always a key, and therefore wow moment for me. They appear with big buds bursting through the soil in early spring and today they were in flower. There are quite a few in this garden so they make a good display.
One of the main highlights at the moment is all the prunus blossom out in gardens, streets and hedgerows, it looked good last week but the sunshine and blue skies made it look amazing today and humming with bees too.
The other notable new flowers out are the daffodils, en masse in the orchard and by the swimming pond.
Other notable mentions looking good today, the anemones and Brunnera but prize for most spectacular, today, goes to the frothy blossom.
That’s what we are all saying at the moment! The days are really drawing out, I was outside until past 5.00 at the weekend, and sunset is after 17.20.
Since the last post, we have had the predicted cold snap. Lots of snow, drifts, icicles, bitterly cold wind and near or below freezing temperatures for a week. We were snowed in for a couple of days and I couldn’t work for the whole week. Really it was nothing compared to countries that have proper cold winter with snow for much longer but I did get fed up with being cold.
And then just like that, it got warmer and melted, leaving everywhere wet again. But things are looking up, I got given some garlic bulbs that hadn’t sold so I have planted some in pots to use as leaves, some in the garden and some at the pub garden. They are not proper treated bulbs for planting but it’s worth a try.
And my seed potatoes arrived from Pennards Plants . I usually go to my local potato day and have great fun choosing lots of different varieties but it isn’t on this year. Pennards do have a good selection, it just doesn’t have the same buzz as a gathering of lots of people all interested in buying and selling potatoes and other horticultural supplies.
I won’t be planting them until at least April so I will have to keep them cool, I don’t do chitting but they may sprout a bit anyway by then.
Then this weekend, it got a lot warmer, up to 13°C. It felt properly spring like although we mustn’t get too excited, there are probably many more cold and grey days to come. Nevertheless I went grocery shopping and came back with dahlia corms, something else which will have to wait, and peonies in those boxes which are usually full of shrivelled up plants. This time I got lucky, bits of peony roots just starting to grow which I have potted up and put in the polytunnel. No pictures but I might go and get some more while they are still in good condition.
The other thing I have been doing, with the new season in mind, is creating a village seed swap. We are only a small village so it has been easy enough to gather the seeds, make a list, sent out on the village email, and now I am starting to distribute seeds to people that want them. I am charging a small amount, 20p -50p per packet in aid of the woodland see the blog here, if there are no swaps, but it is really to promote sustainability rather than make money. Next year a proper event hopefully.
The salad in the polytunnel survived the snow and I have had the first picking of mustard wasabi leaves.
The flower seeds have also mostly grown well and I have started pricking out Ammi. I have rather a lot.
It has been so nice to have some warmer weather, just to have a few less layers on and get the washing on the line. There will be a few more frosty nights to look out for but there is hope for summer and getting out and about again