Sunday 29 April 2018

Plant Of The Month April

As things are a little more relaxed around here,  I want to get the garden shaped up and planted up.
As many people before me have done and I really like the idea, I thought I would try it out.
Each month buying a perennial or herbaceous plant of interest each month.
I had a visit to the garden nursery last week and came home with this.
  • Synonyms Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty'
  • Family Berberidaceae
  • Genus Podophyllum are rhizomatous perennials with lobed leaves, varying in shape from hexagon to starburst, with a central stem. The leaves are thick and textured, with prominent veins and often marbled or mottled in shades of green and brown. The flowers are cup- or bell-shaped, upright or hanging, in red, pink or white, and may be followed by red or yellow fruit
  • Details 'Spotty Dotty' is a rhizomatous, herbaceous perennial with large, umbrella-shaped leaves that have pointed lobes and are heavily-spotted with bronze, particularly in spring. Dark red, hanging, narrow, bell-shaped flowers appear below the leaves in late spring or early summer
  • Foliage Semi-evergreen
  • Habit Bushy
  • Toxicity All parts of the plant are highly toxic if eaten
  • Hardiness


Colour in Autumn

  • Plant colour
  • Plant colour

Colour in Spring

  • Plant colour
  • Plant colour

Colour in Summer

  • Plant colour
  • Plant colour
  • Plant colour

Colour in Winter

  • Plant colour
  • Plant colour


  • Full Shade
  • Partial Shade
  • Aspect North-facing or East-facing or West-facing
  • Exposure Sheltered


  • Clay
  • Loam
  • MoistureMoist but well-drained
  • SoilClay, Loam
  • pHAcid, Neutral


  • Ultimate height 0.1-0.5 metres
  • Ultimate spread 0.1-0.5 metres
  • Time to ultimate height 2-5 years
Details taken from RHS web site.
it has planted in a new corner that I have cleared and has plenty of room to make itself at home. 
 There is room for a few more plants in this corner.
 Spotty Dotty has some flowers forming they develop under the leaves, I got the plant for the foliage not the flowers.

Friday 27 April 2018

Its Time To Grow And Sow

Its a busy time of year, sowing seeds, growing on pricking out and getting out into the garden.
 Working on the garden is this year's on going project, I cut down the old tree in the garden the other day and it is the perfect place for this metal pheasant garden ornament.
 Before Martin went away to work he made me a suspended shelf for the poly tunnel, its  now planted up with strawberries in grow bags.
 And there is just enough room at the end of the shelf for this planter that has been planted up with tumbling tomatoes, they will have lots of space to tumble down and will be accessible.
 Hanging baskets are all planted up they will stay in the poly tunnel for another couple of weeks.
 And the window boxes are planted up with trailing geraniums again they wont go out for a couple weeks.
Asparagus is pushing its way up and there is enough to cut for a first harvest, this autumn I want to get a third row of asparagus planted up.
mushrooms are starting to appear in the poly tunnel borders again.
 I do feel everything is late this year but now the weather has improved, its all racing away and catching up, We are after all still in April. 
The leaves are bursting out on the trees and everywhere is taking on a green haze, we are always a few weeks later up here I think its the altitude slows it all down. The blossom is just coming out on the fruit trees and bushes. But it never effects the weeds they are just as prolific as ever. In truth there not weeds are getting less, now all the walk ways are covered with membrane and wood chip in the vegetable area and fruit cage there are less weeds in the grow beds to deal with, the borders in the garden are still work in progress and after years of weed seeds it will be some time before we see any reduction of weeds there. 
I hope you are all happy with your progress this year in the garden.


Monday 23 April 2018

Three Little Girls

Thelma delivered triplets last night text book style
 All arrived within minuets of each other
 and before long they were all looking to get there bellies filled.
Thelma is a good mum, quickly getting them cleaned up fed and settled. 
Here is a short video of the last one arriving.
 This morning they were all fluffed up and raring to go
A lovely mix of colours.
Now I am just waiting for Connie sometime in the next week, followed by Helen.
Unfortunately Martin missed it again, he had to away last night to work and Thelma delivered an hour after he left. 


