Out with the Old

January 8, 2017

We had one last task left over from 2016 this afternoon – finishing up at the old plot and clearing out the greenhouse.

We weren’t the only ones doing a bit of clearing up – as we approached the gate, a buzzard flew out of the walled garden and when we got in there we found out why. Just be thankful that I decided there was no tasteful way to photograph what was effectively the top third of a rabbit. Too late for most of my veg, unfortunately.

clearing out kale plants

We came away with the last leeks, a few token kale leaves and broccoli sprouts, and a bag full of chilies.

And that’s all, folks.

empty greenhouse

2017 will be all about the new veg plot, a fruit cage, and hopefully finding a replacement greenhouse. I cycle past an empty one every time I go into Bigtown which is slowly falling into decrepitude. One day I may have to stop and make them an offer…

road ahead

No reason for this photograph, except I liked it


Well, That Was Quick

May 12, 2016

I haven’t even caught up with the garden backlog yet, and the disasters have already begun

Chomped broad beans

I’m really hoping this isn’t the return of the rabbit. The guys who do the landlords’ gardening bring along a couple of jack russells* with them, one of which had apparently dispatched a couple of rabbits over the winter, but they were up in the walled garden yesterday and didn’t encounter any bunnies. And besides, a rabbit would have eaten all of them, so it may be mice.

chilli flakes on broad beans

Whatever it is, I am following the advice of Gardeners’ Question Time and trying chilli flakes as a deterrent. OK, so the advice was for your bulbs, not your already planted (and partially chomped) broad beans, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Or I may just have made my pea and bean plants extra tasty for the more adventurous rodents, but time will tell on that one

chilli flakes on peas

There is exciting house news, but that will have to wait … Have a bluebell instead


*I actually had to ask what breed they were because they looked a bit like jack russells but they weren’t yapping their heads off.

Best Served Cold. Or Warm, in a Creamy Sauce with Potato and Broccoli

October 7, 2015

No time to blog properly, but I would like to record that we were invited to lunch today by a fellow gardener and took great delight in dining on …

(if you’re of a sensitive disposition don’t read on)





… bunny rabbit stew. Not *the* rabbit, although the rabbitter in question does apparently do house calls. I wonder if he charges double for delivering gardeners their nemesis, skinned and ready for the pot…

There was then a great quantity of entertaining gossip about said rabbitter and his tangled love life but unfortunately none of it can be related here. The more one gets involved in local life, the less blogging one can actually do.

Mixing its Toasties?

September 30, 2015

his year is testing, possibly to destruction, my theory that one cannot really destroy purple sprouting broccoli, which over the years has survived caterpillar attack, frozen winters, and variations on the ‘user error’ theme and still managed to give us some welcome veg come the spring. Rabbit attack might be different though… it had recovered once, albeit starting to flower early, but the demon bunnies came back for another round.

massacred broccoli plants

I’ll say one thing for rabbits, they’re thorough. They don’t lollop around nibbling a tender shoot here and a tasty morsel there – if they did, we might be able to come to an understanding. Instead what they do is zone in on one particular bed and, over the course of a day or two, destroy it utterly

ex green beens

Less than a week ago, this was a flourishing patch of green beans with plenty more young beans coming through…

With the beans and the beetroot they scarfed the lot (well, they left a neat little pile of beetroot tops for me) but they leave enough of the kale and the broccoli to allow for some resprouting and then come back for another meal. Kale and broccoli might be tough but I don’t know how long even they can take that sort of treatment and survive.

chomped kale

Kale starting tentatively to resprout

But maybe they won’t have to, because the other half did discover a dead rabbit inside the fence this afternoon, half hidden under the bushes (I swear it wasn’t me). Cause of death unknown, and hopefully not mourned by its numerous offspring …

Rabbiting On

August 11, 2015

It is a sign that something is amiss with your supposedly rabbit-proof walled garden when a) it has rabbits in it and b) the more rabbit-sized of the two dogs you have borrowed to help flush out the rabbits or at least put them off their kale suddenly appears *outside* the walled garden, looking in. We’re not sure entirely how, but I suspect a non-rabbit-proof fence is part of the equation.

At one point a rabbit appeared and made a run for cover, but not at a pace which suggests the dogs had inspired any panic. Sadly, in the five years (blimey, is it really that long?) since she last effectively cleared the walled garden of marauding rabbits, the older of the two has become less of a formidable enemy of bunny-kind and more of a sedate old lady. And the younger – the result of what is suspected to be a liaison between a staffy and basset hound – just doesn’t have the stick-toitiveness of a proper rabbit-chasing dog. Still, we may not have done much about the rabbits, but we did give two dogs a very nice half hour hurtling through the overgrown flower beds and smelling all manner of brilliant smells. And if it persuades the rabbits to move out and find somewhere that is not infested by dogs with the body of a brindled bolster and the legs of an Edwardian sideboard, then all to the good.

And the furry little bastards still aren’t eating the (now bolting) lettuce…

Weeding Frenzy

July 10, 2015

Let the record show:

vegetable plot in July

It may not last …

After a couple of weeks of a light workload and no gadding about, I have finally got the veg plot something like under control (with a bit of help from the other half). I think we can agree that this is something of an improvement on a month ago

overgrown paths on vegetable plot

Previously, on Town Mouse…

Not that everything in the garden is entirely rosy – those weedy things in the foreground are squash and pumpkin plants, which are looking especially pathetic, with the exception of the one which took matters into its own hands and sent its tap root so deeply out of the pot it was in, it effectively planted itself in the greenhouse (the other half took pity on it and cut it free of its pot in the end).

self-planting pumpkin

And it looks as if Peter Rabbit has been busy with the perpetual spinach

perpetual spinach plant munched by rabbit

While totally ignoring our glut of lettuce.

totally untouched lettuce

The peas … what can I say about the peas? There is another bed of them which is doing slightly better but we’re a long way from having enough peas to trouble a saucepan with. Fortunately a handful of pods makes for a decent reward for a hungry gardener

pathetic pea plants

Still we will not be short of fennel in a hurry…

fennel plants

And we have kale. Lots and lots and lots of kale. This is about one-third of it. What was I thinking?

plenty of kale

Oh yeah, that I should grow stuff that’s suited to the Scottish climate and virtually unkillable even through neglect. And, apparently, not particularly palatable to rabbits…

You Know you’ve been Neglecting your Garden When…

June 29, 2015

… you head up to your veg plot and discover that the rabbits are busy moving in under the purple-sprouting broccoli

rabbit hole

This is not good news, as getting rabbits out of a walled garden is harder than you might think. The sad truth is, though, that this is no more than I deserve as I’ve let myself become just too busy to put any real time into my veg. Fortunately, the other half, meanwhile, has been doing sterling work in the greenhouse, complete with our first tomatillos (hopefully – who knows what lurks inside all that packaging?)

tomatillo fruit

Still, today I finished one mega job that has been taking up most of my waking hours. And with the Cycling Embassy AGM out of the way, I now have no more places I have to be – except home – for a while. I have regretfully turned down the opportunity to go to Birmingham for a meeting, there are no deadlines looming, and life will, I hope, return to something like normality for a while.

dry ford

although what’s normal about a completely dry ford?!

Starting with routine ford inspections, naturallement