Sunday, 2 March 2014

First day of spring

According to the meteorological calendar, Saturday was the first day of spring, and the Harbills celebrated this by spending the afternoon in the garden for the first time since the autumn.

 And as if by magic, our garden actually seems to be showing signs of spring.

We even had to sow another batch of broad beans as our first lot are flowering.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Harbill and the Giant Squash

After two disappointing years, we have finally had a summer that has been kind to our squash. In fact, by mid-August it looked like we were growing nothing but squash:

At one point, even the wild flowers were in danger of suffocation by squash

We haven't picked them yet, as we are waiting for them to harden off before the first frost, but we are looking forward to a winter of squash content.

Our Boston Winter Squash (see back of photo) is actually bigger than Ferdy.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Noise Pollenation

This year it has been noisy in Harbill's Garden. But luckily, this is not due to the hum of traffic but the buzzing of the many bees that seem to be populating our garden.

A honey bee on our runner bean flowers

We have also noticed that the bumblebees bizarrely like sunbathing on our french bean leaves. They seem to use them as a resting place to recoup before getting back to work on pollenating more flowers (especially our squash flowers please bumblebees!)

But not only are we seeing more bees than ever, much to our delight we have also noticed an abundance of butterflies. For the first time we have seen a Gatekeeper in our garden:

And every day, at around 3pm, a Comma settles on our conifers:

We have spotted a Ringlet:

And because we have no brassicas, we are even happy to let the many Cabbage Whites roam around our vegetable patch.

And this year there is also another source of noise in the garden, that does nothing to help pollenate our runner beans.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Where the Wild Things Grow

This is the third year of our wild flower garden and, aside from a few initial sprinklings of seeds, it has been mostly left to its own devices.

As you can see it is dominated by foxgloves and daisies but if you look more closely there are some hidden gems.

We would give you this flower's name but we don't know it...

And we only know that the top left is an Astrantia major 'Roma'. Feel free to enlighten us about the others!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Harbills Are Away

Our cabin on the Edenhall Estate
As a slight divergence from our normal post, we cannot resist a mention of our rather blissful holiday in the Eden Valley. There were no vegetables and, contrary to our own garden, not a sparrow in sight.

There was however, a stunning log cabin set on the River Eamont.

The River Eamont

We saw: jays, an otter, a kingfisher, a sparrowhawk, a songthrush, a grey wagtail, oystercatchers, a 2lb brown trout (brilliantly caught by Billy)...

And, a red squirrel

Monday, 3 June 2013


Much as Muffin's demise was distressing, we have recently noticed a resurgence of birdlife in the garden; we've been having regular visits from songthrushes, bluetits, goldfinches and greenfinches, to name but a few.

When Springwatch announced their garden biodiversity survey (the Bioblitz), we felt that we were the ideal participants and so this Sunday, armed with camera, binoculars, clipboard and a plethora of reference books we set up camp in the garden.

It started well with a sighting of a sparrow.

Passer domesticus

And then there were two!

Passer domesticus

Later on we set up our camera aimed to capture the greenfinches that we had seen the previous day. And lo and behold, what was this we saw?

Passer domesticus

Another sparrow.

So, we decided to focus our attention on the bird feeder. Surely this would bring some variety...

Passer domesticus

The Harbills decided not to upload their results to the Bioblitz website.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Harbill's Garden: The Return. This Time it's Perennial

We're back.

This time last year, we were writing about our broad beans and potatoes which were flourishing. This year, all we have planted are broad beans and potatoes and they are scarcely showing.

But let's focus on the positives. There are a few more permanent things that are doing quite well in our garden:

The bulbs that we planted last autumn have been a success: We have tulips in red, white and pink/purple (the Harbills cannot agree on the colour of the one below).

And a multitude of daffodils

We also planted some daffodils in our new border that was created last year, which should look stunning when the oxe eye daisies come out.

And no, the little chap that you see in the bottom corner is not a garden gnome. It's Ferdy, another perennial we grew last year...