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

Monday 30 April 2012

Veg (Celeriac, Celery, Leek, Potato)

Walking around the garden...  I'm kind of embarrassed....  I'm finding last year's celeriac dotted around the garden (quite a bit of it). I grew celeriac for the first time last Spring from seed, planted it outside in June, and much of it is still in the ground almost a year later!

I harvested some in late Summer but:
- it was very small,
- it took me ages to clean and prep it,
- by the time I peeled it I had nothing left to eat.

So, I just left it in the ground (all year) wondering if it would ever get to a decent size. It didn't die down over Winter so it's still there. I suppose its not edible now and I should pull it up (I keep procrastinating!).
Better view of celeriac - a year later - it has finally reached a bigger size!
Left: celery that never died over the Winter. Right: celeriac. Behind: chives.
Leeks are now starting to grow flower stalks. They're actually really pretty in flower. 
I noticed a strange looking plant with a thick red stem  in my flower bed  - a radish.
Below tiny radish seedlings more recently sown in a tub with parsley.
Many veg and flower seeds sown - its just a waiting game now!
Above kale and below celery, sown at the the same time.
Celery is so tiny!

Potatoes, Maris Peer, earthed up earlier today. This year I'm growing Maris Peer and Pentland Javelin. Pentland Javelin are 1st earlies and were a random purchase so looking forward to seeing how they do. Maris Peer do well every year!

Thursday 26 April 2012

This Week in The Garden

This week the weather forecast in the local paper read: Monday - sunny spells with chance of rain; Tues - possible showers; Wed cooler with thunder storms. Thurs - windy with showers. Just another typical week in Northern Ireland! I'm back into Winter  clothes!

Left: I've noticed black spot on rose leaves this week. I have a horrible problem with back spot! Our wet conditions seem to contribute to this.
Azalea is in flower.
Forest Flame is showing new growth in red.
Forest flame flowering white; foliage growth in red
Almost every garden in Northern Ireland has a Forest Flame!
Harvested some rhubarb this week. I simply added a tablespoon of sugar, stewed it until soft, and ate it hot served over ice cream. Yum!
Hope you're getting better gardening weather!

Monday 23 April 2012

Perennials Pushing Up

The weather is really mixed this month - lots of rain, frost, sun, chilly and warm spells (clothes best layered type weather). Inside, the sun room is filled with seed trays and plants are slowly emerging. However, outside, there are perennials to stake and young plants to protect from slugs.

Left: A store bought stake helps protect the Delphinium from our windy weather and will continue to provide support as it grows into a much larger plant.
Looks like one of my young Delphiniums has been a feast for the snails! I use slug pellets on emerging perennials - otherwise I wouldn't have any!
Other plants get staked with various sticks and twigs. 
The phlox gets the X Factor to help give it added support. 
The Aquilegia / Columbine look close to flowering.
The native Cherry trees are lovely this month.
 Before the cherry trees were in flower, I used a few limbs to mark emerging plants so I wouldn't step on them when weeding. Ever end up trampling over your own plants! Anyways, I was surprised to see the sticks had  flowered.
Here's hoping the April showers bring gorgeous May flowers!

Thursday 19 April 2012

Garden Challenge 1

Tired looking Bergenia (above and below).
I suppose every garden has its problem areas or challenges! I've various problems in the garden from overgrown plants to weed issues.

Currently I'm working on a corner of the walled garden I'm not happy with. The soil in this area is heavy clay and the main issues for this area are:

1. Bergenia (pictured left and below) have multiplied into a large patch and are no longer productive.
2. A mix match of plants in this area.
3.  A large shrub rose that I feel doesn't offer anything to the area. It's white flowers are insignificant.

The following photos capture this 'challenging' area and your views / suggestions are welcome!
Above: An overview of the area and the 'problem corner' highlighted. 
I'm thinking of removing the shrub rose and other shrub from the area - this will be quite a big job (which  I would not look forward to). Should I remove these?
The area from a different view. The bergenia (pictured above) have spread over the years but have only three poorly looking flowers. They also provide a snail hotel in the garden.
Should I remove them completely?
This is what healthy bergenia should look like. 
Back to the photo of the area. This is an area of the garden that is highly visible and should be more appealing. Any ideas welcome!

Sunday 15 April 2012

Blogger's Bloom Day

April has brought sun, frost and hail stones! Although the weather is a bit uncertain, it's a great time of year with perennials emerging, seeds being sown and lots of early colour in the garden. Here's a little overview of the garden for Blogger's Bloom Day.

Left: Ornamental cherry. Every garden should have one!
Honesty has self sown in all the right places. It seems to thrive in shade or sun.
Above: Aubretia, sown from seed last year, has made a good show.
Below: Azalea shrubs beginning to flower in the garden.
Heathers have flowered for months on end. And swamped with bees!
Above: position of two heathers. Below: still flowering, however, soon flowers will fade.

Native cherry tree - the cherries will be a feast for the birds! 
Above: One of my favourite discoveries - broccoli in flower - it has a long flowering period!. 
Dead nettle - invasive little plant!
Above: calendula type plants in flower.
Above: Tulips still haven't opened up fully, with Honesty.
Below: Iberis Snowflake brightening up an area of the garden.   

Above and below: Kerria in a wild area of the garden; makes a good hedging shrub.
Above A flowering prickly shrub (not sure of name).
Daffodils still going. Most are finished and foliage tied teepee-style to die down.

Happy Blogger's Bloom Day!
For more on Bloom Day check out:

Thursday 12 April 2012

Fruit, Veg, Herbs Update

I'm relatively new to growing herbs and last year I started a little container with parsley, fennel and lavender - now coming up again. 

I'm thinking the fennel needs a new home as it gets quite tall and the parsley and lavender are quite low growing. Perennial herbs are super - great to see them come up the 2nd year without having to sow!

Variety (grown from seed last year):
Parsley Plain leaved 2Fennel.
Lavender (either 'Lavendula Verea' or 'Lavendula angustifolia').
Lavender from seed last year. It was very slow to grow at the start, but I'm happy with the growth in a year. I'll be sowing more this year to eventually create a lavender border within the garden. (Variety is either 'Lavendula Verea' or 'Lavendula angustifolia' - I think it's True Lavender.)
Thanks Egretta for the lavender seed!   
Rhubarb stalks hiding underneath large leaves.
(pictured below) - looks ready to harvest.
Leeks looking a little shabby but not flowering yet so still on the dinner menu!
Poppy coming up amongst the leek and chives coming up in the background. 
Speaking of flowering, pictured above and below flowering kale. It's now complementing my flowering broccoli (and off the dinner menu)!
Looks like I need to clear the veg box!