Saturday, 3 October 2009

Nigella or Kalonji

I scattered some 'kalonji' seed from the Asian supermarket - this is nigella, used in cooking for the spicy taste of the seeds. (Great with chicken, potatoes, onions).

I think the flowers are proportionately smaller than the usual garden kind, but they are nevertheless very pretty, come in several colours, and provide lovely feathery foliage.


Early August, and back from 3 weeks' holiday; we hear that it rained for almost the entire time. The garden certainly looked very lush, although the French beans had succumbed to blackfly, the courgettes weren't doing much at all, and the lettuces I planted had completely disappeared to the snails and slugs. The brassicas were all looking lacy, but not stripped to the ribs as I had feared.

The unfriendly neighbour built not so much a fence as a compound, while we were away - 'for privacy', he said. Not a problem - he's to our north.

The grapevine had grown enormously, I had no idea it would get this big! Only supported by a few bamboo canes, it had collapsed onto the lawn so I propped it up as best I could. Over winter, I'll be building proper supports for it, and learning how to prune it so that it will be better-behaved, and maybe more productive, next year. It did produce bunches of tiny grapes but they were lost in amongst all those leaves.

The 'Pastiche' sunflowers, going strong; try staring into this one, it makes a strange optical effect.

The sad state of the French beans:

Success with the Goldfield beans! Lying on a black beret - big and also tasty. I'll grow these again next year. Anno Giallo also did reasonably well, and Cherokee Trail of Tears. The Purple Teepee, Modus, and Minidor were all stunted and unsuccessful - I don't think I added enough matter to the soil, and the blackfly also affected them badly.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Mid July

Just before leaving the garden for a 3 week trip to the USA - it was looking fairly neat, by my standards.

Purple-sprouting broccoli (and some broccoli raab and cabbages) which I had to leave defenceless against the cabbage-white butterflies:

Some beans, beetroot, lollo rosso lettuce, courgettes:

'Pastiche' sunflowers:

Beetroot, mispoona, leaf beet, turnip greens, and broccoli raab:

June bugs

A few creepy crawlies from mid-summer.

I had noticed, for several months, a strange scratching noise, near the old trellis along the wall - but hadn't worked out what it was. Till one evening I investigated more closely and found out what's behind it - wasps gathering wood paste:

A damsel-fly that I trapped under a wine glass in the lean-to, before I released it back into the garden:

And finally, I think these are Cabbage White caterpillars. Feeding on nasturtium leaves, then imprisoned in a plastic jar before meeting their fate in a jar of cider. Sorry chaps, but there were sooooo many of you this year - all my brassicas are looking rather lacy...

End of June

Oops, I am getting behind with this! OK, here are a few shots from the very end of June; sweetpeas and French marigolds giving lots of colour. In that respect, the marigolds have been fantastic value - still blooming energetically at time of writing (early October) and evidently they do feed the bees, at least the tinier ones, since they have produced masses of seed. Unless they are self-pollinating? I've never seen a bee on them, so I presume the nectar is incaccessible to larger insects.