It’s all going on

photo-50 After yesterday’s heavy rain, today was one of those high blue sky, vivid colour days. It’s not as warm as it was a couple of weeks ago, though – there’s been a chilly wind which has battered my lovely tall tulips and knocked some of the blossom off the cherry tree.

The wind has loosened some of the tallest tulips' petals but they're still looking gorgeous.
The wind has loosened some of the tallest tulips’ petals but they’re still looking gorgeous.

But wait… Guess what I found peeking out from the soil this afternoon? Only our first asparagus tip! SO exciting. I know we’ll have to wait a couple of years for our first proper crop but we have asparagus! Growing in our garden! I’ve so longed to have the space to grow these precious spears of loveliness and now we have. Brilliant.

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Look carefully. It’s definitely there. The first of hopefully many asparagus spears.

And that’s not all. The autumn raspberries are properly sprouting now and the strawberry crowns we planted two weeks ago are thoroughly romping away.

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The strawberry plants have quadrupled in size since we planted them two weeks ago.

The pear tree is blossoming, as is the greengage and the three small cordoned apple trees. These were hidden underneath old, leggy lavenders and gooseberry bushes when we moved here. We freed them from their clutches and I gave them a fairly tough prune earlier this year. It’s good to see that they’re doing ok.

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The first bea-u-ti-ful apple blossom.

What else is looking good? Oh yes, the Erigeron karvinskianus is coming into flower on our front garden steps. This must be a pretty hardy plant as we had major groundworks for two new retaining walls either side of the steps last year and they were trashed. It’s lovely to see this perky little plant is thriving.

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Erigeron karvinskianus

I’ll say goodnight for now and sign off with a photo of my lovely rescue dog, Cassie, flaked out after this morning’s walk because that’s how I feel right now. Wishing you all a very happy bank holiday weekend. photo 2

Roots

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Walking the dog across the fields this morning in the warm, slightly misty, spring sunshine – skylarks singing, the sea glistening in the distance – was an uplifting start the day. I still walk with my daughter to the local village primary school, even though she is in her final year and old enough to walk on her own. It’s lovely to have that time together, just the two of us, and she doesn’t seem to mind. She’ll be travelling by train to secondary school with her brothers in September, so these are precious times.

It couldn’t be more of a contrast with my previous life in SW London and the walk to school alongside busy roads, nose-to-tail traffic, planes overhead, everyone rushing. Don’t get me wrong, I loved aspects of my life in the big smoke but this is where I now feel rooted and in my natural place. Being a forces baby, my childhood was peripatetic. We rarely lived in one place for more than a couple of years but all of the RAF stations where we lived were either by the sea or in the countryside and I think that may be why I feel so comfortable in this environment. Perhaps my children will hotfoot it back to the city when they’re older!

Our rescue dog, Cassie (a lurcher), would have hated London. She was a bag of nerves when we adopted her two years ago and still gets spooked by lots of traffic or loud noises. The wide, open spaces here suit her perfectly. I can let her off the lead in the arable fields and she runs and runs in big circles round me, the growing crops tickling her tummy. If dogs could laugh with joy, she’d be doing it.

Cassie
Cassie.

David has been rebuilding one of the retaining walls in the garden this week and uncovered a slow worm curled up under a rock. We found quite a few last year, mainly in and around the compost heap, but this is the first sighting this year. He also came a cross a large toad and narrowly avoided dropping a rock on its head. Luckily, he managed to transfer it to the side of the pond where it shook itself off and dived in.

This slow worm had a rude awakening.
This slow worm was discovered curled up asleep under a rock.

I’m busy potting on seedlings whenever I have the time to do it. I’m awestruck that tiny seeds (some too small to handle individually – you just have to shake them over the compost and hope they spread out) can grow into miniature plants with leaves, delicate stems and tendril-like roots. Transferring these fragile seedlings into pots can be tricky, especially when they’ve wrapped their roots around each other. I’ve found that the wrong end of a pencil is the best tool for teasing them out of their trays and gently easing them apart. Over the next few weeks, these babies will grow into larger, more robust plants and then we can plant them out into the garden where they can really get their roots down.