Catching up

Every year, without fail, there comes a time in my garden when things are growing faster than I can keep up with them. Despite all my good intentions of staying one step ahead this year (even with having a dedicated Garden Day which has helped enormously), that time is fast approaching and the gap between me being totally on top of the garden and the garden doing it’s own thing unchecked is rapidly closing. I’ve been spending my time focussing on flowers and seedlings, and taking my eye off the veg patch for even a short while now seems like a bit of mistake.

Take the teasels, for example. Only a couple of weeks ago they were still a manageable size in the raised vegetable bed where they had taken up unofficial residence. No, of course I didn’t get round to moving them whilst they were still quite small – and look at them now! They’re not far off triffid sized! I’m torn between trying to move them anyway and risking that they might die because they’re too big (although this means that I won’t be able to plant any veg where they are) or leaving them until they have flowered and then shifting them (which will mean that it’s a bit late for planting what I had in mind for that bed). It’s a tough decision, and the longer I leave it, the more likely that I won’t have any say in the matter at all!

I’m almost ashamed to show you this picture. This was my greenhouse until Thursday of this week (Thursday is Garden Day, if you remember!) and it’s not very impressive. The beautiful white Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) is, but it’s not supposed to be there – right where my cucumber plant needs to go.

This is where I always wish I was a bit more hard-hearted about flowers, like my Dad is. He’s a veg grower through and through and takes no prisoners where trespassing flowers are concerned. That Foxglove would have been out of the greenhouse before you could say “Jack Robinson”.  In fact, the Foxglove wouldn’t even have got to grow in his greenhouse in the first place.  But me – well, I love Foxgloves.  I love their long bell-shaped flowers and the echoey noise that the bees make as they buzz up inside them.  I particularly love white Foxgloves so instead of whipping it out and flinging it into the compost bin, I very carefully dug it up and re-homed it to where I can see it whilst I’m sitting in the garden.  I’m not good at sitting in the garden – like most gardeners, I expect, I spend more time looking around at what I should be working on rather than just enjoying the moment, but I am trying hard to get better at it.

Here are some more flowers that shouldn’t be growing in my greenhouse but are fragrantly flouting the rules.  Welsh poppies (Meconopsis cambrica) have invaded and are happily nodding their heads in the sunshine.  They need to be evicted but unfortunately, like Foxgloves, poppies don’t like to have their roots disturbed and whilst the Foxglove has survived the move, I know that the poppies probably won’t.  I can work around them for now and I’ll lift them as soon as the flowers are over so that the seed heads don’t form.

I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to be able to potter about in my greenhouse.  In the garden generally, in fact.  Sometimes, on the rare occasion when I can be a bit grouchy (!) my husband even tells me to go out into the garden because he knows I’ll come back inside a nicer person.  It’s the fresh air, I’m convinced of it.  And when I’m back inside, I can settle to my socks.  Gardening and knitting, my two favourite things to do.  Ahh (happy sigh) 🙂

And I’m learning to be just as happy when I’m not pottering and I’m just sitting.  Sitting and surveying the greenery, listening to the house martins chattering to each other as they swoop and skim, and the bees buzzing about.  Sitting and enjoying the warmth of the sunshine on my face.  Sitting and, just for the moment, having nothing else in the world that I need to do.

Elsewhere in the garden, the blackcurrants are growing steadily on the bushes.  These blackcurrants will eventually become jam – no one in the house is that keen on blackcurrants in their proper form.  They’ll be joined by the raspberries which are also growing nicely but won’t be ready until the autumn (I grow the variety called “Autumn Bliss”), although not the strawberries which small daughter will attempt to polish off single-handedly.  It’s a funny thing, but I don’t actually like eating berries – it’s something to do with the texture when I put them in my mouth and the little seeds – but I love berry-flavoured foods.

Strangely, though, I don’t mind blueberries.  Apparently this is quite common amongst people who aren’t keen on berries because there are no seeds.  I can eat berries if I have to – sometimes we’ve been out for a meal and someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to make a berry-filled pudding and I would never hurt their feelings by refusing to eat it – but I don’t make a habit of it.

What I do like eating very much is our own home-grown tomatoes, especially when they’re straight out of the greenhouse and still warm from the sun.  Ooh, I don’t just like them – I LOVE them!  My greenhouse is looking much more fit-for-purpose now and the plants you can see will soon be producing beautiful red tomatoes.  We try to eat as many of them raw as we can so that I’m not left with tons of them to try to create puree with, but whilst on holiday in Canada last year my cousin made a wonderful tomato pasta dish that I’m definitely going to try this year – I’ve been waiting specially until we can use our own tomatoes again!

Next time, I’ll show you how the flowers are getting on.  My garden is very definitely a Spring and early Summer garden so there’s plenty to see at the moment.  How is your garden growing?

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12 Responses

  1. Penny says:

    You have a busy, fruitful (and veg-ful!) garden Christine! Our next door neighbour grows lots of tomatoes and other veg, and often drops round in the summer months with some, which is a great treat. X

    • Winwick Mum says:

      One of the best things about growing your own veg is that there is usually enough to share. In my case it's often courgettes and I'm not sure that people really thank me for them! 🙂 xx

  2. Amy at love made my home says:

    Gosh you have a lot going on in your garden right now! No wonder you are so busy with so much to keep up with. I wish that I could get welsh poppies to grow like that! Shame that they are in the wrong place for you. Volunteer plants often do that don't they. At least you could move the foxglove. I hope that you enjoy your outdoor time some more this weekend and that the weather stays good for you. xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Poppies do seem to grow very well in our garden, although not always where I expect them to! I'm hoping the weather stays fine as well – no sign yet of the promised heat wave, though! xx

  3. Unknown says:

    Sounds like you've got lots to keep you busy out there! I love tomatoes from the greenhouse too – a good percentage don't make it to the kitchen! And I'm a bit like you, I can't be ruthless with plants either. Glad you're finding a bit of time to just sit and enjoy your garden – I'm making a conscious effort to do that this year, and I'm taking my knitting out there with me too! X

    • Winwick Mum says:

      If I took my knitting out as well, Elaine, I'd never get anything done in the garden! 🙂 xx

  4. Unknown says:

    Believe me, your garden looks a whole heap better than my wilderness. I am totally ashamed of my garden at the moment. We only have a small patch but it has gone wild and I don't have the knowledge or the energy to know what to do with it. Thinking of calling in someone to landscape it and make it low maintenance for me to manage. xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      When your garden takes off in the summer, it often seems as if you'll never get it under control again. You will, though, whether you manage to do it on your own or you need some help. Even if you just clear a space big enough to put a chair to sit in, it's worth doing that so that you can have some time in the sunshine (which will arrive soon!) – fresh air's just magic xx

  5. Lilly's Mom says:

    I loved going on this tour of your garden. The white foxglove is really a beautiful plant; I see why you wanted to keep it. And you have a very intricate watering system for the green house. I'm sure you will enjoy all your hard work by getting wonderful vegetables and beautiful flowers.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Thank you! The watering system actually isn't that complicated but it's very useful when I'm not able to get into the garden to water as often as the plants want to drink! xx

  6. Run Home To Crochet says:

    I love foxgloves too and your garden is very productive. We have rhubarb, runner beans and this year we have perpetual spinach growing. Just a small veggie patch and rosemary in a pot!! J xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I haven't tried growing spinach but my husband loves it so I should probably put it on the list for next year! xx

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