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 30 October 2014

Happy Halloween

It's the end of October and no frost as of yet (but surely soon to come). This is a great time of year to go for Autumn Walks and on my recent walk, what did I discover, but a little fairy village. 

These fairy houses are located along a public walk in Northern Ireland called the Newtownabbey Way and there is a whole community of little handmade doors adjoining a community of trees - lots of fun to see!

Wonder if fairies go trick-or-treating!?!
Happy Halloween!

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

Monday 27 October 2014

Community Gardening Update

Just a few late summer photos of the flower beds and vegetable/ herb beds at Antrim Castle Gardens where we have a group of approx 20 volunteers who give time regularly to maintain areas of the grounds.

As you can see, the blooms are still going strong. We've had a good year and are hoping to secure a polytunnel in the Spring, to help us develop further and grow more plants from seed.
Above: Our flower beds contain a mix of perennials, grasses and annuals. (We don't maintain the shrubs/tress in the photo.) Popular plants with visitors to the gardens include Salvia Purple Majesty, Verbena and annuals such as begonia. 
Above: The heritage kitchen garden, in its first year, contains several different beds, one for brassicas, another for salads, and another for medicinal herbs. We added box hedging and used some marigold  borders to create edging. Unfortunately some of the box seems to have box blight and marigolds are now coming out for Winter.
Above: We've grown lots of veg throughout the Summer and have shared our crops with visitors to the garden (most give a donation). Popular items inlcude potatoes, swede, beetroot, lettuces and parsley.
It's a lovely environment to volunteer!

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

Thursday 16 October 2014

Late Summer Flowers

We've had a bit of an Indian Summer, however, it is now turning wet and windy and the plants are likely to be battered about over the weekend. Over the past six weeks it has been great to see butterflies, moths, hover flies and bees about the garden enjoying themselves - and they make good photo subjects!  

I'm currently taking a photography class so I'm hoping my blog photos will continue to improve over the coming year!

Above: Sedum flowers in late summer and attract lots of insects!
Above: Salvia Purple Majesty and Verbena look well all summer long.
Above: Verbena still going strong in October - a must have plant!
What would be on your 'must have' plant list???

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

Monday 13 October 2014

Autumn Apple Picking

Pictured: apples picked at the Apple Event.
My own home grown apple harvest this year  was 3 apples (just 3). 

But not to worry, County Armagh in Northern Ireland is known for growing apples and this year seemed a good year for apples (except for mine)! One of the National Trust Properties, Ardress House, has an apple orchard and at the weekend they had an all things apple event - apple picking, pressing, apple pie, apple cider, etc. 
Above: Apple trees as far as the eye could see!
Many trees full of apples ready to eat!
The apple event was a great day out and its lovely to come back home with apples much larger and less perfectly shaped than the shops offer. Unfortunately there was no signage to tell what variety of apples were available. There seemed to be several different varieties and I seemed to pick what look like cooking apples. Looks like I've a few apple pies to make this week to start using my apples!

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

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Happy Harvesting in October

October harvests are still going strong... lots to harvest as we go into cooler weather.

This week's harvest included curly kale (fab in soups), lettuce little gem, dwarf bean purple queen, perpetual spinach, flat leaf parsley, two types beetroot and turnip. 

The star of the week is Dwarf Bean 'Purple Queen' - yummy and lots of beans are developing; I'm hoping the colder weather at night won't negatively affect them.
Tomatoes grown from seed, and plants kept outdoors, are ripening but they're also splitting. I think these are Gardener's Delight. Suppose this is due to the variations in weather and water. The inside of many of the tomatoes are spongy - not sure why - so I'm using them for cooking rather than salads. I'm not keen on spongy tasting tomatoes!

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