Tag Archives: garden

Country Produce at last!

The lettuce continues to feed us with salads every day.
The lettuce continues to feed us with salads every day.

I am starting to reap the rewards for all the hard work watering and feeding the garden.  The lettuce I pick daily and provides me with some gorgeous salads.  Steve dislikes this type of lettuce and prefers the plain, pale Round lettuce in Tesco.  Good, it will go further!

The baby tomatoes will be ready soon to pick and put into all these lovely salads.

baby tomatoes almost pickable!
baby tomatoes almost pickable!

The raspberries we are picking now and continue to be wonderful….served with natural yogurt, heavenly.  The wasps love these plants and I am very careful as I was stung last summer picking plums and my finger was throbbing and swollen for four days!

Raspberries plants are wonderful.
Raspberries plants are wonderful.

The apples in the orchard and gardens aren’t ripe enough to eat yet but they’re not far off.  There are quite a number of varieties but not sure of the names.  Can’t wait as I am a huge apple fan and they stew very well.

Runner Beans are starting to grow!

Runner Beans starting to grow
Runner Beans starting to grow

My beans are starting to grow!!  The crop is doing very well with all this rain we’ve had over the past couple of weeks.  Have picked up a few snails and slugs feasting away but no damage has been done.  Unfortunately the broad beans have been disappointing due to where I planted them out….not enough sun!  It’s been an enjoyable experience though watching everything grow.  Can’t wait until harvest time….hopefully in a few weeks?  Steve isn’t very impressed with my gardening efforts.  He comes out into the garden and picks on nearly every plant except his beloved herbs…his prize plants are his two large pots of lemon thyme.  His usual comments are “These aren’t doing very well!”  I ignore it all and hope the plants do too!

If only my sister Fiona were here!

A handful of roses picked from the garden.
A handful of roses picked from the garden.

If only my sister Fiona were here to see how happy I am to walk out into the big garden and come back to the cottage with an armful! of roses and other flowers to fill vases.  Fiona is a lover of flowers just as I am.  She arranges beautiful displays of flowers every week for her partner Rob’s bar and restaurant called “OST” in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond.

Beautiful pink geraniums are everywhere in the garden
Beautiful pink geraniums are everywhere in the garden

So, Fiona, who is all the way over in Australia, this post is for you my darling little sister.  Every time I pick flowers in the garden I think of you and how much you’d enjoy being with me too.  I miss you so much……….

A vase of cream roses adorn a shelf in the bathroom of the cottage.
A vase of cream roses adorn a shelf in the bathroom of the cottage.

The Labradors are protecting us!

Jester and Indi the Labradors surveying the garden.
Jester and Indi the Labradors surveying the garden.

I was in the big house doing some housekeeping work and had to put the dogs out into the garden while I hoovered and cleaned their room.  I took a little sneak through the dining room windows to see what they were up to and found them sitting together happily surveying the landscape, just like lions…….checking out their kingdom!  Such beautiful boys!  Great guard dogs too!  I must hurry up now……rain is on the way and doggies will get wet!

Go Mr. Jeremy Fisher, you can make it! Beatrix Potter would be pleased!

The owners of the big house are away for a while sailing  and as I was down by their lovely pool, checking on the water level, I noticed a frog that was in an awkward situation!  He was perched on one of the floating chlorine indicators (not sure if that is the correct term)  At closer inspection, I realised it was Mr. Jeremy Fisher!  One of  Beatrix Potter’s wonderful characters.

“Oh Mr. Fisher!!  Welcome to our pool!  Stay calm!” I said gently.  Just as well  young Jester, the naughty Labrador wasn’t by my side as his inquisitive nature would have summed up the situation straight away and he would be leaning over the edge, trying to get to Mr. Fisher for his afternoon snack!

Mr. Jeremy Fisher trying desperately to climb on to the floating chlorine gage in the big swimming pool.
Mr. Jeremy Fisher trying desperately to climb on to the floating chlorine gage in the big swimming pool.

Steve appeared, summed up the picture and dealt with the situation beautifully……Jester by his side too!!  As the water level was a little low, I don’t think Mr. Fisher could get out of the pool very easily.  Steve gently scooped him out from the water, and after giving Jester strict instructions to “STAY” he placed Mr. Fisher in a damp, leafy part of the garden.

“Whew!!”  Mr. Jeremy Fisher exclaimed.  “Thank you Steve, good job!” he said.  “No worries.” Steve replied, “Just be a bit more careful next time Mr. Fisher as these two Labradors may have you for lunch next time!” Steve concluded.  Those last words were enough to send Mr. Jeremy Fisher leaping like he’d never done before.  He bounded away to a safe place, and hopefully his life expectancy will continue……to be a lengthy one.  I hope to see him again.  I’m certain of this!

