Friday, 1 May 2015


Before we get onto blossoming news a few birdy bits. Here are our pair of mallard, Noddy and Hilda, by the pond with the other drake trying to muscle in. I have decided to call him the Blockbuster just to annoy Slade fans. (Isn't that Sweet!)

And here is a tree sparrow - they sit on the edge of the roof below our bedroom window. Cock tree sparrows have a brown head rather than the grey of the house sparrow. As we removed the house martin nests they commandeered when we were having the woodwork painted  last year I wonder where they will go this year.

Nine spears of asparagus through this morning and we are eating lots of rhubarb - yes, it does. 

Strawberries tucked under netting and also flowering.

Okay, it is blossom time - I am very worried about blossom - the setting thereof - as we have had early morning frost and that can make a disaster of it all - fruit I mean - having none. We will have to wait and see.

This is the greengage I and A gave us.

This is the Victoria Plum
And below is blackthorn (or sloe) in the bottom hedge.

Then we come to ornamental cherries - shirotae

and The Great White Cherry, Tai-haiku.

The two on the left here -

We also have loads of damson, apple, pear and weeping silver pear, amelanchier and wild plum not to mention the Magnolia stellata.

However, there are other flowers in the garden, notably the flowering currant humming with bumble bees and the headily scented skimmia.

The tulips are scattered about - from previous pots and though they tend to decline in vigour over time many are still thriving.

Along the edge of the rose bed the forget-me-nots provide a blue punch - one of the two dominant blues in the garden now,

the other being the wild bluebell (and this seems to be seeding itself around. I wonder if it will become a pest like the wild garlic?). Another pest comes from the sycamore and seedlings and small treelets are everywhere.

And then there is the blossom that is not so conspicuous -

 Blackcurrant left, gooseberry right, redcurrant below.

One of the great shows of inconspicuous flowering at this time of year is on the ash trees. It would be a disaster if all this goes with the die-back spreading through the country. I noticed yesterday that many of our hedges contain a preponderance of ash.

So what have we been doing in the garden apart from sitting in it? Well, actually the temperature has dropped and it has been around 9C this week. So R has been digging up bramble roots that she missed. I have cut a branch off a sycamore that was very low and threatening to decapitate me when I went past - I know, some people might think that is not a bad idea. I have started to barrow slate chippings up the garden and replenish the surface of the paths, I have pruned the hawthorn cloud tree so it looks tidier and neatened up the sides of the beech hedge. It should be left now as birds may be nesting in it.
Our swallows and martins are still not back from Africa - cannot blame them in this chilly wind and I think that the ducks have decided that, nice as our pond is, it is not the place for a nest. they have probably gone up to the mill reservoir above the spade forge.

Have had a fruity panic - suddenly realised we have a freezer full of fruit from last year and something NEEDS TO BE DONE.
So have made some raspberry jam with the last of them and gooseberry jam.

Gooseberry jam -

2 1/4 pounds goosegogs, 3/4 pint water, 3 pounds sugar.

If fresh top and tail and simmer with water for 1/2 hour until soft. This will only take 15 minutes with defrosted fruit. Add sugar and stir till dissolved. Boil hard - about 10 minutes until setting point reached. Test on cool saucer. Skim, bung in hot jars and seal.
(You can also stick 8 elderflower heads in a muslin bag and cook with gooseberries. Squeeze bag before removing.)


A and J are coming to do the drains, no they are not, yes they are, perhaps?
And there are so many pics of then garden at this time of the year so here are more from the wild garden and wood.

Dog violets

 Lesser Celandine

and bluebells.
These are really growing as a weed on the banking by the house but the far wood is a beautiful blue carpet untainted by the Spanish ones, so far.

As a man used to writing a handful of blogs a week this change to one only means it gets awfully long. I mean I do prattle on a bit (a lot I hear a cry). (And I was going to stop the blog altogether.) (And the bracket thing is taking over again.)

So, finally, a mention for G and L - here is a full compost bin covered in old cardboard for now - just thought I would mention it for any compostophiles around.

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