Yesterday's Wordless Wednesday post showed photos of our day out last week at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire.
For the sake of poetic licence I hinted that that the impressive carpet of daisies was at risk of being mowed down by the geese. In the interest of fairness let me put the record straight. As you can see from the photo below the geese make little impact on the daisies.
The geese and their goslings in yesterday's photos were actually browsing on the grass between the daisies. Their efforts at keeping the grass short was maybe the reason that the daisies were flourishing,
The geese in the photo were greylag - our largest resident goose. There were also Canada geese, swans and ducks browsing the grass but the greylags were the only ones with young.
Often when I post that we are pulling rhubarb I will receive comments from readers saying their rhubarb is nowhere near ready and I always reply that it depends which variety is grown.
In the Clumber Park walled kitchen garden with over 130 varieties they boast the second largest collection in the world.
I wonder who has the largest.
It was comforting to see that we were not too far behind them with our vegetable planting although they did have broad beans flowering whereas ours are still in the greenhouse.
I really like the espaliers and fan trained fruit trees.
The main interest was provided by the tulip display.
Our tulips are not quite there yet.
There is, however a slight similarity between their white border ...
I was so absorbed in my work that I didn't notice that one of our plot friends and his dog had walked right by me.
Later when we were sharing a coffee break he said, "You were in the cage so I didn't speak as I was worried that I would make you jump and you would hit your head."
Martyn hasn't yet started to lock me in a cage - the cage in question was the makeshift fruit cage that covers our redcurrant bushes. The ground is covered with weed control fabric and mulched but annual weed seedlings and fallen redcurrants germinate in the mulch and need clearing once a year.
Normally this would be done before the bushes start into growth but, like everything else, this task has been delayed this year meaning that I had to crawl about under, not only leafed but bushes with fruit already set. I dread to think of the view our friend was treated to as he passed.
Anyway the job is done and now we only need to reattach the wire netting to the front of the cage. This was removed to enable easier access.
Each year, these old bushes that we inherited, provide us with a good crop and signs are that this year will be no exception.
Whilst I was scrabbling about on my hands and knees, Martyn was planting our trial potatoes. We bought five tubers each of six varieties that we have never grown before. It is great to be able to buy samples so we can test whether we like them before planting a whole bag of a new variety. We are trying Armour, Blue Belle, Setanta, Orla, Vivaldi and Valor. The thirty tubers just filled a small bed and of course are all carefully labelled.
We managed more weeding and bed preparation but as the forecast is for some rather unpleasant weather we deferred planting anything. I am sure, like us, the plants like shelter and will prefer the protection of the greenhouse or cold frame.
Yellow tulips have now joined the red ones in the pear bed I showed in an earlier post.
The ground cover of what looks like weed seedlings is actually self sown annual flower seedlings - mainly candytuft. There are one or weeds that will need pulling out but the candytuft makes a good job of keeping the weeds at bay. Two pear trees were flowering when we left the plot.
I say, when we left the plot, as I am sure only one had open blossom when we arrived. The tree in the foreground above seemed to open in the afternoon's sunshine. I just hope the insects have been busy and made the most of the warm conditions before they take a turn for the worse.
For various reasons, not least of which is the poor weather, our growing season has been off to a steady start.
We have, however, made some progress and the garden greenhouse and cold frames are taking on tenants.
We have onions and shallots at three different stages. The first lot planted are in one of the cold frames and will soon head for the plot. Some planted slightly later are shooting in the greenhouse and a third lot will be planted directly in the ground.
In the other cold frame our early brassicas - cabbage, calabrese and cauliflower - are waiting to be transferred to the plot. Hopefully they will not have to wait much longer.
The salad bed in the greenhouse is now growing well. This contains a mixture of pea shoots, coriander, radish and various salad leaves. In the Woodblocx the salads sown in there are moving along far slower. At least we have managed to get some spring onions to germinate, but the radish are slow and so far the salad leaves haven't shown any signs of germinating. We need the temperatures to rise soon.
In the greenhouse the broad beans have germinated but are not showing any signs of being in a hurry to grow.
Sweet peas are also pushing through. They are behind the recently potted lavender cuttings that were taken last year.
I have also sown the first batch of annual seeds for the plot cutting patch come pollen bar. There are about twenty different varieties. Another batch will follow on as these germinate. This way we should get flowers over a longer period.
It's a tense time on the soft fruit front. The apricot is loaded with fruit. Some is growing quickly and as expected smaller fruits are being cast. I have removed some of the dead flowers as these were showing signs of spoiling some of the swelling fruits. We need to assess whether we should remove any of the larger fruits. This will not be a problem we have with the peach and nectarine as although there are some signs of fruit setting there will not be very much.
We'll be content with a taster but the fruit will need some warmth if it is to ripen. Maybe we will need to invest in a sun lamp!