This is the journal of my endeavours to grow a range of fruit, veg and flowers from seed, grow organically, and my attempts to create a personal paradise with 1/2 acre of maintained gardens and 1/2 acre wild meadows. Northern Ireland's average daily high temperatures are 18 °C (64 °F) in July and 6 °C (43 °F) in January. Soil type: Clay

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Update on Community Gardening Project

Every once in awhile I do an update on the community gardening project I'm involved in, at Antrim Castle Gardens. Through a very dedicated team of volunteers we look after various areas of the garden. Currently we're working on projects coming into the Summer, as well as keeping the areas tidy and looking good for the prestigious Garden Show Ireland which is taking place over three days 8-10 May. (Click on the photos below to enlarge.)
Above: We've been sowing seed from March and are growing plants for new projects we're developing in the gardens - a cut flower bed and a cottage-style garden. We also grow veg and herbs. We're getting a polytunnel this month, which will help us manage the pricking out and growing-on process.
Above: This is our fruit growing area, where we have apple and pear trees, gooseberry bushes, rhubarb, strawberries,etc. Some of our members are keen scarecrow makers and, of course, visitors and children to the gardens love seeing scarecrows!
Above: A Cut Flower Bed (under development) - the tripods have been planted with sweetpea; paths have been made out of wood/willow and 'volunteer labour' and will be filled with stone. A range of flowers from dahlia to cosmos will be planted in this new area.
Above: This view shows some of the areas that we maintain as volunteers in the Gardens. Many of the plants are donated by the Council as the garden is located on Council owned grounds and is open daily to the public. It is a beautiful location to volunteer and we enjoy the interaction with the public (who always have very positive comments).
Above: A view of other areas we look after. The main flower beds don't look particularly interesting at this time of year (something we are looking into). However, the beds are mainly for Summer interest, and many of the plants are still to emerge from their Winter slumber. Come Summer, there will be some wonderful plants on display such as eye-catching Verbena and Astilbe Purple Majesty, which will attract wildlife such as bees and butterflies to the gardens. 

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Monday, 27 April 2015

First Rhubarb Harvest

The first of the rhubarb harvest this year... there were four more stalks but they were stewed last night and served with yogurt topped with honey granola. My all-time favourite way to eat rhubarb is warm served with ice cream.

I have no idea what variety of rhubarb this is as I acquired the plant years ago. Last year I was given more rhubarb from a friend and not sure what variety it is either. Luckily the four plants seem to be growing at slightly different rates, which is handy. I've always grown rhubarb in the shady area of the garden and it has grown well.

In celebration of my 1st rhubarb of the season, I'm joining Daphne's Dandelions Harvest Monday ...where she's cooking up some fab looking butternut squash!

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Seed sowing

We've had lots of sun this week and my little seedlings have suffered a bit from the heat and the drop in temperature at night. I'm eagerly awaiting their growth, and trying to ensure they don't dry out or suffer from sun scorch.

I've a good variety of seed sown. I'm aiming to grow veg that looks interesting as well as tastes good. Some varieties I've gone for include:

red/green lettuce Lollo Rossa
purple/green kale Red Russian
red stemmed Rhubarb Chard Vulcan
stripy Courgettte Coucourzelle

Above: Kale and courgette are growing quickly. The next step is to pot them on , with the aim of planting out into the veg area at the end of May (to ensure they don't get hit by frost).

Onion sets Stuttgarter have grown quite quickly. They are now relocated and have been planted outside. Of course I had too many that I could use, so I'll be giving a tray to one of the garden club members - 0ne of the benefits of being involved in a gardening group.

If anyone would like to take a look, my gardening group has set up a FaceBook - click here to visit. 
Happy Gardening!

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.