Thursday, 19 September 2013

Garden 2013 no 9

Garden 2013 no 9

The harvest is completely finished and I seem to have spent the last month or so re-painting my blue gates, fences, doors and garden edging. 

I’ve not done the outside painting for a couple of years and the blue was looking quite worn. I figured if I do it this year and give every thing a couple of coats, maybe it will last another two, or at a push, even three years.
I painted the fence my daughter made a couple of years ago and I painted the new gate that her partner made earlier this year. The old one blew away one stormy day. 
This one has gaps between the wood so the wind blows right through it instead of blowing it off its hinges. It also has a wide strip of rubber nailed to the bottom that touches the ground; this stops the rabbits from coming under the gate into my garden.

I still have all the white walls to paint and retouch, but I’m having a bit of a break from garden painting for a while, I’ll go back and repaint the white later. This hansom couple were loitering in the fence, I didn't see them at first. Glad I noticed them before painting them. They even posed or a photo before diving for cover.

I’ve been so busy since retirement I’ve realised I have to prioritise on my activities. The two things I really want to spend my time doing is travel and painting, and I don’t mean painting garden fences either, I mean painting canvases. Therefore the plan is to cut down on the gardening for the next year or so. I want to dig the little vegetable garden and turn the whole thing back into lawn. Actually I’m quite looking forward to it. My lawn never was the pristine golf course sort of lawn, it always was a bit lumpy and bumpy and then I dug up most of it and turned it into a vegetable plot.
So if I carefully dig and level the whole thing and seed it, sometime next summer I should have a pristine lawn that needs a gentle mow every couple of weeks. Or at least that’s the plan. I’ve even bought this little machine to help me.

Before starting the painting I cut back the Tayberries.

I read up on this and found out that you have to cut back in the autumn after the fruit has finished.  All old wood has to go and the strong new canes have to be tied up and trained ready for the fruit they will produce the following year. I know I’ve done mine a bit early but I’ve already had quite a lot of fruit from it. There was some fruit left but it had something wrong with it. The fruit that was left was small, green and hard, and instead of ripening it was going moldy and rotting on the cane. I’m not sure  why this happened, maybe because I didn’t cut it back as I was supposed to last year; but I hope by cutting it back and training it along the fence, the same thing will not happen again next year.  Anyway………..if I had left it until all those little green fruits had gone mouldy and fallen off, I wouldn’t have been able to paint that bit of the fence. I’ve also been dead heading the buddleia, I know this has to be pruned back in the spring not the autumn, but I hate all the old, dead, brown flowers so I cut them off as they appear. I think this actually makes the flowers last longer, as soon as I cut the dead ones off, new ones appear. But, I’m sure I’ve seen the last of them for this year. I’ve cut the bush back a little, just enough to get rid of all the dead flowers and next year, I’m going to prune it quite hard to make sure it doesn’t grow too big and get too out of control.

The other thing I’ve been doing is using the harvest in the kitchen.

I have made loads and loads of rhubarb chutney ( with added red wine),
more jars of pickled onions than I can possibly eat and a whole batch of carrot and coriander soup for the freezer.
I’ve also made more herb oil. The herbs, onions and garlic all came from my garden and the red chillies came from my daughters greenhouse. I can’t grow chillies because I don’t have a greenhouse.
I tried to grow them in the windows last year but even that didn’t work, they really need the warmth of a greenhouse to grow properly here. I have a freezer full of fruit and only half a pot of jam left which means the next big kitchen venture is going to be a mammoth jam making session.
So; that’s my garden almost ready for winter. I still have the white painting to do, and I would like to get the lawn sorted out before winter, but apart from that, the garden is definitely winding down for winter.