The first crop

asparagus crop 2010I guess you could call this the first crop: not of the year, but the first on the farm.   Almost three years ago I dug the asparagus bed and told myself: not long now.  Just three more years.

And here it is. One small bunch of green asparagus. I only took one spear from each crown: next season we can take the lot.   But if we aren’t here, then we are going to miss them. asparagus end april

If you must go away for ten days at such a crucial time of year, then this is what happens. And it’s not just the asparagus. Flowers are bursting out all over.

cherries How about this for a front drive: all the cherry trees are in exuberant blossom. Forty four of them.   I can barely fit them in the same shot. So here are few views to admire. As I was snapping away I was getting showered lightly in petals. My favourite type of spring snow. cherries end april 1

I was worried that I would miss the tulips entirely. Every day the temperature has been rising. It was 20C today in the shade and I was as busy as the bees flitting from flowers to admire them and try and capture the excitement. A long winter and all is forgiven when you can get this.

tulip barrel detailThe tulips in the middle of the potager are as sumptuous as I had hoped: and naturally I am already plotting more plantings to link the edges of the potager with this display of colour.

I get the feeling that if I don’t keep popping up with a detail of these red tulips you will feel a bit greened out. But that’s what you get: peas are up, broad beans are up and some are flowering. I’m going to have to remember to take the cloches off them during the day so the beans get pollinated.peas end april

charlottes upThe charlotte potatoes are up in the lower potager and I even have a few in the top potager. I need a good session up there in the next few days. The weedproof fabric  has to come up and I need to get the brassicas in. And there are a few stray raspberries straying away from their designated area.

wall end aprilNicolas very kindly watered for me while I was away. Well, in between building the wall. We are almost there  – he thinks he has just a few hours to go to finish the top of this beautiful feature. I can’t believe how he manages to find the flat stones for the top.   The lawnmower in me is dying to get this part of the track mown and tidied. There are a few leftover stones: buried under lush grass. And the cement mixer can go back into the stables for another year. mini meadow end april
It is a shame that the grass gets killed under the protective tarp: but I have my jumbo five kilogram pack of grass seeds ready to leap in and sow.

cherries first terraceOddly, there has been no rain for ten days: but the grass that I sowed next to the potting shed has germinated and is up.   But I want to landscape the end of the lawn and into the duck pond. But I suspect I will need some damp weather to get it started.

courtyard tulipsBut enough of future plans; on with the picture show. The tulips in the courtyard have all come up – a much more subtle display than the vegetable garden. roses and tulips

But I am pleased because I do have a fondness for these green and white tulips. And they blend in rather sweetly with the new growth on the roses.   Naturally if the roses do as well as last year you won’t see anything but gushy pink blooms and green fly.   But for now I am happy.courtyard tulip detail

lilac bed long view end aprilI had forgotten about these white flowers in the rocks of the lilac bed. But they have come out at the same time as my white tulips.

If the white lilac managed to flower at the same time it would have been a symphony of similar colours.   But it is barely threatening to flower. A shame as I had spotted the white lilac on my drive up the mountain (just a few hundred feet below us) and it was out. One must learn to be patient. lilac bed end aprilwisteria bed

It’s the same with the white wisteria. It’s a joy when if finally blooms. But for now it’s the double narcissus and tulips in the bed below which draw the eye.

first flowers for the houseI couldn’t resist snipping some for the first flowers for the house. If all sprouts well I will be starting off the huge vase of cow parsley next week. I spotted the wildflowers by the side of the road and will take myself on a walk with secateurs when I get some free time.

Free time? Hah! All I want to do is fling myself and weed and nurture and plant.

potting shed end aprilHere is the bounty inside the potting shed. Not a shrivelled seedling in sight. Every plant seems to have either germinated or put on growth.   Well, the verbena bonariensis are still sulking. But I have even found the cleomes up. That’s quite a feat. potting shed end april 1

Usually at this stage of my walk about the property I get into a dither about where on earth I start.   I suspect I’m going to have to get the cosmos into the ground fast. And the marigolds can go next to the carrots.

They are up and putting on some pretty growth. There’s no way I can take a picture of the detail
of the vegetable bed. You can get big fat peas and beans but tiny carrot seedlings will just disappear into the background dirt.
Sorry, soil.

shade garden end aprilI had a huge watering session – a perfect way to get a good look at what is up.   But I didn’t get to the shade garden and I suspect it will get a bit more neglected this year. I have added some compost and mulch around each plant and just have to hope that they will cope. I’m delighted to see lupins and lilies coming up and the thalitctrum and digitalis are getting beefier and fatter and more promising every day. shade garden detail
The ones in Hyde Park in London have already thrown up their spikes. And I am going to inspect carefully when I have a light weeding session to see what is happening.

To my surprise, some of the euphorbia polychromas have come up. They looked positively dead and scraggly in February and I despaired of getting them through another winter.   I even brought out two more from a plant nursery in the Chilterns.   I couldn’t resist them as they were dead cheap and very healthy. Finding a small nursery that lavishes care on plants is quite irresistable.   And at long last I have my stipa giganteas. Four of them which were too good to pass up.   I have placed them in the courtyard and tweaked and repositoned them all afternoon as I trudged past.   Tomorrow I shall plant them.

One last look at the tulips before I turn in to chase builders, plumbers and bulldozer men. I have set my alarm for super early and drawn up a mighty list. This is what it’s all about.