The garden is looking vibrant, with the Barcelona tulips triumphantly returning for their fourth spring – not bad for our heavy clay.

Tulipa Barcelona flowers and Euphorbia martiniiWhile the tulips in the front garden have also returned with panache among clouds of wallflowers, our tulips in pots have been far less glorious these year. Despite lots of dry weather in the past couple of months, I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t been watering them, and they’ve obviously suffered for this. Hmm. Think I’ll be throwing them into the borders in the autumn to take their chances, rather than rely on my sporadic attention! I have been rather distracted this spring though…

There are a few gaps in the borders this year where I dug out and rearranged various plants last year – these spaces will soon be swallowed up again, and on my snatched forays in the garden I help things along by relocating a few self-seeders or seedlings from last year that have been awaiting their freedom.

I’ve been particularly thrilled to spot regrowth on two plants that I added last spring: one Erythronium ‘Pagoda’ and a shuttlecock fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris. The latter faded away very quickly and early last year, and I was sure I had killed it off with a lack of initial watering, but for a few weeks it has been unfurling its beautiful zesty green fronds once more, and I couldn’t be happier to see it!

Home grown purple sprouting broccoli

Home grown purple sprouting broccoli

An equally welcome sight in the edible part of the garden – and our only winter-standing crop this year – has been the first harvests of purple sprouting broccoli. Not a vegetable we’ve grown here before through the winter, but with little maintenance required since planting them out in the autumn, we are now reaping the benefits with copious harvests. Our LO has enjoyed his share too of these first home-grown crops – and certainly attacks them with gusto when presented to him.

We’ll certainly be sowing PSB again late in the summer for more crops this time next year; when harvests are fairly thin on the ground – and very welcome.

First radishes of the yearOur first crops from this year’s sowings have also begun to come in: the ever reliable radishes. Is it cheating that we have grown these in seed-trays in the greenhouse? While the weather outside is unpredictable, these have rocketed up from seed to give us a little zest for our salads, though our LO will have to wait till he’s a bit older to taste their fiery flavour.


14 thoughts on “Fresh

  1. Lovely to se your Barcelona; I bought them after seeing them on your blog a couple of years ago, mine are returning each year too, they are one of my favourites (there are a lot of favourites!).

    • I know what you mean; a different tulip pops up and suddenly that’s my favourite – until the next one opens…
      Glad that Barcelona is doing so well for you too

  2. We gave our children home grown veg when they were babies and like your LO they ate with gusto. Barcelona tulips are new to me but they look gorgeous.

    • I’m really looking forward to introducing him to all the tastes and textures we grow through the year! The Barcelona tulips are a lovely vibrant fuchsia pink, I grew them in pots in the first year then transplanted them into the ground where they reliably return.

  3. Sara I love your combination with the Barcelona tulips, is that a euphorbia they are growing through? the colour combination makes the tulips sing even more, nice your LO is enjoying his home grown veg, a lovely crop of PSB, Frances

  4. No it’s not cheating Sara – it’s creative thinking! I wish that I had put some PSB in last summer. Must do better this year.

    • These plants were spares from my mil, kindly given to us last autumn when we were a bit busy to think of sowing them! We’ll try this year too!

  5. Congratulations on producing PSB, whenever I have tried growing it either the white butterfly caterpillar or the pigeons eat it before we do. It is wonderful to be producing some of your own vegetables and to be introducing them to your LO.

    • I must say the only other time we have tried growing broccoli, in our first year here, it was through the summer, and was indeed infested with cabbage whites. The long-standing memory of tipping the washed and steamed florets out of the steamer to find lots of cooked caterpillars that had somehow escaped cleaning has put us off ever since! Growing it through the winter escapes those horrors nicely!

  6. It seems to have been a great year for Tulips. I’m glad to see that your PSB has done well – you know I am a great fan of it! I think it will be a fair while before your lad learns to like Radishes. Most kids find them far too strong. My granddaughters like most veg, but even the oldest (6) doesn’t like Radishes (yet).

    • Yes I thought of your abundant crops of PSB when ours started to come! Indeed I agree it could be a while before our LO is on radishes – although he was happily tucking into olives this week, which was a surprise!

  7. I don’t know why, but I’ve never thought of growing radishes in the greenhouse… Why not! I’m useless at watering pots of tulips, but happily the ones I had in pots last year and bunged, haphazardly into the little bed by the greenhouse, are very happy indeed. AS for PSB, the perfect finger food for small hands, and utterly delicious.

    • No we hadn’t grown radishes under cover before but it’s worked really well for some quick crops. I’ll have to make more effort with my pot-grown tulips next year! At least life should have settled a bit by then, so no excuses, though I’ll be back at work full-time so I suspect time will be even more elusive!

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