Sunday, 19 September 2010


Some readers will be aware that Jane and I have been away for a few days. We have been on holiday in Canada, visiting Vancouver (5 nights) and Whistler (2 nights). We got back today.

Whilst going on holiday is almost always a pleasurable experience, some aspects of coming home again are generally not. For me there are always a few anxious moments worrying about what calamity may have befallen my garden whilst we have been away. Could it be that all the plants have died of thirst? (No. We arranged for friends and relatives to see to the watering for us); could it be that a storm has blown everything to shreds? (No. Sounds like the weather has been pretty mild these last few days); could it be that the pesky foxes have dug everything up again? (Very likely, but I seem to have escaped this too). The first thing I do after dumping the suitcases in the hallway is rush to the French Windows at the back of the house to take a look at the garden. This time it looked OK. Whew!

When you have a garden that you can tend in small but frequent sessions, like I have, you often don't notice how much things can change in a week. Some things will have grown a lot; some things will have produced more fruit; some things will have died off. At this time of the year I'm always tidying things up -- removing yellowing leaves; picking up clumps of moss scratched off the roof tiles by the birds; filling-in the holes made by the foxes, etc, so a week away makes the garden look pretty different. This afternoon I spent a couple of hours generally tidying things up. First job was picking up all the fruit that had fallen off the crab apple tree out at the front. If this job doesn't get done then it's hard to stop squelchy bits of apple coming into the house on our shoes. After that -- harvesting of beans, tomatoes, tomatillos, chillis, raspberries, carrots... It's just SO nice to be able to eat home-grown veg again. On holiday you seldom get your Five-a-Day, do you? The size of the portions of veg they serve in restaurants is ridiculously small. Finally, tidying-up. Oh, and taking a few photos to record how things were.

Raspberries, tomatoes, chillis -- not intended for simultaneous consumption!

The French Marigolds are still producing some impressive blooms

So are the Calendulas

The Borlotti look good, but I'll resist them just yet...

The curly Endives have grown a lot in the last week

The salads - now protected from the foxes by netting - have recovered pretty well from their ordeal

The Currant Goldrush tomato plant has a very raddled and "past it" look

I haven't harvested any more of the Currant Goldrush fruits because I don't like them. They look quite appealing, but their tough skins make them unpleasant to eat.

The fruits on the outdoor "Son-of-Wilma" tomato are looking quite promising

Some of the Geranium cuttings are feeling the cold

Earlier in the year I took some cuttings of one of my Geraniums, and these have been growing steadily outside. This week they have obviously been a bit too cold. When this happens, the leaves turn from green to a browny/ bronzy colour. If you don't bring them indoors quickly they will soon succumb, so I have put mine on a windowsill in the garage. [This is a place I haven't mentioned before. The garage has one window, and whilst it doesn't get a huge amount of light it is also not too warm either -- not like inside the house. Quite a good place therefore to put something that needs some warmth but not too much.]

One other item is worthy of note: Victoria Plum had a sister! Many of the leaves of the plum tree have fallen off this week, and today I noticed another ripe plum. Unfortunately I wasn't the first to have done so. It had a couple of very obvious beak-marks in it. Having harvested it I did photograph it. Unfortunately, both the photos I took of it were badly out of focus, so I'm not uploading them. And by the time I realised this, the plum (minus the beak-damaged bit) had been consumed. So you'll just have to take my word on this!
In a few days time I'm hoping to be able to put together an article on what we saw in Vancouver's Granville Market, but that will have to wait for a bit. Before then I'm afraid I have to do some work...

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