bits and bobs

Not really something I’d have chosen, but it arrived as a 3-inch high “free gift” with the patio peach in December 2020. I stuck it in a corner of the peat-free acid compost tub the camellia lives in, and 16 months later it’s doing well. Azalea Satschiko “Orange Geisha”.

The final new bed arrived yesterday, and is now in place. I’ve even managed to put up bean sticks, though the runners have not yet germinated (indoors on the windowsill). The French beans sown at the same time are nearly ready to plant out – also in the new bed.

I made “cheddar and chive” scones for a light lunch, on the patio in the sunshine, the day before my 67th birthday. This is what retirement is supposed to look like!

orange azalea flowers

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scones, grapes on plate, glass of apple juice

garden bits

Pretty much of a garden day today!  I’ve covered and filled the other tomato house (one “Monkton Wyld”, one Black Russian, and a Latah). Seed – sowing in abundance … some zinnia, which are on the propagator shelf, some yellow dwarf French beans ditto, and I have runner beans and sweet pea “Cuprani” soaking, to plant tomorrow.

It was also the day for installing the 4th replacement raised bed – driven by the urgency of getting the courgette plants outside! Now done, and the courgettes are under bell cloches: one each of “Shooting Star” and “Soleil”. This latter is supposed to be a bush type, which would be rather helpful as previous years ave seen courgettes invading paths, other beds, and pretty much anywhere else!  The plan is to sow lettuce in the opposite corners of that bed, as a catch-crop.

4 green metal raised beds

tomato houses

Having got back from the Diglis Fish Weir trip, I decided that I really must make a start on housing the tomatoes. The small cherry tomato plant looks as though it’s thinking about flower buds, even though it’s only six inches high!

A bit of a wrestle with growbags, a biggest wrestle to get a new bag of compost from front room to small shed, and more of a tussle to fit the cover to the tomato house. I’ve only managed one today, which has (left to right in photo) the “orange Turkish aubergine”, the cherry tomato, and one of the Monkton Wylds. If the weather holds, and my back is playing nicely, I’ll do the other one tomorrow.

tomato house and plastic cover

Fish!

as I’ve just emailed Simon and Geoff:

“You may remember that I mentioned on a Broads trip a few years ago that a fish pass and underwater viewing gallery was planned for Worcester. It’s been gradually opening over the past few months, mainly on very over-subscribed group bookings though it has just started a couple of “drop-in” sessions.

I went (as part of an organised Green Party group) this afternoon. It’s magic! In the 20 minutes slot we had in the viewing gallery, we saw two schools of roach (to my surprise, mainly small fish attended by a couple of much larger ones). There was a chub. There were also, at intervals, salmon … a total of three, making their way up-river to spawn.

My photos are shit, as the fish don’t exactly hang about (though I’m told there are much better photos and videos etc on the “Unlock the Severn” website). But it was a totally magnificent experience!”

view of fish ladder from the top

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garden bits

Both sets of peas are now through – the damp weather of the last 36 hours has obviously agreed with them!  A double row of “Tom Thumb” (which is under a popup net) and a single staggered row of “Purple Snow Pea”. I haven’t grown peas since I was teenager in the family home … half a century later, I thought I’d give them another go. These are both varieties where one eats the pods whole – in half of a one-metre-square bed, one gets so few peas otherwise, and shelling peas is anyway not a favourite chore.

When I bought the patio peach in November 2020, it came with a “free gift” of a three-inch high “Japanese Azalea Geisha Orange”. Not a plant I’d ever have thought of getting! However, as it claimed to grow only about 50cm high (which it’s already reached) and be mound-forming (which it isn’t: a rather lax growth) I stuck it in some spare space in the acid peat-free-compost container that the camellia has. This year, it looks as though I might get flowers!

pea shoots, about an inch tall

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tight buds of orange azalea flowers

Ouch !

Two days ago, the glass in the woodburner cracked, and fell out! I’ve just ordered a replacement, and replacement seal … which, with VAT and delivery, came to nearly £50 !

Today’s weather is vile, and the change to high humidity as usual means that my back isn’t playing nicely. Chelsea-cat finds it vastly amusing to watch me going up stairs on my hands and knees … glad it’s fun for someone!

At least I’m still on fixed contract for energy for another five weeks, so can stick the fan heater on without facing starvation – though it doesn’t do nearly as good a job at sorting out weather-inspired back issues as the stove does.

broken glass propped up against stove which has its door open.