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

Thursday 23 August 2012

Photographing Insects

Two things I enjoy (but not always easy) - photographing and identifying insects in the garden. Just when I go to snap the camera they often fly away leaving me with a blurred picture! However I've manged to snap a few over the summer (the first two photos were taken while visiting the North Antrim Coast). 

I've used PhotoScape to attempt adding a flattering frame! 
Left: three little creatures caught in this photo - success!
Above: Comfry.
This is the first year I've spotted a grass hopper in the garden.
Above and Below: Canterbury Bell. (good times for the bee below!)
Above: flowering leek.
Above: Poppy 'Danish Flag' 
Have you had much luck photographing insects in the garden?

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

Sunday 19 August 2012

August Veg Update

There's been successes and failures this year in the veg plot. The curly kale has done really well and is good in stir fries. It also looks great planted in the flower beds. I prefer to eat Kale 'Nero di Toscana' (as I prefer its texture to the curly leaf) but the slugs are eating it before I can. For some reason slugs don't bother with the curly kale (another perk).

Left: Kale Curly Scarlet, sown from seed indoor 8 April 2012 and planted out early June 2012.
I'm finally getting a regular supply of courgettes. Blossom rot is still a problem and affecting many plants but also managing to harvest some.
The cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen. Soon I will have more than I can eat!
Above: The yield from 3 grow bags. This looks to be my worse year for potatoes.  Pictured  they aren't much bigger than golf ball size but will be eaten all the same.
The aubergine /eggplant are growing and growing. The colour seems to be stretching as the fruits grow.
Yellow Courgettes 'Soleil F1' didn't perform last year and aren't doing too great this year. They seem prone to blossom rot. The bigger one in the photo is looking good. It's about 1.5 inches long.
Another year of flowering broccoli for me. This is  'Annual Summer Sprouting'. It's planted in the flower bed so I'll leave it to flower rather than try harvesting.

All of the plants above have been grown from seed. To view my seed list click - 2012 Seeds

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

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Mid August Blooms

It's mid August and Blogger's Bloom Day. Here's a little snapshot of some of the plants in bloom. The nasturtium and crocosmia are valuable plants this month as they provide a little splash of drama in the garden and both are really easy to grow.

(Left) Variety: Nasturtium 'Dwarf Alaska Mixed Colours', American Seed, 20 US cents. Sown in April direct into old chimney pot.

Below: Crocosmia bulbs are great no fuss plants.
Above: Sedum thrive in the smallest of cracks.
Below: Geranium growing in front of a dry stone wall.
Above: Phlox.
Below: Astilbe thrives in the damp soil.
Above: The yellow flowers are from Silverdust plants and the pink are Snagdrgon.
Calendula 'Orange King', (Hardy Annual), Carters Tested Seeds.  Seed sown April 2012.
AboveNigella 'Persian Jewels Mixed' (Love in a mist), (Hardy Annual), grown from seed in April. They are  tiny little plants with tiny flowers; no big impact, however close up shots look lovely. 
Above: The eggplant/aubergine are flowering like mad and a few fruits forming.
Below: The tomato plants have lots of flowers and fruits, just waiting for some to ripen to eat!

Happy Blogger's Bloom Day!
Blogger's Bloom Day is hosted by and bloggers share their blooms from across the globe.

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

Saturday 11 August 2012

Eggplant (Aubergine) Update

I never thought of Northern Ireland as having the right climate to grow eggplant / aubergine but I'm happy to report I'm getting fruits. The developing eggplant are tiny but hopefully they'll grow into a decent size (and better yet, be tasty). 

VarietyAubergine Early Long Purple 3 (Eggplant). Sown indoor from seed on 8 April 2012.

An article I read on the internet says to harvest when they reach their full size and are shiny. This makes me smile - when growing a plant for the first time, how do you know when it reaches its full size? I'm thinking I'll give them to Sept before harvesting. Any thoughts on this welcome!
Above and Below: The fruits developing - quite a nice surprise this week.
Above and Below: The plants are kept in a sun room / conservatory in medium sized pots, and fed weekly with tomato feed. 

Above: This photo shows the size of a plant approx 7 weeks ago. Photo taken on 21 June. 

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

Monday 6 August 2012

Pretty Poppy (Danish Flag)

When I'm in the garden my eye is currently drawn to the bright red poppies in flower. I couldn't help but take loads of photos so here's a little overview of the Danish Flag poppy. The bees love it as well!

Variety: Poppy 'Danish Flag' (Hardy Annual), Carters Seeds, 900 seeds, 79p.  Height: up to 30".  Sown outside on 14 April 2012 direct into ground.

I thought the poppy and cornflower would go well together - not a huge impact from the young plants yet but maybe they'll bush out over the coming weeks. 

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

Friday 3 August 2012

Flowers July-August

Even with our rain and windy conditions there's plenty of colour in the garden. Here's a little snapshot of plants in bloom in July/August. The first two photos are geraniums - they're such good value for money as they can be divided in the Autumn to make lots of new plants. These plants were given to me by other gardeners so I'm not sure of their specific name. The purple and blues are my favourite.
Astilbe are looking good in bloom. Below is a close up of the flower - looks almost like cotton.
This year I've noticed white flowered astilbe growing in the wild in Northern Ireland.
I decided to scatter some Cornflower and Poppy seeds in a corner of the garden and this is the result. A few plants - even with all the slugs having regular dinner parties!
Above: Poppy (Danish Flag) sown from seed.
Cornflower (Blue Ball) sown from seed - spot the ant and insect in the flower.

Don't you just love Nasturtiums. These are called 'Dwarf Alaska Mixed Colours'. Sown from seed in pots and then planted out in May/June.
Above: Crocosmia are adding welcome splashes of colour.
Above and below: Canterbury Bells grown from seed. They seem to be on their way out unfortunately. I'm hoping they'll have another flush of flowers as I see lots of tiny buds on the plants. 

And when I'm not gardening or at work, I'm enjoying the beautiful Northern Ireland countryside. This is a trip to the North Antrim Coast including Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge and the World Heritage Site Giant's Causeway.

Hope you're having a wonderful Summer!

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