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 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) J
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?