Friday, April 07, 2017

Friday Blog Hop: Happy as a Pig in Muck

Clematis Comtesse de Bouchard
There's an old English colloquial simile " Happy as a pig in muck" which describes in earthy terms my sense of grounded tranquillity, albeit transient, this week. Because I've been getting down and dirty in the garden.

 I have spent so long weeding, levelling, and raking the former vegetable patch that was earmarked for a lawn that I have missed the window of opportunity to lay the necessary tonne of topsoil and then the turf. If I may be permitted to quote Scotland's national poet, The best-laid plans of mice and men oft aft awry. So I changed course, have remade one raised bed, filled with copious amounts of manure and compost and, yesterday, sowed vegetable seeds: beetroot, lettuce, spring onion, radish, broccoli, and cabbage.( I wonder, do you marvel at the miracle of the seeds which sustain our lives)? I certainly do, especially when the tiny bundles of life are in the palm of my hand.

Whilst at the garden centre, I couldn't resist picking up strips of cauliflower and red onion seedlings to pop in. I just need to source some Kohl Rabi seed and then I'm done. The bed will be intensively planted once everything starts to grow but the ground is so well fed that it will be able to support the growth. I've covered everything in fleece to keep the soil warm and protect the seedlings from the sun for the next few weeks. In the autumn, after the final crop, I may revert to the original plan and lay the lawn (as my, failed, original objective was to create a garden that was less high maintenance).

I've also created a new small shrub border on part of the patch, alongside an ugly boundary fence, planting Blue Arrow juniper, escallonia Gold Ellen, aucuba Gold Strike; and transplanted a sweet bay that I had growing in a pot by the kitchen door.  Then I popped some thyme in the front of the border. Unfortunately, there was a bed of rhubarb growing at the back of the patch. I didn't want to transplant it at this time of year so I temporarily left it in situ. Actually, I've just harvested the first stalks, which I stewed with ginger and ate for breakfast with natural Greek yoghurt.

In the mixed borders, I've planted some traditional cottage garden plants - hollyhocks - double white, double pink, and double maroon (4 for £10 at Waitrose), foxgloves, both of which will self-seed in future years; and transplanted pinks that I layered last year. Also, put some nepeta near to the roses.(Whilst on the mission to buy supplies for the vegetable bed spotted clematis Comtesse de Bouchard, so that's now growing on the trellis).
Double Pink Hollyhock

I'm not averse to resorting to a limited amount of chemical control (needs must etc.) so I've preempted rust, mildew and blackspot on susceptible plants, and sprayed against greenfly, which already had launched an attack on the roses.

There have been a few more purchases, which I'm too shamefaced to reveal. I've just totted up the till rolls for all of the above and was a bit abashed. The budget has been blown and so I have to avoid garden centres for the foreseeable future - and I had to turn down a suggestion by my sister to meet in London for a matinee at the National Theatre followed by an early supper. But a garden is for life, whereas theatre is a transient pleasure.

If you would like to Celebrate the Small Things on the Friday Blog Hop please click the link on the right-hand side of this page, which will lead you to Lexa Cain's blog where you can find out what to do.


  1. Always enjoy your posts about daily life in merry old England. I'll be there for a few whirlwind days this summer, traveling with a high school orchestra of American honor students. Would love to meet up with you but I'm sure there won't be time. Only spending a few days in London, then on to Paris!

    1. Hello Heidi. I remember that you mentioned a European trip some time ago. You must be very excited.I guess that you will be ruled by a pretty rigid itinerary, as it's a school trip. You will undoubtedly fall in love with Paris! You have reminded me of the time when my youngest son travelled through France with his school's swing band - as a lighting technician. They stayed on camp sites and played to the campers.

  2. Lovely. We are enjoying the bloom of April too, here in San Francisco.

    1. So nice to see the sun - at last I can turn off the central heating

  3. The pictures are so pretty and it sounds like you've been working hard for them. May your vegetables grow well!

  4. You'll be so thrilled when your garden starts blooming! Far lovelier than a regular lawn - and all planted by your own hand. You'll have to post a pic or two when the vegetables get big (I love cauliflower!). Have a great weekend!