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, 25 December 2011

Happy Holidays!

Perhaps your getting some Winter sunshine?!? If not and its cold, you might want to check out Bunny Jeans cute little parade of holiday pets:

Note: My little kitty has a BIG ATTITUDE - he's too 'mature' to wear a Christmas hat so I had to draw one onto the picture. Wouldn't he look cute if he did wear a festive little hat! :) 

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

First Day of Winter & Potatoes

22nd December - the First Day of Winter. It always feels like Winter from November in Northern Ireland.

Photo taken Dec 2010.
I'm down to my last few Maris Peer potatoes which were dug up in Sept. My potato output was low this year. Might be enough to make Christmas day roasties but not enough for roasties and mash.

Potatoes are one of my favourite veg!

Will you be having roasted, mashed, baked or scalloped potatoes on Christmas day?


Thursday, 15 December 2011

Blogger's Bloom Day

It's the 15th of the month - Blogger's Bloom Day. And ten days to Christmas!

Left is one of my favourite plants this time of year - Poinsettia. I buy a poinsettia every Nov for the holidays.

Below is a snapshot of the last bit of colour in the garden...
A few roses are still in bloom. Let's just say they aren't looking their best (the plants look rather cold). Normally I would give the  hybrid tea roses a rather hard cut in December, but I haven't bothered.
There are still some Malope blooms but the plants aren't looking too great. This is a hardy annual so surely it won't last much longer.
These primula  look a bit battered.
The topiary azalea plant is in bloom. This was a gift a year or two ago from a friend.
The Irish heather is going strong!
Even some snapdragon are still flowering. These are hardy annuals so shouldn't last much longer.

Calendula Orange King, a hardy annual, struggling on, but almost finished.

Prolific flowering at the minute - Broccoli '(Autumn) 'Green Calabrese'. 

My first year growing broccoli and I didn't manage to eat much broccoli as the plants always seem to want to flower. And they're still flowering!

Happy  December 

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Early Muscari and Veg Soup

I noticed a few Muscari bulbs blooming. They usually bloom in March/April so I was a bit surprised to see this.

Last week we had gale force wind up to 80 mile per hour in Northern Ireland. It's been quite cold too.
Today (in the rain) I gathered bits and pieces from the garden to make chunky veg soup. I put it all in a crock pot and let it simmer slowly until done.
Above Soup Ingredients:

kale (nero di toscana),
carrots (nante),
leek (musselburgh),
potatoes (maris peer),
2 parsnip,
salt, pepper, turmeric, 2 pints chicken stock.

Left: Carrots from the wheelbarrow are mostly used up now.
Frost covered kale (photo taken in November). Many of my friends have never eaten kale nor know what it looks like. Many healthy eating books recommend kale for its nutritional value. It's a great veg!

Happy Winter Gardening!

Monday, 5 December 2011

1st Snow

Last night we had our first dusting of snow - as I was putting up Christmas decorations! So pretty. Bring on the hats, scarves, gloves and hot chocolate!

Left: picture of the flower border with snow.
Picture of flower border the day before snow.

The roses are still producing. The Malope Excelsior Mixed, (Hardy Annual) are still being productive (I need to deadhead!). They don't seem to be too bothered by the light frost we've had so far.

Happy December
in the Garden!