A garden is for eating

Some vegetables we put in two weeks ago are doing all they can, seeds are bringing forth some shy buds and looking promising so far. We've been spared insect plagues up till now, so let's hope we'll be the only ones in near future to enjoy the greenery.

One big patch was transformed from being covered in weeds to an Eden like patch. Put down in nice little rows are four different kinds of salad, fennel, broccoli and sprouts.

Dr Livingstone planted some beans and we put some stalks in place for them to grow on. Also in are courgettes and pumpkins!

Raddish, red beetroot and some potatoes are doing well.

All plants which will indulge us with different kind of berries are also growing at a rapid pace (we have now spoilt them with some mushroom manure). I also put two plants of the same grape variety in (Boskoop glory), they're still waiting for warmer days I guess.

I'm also chuffed with my herbs, they're doing very well.

It's a bit tricky now to get to them, I need to take a detour around half of the garden to get to them because we can't walk on the patch because of the grass seeds. But so far I'm able to have my daily, fresh mint tea cuppa.


Iron butterfly

The radiant Jeanette MacDonald, born on June 18, 1903

Reblogged from Nitrate Diva.

Stories from the garden

Crazy neighbour told us to wait another weekend before eating our own salad. The inner heart of the salad needs to firm up, so the crops are still all in place.

We have however eaten our very first, very sweet, strawberries. They are delicious! And they look gorgeous. I'll have to make some room for them to grow and get some cuttings of the tentacles that are feeling their way around the flower beds. They keep flowering, so that's good. Every flower is a strawberry. The bees are also out in full force. We need to bind the peonies together, they are collapsing under their own weight, but I'm scared we'll get a nasty response from the honey making winged insectivores. They're fighting each other in mid air to get to all the yummy pollen.

I've impersonated a bee this week. We bought a paprika-plant that brings forth white (!) paprika's. It's already sporting a few items. But because the plant is in our conservatory I'm playing the part of the pollinator with a swab, going from flower to flower.

Anyway, last weekend was another D-Day for the garden, the next big step to completing is has been taken. The area has been tilled, levelled and the grass seeds are in place.

It's not exactly Centre Court at the All England Lawn and Croquet Club, but it'll do for us.
We're roaring to give those balls a good walloping and have Pimm's on the lawn.
We're keeping it wet, Dr Livingstone went out and bought one of those interval rain spectacle things, that move about to evenly spread out water (it does about 60 square metres at time). We wouldn't have been able to do so if we hadn't put in that rain collector of 5000 litres. It is ca. 500 square metres to keep wet.

But I've just had a call from him telling me they're expecting rain this evening or tomorrow in gigantic proportions. About as much is going to fall as we could expect in an entire month. So I think if that should happen here (chances are it will, and not some miles further on), all the seeds will wash away and it will have been in vain. That is probably what is going to happen, these things never work out the way they have been planned.
But anyway, the soil has been levelled, so that's that. In the event we will have some kind of flood we can always just go out and buy two bags of new seed and spread that out.
We've been promised if there is a good balance between the temperature and water, germination should start in about 8 to 10 days. Or even as quick as 5.

In other news: Dr Livingstone got a present from his old mentor: a motorbike!
I'm not very pleased about that, as he had promised he wouldn't rid one ever again. But now I've seen it, it's ok. I can live with it. It's a light chopper king of bike, not a heavy one. It is 'easily' manoeuvrable, better for his back too.
He has made his mind up at first getting some lessons in with the driving school to freshen up on his biking skills again.

I tried to clear the bike with customs yesterday, as it has been imported from an other EU country. We checked with customs in the other country, checked with the importer here in Belgium and then called again with customs here to make sure we had all the documents we needed.
Of course when I got there, they told me I had to have some kind of proof of ownership.
I explained to the guy we had brought everything along as we had been told to do so, and we didn't have an invoice or something as it was a gift.
'Well, you didn't listen and haven't understood what was said on the phone then' said the officer.
I was very, very angry.
But I will get my own back. The whole custom office was reeking of cigarettes. It's a federal office. They are not allowed to smoke in there.
I'm putting in a call to the appropriate services to deal with that.
Mrs B doesn't take no for an answer.


Rewarding peony

Bees are going bananas over the smashing lovely peony. It has opened up completely now, it's luring loads of pollinators (and humans) with it's lovely, dazzling smell.


More jobs completed

All this happened last week, but I'm saving some stuff and spreading it out over a couple of entries. We had the gate and the enclosure from the coral pulled out so we can start afresh. We're re-using the gate (after it's had a good clean and paint job). We also had to make sure the next time we put the posts in they don't suffer from water eroding the wood. As long as they're in the ground and wet it doesn't matter. But the rain from the roof where we keep the wheel barrow and some other stuff just fell near the post and it had rotted away.
I had the idea to put a gutter there and then collect the water so we can use it to water plants and such.
We still had some pieces left over from when we made the flower pots out front.
And there was a discount on a water butt so we got one in. It's got a flexi hose attached to it, you can see how much water is in there plus it works very easily thanks to the principle of communicating vessels. Just unhook it, lower it and you can fill up whatever you want. We still need to hose the wall down with the high pressure cleaner and then treat it.

Dr Livingstone really put his back into it (literally) and also cleaned out the little shelter. It was still full of leaves and stuff from last winter.

No really. His back is very bad at the moment. He's been seeing doctors, physiotherapists and taking ice pack remedies. Too much work in the garden! His hands are itching and he just can't sit still for one bit.
I'm sensing he's enjoying this gardening stuff. Especially since some of the veggies are ready to eat this coming weekend! yes, we're going to give the salad a try. All homegrown, no herbicides, pesticides or what have you. Just water and sun.


