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, 17 May 2015

Magical Gardening Month of May

With the warmer weather, lots of growth can be seen daily throughout the garden, which is very exciting.

Pictured, veggies grown from seed sown last year are growing rightly - kale, chard, spinach, parsley and Winter lettuce 'Arctic King. These have all over wintered and thrive in Spring/early Summer. I imagine many of these plants will begin to bolt soon so I've been harvesting and trying to use as much as I can.

In the clay pot, I have Wallflowers 'Choice Mixed' grown from seed in Aug/Sept last year. I've been a bit disappointed with the number of flowers (not much of a show) but maybe there's more to come. This is the first time I've grown Wallflowers so I don't know much about these plants. On the plus side, they provide some early colour. 
Chard and Kale are staples in my garden. They contain lots of vitamins and minerals and are easy to grow. I've now sown chard and kale seed for the coming year and will plant into the garden at the end of May. These tasty greens compliment soup, casseroles, sauce based dishes, as well as stir fries.

Rhubarb with some bendy looking stalks. Rhubarb crumble is on the menu today.

Hostas are emerging and looking really pretty. Non-edible to humans? They're a tasty treat for snails and slugs. I try to keep an eye these plants before they become shabby, half eaten plants.

Recently I purchased some value pack bulbs and I manged to get the Acidanthera Peacock Orchids for 10 pence / 15 cents per pack marked down on clearance. I'm wondering if they have an invasive nature and if they tend to multiply like crazy as do some bulbs like crocosmia? I definitely don't want something that multiplies and is difficult to remove. 
Has anyone ever grown Peacock Orchids, and any tips?

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


  1. Our wallflower plants were good enough but I was disappointed wi th the colour range. They don't like an acid soil if that helps.

    We are trying our best to cut down on slug and snail damage to our hostas this year. The pots have a grit mulch and have had nematodes watered in and the leaves are being sprayed with a deterrent. It won't prevent damage but we hope it cuts it down.By the way young hosta leaves are edible but we won't be trying any.

    1. Hi Sue, thanks for the info on young hosta leaves being edible, didn't realise that. (Might be nice, as long as a slug/snail isn't attached)

  2. I can't comment on the edibility or otherwise of the Hostas, but your one certainly looks good. It would look nice planted next to something really dark-coloured, like maybe a Heuchera?

  3. I grew the Peacock Orchids last year in large pots as they are not frost hardy, over wintered in the green house, so far they have not shown any sign of waking up so I had a rummage in the pots, the corms are fine with hundred of baby's attached, but no sign of growth from the corms. Maybe it's just too cold even in the green house at the moment. They flower from August and the perfume is fantastic.

  4. Hi Kelli, your kale and chard look hale and hearty as well as delicious. And I know how you enjoy rhubarb, so hope you are having lots of crumbles. Have you ever made breads with rhubarb? Wonder if one can make a decent bread similar to banana bread with rhubarb in it? One only hears of pies and crumbles.

  5. Kale is a favourite in our house but I stopped growing it as it just got infested with white fly. I've decided to give it another try now that I'm on a new allotment site and have just planted some out so it will be interesting to see how they do. I'm growing a new variety to me, Asparagus kale, apparently the young shoots taste of asparagus.

    1. Asparagus kale sounds really good; I will have to look out for that one.

      I'm growing 'Asparagus Lettuce' this year, seed I purchased from an organic seed company. It is described as an old lettuce variety described by Vilmorin-Andrieux at the end of the 19th Century.