Swifts and skylarks, Seven on Sunday

I’ve been trying to catch a photo of a swift all week, and have some lovely shots of the sky to share…

Swifts over the pergloa.

As they’re so swift, and my phone camera is not, you’ll have to take my word for it that they’re beautiful and wonderful birds, acrobatifiying across the pergola skylight.

I missed six on Saturday, so here’s seven ish things for Sunday…

We’ve had a froggie or two around the borders, and hopping into the pond.

We’ve started a new veg bed at the bottom of the garden, and we’re hoping for a tasty harvest this year.

I garden without using pesticides, and I’m hoping that the gaps in the fence between the pond next door and our new veg bed will encourage a few frogs to pop round and eat the slugs before they eat our lunch. We shall see how it goes!

The veg bed is filling out nicely, with fennel, chard and spinach at the front, with peas, lettuce, carrots, beets, and leeks at the back. A few of the spinach and chard objected to their recent move, but I think they’ll perk back up. That fennel might well need relocation soon…

I’ve pulled up a few pavers in this area, and where there was once an overgrown potato vine there is now more space for veggies. I’m planning to plant out tomatoes, green beans, sweetcorn and butternut squash here.


This year I’m having a go at a ‘three sisters’ combination, with the beans, squash and corn grown as a group.

It’s a combination said to support each other, traditionally used in America:

By the time European settlers arrived in America in the early 1600s, the Iroquois had been growing the “three sisters” for over three centuries. The vegetable trio sustained the Native Americans both physically and spiritually. In legend, the plants were a gift from the gods, always to be grown together, eaten together, and celebrated together.

Each of the sisters contributes something to the planting. Together, the sisters provide a balanced diet from a single planting. 

  • As older sisters often do, the corn offers the beans necessary support.
  • The pole beans, the giving sister, pull nitrogen from the air and bring it to the soil for the benefit of all three. 
  • As the beans grow through the tangle of squash vines and wind their way up the cornstalks into the sunlight, they hold the sisters close together.
  • The large leaves of the sprawling squash protect the threesome by creating living mulch that shades the soil, keeping it cool and moist and preventing weeds.
  • The prickly squash leaves also keep away raccoons and other pests, which don’t like to step on them.

Together, the three sisters provide both sustainable soil fertility as well as a heathly diet. Perfection!


The seedlings got started in a large plastic tub in the greenhouse and they have done really well so far. I planted the seeds just about three weeks ago, and within a week they’d germinated in this tub, in the greenhouse…

Three weeks on they’re well away. In May things grow so quickly, it seems not worth starting most seeds much sooner than that, as I wouldn’t have the greenhouse space to keep them all cosy.

There’s a new path of bark chips between the veg bed and the lawn, past the raised pond. It’s nice to have a little shortcut here.

The new bed is full of roses, although it’s the wallflowers that are the stars of the show at the moment.
The acer looks ace in the evening sunshine and the wisteria is rising up the pergola. The view from the deck is improving, with more pots on the gravel patio.

The roses round the front door are about to bloom…

And I think that makes seven?!

The wildlife in the garden has been a joy to observe. The bird song in the garden is beautiful to hear, with the glorious sounds of chiffchaffs and blackbirds, and swifts and skylarks flying by.

And we had a little visitor early one morning…

That’s all for now…

I hope your plans and plants are coming along nicely.

J x

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