A blog on gardening, life by the sea, photography and wildlife

Monday, 30 June 2014

Where have the butterflies gone

Not so long ago the buddleia bush on the plot would have been visited by many different types of butterflies, sadly I have seen over the last few weeks only the Comma and the Cabbage White how has it been on your plot? Flighty has kindly given me this useful link
The pot marigolds are adding a real splash of colour and the verbena bonariensis  on a nieghbours plots standing about 2 metres high swaying in the breeze is a delight. I make no excuse for adding more poppy pictures to the blog the subtle variation in colours is wonderful.

companion planting? marigold in the leeks


verbena bonariensis standing tall

verbena bonariensis

No veg on this small part of the plot

Friday, 27 June 2014

Runner bean Enorma

I am trialling three types of runner bean this year the first to set flowers is Emorma shown in the picture. It is such a treat to have flowers that low on the wigwam support, my other plot at Wellcome was so shaded with trees the plants struggled for light and advanced upwards very quickly, the beans were mostly limited towards the top of the supports.
On the subject of beans I can state that all my beans have wound there way up the canes anti-clockwise in response to a comment by Sue Garrett of Green Lane Allotments Here I will also add that my bath water exits the plug hole anti-clockwise. Answers on a postcard please
The soil is very dry at the moment and regular watering is essential as rainfall so far this summer has been scarce here in Eastbourne which seems to have a little micro-climate being shielded by the south downs, the weather forecast for the region is often quite different for us.
Our plot has been left a little overgrown in places to encourage wild flowers that may assist companion planting and the many different colour poppies are adding lovely colour in places, the pot marigolds I have sown later than normal will be adding to the display.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

West Rise marsh and nature reserve

A local nature reserve, I visited today and the link I posted it to is  Here my other blog

Monday, 23 June 2014

Will my corn be as high as an elephant`s eye?

I refer of course to a line from the song  "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin" from the wonderful musical Oklahoma.
My sweetcorn has grown to about a metre high in just over a month but I doubt it will reach as high as the song suggests, I put the excellent growth down to a really liberal application of well rotted compost dug in before planting, just need more sun and plenty of water now.
The plot looked lovely this morning so I took plenty of photos including a beautiful Scarlet Tiger Moth such a shame they rest with the wings closed.
A seven spot native ladybird was nice to observe instead of the invader species.
I dug the last of my first early potato Vales Emerald and got a surprise with the amount of potatoes off just one plant. 10 pictures in total

Vales Emerald from just one plant

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Viper`s-bugloss on a sunny Sunday

The slopes of Holywell Eastbourne are covered in this glorious plant  Here that loves the sandy and chalk soil of the area, the bees are visiting the plant in large numbers too which is lovely to see.
A nice sunset rounded off a sunny day here with light winds and a pleasing temperature of around 20c

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Windows Live Photo Gallery

This photo editing software part of Windows Essentials is standard on my Windows 7 OS. I use it often instead of Photoshop for it's uncomplicated and simple effects, it has a function for straightening photos (ideal for landscapes) as well as noise reduction. You can check with Microsoft for suitability to your operating system.
It was used to produce this picture of a pink carnation. The amount of editing is a matter of personal taste.

                             Before Editing about half a stop over-exposed

                                                    After editing
I used a Canon 40D with a Canon 70-300mm IS lens mounted on a tripod I waited until the evening when the light was softer and used 1/30sec at f5.6 iso 200 I lowered the shadows after auto-exposure and raised the highlights a little in the editing and applied some sharpening

Monday, 16 June 2014

Mid June plot update

Harvested the first Charlotte second early potatoes, also first early Vales Emerald.
The strawberries are still fruiting and picked a nice bowl for evening meal dessert
Poppies are still flowering well and do make a statement on an otherwise green background.

charlotte crop from one tuber

Vales emerald crop from one tuber

We like ours with creme fraiche

Saturday, 14 June 2014

St Dunstan`s Church Mayfield Summer Fete

St Dunstan`s church Mayfield Sussex had their summer fete today, we usually visit this lovely church and the fete is a good chance for the community to get together and have a fun day with a coconut shy lots of games for adults and children the usual raffles and tombolas a Pimms tent and a barbeque for burgers and sausages. Cream teas inside the church were also available along with a stall selling cakes sponges scones jam chutneys etc. Music was supplied by the Mayfield brass band who were terrific.
The weather was mixed today a few sunny spells but mostly overcast conditions not ideal for photographs but it did give me a chance to try out the Sony RX100 compact camera.
The visit to the bell ringers platform just below the belfry was a bonus as was a chance to ring one of the bells which is a lot harder than it looks.
Maggie Hambling`s stainless steel sculpture "The Resurrection" looks wonderful but is partially hidden by the chandeliers when entering the church, there are plans to move one or the other to correct that.
We all had a fun day and it was great to be out joining in the festivities whatever the weather

                             St Dunstan`s Church Mayfield Sussex

                          "The Resurrection" hanging above the nave

The oldest part of the church dating from the 13th century and showing the filled in arch and floor with glazed opening giving a platform much lower down from the belfry for bell ringing

      The view into the church from the bell ringing platform, taken through the                                platform window it shows my reflection

                                                       Ringing ropes for the 8 bells

                        A scale model of the bell construction in the belfry

                        Statue of St Dunstan up against the second pillar

                                         One of the two chandelier

                                   Maggie Hamblin`s "The Resurrection"

            I wandered into the church`s field and graveyard to take these

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Broad beans a simple meal and a bee count

We enjoyed the first batch of broad beans planted last autumn and overwintered today in our evening meal a simple affair but with the added bonus of Vales Emerald first early potatoes both from our allotment plot.
Afterwards I walked round the plot to do a bee count on some of the wild flowers. 
Friends of the Earth are concerned about declining bee numbers due to the loss of their natural habitat and have a smartphone and notepad App where you can identify and log bee varieties and numbers. You can find it Here I saw lots of bumble bees but no honey bees.

                                          Route one to the pollen

                                                           Our preferred eating size

                                       Picked before they get to big

                                       Small but perfectly formed

                                                Ready for the pot

  Grilled tomatoes, broad beans, new potatoes with chives and butter, chicken  breast, simple and quick