Sunday, 19 February 2017

Gardening with ME: some beans

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a gardener without a garden, must be sad sight indeed.

Ok, I'm not completely without a garden. But between selling our house, moving, and my ME being bad, I've not been able to venture into the garden recently, so I've felt like I've had no garden. Today I cracked. I said no to boxes needing unpacking and dealing with the unending list of moving-related chores to be done. I decided to use most of my spoons in the garden, to sow some beans.

Because we are moving and I'm going to be gardening in containers for the next year, I couldn't sow a lot of beans. In fact, I sowed six broad beans seeds of The Sutton in total. That's all I could fit into the container above (the one with the compost, not the alpine planter!), and the limit of my spoons. But I sowed some beans! Here is a better photo.

Better, in that a container just showing compost and a label, is a bit boring. So this picture includes the round pot with some of my beloved snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis f. pleniflorus 'Bagpuize Virginia' that I've dug up to take with me. Also coming with me in that pot is Clematis x triternata 'Rubromarginata' and Lavandula 'Regal Splendour'. In the rectangle pots behind is some of my garlic. Trust me, there is garlic in there, not just more compost.

See, garlic shoots! Silver Rose is the first to send up some shoots.

I did manage to take short walk around the garden to see what is flowering now. To enjoy some blooms before we move.

Here is the rest of the Kingston Bagpuize snowdrops, which remain behind for the new owners. Looking pretty among the strawberries.

Hellebore... I've lost the label, but heck, it's pretty regardless of it's name.

A blurry photo of reticulata Iris 'J.S. Dijt'. I've lost my camera so all these photos are from my mobile phone. Blurry or not, the colour is fabulous.

Sarcococca confusa with, oh, what a fragrance.

A burst of sunshine, Eranthis hyemalis.

And Iris 'Katharine Hodgkin'.

So I have sown enough broad beans for say, two meals. Not a lot. But I'll take what I can get.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a gardener with ME who has spent even a small amount of time in the garden, must be a happy sight indeed.

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I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments on your experience, so don't be shy!

About Spoonie Veg    About Gardening with ME

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Recent Gardening with ME and Spoonie Veg posts...
 Gardening with ME: a floral review of 2016
 Spoonie Veg: Broad Beans
 Spoonie Veg: garlic

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Ditty for a new home

Some Sheffield place-names are merely
Easy to pronounce, like Heeley.
Others, if not heard but seen, will
Lead to mistakes like "green hill".
If you've only seen Beauchief on a road sign
You won't know it's "bee", not the French word
for "fine".
And - unless you're feeling particularly silly -
Penistone isn't a gym for your willy.
Greenhill's like "fennel" but you're Aussies, so,
when, oh,
when will you rename it simply to Grenno?
Now you're on the not-really-main-road,
We wish you much happiness in your new abode.

This ditty comes from friends Kate and J-P (Next Square Metre), in the 'new home' card we found as we arrived to move in yesterday. So good I had to share it!

Friday, 27 January 2017

On the move - new opportunities

The garden in mid-winter

It's been a little quiet here when it comes to blogging about the garden recently. That's because changes are afoot and I've wanted to wait until things were confirmed before writing about them. Well, I can now tell you. Gwenfar's Garden is on the move.

Iris histrioides 'Lady Beatrix Stanley'

Yes, I'm moving garden, and well, house. Our current house has been a bit small for our purposes for a while (we have a small company which is run from home) and we need a bit more space. However, with selling and buying being so incredibly stressful and my ME being, well, not great, we decided to sell first, move into rented accommodation, then take our time looking for a bit bigger and hopefully more permanent home. And garden.

For the year or so that we will be renting, my garden is going to mainly be a container garden. I'm taking everything that is currently in pots with me, plus about 15 or so special plants will be dug up, but on the whole, I'm leaving my current garden as it is. Because although I created this garden, I'm happy to leave it to the new people* and move on to new things.

Right: luckily I'd potted up some strawberry runners
last summer, so I have some to take with me.

Perhaps if the new owners weren't interested in gardening, I might take more with me. But they are, and even made it a part of the contract that I leave the fruit trees and raised beds behind! This really lifted my spirits, to know that what I've created will continue on in some way, and that someone actually wants the garden as it is, fruit trees and all.

So what comes with me? And what about my beloved garlic?

Garlic in large pots

On the garlic front, well once we decided to put the house on the market at the beginning of December, I quickly went out and purchased eight large rectangle containers and sowed six cloves of each variety in them. I mean, I wasn't going to leave my wonderful collection behind! And after conducting an experiment on growing garlic in containers in 2016, I'm confident that I can take my collection with me, will get a decent harvest and be able to save the best bulbs to sow the following autumn. I'll leave notes including where each variety I sowed back in November in my raised beds for the new people, so they know what they will be harvesting next Summer.

I'll also be digging up the Sorrel patch. It's got quite large now, so I should be able to split it so there is some for me and some for my friend J-P over at Next Square Metre. And with luck some left over to replant for the new people. Sorrel has deep roots and isn't necessarily made for container growing. So this is going to be the first of several small experiments I'll be undertaking in 2017. I've purchased a large terracotta pot for the Sorrel, and will track how it grows in a container and how much harvesting I can gain from it.

Right: Galanthus nivalis f. pleniflorus 'Bagpuize Virginia'. Memories of Oxon. I'll be digging up
a few to take with me

In general, my theme for 2017 will be how to get better at growing both vegetables, fruit, herbs and also perennials, in containers. I've had middling success in the past, but my focus has tended to be on what's in the ground or at the allotment I used to have. My aim is to read up more on container growing, for edibles and ornamentals, and see if I can increase the health and production of the plants. In particular, I'd like to get the growing media, and the not-under watering or over watering balance, right.

The grass in the pot is Deschampsia cespitosa 'Goldtau', which we call 'grass-Merlyn'.
Despite plenty of 'normal' grass, this ornamental was the one our cat Merlyn used to love to
chew on. When he died, we potted it up and buried him with it. It's important to take grass-Merlyn with us. We will also be digging up Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku', to the right of grass-Merlyn.

So will I be sad to leave the garden I created behind? Yes, I will. But I'm also excited about the opportunities that the coming year will offer. I plan to explore my Spoonie Veg idea via container growing further, and to experiment with getting a better harvest from courgettes and pumpkins grown in containers. If I have the energy, I'd like to try growing Cosmos as a cut flower in a container too. All of this will continue to be within the context of gardening with ME.

I'll be taking cuttings of Rosa Seagull, then cut it back so I can dismantle the Arch.
The Arch was especially commissioned for my 40th, a gift from Kevin and his mum,
Audrey. I'm not leaving that behind!

Gwenfar's Garden is on the move, but I will take some time to do a couple of blogs reviewing my first complete permaculture design, and to say goodbye to a space I made my own.

Summer 2016

*we accepted an offer at the end of December, subject to contract and of course the vagaries of the English system.