Butterflies, swallows and a little bit of patience

Today’s post comes from one of our newest blogger Lisa, who gardens up in East Perthshire in Scotland… we look forward to hearing about her gardening adventures over the next year.

Spring has arrived at last up here in Scotland, we’ve been enjoying some beautifully warm days where it’s been a joy to watch the peacock butterflies fluttering around in the garden and the swallows have returned to their wire for another summer.

Alliums in the Border

This is  our tenth year here in our cottage in rural Perthshire, I think we’re at last starting to get into the rhythm of things in the vegetable garden! In our first year here, we created “the veg plot”, a dozen raised beds in a gravelled area that houses the vintage greenhouse that we gladly acquired with the property.

The Scottish Country Garden

There have been years when we’ve had a mild February and I’ve cracked on with the seed sowing, only to be greeted by a freezing March and April under a foot of snow! Even in the shelter of the greenhouse, which some years has been prone to losing the odd pane of glass due to the weight of the snow (lesson learnt there; always remove the snow before this happens!) my poor seeds have just rotted in the cold.  Frantically seed sowing well into May seems to be the norm up here, most plants eventually catching up and hopefully provide me with plenty of award winning veg and flowers for our local produce shows during August.

Seeds in Gutterpipes

About the only crop I can confidently plant and know it’ll adore our colder climate is garlic, so it was happily planted at the back end of last year and is romping away quite the thing. We get a bumper crop every year as it needs a good spell under 10 degrees, that’s certainly not a problem up here!

I truly believe the secret of the game in colder climes is patience, unless of course you have a heated greenhouse and a poly tunnel! Both of these are on my wish list, but for this year I’ll just have to make do with my trusty little greenhouse and hope for another wonderful summer like last year!  The first of the potatoes have been planted (Ratte, a second early I’ve not grown before) the broad beans are hardening off, and I shall be sowing seeds until the light fades every evening. A job I thoroughly enjoy as every year the anticipation of those little green shoots breaking through soil never fails to fill me with joy!

The Scottish Country Garden Raised Beds

April into May really is a wonderful time in the garden and surrounding countryside. The perennial borders are really filling out, the Wood Anemone, Sorrel and Sweet Cicely carpet the woodland beside us, but best of all there’s real warmth in the sunshine.

Pretty flower arrangement

Happy seed sowing!


6 responses to “Butterflies, swallows and a little bit of patience

  1. Dear Lisa. My husband and I garden in Armagh Northern Ireland. Me flowers and husband veg. Thinking of putting in raised beds for vegetables and wondered what timber you used for yours. Is it pressure treated? Thanks. Mary.

    • Hello Mary,
      No our wood wasn’t pressure treated, just raw from a local wood yard, but it has lasted well. We’re now at the point where we think we might double skin it (put another layer around the original beds) to keep it all together. If you’re starting from scratch go for pressure treated sparking boards and that should last you a long time.
      Best wishes, Lisa

  2. Pingback: Garlic & Sapphire Blog | the girl that likes to garden·

  3. I found it interesting and strangely comforting that you have such similar growing times to us, here in Western Quebec. Our winters are much colder than in Scotland, but when it comes to last frost dates and actually being able to plant out seedlings, it sounds very similar. I would imagine that it is rather like us; nothing and then everything all at once so one can hardly keep up. I walk our fields twice a day and wild flowers appear in the blink of an eye. Have you tried fabric row covers? They warm the soil up on raised beds by degrees. It means lettuce etc can be planted weeks before.

  4. Dear Lisa,
    I’m looking forward to following your progress, I too live in rural Scotland (Stirlingshire ) and have challenging conditions as we are high up,let’s hope for a good growing season.
    Kind regards,Susan

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