Beans Galore!

I’ve just come into the cottage after spending some time in my small garden and I feel wonderful seeing my beans looking so healthy already.  This is my first attempt at growing runner beans and broad beans so it’s a bit of an experiment this year……so far, so good!

Runner beans looking quite happy in pots on the decking area.
Runner beans looking quite happy in pots on the decking area.

I spoke to the gardener who looks after the large garden on this estate and he thinks they will do well, as long as I feed them regularly.  I think our crop will feed a small village but that’s not a concern….we can give some away and freeze them if needs be.  I’ve been researching through my cook books and on the Internet for summer recipes for beans and I’ve come up with some great ideas and can’t wait when it’s time to start harvesting them.

Broad beans in their early stages of growth.
Broad beans in their early stages of growth.

The sweet peas I planted out are going to be a beautiful fragrant display. As long as we continue to keep the two dogs from peeing!! on my plants, all will come together well.  Jester and Indi love to come and see the garden when we are in there and so far have been very respectful!

"Okay, Jenny" says Jester, "I promise not to pee on your plants and just save that for the big garden!."
"Okay, Jenny" says Jester, "I promise not to pee on your plants and just save that for the big garden!."

The dogs much prefer running around in the big house’s massive garden anyway.  They have taken into rough play in a big way in their garden.  It’s like the doggy version of championship wrestling.  There’s no rules,  just whoever gets tired and fed up or (in Jester’s case!) scared by the other dog, wins.  Indi is still top dog and wins nearly every time.  It’s very entertaining and a good workout! for both dogs.

Let the Wrestling begin.......
Let the Wrestling begin.......

Perfumed Roses are a sight to see……

How incredible it is for me to be surrounded by such beauty as I step outdoors at this time of year!  Wow, if only my mum in Australia could see what I can…so many beautifully scented roses everywhere in this extensive big garden.

The Paeony Roses are now blooming in the sunken garden
The Paeony Roses are now blooming in the sunken garden

As I walk across the large terrace of the big house on this estate, I get a lovely waft of  perfumed roses.  A beautiful climbing rose covers part of the rear of the house, living happily with wisteria.  The balconies surrounding the terrace are also covered with a creeping white and pale pink variety of rose which has a very suttle scent and as it catches the passing breeze, it provides an delightful scent in the air.

The sunken garden is surrounded by a number of varied varieties of roses and a border of lavender surrounds the top wall of this wonderful display.  Just as well I am a great lover of flowers and for me this is paradise in the countryside for sure.

A special white variety of rose in the sunken garden.
A special white variety of rose in the sunken garden.

As the very warm spring is drawing to an end, one would think summer has already arrived with the spectacular garden that is blooming before our eyes.  The grasses in the lower fields are full of buttercups and forget-me-nots and a vast array of other pretty blue, white, mauve and yellow wild flowers.  As I am out with the two dogs each day, as well as checking on the lambs in their fields, I often stop to pick a hand full of these flowers to fill a vase in the cottage.  Although they don’t last very long, they provide a wonderful display and reminds us of the season we’re enjoying.

Buttercups fill a vase in the Cottage's kitchen.
Buttercups fill a vase in the Cottage's kitchen.
Roses from the garden
Roses from the garden

So, I must finish this blog now as I have to tend my own little garden!  My runner beans and broad beans need checking for the greedy caterpillars, slugs and snails that love to gorge on my tasty plants.

Spring is on the way……..

Crocus are popping up everywhere in the garden now!
Crocus are popping up everywhere in the garden now!

What an incredible sunny day it has turned into today.  BBC Weather Website is so wrong again today.  They forecast mist and my last glimpse on their weather page is still saying mist for this area when all we have had is beautiful bright sunshine all day.  Hard to plan our long hikes in advance when the forecast is so inaccurate.  Someone needs the sack! 

I walked leisurely through the large gardens today on the estate and saw many signs that spring is definitely on the way.  Yippee!!!!  Crocus and daffodils are pushing their way up through the ground at a rate of knots and the gorgeous little snow drops are present there too. 

The Snow Drops are growing in numbers.
The Snow Drops are growing in numbers.

The bird life are growing in numbers also.  I hear two woodpeckers near the orchard as I am writing this bog (outside on the sunny decking area)  The birdsong is wonderful and as I close my eyes to listen , it is very relaxing……except for the chainsaw! I can now hear in the distance…….hopefully for not too much longer!

Pansies planted outside the cottage.
Pansies planted outside the cottage.

I have planted pansies in large tubs on each side of our Cottage front door.  They are already looking lovely and have proved to be frost tolerant much to my surprise.  So, a lot to look forward to now as I love the garden with a passion and can’t wait for all the freezing cold conditions to be well and truly behind us.