Sunday, 27 June 2010

Where'd my garden go?

Combination of a week away in the Lake District, a very very busy time at work, and other not particularly joyful stuff going on lately, means that amongst other things, I've been neglecting doing any writing & drawing. But things moving back to an even keel again, so will get back to doing weekly updates from now on. The practical hands-on lovely stuff of gardening & growing however, has not been ignored.

A conversation with my plot neighbour a couple of months ago about rampant blight on the allotment site (apparently tomatoes & main-crop potatoes are a complete no-no), resulted in me spending some time tidying up the back garden over the past couple of weekends to make space for potting on the 25 tomato plants which I had sown back in March, intending to grow on up at the plot. We've squeezed up to 8 friends into our backyard for for a BBQ in past years. This year, would be lucky to get anyone in - specially when the plants really get going. But I'll happily forgo garden space for amazing tomatoes.

We are at the stage now where most of our meals are based around things that we've grown ourselves- new potatoes, turnips, broad beans, peas, courgette, purple sprouting broccoli, lettuce, onions, spring onions, garlic, chard, spinach, beetroot.

Besides the fact that it all tastes incredible and not like the tasteless pap masquerading as vegetables from your average supermarket, is it my imagination or is it so brimming with freshness & vitamins, that I feel better & healthier than I have done in ages?

Sunday, 6 June 2010

For the love of espaliers

Had a day out last weekend to revisit the very lovely West Dean Gardens over near Chichester, which is one of the places that first inspired me to try my hand at growing fruit & veg, particularly the walled kitchen gardens.

Admired lots of beautiful shaped espaliered trees & soft fruits, something I've always fancied having a go at doing.

Will do some reading & research this year, and think about planting something up next winter. I have a 20 ft tall wall in my back garden that gets full sunshine from mid-morning through to sun-down. Not sure I could ever bring myself to tear down & destroy the Campanula which flowers about 9 months of the year, but is at it's most glorious right now:I could train an apricot or fig around the bushy flowers, though I think it's the symmetry of espaliered trees that I find so appealing. I'm not sure why I'm so reluctant to tackle the wall - Campanula pops up in pretty much all my garden pots and in all the cracks between the paving slabs constantly and I'm forever tearing up and composting clumps of the stuff before it takes over everywhere. I think it's just that I always really look forward to the month of May when the full-on purpleness is overwhelming.

Probably my favourite thing at West Dean, is the pear tree arched walkway. Think I'll need a bigger plot or garden to make something like this though.
Oh yes, and some cash, bucketloads of patience, and a lifetime of pruning.