Monday, 14 June 2021

A New Project Underway

Old age creeps on. We are very gradually reducing the holiday cottage business, as property and garden maintenance, to say nothing of all the turn-rounds, becomes slightly more of a challenge. However, I can't stop mowing lawns and polishing shower screens and then have nothing at all to do... 

So... the picture below shows the beginnings of our latest project, which is to build a garden room and greenhouse on the back lawn here at The Barn. The BIG plan is that garden room will be fully insulated and heated, and will in due course be fitted out as a pottery studio. I will then get back into that area of creativity that I haven't touched since 1995, when I last taught Art and Pottery. (Oh my - was it really that long ago...!!!)

The greenhouse will be a lean-to onto the garden room, with french doors between the two, so it will have a conservatory feel to it. The plan here will be to grow our own bedding plants, plus to have some semi-permanent plants in the greenhouse, to make it a pleasant place to sit when warm enough.

It could be pots and plants for Christmas presents from now on...

Breaking ground

My sketch plan
It'll be french doors on the front,
as I realised I would need a wide opening for access 

Monday, 7 June 2021

Another Garden Post

May on Skye is often the driest month of the year. This year, it was even drier than usual, but there's enough moisture in the soil for things to grow. It's been sunny and calm too, and as we don't get the scorching heat that often affects the south of the UK, the garden and the allotment are looking great. 

After a little furry friend chomped through the entire first sowing of broad beans, the second sowing are now up and looking healthy. There's a few gaps, where said friend pinched the seeds almost as soon as I had planted them, but unless he now returns for 'seconds' - it looks like we might get a crop of broad beans this year after all.

The weather forecast for the next few days is suggesting that we might get some gale force winds - which are not at all unusual here. I know from past experience that young runner beans can be severely damaged by strong winds, so I have spent a while this afternoon constructing a shelter for them, which I hope will be enough to keep them happy.

I can't resist adding another photo of my 'secret garden'. The ground was once a wasteland of gorse, bramble and wild grasses, but over the years, I have 'managed' a large part of it, but still let wild plants like nettles, docks, buttercups and of course bluebells, have their space - there is still gorse and brambles too, behind where I stood to take the picture. It's a bit of a change from manicured lawns and neatly trimmed hedges - not that you see much of that kind of garden on Skye!

Broad beans! The big one nearest the camera is the sole survivor from the first sowing.

The wind-shelter for the runner beans.
The bottles in the foreground protect the young sprout and kale plants. 
(I ran out of bottles, so four kale are having to fend for themselves...)
The bottles can come off next week, once the forecast windy weather is past.

My 'Secret Garden'
Note - we still have a blue sky!

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Beautiful Blue

Following on from our recent unusually good daffodil display, the Roskhill bluebells are now at their best. Unfortunately, almost no-one gets to see them, as they are tucked-away in what I think of as the 'secret garden', which is a semi-wild area between the allotment and the river gorge. So enjoy the pictures - oh, and note the wonderful blue sky, too!

Friday, 28 May 2021

The Bean-Burglar Mystery

 Well, I don't think it's Mr Bobtail.

Following-on from my last post, I have been watching the bean-bed in the allotment. The chicken-wire frames I made to deter an attack from bunnies have not moved or been dug-under at all, and yet three more of my surviving four young bean plants from the first sowing have now succumbed to the thief. As before - the juicy green growing tips are chewed-off and left on the soil, while the actual seed is dug-out from beneath and devoured. I have a strong suspicion that some of the second-sowing have also been removed, as there are random holes appearing, and no new growth is visible above ground yet.

So who is the perpetrator? We are seeking someone small enough to get through the chicken wire, who can dig, doesn't eat green veg, but loves to gorge on germinating bean seeds.

I'm now thinking field vole - we get a lot of them here. Though they've always been around, and this is the first time I've lost any broad beans in this way.

I'll put up a sign - 'No bean-eating' - but I'm not sure it'll work, as I don't think voles can read. 

It doesn't look like we'll be eating home-grown broad beans this year...

The sole surviving plant is at the bottom. 
Two chewed-off tops wither on the soil.