I am sans camera this week – or more precisely sans the sd card for the camera. So picture this… I have the new 2014 Kings Seed catalogue in front of me. Ooooh the excitement! Kings Seeds are celebrating 125 years in the business. Consequently the new catalogue has a montage of pictures that makes you want to don worn tweeds and a fair isle pullover and rush out and do some Dig for Victory sort of activities…. well it does me.
So here I am, curbing my vintage re-enactment tendencies, trying to sort out an order. Looking at the pile of seed packets strewn around me there isn’t much I need. I could supply one of the big 4 supermarkets if I sowed all the carrot seed in my possession. I have enough courgette to last a lifetime. I have those ‘I’ll give this a try’ packets that I never get round to giving it a try (Scorzonera springs to mind). The only obvious gap is Aquadulce Broad Bean. So I think next year’s sowing will be a clear the deck. The order should be a short one, it really, really should.
Of course I’ll just have a quick flick through the catalogue… you never know…..
I think a smidgen of xenophobia may have affected my county council’s tree scheme this year. The tree and hedging list has had a drastic prune (pun intended) and gone native – anything with a whiff of the foreign is OFF the list. Which is very irritating as I wanted to apply for some sweet chestnut. Ironically as it was introduced so long ago (over 2000 years) sweet chestnut is considered a ‘honorary native’. Oh dear – I’m not sure what has brought this on – possibly the ash issue? Anyhow, here is my hurrah for the exotic.
First up I have 3, yes three, whole peaches on my new peach tree. This is the only young fruit tree that I didn’t strip – because … well it’s amazing … we have peaches. The variety is Peregrine which according to T&M is ‘the best English variety since its introduction in 1906’. Blimey, it’s more native than me! Peregrine is also self fertile and if grafted onto a medium vigour rootstock – less susceptible to blossom frost damage. Now all I need to do is get the enclosure finished so as to keep the dreaded peach leaf curl at bay.
I’ve also acquired a very inexpensive Muscat grape-vine from a Morrison supermarket pop up garden centre. Yet another pruning technique to add to the ever-growing list.
No grapes as yet but the new leaves emerge a lovely bronzy green. While waiting for the grapes to make appearance I’m sure I can put the leaves to good use – in homage to my travels around the islands of Greece – stuffed vine leaves perhaps?
And finally, an Astrantia in my, will be someday, white woodland garden (eat your heart out Monty). The Astrantia is native to central and eastern europe (but introduced into Britain). This is the cultivar ‘Shaggy’, bred by (I think) Margery Fish. My aunt gave me a few specimens from her garden in Somerset – I wouldn’t be surprised if my aunt got the original from Mrs Fish herself!
A college colleague of mine has incorporated the Astrantia into her new stationery. And very beautiful it is too!
Reading this week: Gertrude Jekyll’s Lost Garden by Rosamund Wallinger
I have come to the conclusion that I need a HQ for planning the escape tunnel. This is not procrastination, no, no – but a vital element of the strategy.
Of course what I would dearly love to have is one of those oh so charming shepherd’s huts, but getting a £15k spend on what is basically a shed on wheels past the other half isn’t going to happen. Still, it gives one something to aim for – stylistically speaking. So step forward the new retreat nestling in the leafy confines of the old orchard.
The shepherd hut elements are all there. The corrugated iron roof, wood slat sides, window (or hole for window). Yes the shed is a bit wonky, a bit leaky and probably plays host to a large proportion of the local rodent population – but a bit of tlc and styling in the latest vintage, shabby chicness and voila! – it could be a contender for shed of the year 2014. Provided there aren’t any strong winds this winter of course.
Now all I need to sort out is the best Farrow and Ball colour.
Reading this week: Garden People – Valerie Finnis & the Golden Age of Gardening by Ursula Buchan