Garden Diary

March 10th 2013

Posted by on Apr 6, 2013 in Garden Diary | Comments Off on March 10th 2013

Hedgehog News!


Matthew finding hedgehog nestMatthew found a hedgehog hibernating in our walled garden. Let me introduce Matthew. He is 15 years old, lives round the corner, he loves olives and pan boli and he helps Finn and I most weekends in the garden.

We were clearing last years herbaceous perennials and suddenly we heard the shout “hedgehog!”

Lo and behold Matthew had found a Hedgehog Hibernation Nest with occupying hedgehog. This was mid march the weather was cold, wet and due to get colder and windier. I believed that a hedgepig at this time of year might be running out of fat reserves and meeting a whole new batch of cold weather just when in other years they would have come out of their winter sleep and be building up their body weight again would be bad, very bad. So, on advice from a Hedgehog rescue centre I brought the whole nest into our unheated greenhouse and put down dried cat biscuits and water.


hedgehog nest  siteOur hedgehog came out of hibernation about a week later and his been demolishing large amounts of dried cat biscuits, water and tinned cat food  (chicken and turkey as advised by the hedgehog refuge) He goes out of the greenhouse at night and returns to sleep in his box during the day. He is obviously consuming  beetles at night aswell as our supplementary food as his poo is full of shiny bits of beetle and other insects.



hedgehog box in unheated greenhouseWe are thrilled that this hedgehog decided to grace our walled garden with it’s presence and would love to find a mate for him or her.

Will keep the story updated. I’ll post a picture when he/ she shows her snout.

March 15th 2013

Posted by on Apr 6, 2013 in Garden Diary | Comments Off on March 15th 2013

Well, the exciting news is that I did actually receive First prize for the Amateur gardener award 2013 for  Wiltshire Life. I feel quite

humbled as the other two shortlisted on my table where both very experienced gardeners with so much knowledge. ( and by the sounds

of it both had amazing gardens.) We three swopped our stories and we have all agreed that we will visit each others gardens this year.

wiltshire life

The awards ceremony at Marlborough Town Hall was a wonderful evening compared by the

inimitable Sue Davies from BBC Wiltshire radio. ( she’s so funny)  There were many awards;

from best restaurant, best young initiative, best business, best green business, best carer etc. It

was  wonderful the way so many hard working, enterprising people were given so much

recognition. Feted for an evening with champagne and fine food all at the expense of

Wiltshire Life and it’s sponsors. So, thank you very much to all of them.

March 2013

Posted by on Mar 7, 2013 in Garden Diary | Comments Off on March 2013

pollarding willow River BarnAt River Barn we are mostly on heavy clay which becomes waterlogged very quickly. Consequently we have planted lots of willow and Cornus which sucks up quite a bit of moisture. But to keep them decorative as well as useful we pollard them every couple of years in early spring. They then produce lots of young whippy growth which colours up beautifully in the following winter. They then look like torches on a sunny winters day.

Composting River BarnLast weekend was the pollarding day and then followed the shredding. A whole day’s work. Once shredded the willow filled one of our oak bins. All this matter is pure carbon and to get good useable compost it needs to be layered with equal parts of nitrogenous matter, some soil to provide the mix with the bacteria and a little lime.. Once those bacteria start to work and multiply they tend to produce an acid environment which will eventually inhibit the bacterial activity. The lime (which is alkaline) keeps the ph neutral.

After two or three days, the compost gets so hot it’s too hot to touch! Always a bit of a thrill.

February 2013

Posted by on Feb 22, 2013 in Garden Diary | Comments Off on February 2013

P1080065Exciting news! I have been shortlisted for the Amateur gardener Award. The winners will be presented with their awards mid March at a Gala dinner held in Marlborough Town Hall. Black tie.  Goodness, can I find a frock? Must have one somewhere.

We had two beautiful days on the 17th and 18th February 2013. It felt like it was suddenly time to start getting the garden ready for the new season. I managed to get all the grass mown short; the first time since last year. I began the pleasant task of cutting down all last year’s perennials. I love to leave them all winter ; they provide protection for the soil, hiding places for over wintering critters and they look stunning in deep hoar frost; gilded in white. ( if that is not a mis use of the word gilded)

But now that the biting cold has returned it feels like midwinter again. So I’m keeping those bird feeders topped right up. There are six or seven different feeders with foods to suit all bird types. Half apples for the blackbirds too if they can get there before the deer and foxes yaffle them.