Well, it’s been a while since I last sat down to write here and during that time, our garden has filled with flowers and vegetables galore!
My blog has taken a back seat these past few weeks, as we have been busy planning for the future. We know that we need more space for growing food and now space for growing flowers and other plants that I can use for natural crafts, has also become a priority.
Yet, even though we are feeling the need to expand our efforts, our small walled garden has produced so much more this year, than in our first season, in 2020.
I learned a lot about growing things last year and small successes built my confidence. This year I started a lot more seed and jumped into growing flowers with both feet. Who doesn’t love a garden full of flowers? Many of the flowers that I have grown this year have natural crafts in mind, but we have also grown edible flowers.
These beautiful blooms have brought us so much joy over the last couple of months, with myself and my children checking each day to see what is newly opened. We now have the luxury of always having full vases in the house, which makes my heart sing!
This seasons vegetables have also brought much satisfaction, with our dinners often being picked just before we eat them. Homegrown veggies taste so different from the ones that you bring home from the shops, because they are so, so fresh!
My youngest two particularly delight in harvesting our crops and I am so glad for them, that they get to help with growing our food. What a rich and valuable learning experience it is, to plant a seed, nurture it into a full grown plant and then enjoy the results of your efforts.
We grew our tomatoes indoors again this year and were once again rewarded with a bountiful crop. Our new cold frames worked out really well and meant that we could reclaim our porch as space for people rather than plants (although my collection of house plants has started to expand in there!).
Of course, gardening has its ups and downs. I was so cross with myself, for taking my eye off the ball, when a week of bad weather hit. We lost two thirds of our peas to the wind, which could easily have been prevented if I hadn’t been distracted by other things.
Fortunately, I was staggering my peas through the season, so although we lost many plants that were full of young pods, we didn’t have long to wait, for others to take their place.
I have been growing several plants, just for drying and they have all done really well in the slightly wild coastal conditions of the Orkney Islands.
The everlasting strawflowers and sea lavenders (statice), just keep flowering, meaning that we can keep enjoying them in the garden, while I also gather some each week for craft.
It really is remarkable, how they still look so fresh when dried, retaining those fabulous colours. What a treat they will be when the flowers of summer fade away and the darker autumn/winter days return.
I have also been growing some Scabiosa Sternkugel, whose beautiful flowers give way to stunning seedheads. These have also been added to my drying racks for use later on.
Growing flowers from seed has really captured my heart this year and my list of flowers to grow next year is growing by the day.
If you don’t grow your own veggies and flowers from seed, I urge you to give it a try. I knew nothing when I started and most of what I know now, has just been from trial and error.
You won’t find neatly ordered rows of vegetables or flowerbeds that have been planned for colour, size and shape. My methods and results are everything mixed in together, in no-dig beds and I love it!
The hugelkultur bed that my kids made as part of a project on permaculture, last year, is absolutely crammed with plants. Chives, spring onions, spinach, nasturtiums, sea lavenders, poppies, coreopsis, beans, pak choi, wild pansies and others I’ve probably forgotten, all growing together and full of the constant and busy hum of the island’s bees.
There have been times this year when I have felt like I haven’t been succeeding in the garden. Late snow, dry but cold grey days and slugs and caterpillars aplenty, have tried their best to hinder our efforts. Oh and I mustn’t forget that wind, but as I sat and watched the sun come up over our small but packed kitchen garden this morning, I couldn’t help feeling pleased to see so much life, all grown from seed.
It is a simple pleasure and one that I want to go on experiencing year after year.