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I think I got away with it ...

Monday, 14 Mar 11 Partly Sunny 7°C / 45°F

  • 14
  • Very Happy

…but I nearly got caught out by a frost last night just after I’d moved my Jalapeno chilli seedlings down to the big greenhouse. Hubby told me there was frost on the grass when he made tea at 7.30am this morning so I feared the worst :-(

When I checked at 9am, both greenhouse max-min thermometers showed they’d dropped to a whisker below freezing ( 0 degrees C / 32 degrees F) and I anxiously examined the chilli seedlings. The leaves seemed a little limp but I was relieved, once the sun started to warm the greenhouse, that they recovered well and looked reasonably perky by late afternoon when I closed up again.

So I’m hoping I did get away with it.

My ‘Charlotte’ potatoes have only been in the ground a few days so no tender potato leaves and shoots for the frost to blacken. But I gather islanders were out yesterday earthing up their mounded potatoes as far as they dare to protect them against the frost last night.

We had frost in October last year and now frost mid March this year – this is pretty unusual for the islands and makes me rather wary of trusting to the reputed mildness of our climate too much. …

Photo 1 – the view from our house. This is actually the view from our kitchen and Gallery windows and overlooks the beach with the island of Samson across the shallow sandy lagoon in the centre of the islands. You can see how much seaweed has been driven up through the entrance to the slipway by the recent rough seas and high tides. I’m hoping that either Steve will repair our old wheelbarrow or we can get a new one, because seaweed is a great organic soil conditioner.

Photo 2 – yellow forsythia against a lovely blue spring sky. A guest gave me a rooted cutting of forsythia about ten years ago and it has grown into a big bush, albeit struggling against the encroaching thuggish Viburnum tinus alongside (yes, he gave me that too). He was an old and experienced gardener from Kent and I loved to talk horticulture with him.

Photo 3 – the newly painted Sea King, resplendent in her scarlet finery, waiting on her trolley for high tide yesterday afternoon. Her owner, Frazer, floated her off and fired up her Lister diesel engine, so she was back on her mooring just after high tide at 10.30pm last night and will undergo an official inspection before Frazer is granted a license to operate her this summer. Just as flowers and bees herald the spring, so do boats on Scilly, as the inter island launches like Sea King are painted, maintained and returned to the water ready for the coming season. They are like buses and run the inter-island services, taking holidaymakers from St. Marys to the off islands (Tresco, Bryher, St. Agnes and St. Martins), and also the Round Trips to see seals on the Eastern Isles, seabirds on the Western Rocks and even out to the famous Bishop Rock Lighthouse (only a trip for calm weather – seven miles out into the Atlantic the swell can be quite considerable!).

I was amazed when hubby told me he’d spotted a butterfly when out painting yesterday morning! He said it was a peacock but that’s very early. I’ve met lots of bees on the wing already this month, even one or two last month, because there are lots of flowers blooming now and providing early nectar.

This evening, when I went out to fetch in the laundry from the garden line, I could hear at least four song thrushes competing with each other within a couple of hundred yards radius, singing their hearts out with intricate and joyful melodies. The daytime wrens have stopped singing and the starlings have all flown in a cloud from suppertime on the beach, where they catch sandhoppers and other beach bugs, up to our roof which has at least three large starling colonies. That’s us – Starling Towers!



  • Bernieh

    Bernieh wrote:

    What a fabulous corner of the world you live in … terrific views! I wouldn’t mind looking out on that view from my kitchen window every day. Fingers crossed all will be well with those chillis.

    Posted on 15 Mar 11 (about 4 years ago)

  • Sue_McMuffin09

    Sue_McMuffin09 wrote:

    oh love the views from your place, arrh wish I had views like that, but I don’t. Hope those chillies will be ok….

    Posted on 15 Mar 11 (about 4 years ago)

  • rainymountain

    rainymountain wrote:

    I think that I have been to your gallery, Amorel, a couple of years ago when I came to Scilly with a friend! I does sound as though Spring has well and truely arrived for you.

