Now many people will keep their hens in cages to protect their gardens. I, however, love my girls to roam free so I keep my hens free range and my plants in cages! Yes those yellow flowers are dandelions...I have a fairly loose way with gardening. Plus at this time of year the bees and other insects just love them.
Yes it's a challenge, but I love being in the garden with the girls (and Button). They are all such good company. Plus the hens are good at helping keep some pests at bay, and are great at helping me keep the soil loose. They are also great at eating lots of scraps so are the best ever recycling machines. And in return they give me lots of lovely eggs (well most of the time when I can find them!).
But back to cages..... the cage around my gooseberry bushes seems to be paying off this year. It's actually open at the top and the bees can fly through the holes. But my pesky fruit stealers are kept at bay....
Oooh look an embryonic gooseberry :-)
Why the plastic and the rocks I hear you ask? Well this was the OLD strawberry patch which needs grubbing up. However I'm not really able to dig it up myself so the plan is to put plastick down to keep the weeds back and hopefully kill off the weeds/grass underneath. Then in the Autumn or next Spring I can, hopefully, dig it up. And the rocks are to keep it well anchored through any wind. G. of Imperfect & Tense came over last week and helped with this, and rescuing a rose which had got smothered. He also is ace at digging up docks (or dochens as they are called in Orkney).
And then there is the strawberry cage for the new strawberries.... the girls are figuring out a way in I'm sure....though it worked well last year.
But this afternoon I took the cage bit off to let the strawberry plants feel the sun on their leaves and for the hens to rootle around among them too - again helps keep pests away. Once they are flowering and starting to fruit - on goes the lid again! And yes this is the cockerel I didn't intend having - he masqueraded as a hen for quite a few months.... The rhubarb is coming along nicely too, it's first real year for fruiting.
Meanwhile back to the girls.... always glad to help with a spot of digging.
And then it's time for a quick preen by the compost heap and a chat with chums...
Then time for a further rootle..... hens eat grass believe it or not!
And time for a quick catch up at the coffee shop, um sorry water butt!
Meanwhile Princess Button looks statuesque, as in large lump of concrete statue...hee hee.... (Don't tell her I said that.)
But the garden is coming along nicely with the longer days, sunshine, warmth and a drop of rain these last couple of days. This border is full of perennials and bulbs. They die away completely in the winter and grow amazingly quickly from Spring. The shore is only a matter of yards away over the wall so they have to deal with wind, salt spray and sand thrown at them in winter, so most shrubs I have tried just died, Even the ones you see around most sea shores in the UK.
This is a newer border. It has potatoes and veggies in last year but I'm cutting down on those. I don't have the time or energy to battle against the Orkney elements to keep them going. So more perennials it is then... plus I really love flowers....
Oh and forget-me-not....says this wee flower (yes the forget-me-not...so pretty).
And the daffs are past their best now but some are still flowering.
And one of my favourites, the aquilegia. This is a particularly early one.
So I hope you enjoyed a wander round the garden with us girls (oh and the cockerel...).