Apple trees and honey bees

Today it’s a bit on the grey and windy side but Friday and yesterday were good days to get on with various gardening tasks. J concentrated on shed management while I pottered in the greenhouse, which was all very satisfying.

On Friday I sowed lots of seeds – a little late I know, but I was late last year too and it didn’t seem to be a problem. The seeds are all ones which I gathered last year so if they don’t do anything I haven’t lost out, and if they do it’s a bonus. I’d saved some phacelia, though to be honest they did a pretty good job of self-seeding anyway and we’ve got a few clumps coming up here and there. I also saved some marigold seeds, so will give them a go.

Yesterday we went out to try and buy an new bench as ours (now twelve years old) has just about had it. The wooden slats have rotted where they connect to the wrought iron ends, and our attempts from last year to fix things have not held. But the big DIY/garden centre store we went to didn’t have the one bench in their range that we liked. We did get some other things, including an apple tree, more on that later.

We bought a couple of growing bags so that I could use the compost in the tomato pots. I haven’t really got the room to grow plants directly in the bags without putting them on the patio, and though the tomato varieties I bought are meant to be fine outside I’d rather not chance it. So most of the compost went into the biggest plastic pots I could find and the tomatoes are now stretching their legs, as it were. I used some of the compost for a strawberry plant – our original plant has succumbed to vine weevil but a few years ago it sent out some runners, one of which survived and has grown into a respectable plant. The weevil grubs have been fed to the birds.

Speaking of which, we are getting a lot of interest in the bird feeder now and have regular visits from starlings, blackbirds, great tits and robins. The robins in particular are getting very cheeky, which is good to see.

While I was in the greenhouse yesterday there was a loud buzzing and I looked up to see a honey bee trying to find its way out, so I shooed it out of the door very carefully. Pleased to see a honey bee as last year we really only saw bumbles, and the little tiny bees that lived under the patio (I’ve seen one of those too, so they’re back).

So, the apple tree. On Thursday at the supermarket we saw some fruit trees, mostly flowering cherries but also a Cox’s Orange Pippin and a dwarf Russian almond, for £7 each. So our plan yesterday was to go there after the DIY store and choose one. Then we found that the garden centre bit of the DIY store had more choice, and we picked up a Bramley apple in blossom for just under £10. It’s not very tall – shorter than me, and I’m only five foot three – but it’s nice and sturdy and looks lovely in the middle of our lawn.

We do have some plans for the lawn, probably involving removing corners to make it more oval and possibly expanding the area around the apple tree to make a bigger central bed, but I’m reluctant to do too much until we can plant up. Otherwise we end up with lots more areas of outdoor litter tray for the neighbourhood cats.

No photos this week as apart from the tree it hasn’t changed much since last week! Maybe next week instead. I hope you’re all having a good Easter weekend.

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