Sweet Peas and Bumble Bees

Summer gardening and Ashley the Champion Sheep Herder

Saturday, 19 June 2010

The garden continues to keep us all very busy, lots of weeding, manure, preparing beds for planting out, clearing beds that have finished and planting a new batch of young plants in fresh beds. Some days we look as though we are playing a strange game involving adding and removing clothing. We go out in rain macs and in minutes can be topping up the sun tan lotion and wearing summer vests.

We have had a fantastic crop of lupins and foxgloves this year. The nigella is still giving us a good crop as are the sweet williams. The roses have loved a heavy burst of rain and are covered with gloriously scented blooms. They make gorgeous bouquets. The lower field that we planted with grass seed to help overcome the years of weeds (prior to our time on the garden) is full of meadow flowers particularly poppies. It couldn't look more beautiful. However, this is where we planted our sweet peas and they are flourishing.

On a slightly madder note!...... The sheep are constantly teasing me as I try to leave the garden in my truck. I get out to open the large wooden gates and a small group of them watch me from the coppice that sits a few metres away, just waiting for me to get back into the truck so that they can head for the open gate and the Michelin 3 star grass yonder. One particularly challenging sheep (male I'm sure!) had me running backwards and forwards 6 times, like the game Mr Wolf (fitting I feel). Just as I got back to the truck to reverse out he would run for the gate opening. I think they must chat about me during the day, " what game shall we try with that plump old gardener today, we know she can't run fast so our options are many!"

Still, my other bigger fear, was reversing over one of my sheep atagonists!.... I thought that I had come up with a cunning plan to stop my having to make lamb hotpot for the rest of the month. Unfortunately, it could be added to the list of Baldrick's cunning plans......... I assumed that if I beeped the truck horn in small constant beeps it would scare away the 5 or so sheep in the coppice. No..... no such thing, the 300 or so sheep friends that up until then had been roaming aimlessly at a far greater distance, grouped and ran at pace towards me. It was almost a stampede!..... I can on guess that in the winter it is how their food is provided, via a honking landrover. I feel adding champion sheep herder to my curriculum vitae is now only fair!x yours the plum gardener x baaaah

Longing for rain..... or only the crumbliest, flakeyist, chocolate!?

Wednesday, 2 June 2010




We have been longing for rain on the garden and to help fill our huge water tank. Finally, after many rain dances, or chasing pheasants..... similiar I think? the heavens opened. The soil greatly needed a good drink (don't we all!) and, although no longer gasping, could still do with a few more rounds!


We are furiously planting out huge numbers of seedlings while weeding, watering and cutting. It's that time of year when there are not enough hours. Our Lupins are superb this month, so much so that I find it hard to sell them. Today I stood amongst the swathes of swaying blue and pink cornflowers. They mesmerize me and the bees that tenaciously stay upon them as they sway. We are using some for a lovely country wedding this Saturday.


I have perfected a wonderful whoop to forewarn pheaseants that my puppy Willow is about to take their tail feathers. It's very effective but Alastair has not quite mastered it yet and sounds more like he has stepped on a thorn!


I felt it was time to let you all see the beauty that is willow... although I feel she may overshadow the flowers...... no easy job!


Our roses are in bud and the delightful scented sweet peas will be ready to cut this week. We are digging holes for some new Dahlia tubers. I can't wait to see them later in the year as we have some unusual flowers in smokey pinks and creams.


Our plan to take control of the lower garden by seeding it with grass to then cut beds into it has worked well. This was a heavy weed area. However, it looks so simple and fresh as it is I keep getting the urge to run across it pretending I'm in a flake advert rather than in a garden. I think Alastair may think me totally insane if he sees a large plump woman attempting to serenly cross a bumpy field with a chocolate bar in her hand, when I'm meant to be watering the sweet peas. For some reason I must be wearing a flowery dress and floppy straw hat when I attempt this goddess run. Hopefully, having worked with me for a year and a half he has a fondness for madness!x The plump gardener x