    Posted on 15 Mar 11 (about 4 years ago)

  • Armorel

    Armorel wrote:

    @ rainymountain … really???? What a pity we didn’t ‘know’ each other through Folia then or we could have had a great hortichat over a mug of tea or coffee :-)
    We’ve had sunny spells today but the cloud has thickened this evening and now we have heavy rain and a strong breeze. At least it will keep the frost away grin

    Posted on 15 Mar 11 (about 4 years ago)

  • gloryngracefarms

    gloryngracefarms wrote:

    have to chime in about those views!!! wow!!! i had not heard of the isle of scilly until i began following you and have wanted to look them up…think it may be a priority for tomorrow/today…such a beautiful site.

    so happy the effort of raising those chilis didn’t come to a frozen quick end for you.

    as i read that you had an influx of seaweed my mind immediately went to “i wonder if she harvests that stuff…?” and then you stated you did…so great. i just got a sample of kelp food from a nursery near me and can’t wait to try it out…you’ve got the real deal though!

    great journal…

    Posted on 15 Mar 11 (about 4 years ago)

  • Ghostgum

    Ghostgum wrote:

    Wonderful, just wonderful in so many different ways! What a beautiful place to live.

    Posted on 15 Mar 11 (about 4 years ago)

  • anelson

    anelson wrote:

    Wow, with those views you must feel like you are on vacation all the time.

    Posted on 16 Mar 11 (about 4 years ago)

  • Armorel

    Armorel wrote:

    Well, I have to constantly remind myself how incredibly lucky I am to live in this lovely place, with all its advantages … and drawbacks (¬£160 return ticket for 20 minute helicopter flight to the mainland, anyone?).

    It’s very easy to get blas√© about living here :-\

    But it’s also worth pointing out that a location which is fabulous when you are on holiday can feel quite different when you live and work there, as guests of ours have discovered in the past. On a handful of occasions people have sold up on the UK mainland and moved to Scilly, usually to run a B & B or a guesthouse, then realised that it’s just as much work to do that here as it is on the mainland. Somehow you never seem to have enough time to do all the relaxing and lazing around that you planned ….

    Island life is something that suits many people but there are far more who couldn’t cope with living here ;-)

    Posted on 16 Mar 11 (about 4 years ago)

  • whitelillies

    whitelillies wrote:

    Stunning views and totally agree about island life. I was more interested in the seaweed though. The Ayrshire potatoes up here in Scotland used to be quite famous and very tasty. This, apparently was due to the seaweed they used to fertilize them. They stopped doing this though because of costs and they’re not quite the same. So, which seaweed do you use? And what is the process?

    Posted on 16 Mar 11 (about 4 years ago)

  • Armorel

    Armorel wrote:

    There’s plenty of information online about using seaweed as a mulch and garden conditioner. It’s been used, as you say, in the UK for centuries but it’s hard work collecting it. I did a quick ‘Google’ and came up with the following information if anyone is interested:
    I still need a new wheelbarrow though ….

    Posted on 16 Mar 11 (about 4 years ago)

  • whitelillies

    whitelillies wrote:

    Thanks, I’ll get on that. Good luck with the chilies and the wheelbarrow.

    Posted on 16 Mar 11 (about 4 years ago)

  • seeingreen

    seeingreen wrote:

    What a view! So beautiful in the sunshine – it does make you feel you want to up sticks and get on down there.
    What’s it like when there are gales and high tides? Does the sea ever encroach on your garden?

    Hope you manage to get a lightweight, free-wheeling barrow. My old one has had a makeover by dear son 1, which it sorely needed, and it now has a deep, strong skip which will last many years of my compost mixing for tomato pots and bringing in loads of logs. It’s had the full treatment, including new tyre & tube and new green paint – even handle-grips and transfers! However it now is twice as heavy as the original and I can’t wheel it very far when its filled to capacity! I do appreciate the work and thought he put into it and it will be used a lot but now I need another lighter one as well!

    Posted on 16 Mar 11 (about 4 years ago)

  • EvilChicken

    EvilChicken wrote:

    Oh wow! What a gorgeous view! I’m with everyone else – now i want to go see the islands for myself. I wish I coud say “I’ll start saving” but unfortunately, i’m already saving up for Zoie’s college, and saving up to replace our roof. Some day…

    Posted on 16 Mar 11 (about 4 years ago)

  • flowerweaver

    flowerweaver wrote:


    Posted on 22 Mar 11 (about 4 years ago)

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