When we first arrived at Bla Bheinn B&B, there was lots of grass – a third of an acre to be precise – but little else. Not everyone likes gardening, but this was a dream come true for me.
As I have said before I have goals, to me they are important – they get me motivated – problem is, I also have this dodgy habit of telling people about them, which means I am then obliged to do them. Well, you feel really silly if you rattle on about growing this and digging that, and then nothing happens don’t you? Well don’t you??
One of my dearest goals was to grow my own herbs so I wouldn’t have to buy them in the supermarket and grow my own soft fruit – Raspberries, Blackcurrants, Blackberries, Gooseberries and Blueberries. Whilst it is possible to buy at least British if not Scottish (which is better with regards to food-miles), soft fruits in season, they are not cheap! We had Blackcurrant bushes in our garden in Hampshire and making jelly and jam from the fruits of just three bushes was wonderful.
After quite a bit of work, mostly structural – lots of wood – and all ably carried out by our friend and very talented joiner/roofer, Richard Miller, we have now created an area that shelters our soft fruits from the destructive winds that speed through our glen. We also have a fruit cage, specially built to survive our blustery Skye winters and I have constructed several raised beds in this area so my Rhubarb, Gooseberries, herbs and various veg can all survive a winter like the last one, where webbed feet would have been a positive improvement if not a necessity for getting about.
So, with Broad Beans nicely flourishing in my new shed – also constructed from scratch for us, and guaranteed to survive 60mph gusts without flying away – along with Brussel Sprout seedlings and sweet peas – got to have flowers for the breakfast table – the growing year is off to a fine start.
We have Purple Sprouting Broccoli – that has managed to over winter successfully behind mesh cloches – which after a little feeding is now sprouting. So proud – silly really, it’s such a little thing, but a result is a result when all said and done!
I even managed to over winter my parsley! plants bought at the supermarket are all well and good but after a little while they get a bit straggly so last summer as each plant went ‘wild’ I planted it in the veg patch, covered with a mesh cloche to protect it from our unpredictable elements and the plants have done me proud.
My chives are coming back up as are the fennel and marjoram. The Thyme isn’t too special, but once I’ve built a raised bed for my four plants, they should get more sunlight and benefit from better drainage – it’s all about positioning so we’ll see what happens.
I have a list as long as my arm of jobs I need to do in the garden and as time goes on I’ll achieve each item on my list – see there go those goals again, just registered under a different name – and then I’ll share my successes (WooHoo)! or failures (I have to be realistic, there’s bound to be a few during the years to come) and hopefully you’ll enjoy reading all about them.
It’s Sunday afternoon now ( it’s only taken me a week to write this – not long in the great scheme of things and the copious other “TO DO” lists I have) and I’ve spent time today labelling up the new marmalades I made in the week ready for feeding to my guests and selling as well. Despite having a wonderful weather week, it’s now raining and blowing a gale, no change there then from the past six months. So, as I refuse to go out and get drenched, I’m going to get weaving after publishing this – which will be another subject for a blog. Hey Ho!!