Cabbages, Sunflowers and Fuchsia … the start of May in the garden

We spent our bank holiday hiking in Staffordshire in search of wild garlic, however we are now back and tending to the garden.

We have been getting all of our late winter and early spring baby plants settled outside, and making room for lots of new seedling trays in the kitchen.  Any sudden frosts and I’ll move all of the pots back indoors overnight, but the end of the cold snaps is almost in sight!

Today our silver birch burst into full leaf…

… and the courgette leaves have changed from tiny seedlings just a few weeks ago …

… to the size of lily pads!  I love the veins in the leaves when the sun shines through them and how the bright orange petals gracefully open and close each day – to me, vegetables plants are every bit as beautiful as ornamental flowers.

Our brussels sprouts are now too large to be troubled by slugs, which prefer to munch on younger baby leaves.  They are growing in a sheltered spot, which will provide protection and support against winter gales, once they have (fingers crossed!) grown into towering structures later in the year.  The leaves are recognisably like brussels now.

The cabbages, too, are fending off the slugs well now – and because our raised bed is quite close to a large buddleia, which butterflies love to swarm over, I’ve added nets as protection against Cabbage Whites laying their eggs there.  I also have many nasturtium seedlings on the way, as they provide a great distraction for pests too.

We have fuchsias growing all over our garden, grown from cuttings my mum gave me when we first moved here, and we spotted our very first fuchsia flower of 2017 today.  I can never quite believe that such an elegant, delicate-looking bloom is so hardy and easy to look after.  It grows in abundance without any help whatsoever, I just cut it back almost to the ground once a year.

And finally, I’ll leave you today with one of our sunflowers … which are looking far happier outside than they ever did in the kitchen!  These are a dwarf variety, that provide a spectrum of orange and yellow flowers.  Meanwhile the giant sunflower seeds have just started to germinate on the windowsill.

We hope everyone is having a lovely start to May 🙂

30 Comments

      1. I knew the last big rain would bring out an onslaught of butterflies and insects. Sure enough they are here. After reading your post I went out to the shed to see if there was any bird netting left from a previous year, and indeed there is! There is enough to cover the bed the cabbages are in. Thank you for conveying the idea!

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      2. You’re welcome … I hope your plants are all coming along nicely now – I’m still waiting on most of the butterflies here, but the bees have arrived, one insect I’m more than happy to share the garden with 🙂

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  1. D > To save a trek and disturbing wild plants, why not consider growing garlic chives. They grow as easily as chives, and taste like garlic (though milder and sweeter). Not a substitute for a walk in the woods, but at least you’ll not have to carry digging implements or return home with soil under your fingernails!

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    1. Hi there, I completely agree! – we were just there for the walk, the view, and the amazing scent, as it’s a bit of a family tradition to welcome in spring at Ilam – but we grow chives back at home, and I’ve got a packet of Welsh Onion seeds to try this year too 🙂

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  2. Growing cabbages is just as difficult here in Australia. The moths somehow takes the opportunity when one isn’t looking. It used to infuriate my dad and he spent more on prevention than it was worth. The nets worked for a while but birds used to get caught in them. Tomatoes were easier. Lovely photos!

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    1. For once, weirdly, the cabbages are thriving, but alas the french beans keep getting every pest going. Gardening is a constant battle! Agreed re. tomatoes … they are my failsafe too 🙂

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    1. There is definitely something magical about fuchsias – and I generally stick to plants that can survive the odd football landing on them (I have four sons) … so these are one of the rare plants I can have that look delicate but are totally hardy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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