Pick of the week

Now then dear readers. Do you remember all those week ago – after a disastrous attempt at growing peas and mange tout at the allotment – I sowed some in guttering?? And then, a few weeks later, I stuck ’em in the allotment??

Well dear reader, I have marvellous news! Despite being far too late in the ground, the mange tout have persevered, enjoyed the late summer/early autumn warmth, and are cropping!! Hoo-bloody-rah!

I’ve had three pickings from them so far, and plenty more coming (until the weather kicks in, I suspect). It feels like such a late-season bonus – the guttering was really an experiment to see if I could evade the allotment nasties that did for my seedlings in the ground. But I kicked it off so late that I wasn’t sure much would come of it.

(And, admittedly, the peas were a disaster; got in the ground and gave up the ghost)

In other news, the wonderful – and long-awaited – sweetcorn harvest was overwhelming us. I didn’t want to waste it and let the cobs overripen, so Miss MBaF and I wheeled up to the plot and picked the lot.

I cut them in half, par-boiled them for a couple of minutes, cooled them in iced water and put them in the freezer. Now we don’t have to have them with EVERY meal, just the ones that they go with!

What’s been your Pick of the Week?


A pretty little prunus

Our back garden is still evolving from the blank unloved canvas it began as when we bought our modest little home in November 2010.

It has already changed beyond recognition (one day I’ll sort out a dramatic ‘before and after’ post!), but there’s more to do. The current major project going on out there is Mr MBaF’s uber-shed construction – to house bikes, potting shed, and DIY workshop.

The privet hedge at the end of our patch has taken the full force of ‘project uber-shed’, so we’re currently lacking part of the boundary between us and the right-hand neighbours. It’ll get replaced somehow, somewhen. But I wanted something pretty to stop-up the gert big view into our neighbours garden that you get when sitting on our fancypants decking supping G&T (or mulled wine soon!).

I thought: small tree or large shrub, with flowers. I thought vibernum, probably a winter-flowering one for some off-season interest.

But then we went to the garden centre and I spied this little beauty!

It’s a weeping ornamental cherry, and it was standing demurely on its own next to the crabapples – with their shiny show-off fruits – asking me to take it home. Fate was sealed when Mr MBaF also really liked it – we rarely agree on these matters!

The little thing will, apparently, reach 8x5ft in ten years. The height sounds perfect, the width could be tricksy – but hey, we’ve got a while to figure that out.

Today – in the most beautiful sunshine – I dug up the astrantia and bindweed in her spot and worked in some soil improver. Then popped her in and gave her a drink.

She looked gorgeous. The low sun – the late summer light that Monty’s always on about – glowed through her leaves. This effect is completely underwhelming in the terrible shots below (which include Miss MBaF’s slide, and a bucket!!) – so you’ll just have to take my word for it!


I’m so chuffed – she should have great autumn colours,  lovely spring blossom, and I’m planning to plant hellebores and spring bulbs beneath.

I can’t wait to see how she settles in as the seasons pass.

Pick of the …Month!

It’s like exercise, this blogging lark. When you’re doing it routinely, regularly, when you’re ‘in the swing’ of it, it’s easy and pleasurable. But as soon as you stop for a week or two it ain’t half difficult to get going again.

As with exercise, I’m also finding it harder to motivate myself when the weather’s  dreary. There are fewer opportunities to get out in the earth and get inspired.

But, here I am, back and writing – at last.

And my absence was not caused entirely by laziness or apathy. We holidayed (in Malta – at last, a shot of hot sunshine!) for 10 days and there’ve been new routines to get into on our return as Miss MBaF began a new preschool.

But there are no more excuses now, so I thought I’d start with a long-awaited (I mean, two or three years) Pick of the Week Month, which is…..drum roll please…..SWEETCORN!!!

Sounds the horns! Fly the flags! Roll out the barrel! Swing the cats! It finally happened, I finally managed to grow numerous, healthy, sweetcorn plants! They managed to pollinate, they stood up to the gales (with help) and cold weather and they survived abandonment at the moment they were ripening! And on the day after we returned from holiday I picked the first perfectly ripe, tightly packed, wonderfully sweet, delicious cobs of corn.  

 I’m rather pleased, can you tell?