Gardening breaks

In between studying I've been taking a break doing a bit of gardening. My mushroom has made it to the front yard! It's there! It looks rather inconspicuous at the moment, the peony dwarfing it at the moment.
It'll really stand out in winter when there's nothing about.
Also some pretty plants I had bought earlier finally went in. They were craving for water the last couple of days, I was trying my best to keep them happy and alive, but the best place for them is where they are currently residing. Three lavender augustifolia, six sedums, four dianthus and six salvia officinalis. I looked it up, the herb is good for just about anything, bar cleaning your windows I think.
I got it because on the label it said it blooms between June and October. But teh intertubes tell me it's just in June and July. I thought it would add a little colour when everything else is starting to fade.
All plants I put in love a bit of dry, well drained soil. Which is excellent because there is still a lot of rubble in the ground there because the old path leading to the front door was there. When tilling the soil I even dug up an entire brick! And we've been over that spot like a thousand times by now.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing it all start to grow, covering the ground and attracting lots of things with wings.


Headline hegemony

One of the national newspapers had me chuckling away again on Monday.
Three headlines on their online edition had randomly found their way next to each other.

They read: 
1) 'War agains sexual violence upped'
2) 'German bomber fished out of the Channel'
3) 'Delays possible for those who leave with airplane'

Freud would have had a field day.


Next little step: completed!

Another step closer to completing the herculean task of transforming the garden into something we like.
I completed cleaning up the borders around the plants where the borders have gone in. Pulled out all the weeds, laid down anti-root membrane (which I had recuperated before the bulldozers went in last year) and then filled it in with tree bark (red pine). It looks very neat and tidy now.
I also filled in the path Dr Livingstone has made to get around his veggie beds and crates. It's not quite finished yet, but I'm nearly done. I'll finish it when the exams are over. Now I'm just doing stuff during my study breaks to get some fresh air and a little exercise.
The grass man rang to say he's going to do the job this coming weekend! Yay.



I've spotted a peculiar simularity between the logo of 'Storify' and the logo of bankrupt Belgian national airline Sabena.
Are they in any way related? I think we should be told.


Summer spring

Finally the weather we were all dreaming of has arrived and has excelled all the expectations.
We broke the national record again yesterday, warmest spot in Belgium yesterday.
Anyone complaining about it being too warm: they should be punched in the face. With a chair.
Don't say I warned in advance.


Border line

The guys came and put the borders in we had asked them to (a very long while ago). Things are slowly taking shape. We're chuffed to bits and went to look at them several times after they had been put there.
This is finally starting to look like a proper garden for relaxing and enjoying when the weather is ok.
We got word from the lawn guy, he's going to start sowing in two weeks time and the crane guy started again on Wednesday with the clearing of the excess ground at the rear of our patch of land. Stupid rain delayed the works by a forthnight!

But slowly, very slowly, things are looking up and we are seeing the light at the end of the gardening tunnel.
If the big works are over; we can finally sit back and enjoy a game of petanque amid a fair few flowers and buzzing insects.

And holding some kind of cocktail, Ricard or other kind of alcoholic beverage.
And sitting in one of the nice comfy wicker garden sets we ordered and should arrive at the end of this month.
But first... exams!


Budding to go

The peony rose is not open yet but will be any day this week. Dr Livingstone thought we would have a little bet as to which bud will open first, but actually we're too tired to even look nowadays.
I saw a sturdy bumble bee try to pry open the bud to get to the good stuff, but the bud wasn't going to yield any of its deliciousness just yet.
The plant has also been spared the usual tramp-tramp of the ant jackboot. Strange, I thought they'd be the first ones in trying to steal the nectar on the outside of the bud.
We're both glad the two peony's survived the digging last year and are doing so well now, it will give an extra added colour to the monotonous green shades still lurking about this late spring.


Clematis in starring role

The clematis growing around the car port is making sure we're getting that full on (belated) spring feeling. Nearly all the buds are open and attracting a lot of attention of pollinators. I've stood and watched, very glad of seeing so much bee activity. I'm no expert, but I'm sure I've counted five different types of bees in a very short time, notwithstanding we're a bit short on flowers in bloom in the rest of the garden due to the cold weather.

I don't know what kind of clematis it is, I tried to look it up on the web and stumbled upon a site called Clematis on the web and their database contains about 3500 varieties of clematis. I gave up looking. I've got a nice dark pink one. That's enough for me.


Crated and ready for growth

I made four crates for veg and flowers as mentioned in an earlier post. They are a tad lower than the two that Dr Livingstone had put in the veg garden earlier this season. Together with Dr Livingstone we stapled pond liner to the inside of the boxes and put them in the newly tilled (and levelled) soil. Here's proof of my our labours.
Still need to get some manure in to regenerate the soil and make everything yield ginourmous sizes of everything ranging from raddish to red beetroots and sunflowers.

Green activities

Things have been going on in the garden...
- borders in stone have been put down
- extra crates for veg and flowers have been made
- rotten potatoes have been dug up and fresh ones planted
- weeds have been pulled out
- sand and excess ground have been taken out
- lots of rain has fallen the past two weeks and has delayed everything

All this and more to look forward to on this blog!
I will leave you with the 'Wtf are you people doing to my kingdom'-face Mouser has been pulling when things are happening outdoors.


Hotel guest close up

We're still taking bookings, but the second bee hotel under the car port is filling up rapidly.
What a difference a couple of days of sunshine can make! I managed to take a picture of a bee in one of the holes. It was very responsive to every move I was making with the camera and waiting for me to go away.