After weeks of relentless rain and drizzle – it’s been rather nice to see the sun this week! The only problem being that I’ve got lots of samples to knit up before Yarndale in September and they’re all rather warm and woolly!
But in the meantime – I’ve been enjoying a bit of time in the garden and have become somewhat obsessed with hydrangeas! I now have four – a climbing hydrangea which is past its best but still pretty, a lacey one (not sure what the proper name is!), a lovely big blousy one and a mini one which I grew from a cutting I took last autumn. My big hydrangea has always been blue/purple in the past – but this year most of the flowers are pink and only a few are purple! I know that this is to do with the type of soil, so I suspect it’s the result of planting a few new things nearby. The colours are really beautiful.
I think I’ll attempt some cuttings from my lacy Hydrangea this year. There soon won’t be space for anything else in the garden!
I’ve had my usual mixture of success and failure in the veg patch. Only a few peas grew (which were immediately eaten straight from the pod!) and no bean plants at all! To be fair the seeds were out of date – but I still would have expected some to germinate so I’m giving the soil some attention in that area. I normally over-winter green manure and dig it in early spring, but I put it in too late last year in that particular area – so I think it’s lacking some goodness. A friend recommended trench composting so I’m giving that a go and fingers crossed I’ll have more success next year.
I’ve also had a poor crop of strawberries this year. We had so much rain that a lot of the berries just turned brown and rotted. We still had enough for us, but there was no giving them away to neighbours this year! Quite a lot of my strawberry plants have died – but it might have been their last year anyway, because they don’t last forever. There are plenty of feelers popping out from the surviving plants to form new ones so hopefully I’ll be able to fill in this empty corner and get a better crop next year.
I have however got some lovely sweet-peas with courgette growing underneath. I squished the courgette plants in, thinking that some of them might die off, but four have survived and they’re coming along nicely.
The raspberries I planted last year look a bit messy but have been yummy and are still going strong! They’re also sending out new shoots which will fruit next year. I planted a blueberry bush last year which started to form fruit then they all fell off. A similar thing happened this year – but four blueberries have survived!
We had our first homegrown carrot! It was tiny so I’m leaving the rest in for a while, but it was incredibly tasty – so fingers crossed there’s not carrot fly.
And I’ve saved the most exciting garden news until last – we had hedgehogs mating in the front garden!
I saw one in the back garden and then a few days later there were two in the front garden performing a ‘mating ritual’. I bought a wooden hedgehog house for the front garden made from resin infused wood. You’re not meant to paint them inside as that can be harmful to the hedgehogs, but I painted the outside to protect it from the elements and it should hopefully last a few years. This gives them somewhere warm and cosy to have babies and hibernate, protected from predators. Unfortunately I can’t check if they’re in there because they don’t like to be disturbed. I also built a little summer house for them under a bush in the back garden – but my cat has now adopted that area as his favourite place to dose!
The image of the hedgehog above was taken in my neighbours garden and you can probably see some slug pellets. I avoid using slug pellets as they’re really bad for hedgehogs! We get a huge amount of slugs here and I keep them at bay by sprinkling broken eggshells around the base of plants. Slug pellets act as a bait, so even though they kill the slugs they are also attracting more slugs in the first place – so I tend to find eggshells more successful. I’m planning to grow broccoli next year so I will have to step up my slug barriers!