Saturday 21 April 2018

Buffalos On Parade & What Is It ?

Yesterday was a big day for the Water Buffalo Mamas to be, 

 In readiness Petunia decided she needed a mud bath and wallowed the morning away waiting for the gate to be opened 
Here is a video of the being let out.
 Then it was all ready Martin had moved all the electric fencing to enclose the field next door for them to graze, all winter we have been strip grazing, now they will stay were they are until they have calved.
plenty of spring grass for them

 They really enjoyed this new freedom

 And marched around the field checking it all out.

 We did get them a haylage bale to try out and put it inside one of those ring things

We are waiting for one to arrive for Frasier and Johnny at the moment they are happy to lounge around in there haylage bale and use it as a sun bed.
Now what is it 
 Martin has been putting something up
 In the adjoining corners of Buffalo fields, Alpaca fields and Sheep field. 
What is he building ?


Saturday 14 April 2018

Lots Ticked Off The List

It has been a great start to the year with lots of projects and jobs getting ticked off the list, it makes wonder what I am going to do with myself the rest of the year.
 The aquaponics system is now in place filled with water and running, new paths have been put down in the poly tunnel
 Martin had a helper when moving the slabs.
 With the slabs down I could get to work on the growing areas, there is another behind the tank.
 young seedlings have gone into the aquaponics grow bed
 Goldfish have been added to help kick start the system before we add edible fish.
Here is a video showing it all working, sorry not brilliant sound quality. 

My garden shed had a bit of a battering during the last storms, part of the roof was ripped off and windows broken the whole shed flooded 
 New heavy duty roof gone on
 windows repaired and a coat of preservative.
The shed got emptied and a load of stuff went on the bonfire
the lovely weather has meant I could have the doors open to dry it out and have a reorganising session.  
 I have checked the beehive that I moved the bees into, lots of activity so it looks like a success, I will open it during the week and have a good check over what is going on.
 Last night the goat mamas were given a pedicure all ready for kidding, Thelma at the back is due in about a week, followed by Connie at the front and Helen in the middle, Enid who is just out of camera has settled in well and is not in kid. We have to get some kidding pens set up in readiness now.
The stray sheep on our land produced another lamb, the owner collected the sheep the other day so the sheep saga is over. 
It was not a good ending but I am not discussing it on here.
So all major projects on my list are just about complete looking forward to enjoying some of the good weather coming this week.

Monday 9 April 2018

Fuel For The Future

Our log supply may be looking very healthy at the moment as we have been doing a lot of clearing of hedgerows, but we are aware it wont last forever, we have enough logs perhaps for 3 years.

A bit of forward planning is needed if we don't want to be buying in logs. We are dependent on logs, for heating hot water and cooking. 
Last year I had a day out at Llamas Eco Village and was impressed with the willow copse grown for bio fuel on the smallholding I toured.

 Later in the year I went to an open day at West Wales Willows
I know Justine and Alan and they are neighbours.
Had a good look at the willow growing for bio fuel and ordered a start up package delivery when they do there cutting in the winter.
The willow was delayed the winter freezing conditions delayed things, any way Alan brought my packaged over, the black plastic for planting through, pegs and 180 willow cuttings. 
3 variety's of willow A9 Viminalis, Surge and Nini 60 of each

plastic sheeting down, it is going to be covered with wood chip something else we have an abundance of 
 It did involve lots of crawling around and measuring out, the willow is planted 1m apart.
We now have it all planted up another big project ticked off the list.

The willow will be cut back to three stems, the whips we take off can be used for cuttings for the next section to be planted, the process will be repeated the following year, in total we will have 3 lots of willow planted up all at various stages of growing, the third year we should have  our first lot of willow ready to cut for fuel, left to season for a year ready to use as the second area is ready cutting and on it goes cutting on rotation for as many years as we want.  We can also cut the thinning's in leaf and use them for goat feed.
Now we wait for it to grow.