June 2021

It seems that the summer has been dragged kicking and screaming into 2021. For once we had a bank holiday with entirely good weather and we were able to relax in our lounger chairs and listen to the sound of next-door’s mower on Saturday, Sunday… and Monday!


Again, Sue Thomas does not seem to have had the time to listen to lawn mowers:

Hi Ed, Tomato plants safely installed in the poly tunnel. Self pollinating beans also safely installed in the poly tunnel. Strawberries which are in big pots are fruiting also in the poly tunnel. Just another week and we will be eating them again. Can't wait. As usual at this time of year, my beautiful Magnolia (Susan) has fallen foul of the weather. As it flowers later than the 'common' Magnolia, it always seems to produce it's dark pink flowers just as the wind howls and the rain gushes down, knocking the petals off before they can fully open. The Verbena Kilimanjaro (wedding cake bush) is now showing off all it's beautiful tiers of flowers, looking just like a cake, as it should. Just had a call from the horse muck lady, and am off to collect a couple of trailer loads of manure. Still putting custard on our rhubarb!! Stay safe, Cheers, Sue.


Annette Ridley is among the butterflies:

Hi Ed, It’s been a busy spring in the garden just trying to keep the weeds under control. But I think I’m now finally winning the battle. Lovely to have the warmer, sunnier weather. Love watching the orange ornamental poppies blooming alongside the Cambridge blue aquilegia. Nature always amazes! We found a brimstone moth in our shed and are seeing more orange-tip, common blue, admiral and peacock butterflies along with a tiny moth no bigger than a forget-me-not. I started to volunteer again at Oxburgh Hall as a room steward but am always drawn to the kitchen garden. Love their Victorian greenhouse filled with hundreds of plants waiting to be placed in the parterre later this month. It’s wonderful to feel that life as with nature is moving along, as it should be. Enjoy the sunshine. Cheers, Annette.


Retail therapy seems to be the order of the day for Julie Brown:

Hello Ed, Goings on at No1 – I have been armchair shopping on Facebook marketplace. I have bought a new 50 meter garden hose for Liz, a new 30 meter hose for No 1, both for £30. Also, a garden planter with climbing frame, which the lady gave me when I collected, as it had some paint on it. You will see it at the front of my new raised sleeper vegetable bed, and metal posts to hold the log roll, that Liz has given to me, upright and in place. I am waiting for a garden planter to be delivered today or tomorrow. With all this shopping I can be getting on with things in the garden.


I cut the grass bank holiday weekend. I was doing 'No mow May' but if I waited any longer I don't think that my ancient B&D hover mower would not have managed it. I didn't want to strim the edges, so I cut them with the garden scissors – more control it looks tidy. I saved lots of creepy crawlies, but it took forever. Those log roll edges will help to prevent the need to do that again: I'm not a masochist.

I have managed to make up a hanging basket and planted the tower of pots with salmon busy lizzy. It was a show last year and I hope for the same again but just the one colour.

I have grown from seed this year, Black Russian and Gigantico tomato and sweet corn, and I managed to grow Morning Glory, which remind me of Granny Hinchliffe and our Mum.

I was given 3 tomato, 2 cucumber and 2 melon plants: these are in situ in the green house and are coming along. I don't think my greenhouse will be hot enough for the melon.

Back in March I weeded my neighbours garden and planted potatoes which are growing well. A few strawberries went in too. I have since planted runner beans on a wigwam and a few sugarsnap peas. I have an area of much weeds to clear for when the sweet corn is ready to go in. I have planted a wigwam of runner beans and sugar snap peas at home too. The mole is running around everywhere in the new flowerbed. He has moved the bulbs I planted and the alliums are coming up in strange places. I have enjoyed pheasant eye daffs for the first time and the night-scented stocks, which were put in as a filler late last year, fill the warm evenings with their beautiful scent. I have been in awe of the ferns and hostas that fill the shady corner of the garden. I cannot believe the size of the leaves – and the fronds: they are beautiful too.


On bank holiday Monday Michael came by to help move the 3rd stone onto my Japanese bed. The bonsai horse chestnut was moved into the prepared hole too, it will remain in its pot. I then have lots of slate chippings to clean to put over this surface. The log roll edging needs to be finished going in and the weed suppressant down. I have one or two other plants to go in and ornaments too – nearly there. Moving that stone freed up several places to continue improving the garden. Privet hedge needs a tidy and a trim then the bird feeder will come out of the grass into this area where the horse chestnut was.


In my raised vegetable bed I planted broad beans and garlic last year, which have done well. I planted carrots, parsnips, radish and lettuce between the rows of garlic. In the other bed I planted carrots, marigolds, golden beet, Tony won't eat the red beetroot. Then more carrots as I love them. All seem to be coming up. Nearly forgot to mention the beauty of an old fashioned peony. Looking forward to the day when I can just lay in the hammock listening to bird song.

See you all sometime soon, Julie


It has to be said, things have been different this year. Yes, we have had a lot of rain, but eventually the muddy tracks dried up. Even though there was intermittent light rain, the ground conditions improved. Then we had the wettest May since whenever, with one day a couple of weeks ago, on my rain gauge, showing about 20 mm. Everything returned to mud, but a week later it was dust again. But all this is not what seems to me the most unusual thing: we have been walking the (various) dogs in Hockham Woods for decades and at no time of the year have we ever seen this particular track flooded. It became flooded around the turn of the year and remains so – into June?


Finally, the forecast looked good for a few days. With the garden at it’s height – the grass needing mowing at very short intervals, top heavy plants needing support, potatoes needing ridging, tomatoes needing canes, etc., we thought we deserved a break. Prue and I decided that with lockdown easing and gatherings of some numerical value being permitted, we ought to try and arrange a safe and legal social event. Having given it much thought it seemed that, although there were restrictions on people meeting, there was no information regarding limiting the gatherings of other life forms. To this end was arranged a get-together of canine members at the garden of yours truly. 


So we just picked a day and went for it. On the day the weather had been looking a bit ruff in the morning, but the afternoon bought quite a bit of sunshine. Luck must have been on our side as on the following day it was raining cats and dogs. On arrival, guests became re-acquainted with one another in the time-honored ceremonial of sniffing one another’s bottoms. Thank goodness the dogs were better behaved. Meeting others and having a poodle around the garden after such a long time in lockdown was very welcome, although all the talking left some people a little husky. All guests bought something to eat, while we supplied hot brown liquid. Anyone thinking there would be any low calorie options was barking up the wrong tree. One member bought along a most interesting dish I didn’t recognize at first, although it did ring a bell: turned out to be a Pavlova. All good things must come to an end and on leaving, some of the people were looking a little melancollie. Sorry, I blame the lockdown.


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