Thursday, 8 July 2010


I was never much of a gardener, really didn't like getting my hands dirty, couldn't really care less what the names were and whether they were annual, biennial, blah blah blah.
And yet, somehow it happened, without my knowledge, I love being out there. I wonder if, as the child of a gardener the love of it will somehow kick in.
I don't like to wear gloves, I want to get my hands buried deep in the dirt. I've read that it's supposed to be good for mental health and I second that study. Watching something grow, getting the jolt of excitement when something you planted finally sticks those first leaves through the soil it just makes you feel....good.
I only have a small garden, so as time goes by it becomes more and more planned. It has to be functional. It has to be pretty. It has to feed me.
With my newly purchased fire pit, bench, swing seat and picnic bench it serves as an entertaining space, somewhere to relax, somewhere to read, somewhere to just be.
The lupins, paeony, poppies, tulips, lavender, lillies, pansies, daisies, day lillies, gladioli and all their friends make it a colourful place to be, it makes me smile to see all those colours. And, interspersed in the flower borders are the leaves of the beetroot, kohlrabi, the fronds of the asparagus which are voraciously proving me wrong when I said they'd never grow.
The Jerusalem (f)artichokes are moving ever skywards looking more and more like their cousins the sunflower.

I always put off watering the garden, it's a chore, trailing back & forth from butt to pots but every time I start watering I get lost in it. I stand for that short time, studying each plant as the water pours forth.

How many more little red flower buds there are on the runner beans today, the very first, tiny flowers have appeared on my asparagus pea, how the lettuces are starting to bolt in the hot summer that has blessed us this year.
In my small space I've managed to fit a surprising amount of vegetables, without it looking like an allotment.

I love lists, even though they're boring to everyone else, but check this out:
Alpine Strawberries
Asparagus Pea
Beetroot - 4 varieties, 1 specifically for harvest as a salad leaf
Broad Beans
Butternut Squash
Carrots - 3 varieties
Globe Artichoke
Jerusalem Artichoke
Lettuce - hearting varieties, cut and come again, oriental.....
Peas - 2 varieties
Pea Tips - to harvest for use in salads
Potatoes - 1st & 2nd earlies
Pot Marigolds - to harvest the petals for use in salad
Radish - 3 varieties
Red Perilla
Runner Beans

Swiss Chard - 2 varieties

Outside my front door, along the drive there's mint, rosemary, sorrel, thyme, tarragon, sage, lemon balm, applemint, oregano, chives, fennel, dill, red orach and parsley. In the conservatory my cucumbers and tomatoes, yet I still find myself wondering how I can fit more harvestable produce in the garden! I'm adding more and more edible flowers. From the day lily to the lavender to the pot marigold. This year will bring raspberries and blackcurrants.

All of this is fitted into a pretty small space, as made obvious by the duck squatter photos below, and yet through the summer it is enough to give me a salad at least once a day.
Above all, it's easy, it takes almost no time to maintain, and in truth took very little time to get it planted, it gives me so much pleasure that I can't even begin to take it for granted.

Get out there, dig in the soil, relish it getting under your fingernails!

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