We had a stall at the Petersfield summer festival again this year. Sunday was a wash out with driving rain, but we did have some good conversations with the few who sheltered under our awning. Monday was drier and busier. The picture shows our stall near the end of the day. after all the preserves and much of the produce had been sold. Many people had never seen patty pans before!
Another year starts in the garden, and we’re hard at work moving compost bins to make way for our new ‘social shed’
Its also time to prune out old raspberry and tayberry canes, tied in to the supports, and tie in this year’s fruiting canes, currently straggling over the path
We’ve also been taking out some of the tree lupins in the prairie garden
Our stall in Rams Walk, as part of the Petersfield Festival, selling books, bric a brac, plants and jam, and raising awareness about the Garden. We also had a flying visit from Adam, back south from Norfolk
Things are moving and stirring for another year in the Garden. Plum blossom has now almost finished and apple blossom is about to bloom
The Tayberries and Loganberries have started new growth, and the first ladybirds have appeared
Meanwhile we’ve been active: here are Sue & Louise planting onion sets
while seedlings in the greenhouse are coming up:
Despite almost continuous rain, twenty of us came to the garden today for what has become the traditional start to our year: wassailing the trees in the orchard prior to pruning them.
Once again we had the Petersfield community choir to help us sing
followed by some instruction in pruning the apple trees
Parts of the garden are **very** water logged :)
The prairie garden is now coming into its own:
as is the herb garden:
Meanwhile, there’s a lot on the notice board to be done:
Baby plums and apples are now forming on the trees in the orchard. The older Victoriaplum in particular has quite a few;
Victorias do tend to overbear, and if we left all these on they would press together and rot before they got ripe. In the extreme the weight of fruit can break branches off. So I’ve reduced this bunch to just one fruit.
On the Marjories Gage, nature is doing its own thining:
The undeveloped plums will fall off in the ‘June drop’
Meanwhile, one of the apples has some unwelcome visitors:
These curled up leaves are hiding aphids. They could be squashed or washed off with soapy water, but its probably best to leave them to encourage their natural preditors
Despite the changeable weather, fifteen of us were at the garden this afternoon for this year’s Big Dig.
We managed the first four of the seven tasks on the notice board, but also had time to sit round the fire and chat
I was asked for the recipe for the oat and blackberry flapjacks I brought. Its based on one on the Carnation website, but omits the extra sugar – its sweet enough!
350 g softened butter or similar (I used Yeo Valley spreadable)
350 g condensed milk (this stuff is 50% sugar)
300 g porridge oats
200 g wholemeal self-raising flour
100 g blackberries (I used ones picked at the garden last autumn & frozen. You can substitute other berries, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, or whatever comes to hand)
- Heat oven to 180deg
- Cream the butter and condensed milk together (tip: weigh the condensed milk into the bowl)
- Mix in the other ingredients thoroughly.
- Using two spoons, scoop 4cm diameter blobs of the mixture onto a baking tray, keeping well separated. You should get about two dozen.
- Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until they’re begining to brown. They will have spread into each other.
- Allow to cool on the tray and firm up before removing with a palette knife.
We’d become a bit concerned that the trees in the orchard area might be overcrowded when they matured, and decided to move one into the main garden. Our choice fell on ‘Arthur Turner’ a cooking variety that was in the middle of a row of four. (Apparently it won an RHS prize for its blossom) The trees have now been in place for three years, so its more of a disturbance for them than when we originally planted them, but they should still re-establish. This weekend was almost the last time we could do this while the trees were dormant.
Here’s Arthur before the move:
First we prepared the hole for Arthur’s new home, digging out an area with roughly the diameter of the branch-spread down to two spade depths and adding four wheelbarrowloads of compost to enrich the soil.
Next we removed the turf around the tree, and dug a trench down, carefully digging in until we came to the roots. We dug down and under, to free it, and rocked it onto a tarpauline. We then dragged it to the new planting position.
We replanted Arthur, taking care to plant to the same depth that it had been before, and then backfilled the hole, treading it down well to exclude any air pockets. Finally we put in a new stake, to keep the roots still while they reestablish, and backfilled the hole where it had been. Now to wait with fingers crossed!