big ideas from a little garden

tales and stories of how we make the most of our garden and our terraced house.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

A Windowsill of Promise.

Here, on the tinyholding we are still living in garden limbo.
Full of promise!
DD has been taken away from home for the last few weeks with pressing work matters.  I know, I know, work doesn't matter!  However, we all know that work does matter and without it there would be no tinyholding.
This, in itself, has not stopped my planning. Nor has it stopped the growing.
We currently have a dining room windowsill full of promising seedlings and new young plants.
Upon the windowsill itself we have the beginnings of our herb garden. There is thyme, rosemary, parsley, both flat and curled, coriander, chives and many more.
Upon the top of the freezer, next to the window, there are pumpkins, courgettes, chard, lettuce, tomatoes and others.
I have seed trays and have been saving loo roll inners to pot up peas and beans.
There are pots to start off sunflowers, marigolds and nasturtiums.
In such a tiny space there lies such promise.
However, the promises are treading water. DD and I are struggling to find time for operation garden revamp. It will happen but we are slightly behind schedule.
I am thinking about redressing the situation. Perhaps this year we will have a mainly pot based veg garden. The important thing is to not lose the plants we have.
We have already had one major mishap. Buffy cat has proved herself persona no grata. She insists on making all windowsills her own. She takes no prisoners and you can often hear an annoyed exclamation from DD as she dive bombs the desk to get to her space. It is not making her a popular puss! To add insult to injury, last weekend Boglin got up in the morning and went to feed them. (First up, first job!)
Buffy and DD get their way!
She came creeping into DD and I with such a look of worry and horror. All of the plants were in a higgledy piggledy mess upon the floor. Buffy had struck again!
Fortunately Boglin had picked most of them up and not too many were terminal. We have lost a pumpkin, a tomato and the sweetpeas. Luckily I have more seeds and can replant. However, I was more than a little cross.
DD and I are currently in disagreement over the puss cats. I am a firm believer in putting them out for the night during warm weather. Particularly if they are causing problems. DD is far more soft hearted than me and wants them to be allowed in. He has his way for the time being but mark my words Buffy, one more stunt like that and you will be out!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Tears on the Tinyholding.

The formidable Miss Pecky, centre stage.
It was a tragic and sad day on Friday. Here on the tinyholding we have had a fox strike the egg laying committee.
Around 1.30 am Friday morning I heard a small kerfuffle in the garden. Quite a small argument that I put down to one of the birds having a strop because one the others had shuffled onto her perch and woken her. It was not the giant cacophony you would expect from fox strike. I lay there, in bed, weighing up the idea of waking DD and getting him to go and look. I decided that if there was one more squawk I would do so. There was just the sleepy silence of another tinyholding night. And so, I drifted off to sleep with the idea that all was well.
I don't think I will ever forgive myself for my complacency.
Upon Friday morning DD went to do his usual head count while letting them out and feeding them. He was horrified to find the door of the coop open and Pecky mauled at the back of the garden. The other birds were visibly shaken and subdued. They were crowding around him for comfort and safety. None of the usual exuberance or chatty bocking. He did a head count and couldn't find Darcy. It was only then that he realised we had not been woke by Darcy's enthusiastic morning glory. His usual dawn call of  "these are all my girls and this is my garden!"
Further investigating found a subdued and heartbroken Steve the Duck. Splodge, his Mrs Duck was also absent.
DD meets Darcy.
All the other birds were present and correct but clearly terrified.
DD came to me wanting to be proved wrong. Wishing that Pecky had died in her sleep and been pecked by distraught siblings. Hoping and Praying that Splodge and Darcy had gone to ground for some reason. I took myself to the scene and confirmed the worst. We had a fox!
The tell tale scattering of feathers in a quiet corner showing where Mrs. Fox had enjoyed her Pecky themed meal. Then taking Darcy and Splodge to her hungry cubs.
Poor Darcy was probably trying, with his diminutive stature but enormous character, to protect his girls. He was a dainty young man and no match for a hungry fox. Indeed, in Mrs Fox's eye he would have been a perfect meal from the children's menu.
Splodge was a dopey, loveable and curious duck. She wouldn't have stood a chance. Steve, however, upon closer inspection had not allowed his wife to be taken without a fight. He had sustained bites about his neck and his wing had clearly been injured.
He must have put up a brave fight. We have watched him since the incident and he seems to be recovering. Upon the first day I was very much in two minds about a cull.
The decision we now need to take regards this brave little soldier.
We cannot allow him to free range with a garden full of hens and no duck for company. Drakes and Cockerels are build differently and a Drake showing too much attention to a hen can damage her.
Do we bring him a wife or do we rehome him? If he does not recover fully the decision to cull may yet come to pass.
The Boglin child has pleaded with me not to let him die or to cull him. Therefore, I am trying to keep my word. The jury is, sadly, still out.

Bless you and rest in peace our absent friends.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Sweetpea growing and greenhouse lust...

our idea of heaven!
Yesterday saw the beginning of "project garden".
While journeying to worship at the great god "Sainsburys", DD and I pass B&Q. Of course, with the sun shining and the garden plans fresh in our minds we were never going to be able to resist a quick drop in to look at greenhouses. We had plans for a modest, yet functional greenhouse. Well suited to the size of the tinyholding.
Within ten minutes DD and I had revised our plans to incorporate a huge 6x8 haven of glass and tempered metal. We looked at the perfectly functional polycarbonate numbers. We toyed with the idea of  a narrow structure. We then threw all sensibility out of the window (excuse the pun) and priced up a beauty. We plan to have it freshly dug to the left and right. A large variety of edible tender plants and of course a small potting bench. Duck boards running through the middle, to be sun warmed and ideal for bare toes. There will, obviously, also be lighting and heating in there.
We sigh dreamily, conjuring images of summer evenings to come. The sun setting over our verdant greens and a warm glow as we sip chilled white over a seed tray and kisses.
In truth, it is more likely that we will be sipping wine while not getting much done and swearing at the slug population that are decimating out broad beans. But we all need a dream! And ours is of a greenhouse. We are clearly simple people with simple needs.
There is little chance of myself wandering around a garden centre, diy shop or even the dreaded Tesco without eyeing up the plants and garden goods. And so I confess, m'lud, I did buy a few plants. I was a very good girl though and didn't spend all of my pocket money. I am now the proud mummy of six pepper seedlings, 2 chilly seedlings and a pot full of sweetpeas.
Everlasting showoffs!
Around our courtyard we plan to mix edible peas with sweetpeas. I personally, love the showiness of everlasting sweetpeas. However, what they give in bucket loads of appeal with their flowery goodness they do lack with their scent. So the obvious answer? Well, MORE sweetpeas of course!
There were also pots, troughs, benches, water features, tables , chairs and BBQs! All of them I wanted there and then.
On the other hand, I do believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder. It is well worth the wait and in time we will love the garden all the more!
Roll on summer!