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Tag: May

Flowers and showers

Flowers and showers

So I went onto our digital photo albums to see what pics we had taken to remind me of the month only to see they were mainly of meals we had eaten outside or knitting projects! I think the reason for this has been the rain again; the excitement of al fresco dining at last and firing up the barbie is always a photo opportunity, and then being inside meant time spent designing more patterns.

So Richard has had more practise with grilling sardines…

plus he has honed his paella making skills:

There have been some winners. The raspberries have gone mad thinking we have moved to Scotland and we are having a monster crop. Not that we are eating them all ourselves, the blackbirds are feasting on them too. The strawberries are also doing well but I just saw Jussi helping herself to one so we are sharing those too!

I’m not really a big fan of roses but the ones of the front door have also enjoyed the rain with the sunshine, as have others in the courtyard. The serins will be nesting above the door as usual this year we hope.

The clematis too looks marvellous and in the countryside it’s been an astonishing year for the bee orchids, we’ve never seen so many before, just wonderful.

There have been casualties though. For the first time the blue tits’ nest box failed. We saw them making their nest, and a few hatched but then, for some reason, they all died. Very sad. Perhaps the rain meant there were not enough caterpillars for them, perhaps one or both of the parents got predated. We’ll never know, and there doesn’t seem any more interest in the box. One lunchtime a buzzard tried to take one of the blackbirds feeding on the ground, there was a load of squawking and it flew over our heads but the blackbird got away. Nice to hear them and the nightingales singing.

In the veg patch the rain and warm temperatures meant one thing: the dreaded blight. I had to throw away all of the cherry tomato plants, they were already very tall and covered in flowers. But the tell-tale signs were there and when I made myself dig them up they stank horribly. A little later two of the salad tom plants also had to be pulled up, I have four of those left. There are still six plum tomato plants to go in, struggling a bit in their pots, but they are to go in after the broad beans and will be next to the others and I really want to wait and check they’re in the clear. We’ve had a marvellous proper hot sunny day today but I’ve just seen it’s only going to be 20 tomorrow with a chance of rain (more!) so perhaps it’s just as well I’ve waited.

On another positive note there are definitely signs in the countryside that the hunting ban has made a difference. Deer, rabbits and red-legged partridges are regularly seen. Oh and yes we’ve both had our first Covid jabs, the next one is late June.

We’ve just looked outside: the skies have turned a distinct pewter grey and the wind has picked up. It really does look like we’ll start the first of the summer months needing our waterproofs for the morning dog walk. Ho hum.

The sun has got his hat on

The sun has got his hat on

The rain has decided to have a holiday and it’s been sun, sun, sun. This means mornings are spent watering the veg patch and evenings watering the garden. The well is still surprisingly full but with no rain forecast for the next ten days that’ll soon disappear.

I have finally discovered what has survived the relentless winter frosts. A week or two ago I would have said everything except the bougainvillea but even that now has new shoots. However, along with some of the lavender that is looking very sorry for itself, I fear we’re going to have to make some replacements. But overall I’m pleased that we didn’t really lose anything, even the lily in the pond has lots of leaves.

lettuceFrost-wise all survived in the veg patch too, even the runner beans that lost their first leaves are now climbing their poles. Another plant to survive the frosts are the lettuce. I bought a collection of them for one euro and they do very well. They are a fantastic cut-and-come-again plant, I can cut one every day and they’ll have grown back in no time.

But all is not well. One of the first years here I lost a number of brassicas but then boasted in this post from last year that I hadn’t lost any because I’d placed plastic collars around each one. Well, I did that again this year but alas I have already lost quite a few. One day the plants are all perky and the next one will look very droopy. Removing the collar you can see ants have made a nest under the plant although I don’t think it’s the ants themselves which are attacking the plant.  There are moths that lay eggs around the base of the plant, which is what the collar is meant to prevent, but ants help them, like they do the aphids, because they eat their larvae, which in turn eat the plant. Something like that.  I’ve tried to clear the stems of any bugs but they never look very good again. Very annoying.

The asparagus is enormous, and we have two beds of it. I wish I’d known how large they grow although in the intense summer heat they provide some welcome shelter. I have had to severely trim them all, it was impossible to walk past them.


Richard has been away and was due back yesterday but a cancelled flight means he’s back a day later. He has two jobs waiting for him: strimming and killing. The garden is becoming like the wild meadow from the previous post, sort of shabby chic with all the flowers, charmingly scruffy (actually a bit of a mess!)


The dogs will be pleased to see Richard but the roasties are making the most of the delay. Fat and lazy, they waddle around on huge legs, a far cry from their baby selves. There is one cock among them who has started a very pitiful crowing – he’ll be the first for the chop!


Finally, continuing with the floral theme, I have been busy doing inside jobs once it gets too hot outside. I have made some more soap with marigold flowers and, my favourite, some elderflower cordial. I’ve discovered another old house in the village with a large elder tree in the courtyard that catches the morning sun. How I’ve missed them both I don’t know. The flowers smell wonderful and the cordial is really the taste of summer. Oh, and I’ve made some strawberry ice cream too, we already have a bumper crop!


Time to sit in the garden with a glass of cordial topped up with fizzy water to enjoy the flowers (and ignore the weeds). Cheers!





The merry month of May

The merry month of May

It’s my favourite month of the year here. Not too hot, not too cold. Not too wet, not too dry. And the flowers, oh the flowers. Some of you will remember my lament a year ago when the old boy who has the olive grove at the end of our garden sprayed it with some horrid stuff. Well, it was a poor year for the olives and we haven’t seen him since and, remarkably, the flowers have made a wonderful recovery and thanks to equal measures of rain and sun have literally blossomed.


In fact since taking this photo I’ve had to go out and cut a swathe through it, the path had all but disappeared. I’m not sure the dogs, however, appreciate the pastoral beauty…