Saturday, 24 December 2011

Season's Greetings

Hope Santa is kind to you all and that 2012 brings us good weather, good crops and good laughs.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Hello, one and all. I know it's been a while, but I've been following all your exploits avidly, I just can't seem to leave comments. I tried the help forum but got lost with advice about cookies and caches and browsers. As a bit of a luddite, I have only a very vague notion of what these things are and have no idea at all how to delete them etc. My idea of deleting cookies involves packets of chocolate digestives. Anyway. I hope you're all enjoying Summer. It's been so rubbish here I tell myself it's a warm Autumn rather than a wet Summer. Still the veg are loving it and we're loving the veg. So far we've had Wilja potatoes, Sweet Candle carrots, Boltardy beets,Little Gem lettuce, Bunyard's Exhibition broad beans (a lot of alliteration here) Micro cabbage, Kelvedon Wonder peas, Crystal Lemon and Superbel cucumbers, and Taxi and Defender courgettes. Also an unidentified so-so tomato which is definitely not Gardeners' Delight as stated on the packet. But everything else has been delish, and highly recommended.
There's been a disaster on the fruit front - the pear trees which were laden with promise have dropped nearly all the fruit. Weird weather? Hungry? Anyone got any ideas?

It's long past my bedtime so I'll love you and leave you. Take care y'all. 

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Hi ho, hi ho

Good morning peeps! Tis I! At last I feel moved to to put digit to keyboard, tho' I suspect this is a delaying tactic. It's 7.15 and I start work soon.
Last night the wind dropped away so went down to fleece the baskets (300 down, 150 to go). Had a look in the glasshouses and then spent the next two hours watering. Seems the automatic system is playing up and lobelia, ageratum and African marigolds were near unto death. Some of you might say thank God for small mercies but you don't have to deal with the ravening hordes who'll descend on us soon. Talking of which, it's open day soon, so I better get on.
 Lots of love(which is what I thought lol stood for) .

Saturday, 5 February 2011

That Was The Week That Was

All too often, work seems a little humdrum, and I have to remind myself that if it was fun, I'd be paying them. But this week's had variety, achievement and even a little learning. Not bad for February. The Powers That Be agreed to replace the door between the orchard and the walled garden with a wrought iron gate and the Future Jobs Scheme lads have made a lovely job of it. The public enjoy getting a glimpse of the garden and sometimes stop for a chat and a bit of advice, which is nice. It also allows us to see out and so feels less hemmed in.
Tuesday was a lovely day, the lull before the storm, and having seen the forecast I cracked the whip and we spent the day doing all the digging that should have been done in December. So good to have the ground prepared at last. Then I had a day out and about, inspecting the flower beds in the far-flung parts of our empire. Some are small in proportion to the spaces they're in and frankly, look ridiculous, so they're the ones we'll cut next year. We're also going to create wildflower meadows where at present there are boring big stretches of grass. I've wanted to do this for years and now it's an idea whose time has come. The public will, I hope, understand the argument for increased bio-diversity and the managers will see the savings.
Then I had a day doing Health and Safety training. I was dreading it, but we have a new trainer who was such an improvement on the previous death-by-power-point guy that it was enjoyable, informative and motivating. So next week I'm going to take a good hard look around and sort whatever I've let slip over the years.  Did you know, in outdoor work, most fatalities are caused by people falling from heights, and most of those are from heights of less than two metres? So next time you clamber on a wobbly chair, or even up a steady ladder, make sure there's someone else there, then you won't end up like the chap who fell on to spiked railings and bled to death. Be careful out there.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

The Beginning of the End?

Stumbling and blinking I emerge from my lair, lured out of hibernation by the promise of Spring. Course, it's nothing of the no such which, but last week at least was bright and dry so it was time to crack on with pruning the orchard. It makes me feel so happy to be up among the branches  that I think fruit trees must exude some  sort of goodness. They certainly respond to a spot of TLC, seeming to breathe a sigh of relief when you cut out the deadwood and remove the damaged and diseased branches. After you take out ingrowing shoots, making a goblet shape which allows light and air to get in there and prevent blackspot, you step back, admire your handiwork and know you've done a good job.
The younger trees need a bit more encouragement, tipping back the leaders and pruning side shoots to make fruiting spurs. While I'm making all these little decisions I slip into a sort of meditative state, and by the end of the day I'm chilled, sometimes literally, so a cup of tea and a wee bonfire is in order.
This is my favourite job in the entire gardening year.

Friday, 31 December 2010

Days of Auld Lang Syne

To-day in Scotland it's Hogmanay, which is not, as some might think, a drunken revelry (that comes later)
but is rather a time for reflection, and clearing the decks in readiness for the New Year. Bills paid, amends made, my mother would spend the day scouring the house and doing an enormous washing, for come the bells, there must not be a speck of dirt in the house. Just before midnight, even the ashes were raked from the grate. A window was opened, to let out the old year, then the front door, to let in the new. An uncle soon appeared, to ensure our "first foot" would be male, laden with food, drink and fuel, shortbread, whisky and coal.
Everything that happened at New Year was supposed to be symbolic of how the year would be and so much stress was placed on seeing in the bells at home with your loved ones that the English tradition of gathering in Trafalgar Square seemed very alien and not a little reckless. But times change and now Edinburgh has become so famous as party central that you have to buy a ticket for the Princes Street celebrations. From my house, I can see the shimmer of the fireworks and a moment later hear the "Crump!" Indeed, if I drove five minutes down the road I'd have a terrific view of Edinburgh Castle, but old habits die hard. Do I really want to be out on the streets come the bells? What would that presage?
Happy New Year!
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Sunday, 19 December 2010

Cabin Fever

Oh snow, not again. Am snow scunnered. Sorry to drop into dialect, but sometimes English is just not enough. I am not annoyed, irritated or fed up, I'm scunnered.
Right, that's that off my chest.
Last week was spent doing some serious number-crunching, so to cheer myself up I indulged in a spot of retail therapy, courtesy of you, the tax-payer. I ordered four apples, a plum, a pear and a cherry for the potager. The apples will be trained as stepovers along the central path and the plum, pear and cherry will, eventually, be fans to make a lovely backdrop of blossom and fruit. I know it's a gamble, given the precarious state of local government finance, but although you should live each day as if it's going to be your last, you have to garden as if you're going to live forever.
So thank you, fellow tax-payer, your generosity is appreciated. I also ordered some young perennials. Potted up and grown on, I'll sell them at our open day and the profit from that will more than cover the cost of the fruit trees. El Jeffe is talking about having three open days next year. Not sure if that's economically sound, but who am I to question my superiors?
Well, it's stopped snowing, so I'll go and clear the drive. May you all have a wonderful Christmas, and a happy New Year. Lang may yir lum reek!