Since leaves and flowers have been emerging over the past month or so, Hettie has been sharing her foraging knowledge with friends who are less keen on eating everything they find than she is! There has been a bit of false information going around her peer group about what is safe so we asked for a foraging book for her birthday. Scanning through the book we received we found lots of yummy recipes. We have decided rose petal sandwiches sound delicious with linden blossom tea (there is a song about linden tree at nursery so this was a popular choice) and I like the sound of ground elder leaves on a pizza (we have recently had an invasion which I want to get rid of quickly so this could help). We made a lovely salad from thinnings and edible flowers from the garden which went down well with some fresh mint tea.
Some wild plants I do want to encourage, unlike the ground elder, and with a huge reduction in lawn flowers year on year across the UK, I have joined Plantlife as they continued their No Mow May campaign for 2021. Exciting data is emerging about the changing attitudes towards leaving lawns unmown. Check out what to do (or more accurately, what not to do!) to make a positive impact. We are taking part and after May are going to leave most of our lawn unmown going forward to support our local wildlife. We have been keeping an eye on what is coming up, so far daisies and dandelions are the main feature but we are excited to see this change over time. Our neighbour has left a section unmown for the past couple of years and we have seen big changes in the diversity of plants in that area. The birds adore the seed heads and last year we took a wonderful photograph of a goldcrest feeding on one who visited regularly. We mowed a few paths into the grass last week since deciding to do this long term and the wee ones love running around the paths that wind through the garden.I decided to buy some Scottish wild flower plug plants to supplement the range of species in the unmown areas and am eagerly awaiting their arrival from the nursery.
I am pretty lax with seedlings, if they are’t self-sufficient they don’t have much chance. I do well with direct sowing outside but raising seedling indoors and transplanting outdoors is not my strong point. We have a conservatory which gets so hot and I just don’t water regularly enough for them to do well. I ended up being a bit naughty and planted some seeds at the start of May. I know I shouldn’t have but I went with the dates on the packets, adjusting for being in Scotland and well, I’ve got away with it once again. The kids have always adored sowing seeds, this year we spent time counting them out into types and measured distances between them as we planted which is a great way to learn basic math skills. I looked up some other activities you can do with seeds and found quite a few resources including these at “How we Learn” and “Fantastic fun and learning”.
Thanks to the children’s sowing, we now have baby lettuce, potatoes, beetroot, parsnips, kale and carrots. We thinned out some of them yesterday and planted up the strong ones for a friend. I am due to plant the next seeds next week as I have finally got together a good enough plan to try some succession planting. The perpetual rocket and onions and garlic have had a spurt with the latest rain and the old kale that has kept going from last spring has flowered which is providing us with tasty treats every time we walk past.
I think we’re finally working out what we can grow well here although I watched a great episode of Gardeners World where a gardener has an allotment and grows only perennial vegetables and so I have been really inspired to find more perennial varieties for my planting next year. I was also happy to see a plant share group has started up for my local Cupar area on Facebook and I have already given away a couple of things, meeting some lovely local gardeners. On the back of the success of growing on some money plant pups, we have attempted to propogate some indoor ferns. I’m hoping if this goes well we can pass some on through this group as we have run out of nice indoor pots! I have only recently joined the online gardening community but it is nice to see what other Scottish gardeners are growing and also I managed to find a pre-owned but unused compost bin that matched another I have. I had help putting it together as you can see!