Garden of Delight

27Jun10

It’s a lovely time of year in the garden …. all the borders are blooming, and the first of the crops are starting to come through.

I’m especially pleased now that some of the borders I’ve planted are maturing now, and parts of the garden are starting to resemble the picture I have in my head. I love this little strip under the pergola, with the vivid sweet williams underneath the rampant raspberry canes … there’s still a long way to go to achieve what I really want in the garden, but I’m concentrating on getting right the areas already under cultivation before I start expanding the beds any further – ultimately, I’d like there to be really very little lawn, but with the children needing the space for running around, I definitely have to wait on that for a while yet. I’m thrilled that the strip of meadow that I planted last year down the side of the house has started to come into its own this year – I was expecting it to take much longer to come on, but it’s already bursting with achillea, purple loosestrife and michealmas daisies, with the clovers and native geraniums and grasses holding it all together – I’m already excited about what next year will bring me!

We finished the last of the root veg about a month ago, but my brassicas (despite the best efforts of the wretched Cabbage Whites last year) have been splendid – we’ve had an almost constant supply of cabbage, brocoli and cauliflower … and now my spring cabbages (Spring Hero) are heading up nicely. I noticed the first signs of cabbage white attack today and picked the brassicas clean of the beastly caterpillars … I’m going to order some neem oil and give that a try this year, seeing as my companion planting was such a dismal failure last year. I’ve already decided that I’m going to net the brassicas when we go on holiday this summer, since that was when the worst of the damage happened last year.

My salads had a bit of a shaky start with the late frosts in May, but they’re coming good now, and we’ve had regular supplies of lettuce and spring onions for the past few weeks, and taste is just phenomenally good – even the children will eat leaves from the garden. And we had our first home-grown peas this week, too – so sweet that it makes the space they take up worth it. Bella in particular is tremendously enthusiastic about gardening, ‘helping’ me with planting and watering at every turn (even though the watering can is almost as big as she is 😉 ), and gets enormously excited about seeing the seeds growing. She’s particularly fascintated by the beans – I think because they’re so fast, so she can easily see how much they’ve grown on an almost daily basis, racing away up their canes. I’ve been much more rigourous with the slug pellets this year, and I’ve lost much less to slug and snail attack … although I wonder if all the hot and dry weather plays as much of a part as that. Still, it’s a delight to see intact hostas down in the shady part of the garden whatever the reason.

The only disappointment has been the onion sets I planted in last autumn – they really haven’t performed very well, and I’ll be lucky to get anything useful out of them at all – though this year I’m trying interplanting the onions with carrots and other root crops in an attempt to confound the dratted carrot-root fly that destroyed most of my carrots last year. Hopefully, the onion sets that went in this spring will do better … though it’ll be a challenge if this hot and dry weather carries on all summer.

I feel like such a killjoy to be wishing for a good downpour … but the watering regime is pretty gruelling at the moment. I keep looking longingly at irrigation systems in the garden catalogue ….

But my biggest success story this year – so far – has been the soft fruit. For the last two weeks we’ve been harvesting – and gorging – on what feels like an endless supply of strawberries. Every other day, Bella and I are collecting a big bowlful – well, I’m collecting them, and she’s mostly just eating them. There’s something about a freshly picked strawberry, warm from the sun 🙂 I think I might need to make some jam soon because there are more than we can quite keep up with … but for now we’re just revelling in having them on tap. Even better, the raspberries are fruiting like maniacs, and we had the first of them today, along with blackcurrants and redcurrants. I’m astonished how well they’ve done, because I only planted the canes and bushes last year …. and I’m already thinking that next year I might plant more redcurrant and blackcurrant … I just love the way they hang on the bushes like little jewels (and they taste *great*, too).

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One Response to “Garden of Delight”


  1. 1 Your Garden

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