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, 20 May 2012

Veg and Flower Update

Eight little swans hatched! So cute. I was on a walk in County Down over the weekend and I came across two adult swans and their eight cygnets (chicks). I watched the adults preening for ages as the young slept. Later I googled swans and discovered 'cygnet' is what their chicks are called. Swans mate for life (although wikipedia says they occasionally 'divorce' following a nesting failure). Well this family looked quite content. Both male and female were standing guard.

Back at home, in the garden... things are growing (slowly)...
I'm growing pumpkins this year. The larger plants are 'Jack O Lantern' and the tiny plant is 'Mammoth'. Both varieties sown on 12 April 2012.
Another new plant - I'm growing squash this year for the first time. This one is 'Patty Pan' sown on 8 April 2012.
Beans 'Cobra' were sown 20 March 2012 and are now being hardened off (outside during the day, inside at night). The plants are getting too big and need to go outside, but we could get frost yet. I may risk it and plant them out this week. My first year growing climbing beans so maybe I started the seed too early. It's all a learning curve!
Carrots 'Early Nantes 2' sown in a container on 23 March 2012 and looking so very small!
Above: Parsley is turning into a giant - wondering if it's going to flower soon. Thanks to blogger advice (Sue) I have sown more but it hasn't germinated yet. Radishes sown under the parsley.
Above: Turnip 'Purple Top Milan' (the larger green plant) sown with mixed salad. I'm trying to remember to sow turnip every few weeks as I adore the flavour and want lots of it!

Flowering in the Garden...
Aquilegia / Columbine sown from seed about a year ago.
Above: Honesty is starting to produce seeds.
Below: Centaurea is starting to flower.
Above: Nemophila 'Pennie Black', (Annual) has self seeded, with Black Mondo grass in the back ground.

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


  1. Your pumpkin and squash seedlings look great! You have started quite a variety of things from seed, and they all look good. Hope the weather stays warm and you can get them all set out. The beans look really healthy! Love all your flowers, especially the columbine.

  2. Those cygnets look so cute.
    I've planted some Centaurea this year, and they are in bud at the moment.
    Your veg are coming on well. I'm growing tomatoes and they are still only about 3in. tall. Last year they were nearly 2ft. tall by now.

  3. Awww...cute swans!! All of your veggies look great! I didn't get around to planting any seeds yearlier this year. Your flowers are beauties! I bought 2 columbine plants from the nursery this year because they were so pretty. I love yours!

  4. I love swans. We don't have them here, except there is lone swan that I blogged about that must be divorced because it flies with the Canada geese, so it is here only in the winter. What a treat to see an entire family. You have a lot going on, or rather growing. Our farmer friend grows patty pans and sells them in his vegetable stand. I have never bought any to cook up. His wife says they are delicious. I love to grill squash. Things are looking good in your garden.

  5. I love the color of the read leaves of the turnip (assuming that is turnip.) Your parsley has grown very well. All the flowers in your garden always look very beautiful.

    1. Hi Sri, thanks for your comment. The turnip are the larger green plants in the box. The plants with the red leaves are from a mixed salad seed pack. The red does look pretty; they add colour to the salad bowl! All the best, Kelli.

  6. I'm glad you have gone for "Cobra" as your first climbing bean. I don't think you'll be disappointed. I sowed mine outside and they are only just germinating now, but once they get started they grow very quickly. My squashes and cucumbers are not good at all - looking very leggy and "moth-eaten"! I sowed another batch a couple of days ago in case the first ones fail.

  7. Parsley does take a long time to germinate. We're growing nemophila this year but it hasn't germinated yet.

    As for the swans I hope you kept your distance - male swans can be very aggressive at nesting time and they can do serious damage!

  8. Those little cygnets are so cute, reminds me of The Ugly Duckling story. It's taking quite some time for seeds and seedlings to get going this year, I hope the warmer weather we're forecast this week helps things along.

  9. What a brilliant photo of the swan family and such a treat to see.
    All your seedlings look like you're in for bumper exciting!
    Thanks for inspiring and sharing ;D

  10. I love swans and the fact that they are devoted to one another. Your beans have grown really well - hope you can plant them out without damaging the stalks. We are at the same stage with out squashes I am hoping to plant mine out this week all being well.

  11. Our couple produced 6 cygnets this year. I've not managed to snap them yet!

  12. Lots of interesting things going on in your garden Kelli, and lots of the same things are here too. I finished planting out the veggies just today. I'm trying potatos for the first time, in a grow bag. Should be interesting!