Storm clouds over the garden

Flushed with our early success and with grand ideas to plant crops to keep us in home grown food all year, and not just with a glut at harvest festival time, we decide to add two more beds.

Next to the greenhouse, we thought, will be ideal. Close to the house and close to the water supply in what once was in the field outside our garden boundary. We moved the fence after extending the house in 2001 and planted fruit trees and sowed meadow flowers. For a year it was lovely, but then

Butterfly cage over veg garden

Having so much land available it would be a shame not to grow some of our own fruit vegetables. The gardening programmes and magazines make it sound easy (subject to some hard digging and a bit of weeding) but each time we have tried we have struggled against our natural competitors. Occassionally we have succeeded but mostly the birds, slugs, snails and insects enjoy more of our labours than we do and I swear the weeds grow many times faster than the crops. As for the grass, it re-occupies the cleared spaces in the blink of an eye. 

Maybe one day we will have something we can write about in this section, after all weekend magazine gardeners manage to write a column a week. Who knows we may become experts in pest control and watering melons.


Large white butterflies on nasturtium leaves next to peas

I saw somewhere that butterflies are in decline. Maybe it was refering to a specific type because I've never seen so many as this year. Large and small white have been a menace for the kale. Peacock butterflies like our nettles, and they are welcome to them, but they also love the Buddleias which they share with the red admirals. I've seen plenty more, including a speckled wood butterfly, but unless I manage to snap a picture I'm hopeless at identifying them.

Beginning of April. Time to restore the vegetable garden. The carpets have been down for a couple of years, grass, nettles and brambles have spread across them, branches trimmed from hedges and trees last Autumn are strewn everywhere. At the time we had some reason for putting them there but can't think what it was, probably just couldn't think of what else to do with them.

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