Friday, 30 April 2010

Switzerland sketches and peach leaf curl

I did some en plein air sketchesd whilst up in the peaks in Switzerland . These are intended as aids to me and i do them for the fun of sketching . They make snese to me anyway , each one captures something that intrigued me at the time .
 On another subject , my peach or nectarine trees have peach leaf curl . no fruit this year , a disaster but i think i can fix it for next year , i like a challenge . The rest of the garden is still going crazy , i had to make a new veg raised bed for some borlotti beans (i think need to check the packet) some cabbage and a courgette . Its all planted too close but i can always harvest young i hope or transplant the cabbages to the front bed when the peas are done . im juggling but its fun . the lawn is nearly levelled and ready for sowing with seed and the strawberries are full of flowers . ive learned they can slow or stop cancer tumours forming and since both my parents have had  , and recovered , from cancer strawberries are on the diet big time .
Im loving my life right now , it rained lst night and the garden smells fabulous . i have scented stock overwintered and flowering and the violas are suddenly full of scent , delicious after rain the scent floods the gardens . cant wait for the sweet peas to flower on the balcony !  

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

back from Switzerland

Well , Switzerland , France , Germany ,Luxembourg and Belgium . We missed out on Italy and Holland narrowly .  Strange how a trip to the Swiss alps was nearly stopped by a volcano in Iceland . My flight was cancelled so we jumped in the car ad took the ferry . Great decision it was fantastic and the sunsets were amazing . Ill update the blog with photos and info as i process them . Now im back and my garden exploded while i was away ! everything needs either potting up or planting out and i still have that lawn to seed though its nearly flat now .  i have piles of laundry everywhere but im happy ! its spring and its beautiful . I looked at all the Swiss gardens i could find and they filled out during the week i was there . Full of blossoms and dandelions and trained fruit trees . The garden centres were amazing but i dont think i can bring live plants to England so i didnt buy .  Ive got ideas for my fruit trees though.....
 Im struggling settling in . Im dizzy . I wasnt dizzy in Switzerland but i am here . stress? dont know , im ignoring it .  I woke up filled with dread for the morning BUT happy also , i know , weird . I got the kids ready for school . oldest is still off with a torn muscle , (yesterday) and it was stressful but then when we strted walking my sons hand slipped into mine and my daughter walked nicely beside me and it was all ok . I echanged conversation with school mums , a friend of the kids launched herself into my lap for a cuddle and the sun was shining . I realised i NEED this walk to school , wanting to opt out holds me back . Its nice . Its good , i can look at peoples gardens and see the Abby on the hill . I can think on the way back and clear my head . Nice . I must remember that tomorrow . 
It was amazingly special there but its also amazingly special here . full of smiles :-)
Swiss houses are beautiful .

Monday, 12 April 2010

Bee cake

My daughter , the smallest one is six ! and she wanted a bee cake , well , two bee cakes , a big one and a little one so we made them together ;-)
Little bee cake ;-)
and they were delicious . My kids dont like shop bought cake and they LOVE to stick their fingers in the mixing bowls . So do i :-)

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Digging and more digging

I need a new lawn , i had one once , sort of but i dont now because im on london clay and it dries and cracks and bakes and only weeds survive in it . Last week i looked out of my window and thought , dig the lawn . So we did and i still am . Why is it if i plant a carrot i get them with torsos arms and legs usually twisted but every single dandelion weed had a root like a perfect parsnip ??
I was told i need lime so i bought lime to dig in .  I need topsoil but i cant afford that BUT i discovered the bottom of the garden is black gold leaf mulch so . Dig from bottom , mix at top and see how we go . im hoping to work in some used compost from pots i have to make the ground more friable . i love that word friable :-)
So far the weather has been cooperating but the ground is beggining to dry out . if i dont finish this now i wont get the chance so dig and dig some more :-) Im finding it really therapeutic and im getting much stronger . My muscles ache but i like it . I ve also been signed off by my therapist  ive gone from severely depressed to mild , im proud of that . ;-)
My new strawberry planter i found in a discount shop . Wilkinsons i think . Al the strawberry plants in it i dug out oif my flower border and from under the decking where they had propegated themselves from runners . Im hoping for a good crop from this .
My husbands Magnolia Stellata is flowering beautifully i love the way the light shines through the flowers in the morning . The weather has been beautiful here , hot sun with a fresh sea breeze  . We had a first unplanned BBQ of the year on the balcony .
With bread rolls fresh from the oven
And pork with special honey glaze :-) We made homemade potato salad and chicken and vegetable kebabs too and it was delicious :-)

Saturday, 3 April 2010

How my garden grows , in between rain and hailstorms and high winds...

Spring is here , even if the weather is trying its hardest to go back to winter  .
This is my front garden veg patch , i had to pull half the wall down as it was becoming dangerous and this white hump is a homemade cloch made from the poles from a beach tant , some fleece and some clothes pegs . under it is garlic , peas , and possibly about a million tomato plants , or maybe california poppies i cant tell andyway , they will succumb to the hoe once i find out what they are . Next to this are a row of potatoes under fleece but you cant see them in this shot .
One of my mini orchard trees . I still dont know what it is exactly .
this is the  bottom half of my olive tree , im hoping this trunk becomes all gnarly and twisty as it grows . its living in the pot though i found out how big these things can get .
My grape vine is in bud :-)
This one i THINK is either apple or pear . im hoping for apple .
This one , i havnt a clue :-)
My balcony plant hotspot
The violas are romping away now i gave them a feed and they seem to like it
Sweet peas and nasturtians  outside and surviving , mostly .
strawberries in flower . well , one is anyway the rest havnt got the idea yet .
courgette seed it was yellowing slightly so i gave it a feed and its greened up aagin nicely , wow these things are hungry !
Soring onions and lettuce . getting there , a few more weeks before i can harvest though .
Lupin , waiting to go into my flower border . i want it to get big enough to withstand the slugs . the last lot got chomped .

Thursday, 1 April 2010

garlic bread and mammograms

Today was mammogram day , only i didnt know it.... i turned up at the breast pain clinic and had to wait over an hour for my appointment , the breast expert then pushed on y breast untill she found out where it hurt (everywhere) and said apart from that im fine but i was having a mammogram , right then . Ive never had one before being only 36 so this was a first and wow , they do squash em ! ouch \!!!!!
anyway . after a mcdonalds cream egg mcflurry for the trauma i was fine again :-))
  My squash honey bear has finally decided to germinate , i bunged it in the airing cupboard and thats exactly what it needed , HEAT , only thing was when i discovered it again it was about 4 inches high and yellow . its greening up now though quite nicely . i have a new strawberry patch at y mother in laws and i bought a plum tree (victoria) and a cooking cherry (morello) to plant tomorrow if its nice enough . im going to fan train them as a new fence in between myself an d  my neigbour  . everything is shooting . y geraniums arrived and i potted them up , to grow them on . my tomato seedlings are mostly in individual pots now , the courgettes are still romping away . and y mystery orchard is just bursting into flower . photos tomorrow i hope .
Ive been quiet on here for too long because my eldest has not recovered from her concussion she recieved at school yet but she is getting there :-)
right now im baking garlic and rosemary foccacia for the first time . hmm . smells allright !