Thursday, 18 December 2008

Fayres and festive thoughts

Please note that this is an archived blog - a new blog about the Hop Garden can be found at

I was feeling creative, which usually results in completely trashing the kitchen and disappearing under a mound of greenery. This occasion was no different. However, it wasn't all in vain as I managed to create three festive flower arrangements for the association raffle, my mother-in-law and our table (see above), along with a wreath for the back door. Whether it took me longer to make them or clear up afterwards is a mute point.

We had a good day at the primary school Christmas fayre, and even managed to bring some sceptics around to dandelion coffee, thanks to a hot flask full of it to try. One visitor even came back at the end to get some more dried roots as his wife liked it so much when he made some at home!

The stall was a little off the main throughfare, which was a bit of a shame, but we still did ok and made enough profit for a few bags of potting compost, so no complaints there. The chilli chocolate was a hit, as was the brussels sprout sticks, Jerusalem artichokes and leeks, and if I hadn't burnt the lavender shortbread, I think I could have sold all of it! Next year I think I'll do some simple door decorations, chutney and jams and hopefully we'll have a drier summer so I can share some hops too.

The orchard is taking shape (above), with the bark chipping path now down, and I'm hoping to put the gooseberry and blackcurrant bushes in soon. We're also looking to lay the hawthorn hedge, which should be a good challenge as none of us has tried it before.

Here's the native hedge (above), which I'm gradually clearing of weeds and mulching as I go along. Some of the plastic tubes have been nibbled (not sure if it's a rodent or a rabbit) so they're also getting replaced, and I'm planting new hawthorn whips where a few haven't taken, although generally it's done really well for its first year. I enlisted Alan to barrow this morning for a bit, which was a great help, as I'm convinced it takes more than twice as long on your own if my last attempt was anything to go by.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Winter wonderland

About three inches of snow has fallen overnight and the garden looks as tidy and picture perfect as it will ever be! I love the fact that snow covers all jobs yet to be done - very relaxing.....

I did get a bit done in the polytunnel though (lovely and snug in there with the snow on top), planting some ground cover plants into the border to sit tight until Spring.

Amazingly, a Council truck made it through the snow to deliver the bark chippings I've been waiting for since the summer; I'm very grateful to see them at last, but I don't think I'll be laying the orchard paths today somehow.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Jack Frost jumps in

There's not much to update work-wise as the ground has been rock solid for most of the week, but I did pop out with the camera one morning to capture a few frosty moments, like the teasel above, just melting in the early sunshine.

These strawberries above also had their fair share of frost cover. 

I love cold, crisp winter mornings when the birds are singing, the sun is shining and your breath makes clouds in front of you. A few extra layers is all that's needed to enjoy it :)

If you're local, you might be interested in coming along to High Spen Primary School's Christmas Fayre next Saturday 6th December from noon until 2pm (located on the main road through the Spen, just down from the Bute Arms pub). We've kindly be given a stall by the PTA and will be raising money for the garden through selling some of our produce, as well as handmade goodies such as biscuits and dandelion coffee. It would be lovely to see you there!