In the absence of any real snow so far this Winter, here are some pictures of a recent hoar frost that crystal candied the landscape and looked absolutely stunning… Continue reading A Beautiful Hoar Frost
Just as we were starting to get excited about the brief whiff of Spring we had, the snow returned – whilst it looks beautiful here when the white stuff comes down, it does rather dampen the enthusiasm a little.
Our new heated propagator has arrived – after much deliberation, I finally decided on one with six smaller trays as it seemed the best value for the most space (it was £40 from Thompson & Morgan), along with a load of seeds that I’ve optimistically ordered – our season is so short here that growing from seed is a risky business so hopefully the propagator should help things along.
I’m especially excited about some of the tomato seeds we’ve got – Indigo Cherry Drops, a dark purply colour that will go nicely with a mixture of other yellows and reds in a variety of sizes. We also bought some companion plants to help control pests – marigolds, calendula and cosmos – time will tell if this works but at east things will look pretty as well. It’s all about biodiversity this year…
The Avian Flu restrictions that were in place have now been lifted in Scotland, a low-risk zone, meaning that as long as extra biosecurity measures have been taken (removing bird feeders etc) that our birds are allowed back outside. I was very excited although with fresh snow on the ground they had to be coaxed with mealworms initially. Now we just need them to start laying again – another effect of them being cooped up for 3 months.
It’s exceptionally mild today and my thoughts can’t help but look toward Spring. Despite the freezing temperatures for a large part of the Winter, we’ve had very little snow in comparison to previous years. I haven’t forgotten the heavy snow at the end of April 2016 that brought the chicken run down though.
The rhubarb is bursting out of the ground just now and our seed potatoes have arrived – this year I’ve gone for Epicure (had to be really :o), Mayan Gold, a favourite with top chefs, Salad Blue – they’re actually blue all the way through and some Pink Fir Apples because I liked the name. This year I won’t make the same mistake I did last year – I put them out too early and a few late frosts meant we didn’t get great yields in comparison with the year before.
None of the Spring bulbs seem to be coming up – they were from two years ago and I replanted them using a multilayering method last year, guess they didn’t like it as they’re not playing ball. I have however ordered a load of summer bulbs for the front garden.
The hens are still incarcerated because of the avian flu restrictions – with an increasing number of outbreaks being confirmed down South the past couple of weeks I’m not sure they’ll have their sentences commuted on the 28th February either. I guess time will tell…
It’s fair to say that since starting University in September, everything else has been pretty much put on hold and while we have plenty of things we should have done to make the garden Winter-ready, very little has been achieved. The new chicken coop is looking pretty good, although the run is still far from finished but that’s about it.
So it should probably come as no surprise that Winter’s crept in with a flourish and taken over. We’ve had snow, gale force winds (enough to bring a tree down the other night) and a deep frost that’s painted everything white for days on end – it certainly looks very pretty.
We do now have a solution to our gas tank problem – we’re having a new, larger one buried underneath our (new) front lawn and the old one taken away, most of the cost being carried by Calor – hurrah. We’ll even have room for a new raised bed when the old tank has been removed – win!
Hoping to get chance to get things tidied up out there soon although I fear we may be a little late to protect some of the plants we’d wanted to this time round.
Since getting Ivy and Etta who both seem to have a penchant for self-seasoning themselves in the herb garden, the other girls have also suddenly taken an interest and we no longer have a herb garden at all – totally decimated!
Think I’ll need to re-plant everything and then stick spikes/bamboo around the edge to stop them getting into it the little monkeys. The right-hand side of the rockery is also in need of some attention after they tore everything up to make a dust bath there as well.
At least they’re all ‘playing nicely’ now – the flock integration was pretty wretched to watch – who knew hens could be so vicious!
In other news, after a (very) brief visit from Spring we’re back to Winter – snow and freezing temperatures mean that our conservatory is still full of plants from our recent garden centre excursions that it’s still too cold to plant out.
Finally, the girls have started laying again – it seems a long time since our last eggs back at the start of October. Maybe the brightness from all the snow is helping. Continue reading Eggs!