Rudbeckia x hirta hybrida ‘Cherokee Sunset’ (HHA)

rudbeckiaToday I have sown some seeds of Rudbeckia bought from Alan Romans 50p for 50 seeds. I needed a bit of cheering up after the week we have had which I won’t go into but suffice it to say has been awful. My Mother always used to tell us to count our blessings so we will have to start totting up and cheering up.

That’s Easy
It is easy enough to be pleasant when life flows by like a song
But the man worthwhile is one who will smile when everything goes dead wrong
By : Ella Wheeler Wilcox 1850-1919

Columbine – Aquilegia Vulgaris


This morning I have sown a tray of Aquilegia seeds in damp compost and covered in Vermiculie, sealed in polythene and placed in the window ledge. I am not sure of variety as they were given to me by my Sister-in-law Janice and were given to her by her Mother Joyce who had collected them from her garden. Apparently they take 25-35 days to germinate and we wont see any flowers from them until next Spring. It will be worth the wait though as they are perennials and once established should give us pleasure for many years. I intend to scatter a few seeds directly along the back border at home and see what I can get there. I have always admired these beautiful flowers but have never tried to grow them from seed before.

809554-medium.jpgAquilegia common names Granny’s Bonnet or Columbine is a genus of about 60-70 species of perennial plants that are found in meadows, woodlands, and at higher altitudes throughout the Northern Hemisphere, known for the spurred petals of their flowers.

Tomato Tigerella

Tomato TigerellaThis morning I have sown two seeds of tomato Tigerella from Thompson & Morgan.Cordon (Indeterminate).greenback free, crops heavily and over 3 weeks earlier than Moneymaker. It grows well outdoors or in a greenhouse in all areas, has a rich, tangy flavour uniquely its own – and clearly defined red and yellow stripes! For greenhouse culture sow late winter to early spring. Germination usually takes 6-14 days.

Goodbye Ari and Silva

We made a latish visit to the plots in rare January sunshine. The site was deserted as most of the plot holders would have made an early start and have been tucking into their Sunday lunch by the time we drove through the gates. We took most of the seed potatoes down and put them into the small greenhouse inside the lean to. The seed potatoes we hoped would be harvested and on our plates for Christmas are just about pushing through the compost but do look very healthy. I potted up the Blueberry bought from the pound shop. It looks a bit sorry for itself so I’m not expecting great things. It is in ericacious compost and sheltering in the lean to so should be happy enough. At home we sold two of our lavender Araucana hens today to a nice couple from Yorkshire who arrived with their little boy Elliot. One of the good things about keeping chickens is the lovely people you meet along the way.

Sweet Pea Blue Ripple


Sweet Pea Blue RippleToday I sowed fifteen seeds of Sweet Pea Blue Ripple bought from Alan Romans. I am trying the chitting method as described by TeeGee a forum member. (no sign of chitting so transferred to a pot – 3 only showing through on 1st Feb) Update August 2008 – Although there were few plants there are loads of flowers which are very pretty but with little or no perfume

Poor Violet

Violet was one of our three first chickens and today I noticed she was having problems with one of her legs. She was hopping about on one foot and falling over on to her side. Chickens aren’t too sympathetic when one of their own is sick or infirm. They usually pick on the sick one and so I had to isolate her from the rest of the flock. We hope that rest will put her right. Violet is the one on the right. She is a lavender Araucana and lays beautiful blue eggs. She was born in March 2004 and came to us in August of that year. Update – Violet died on Thursday 27th September 2007. I think she may have suffered from a stroke.


We went to our favourite garden centre yesterday. Just to take Libbie to see the horses and ducks. Came home with a pot of 10 runner bean plants, 2 melon plants and a hot pepper called Apache. We couldn’t resist a pot of sweet peas for £1 to add to the tepee and a  few flowers for the new pot at home.

We spent almost the whole day at the plot today and caught up with loads of jobs. As well as weeding and watering the new hot pepper plant has been potted on and is in the lean to. The melon plants, Ogen, which will eventually be in the new greenhouse, are for now sitting in the lean to. The runner beans have been planted as have the sweet peas. We finished the sprout cage and planted the red sprout plants into their final place.

melontomcathot pepper apacheThe first ten panes of glass have been put in the greenhouse. Tonight I have planted up the new pot at home. I planted a Begonia, Million Kisses, an ivy leaved Geranium called Tomcat, a small trailing Ivy and a scrambling alpine Viola called Papilio.


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Pink Jasmine

 pink jasmine

Jasminum Beesianum is also known as pink jasmine. This vine, which can grow up to 15′ high, is native to Southwestern China. Its foliage is evergreen to semi-decidious depending on the climate. This jasmine is not powerfully scented but is slightly fragrant. Flowers can be pink or pink-red. Rob bought one of these for me and we had put it in the lean to at the allotment to come on a bit. It is now at home planted in a display pot with a trellis. We plan to put it at the front of the house.

I am already in the habit of saving all egg shells, baking them and crushing them with a pestle and mortar to feed back to the chickens for added calcium. Now the chickens have to share as I sometimes add the crushed egg shells to compost for seedlings and my latest experiment is encircling the young brassica plants. Slugs and snails don’t like walking on egg shells.


Climbing Beans Blauhilde and The Prince 2007

Today was the turn of the dwarf beans and a couple of unusual climbers. I sowed Dwarf French Bean Tendercrop, purple climbing bean Blauhilde and the french bush bean The Prince. Also a few black Delinel and yellow Beurre de Roi.

the prince

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A Call For Freedom?

We had a scary hour or so last night when I went out to put the ducks to bed and Puddles was missing. After thoroughly searching the garden and the house we extended the search to outside the perimeter of the garden fence. We had given up hope of ever finding him and Rob and Glenn were knocking on doors in the neighbouring streets. Adam and Glenn even drove down to the local canal and lake and came back empty handed. Adam had not long left in his car when suddenly he returned with a stranger in the passenger seat holding a very scared duck. Adam had spotted the chap carrying the duck and knocking on doors to find the owner. Just at that moment Rob and Glenn arrived home looking defeated and were overjoyed to see the wanderer returned safely home. Adam gave the puzzled stranger a lift home and we shall pay him a visit this morning with a present of a few eggs. Panic over.

duck duck2

This morning was warm and we went early to the plots. After watering all the seed beds I sowed a row of Nasturtiiums along the outside of the salad bed.

nasturtiumlobelia crystal palacecosmos

Next I sowed a bed of Lobelia Crystal Palace along the one edge of the flower bed. The seed was like fine dust and the instructions were to just place it on top of damp soil. It should be through in two weeks as should the Giant Cosmos I sowed at one end of the nursery bed after Rob had made it into a raised bed with some white blocks.

The sweet peas are now outside around a fine teepee Rob built from some Hawthorne poles. We built a protective wall around them with some orange plastic netting until they get established.

runner beansrunner bean white ladyrunner bean scarlet emporor

Back at home I have put the runner beans in 3″ pots to start them off before they go to the plot. About fifteen each of White Lady, Kelvedon Stringless and Scarlet Emporor.

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