Yippee !

After many years of constructing rickety frames of bamboo to support tomatoes in growbags on paved surfaces, I think I’m now sorted! An early birthday present from my Mum: a tomato frame (well, two of them).

I won’t actually be planting the tomatoes out for another three weeks or so, of course. Still … YIPPEE !

picture on box they arrived in


assembled frames

changeable wallflower

The “changeable wallflower” (Erysimum mutabile) in the front garden is now flowering, purple buds opening to bright yellow before fading over a couple of days to a soft purple. This one is six years old and getting rather past its best – I must try to take cuttings later in the year.

changeable wallflower


For some reason, all the honesty this year is white! Normally, I have a mix of white and purple plants, but for some reason there aren’t any purple ones this year.

Self-sown “volunteer” plants are always a bit of a lucky dip, of course, but I think I may have to dig out some elderly seed and sow it for next year, as I really do prefer a mix of colours.

white honesty

patio peach

The first blossoms have opened on the patio peach tree I planted last autumn. I’m not really expecting any fruit this year, but I can always dream!
Fond memories of the wonderful peach “Peregrine” that I had in London – a short summer season of succulent lusciousness …

patio peach blossom

garden bits

The first of the pillar-box-red tulips opened this morning – the canary-yellow ones are always a few days later. Neither is a colour I’d particularly have chosen, but they were here when I bought the house (nearly 7 years ago) and seem to flourish.

On the “jobs” front, the first daffodils are now completely over, and I must get out and dead-head them this afternoon – always a slightly sad “first of the year”. Indoors, I’m delighted to see that the seeds of the red lettuce that I saved from last year have germinated. I wonder if they’ll come true. Outdoors, the “Marvel of the Four Seasons” lettuce under a cloche has also germinated.

red tulip


daffodils needing dead-headed

garden bits

A fairly warm but overcast and slightly breezy day. I managed to dig over the bed that had held last year’s very unsuccessful carrots, adding compost and making two mounds to eventually plant courgettes into. I discovered yesterday that I’m out of yellow courgette seed, so have ordered some “Shooting star” (my usual).

Experience has taught me that a wire-mesh barrier to protect at least half of any catmint that I plant out is utterly essential! It took Chelsea-cat less than 30 seconds to discover this one ….

garden bits

Lawn mown, edges strimmed, first batch of carrots sown – and enough little clumps of chives have sprung up (all over the herb garden) that tonight can be my first chive-and-cheddar omelette of the year!

young chives


Having cleared the last of the leeks yesterday, today saw a first sowing of leeks indoors in modules. Long de Mezieres, as last year.

I’m not really a fan of grape hyacinths – the flowers don’t really impress me, and they can be horribly invasive, crowding out other plants in mixed bulb plantings. I’d certainly never plant them! So it gave me a bit of a shock to discover this little rogue springing up among the Chinese Lanterns!

I have no idea where it came from, and will be digging it up and putting it in the bin (not even compost), but not until the flower starts to die back, as I’m rather short of bee-fodder at the moment.

single grape hyacinth

garden bits

I finally dug up the rest of the leeks, which has given me enough for a generous serving tonight. That let me repair the bed they’ve been in, by driving a post in at the corner and screwing the sides to it. I’m not sure how long it will last, but hopefully I’ll get one more season out of it!

Into part of the space vacated by leeks have gone the Broad Beans (the Sutton) planted indoors a month ago.  A generous sprinkling of slug pellets, under one of the triangular pop-up cages. And then coffee on the patio.

Time for “early salad”. Well, in my dreams! I cleaned up a couple of the bell cloches, and lightened the very heavy soil in that bed (next to the raspberries) with half the contents of one of last year’s grow-bags. One cloche has “Marvel of the Four Seasons” lettuce, the other has “Bulls Blood” beetroot, grown as salad leaves. I’ve scattered some “White Lisbon” salad onions in the corners, without a lot of faith they’ll do anything!

Even with frequent rests, it’s all left me very breathless and exhausted. I’m still suffering from the infection that laid me low last weekend – antibiotics have got it under control, but not cleared it.

broad beans under netting


salad sown under cloches

Miss Jessop

Frustratingly, I’m still much too unwell to actually do anything in the garden, but I am at least managing a daily walk-round.

Today’s opening: Miss Jessop. Well, “Miss Jessop’s Upright” rosemary, to be exact. This is the one I planted in a half-barrel last summer, as replacement for one in the herb bed that had grown over six foot high and was blocking the path. I’m afraid that the bees – which adore this plant – will have to make do with some of the other plants this spring.

Miss Jessop flower