Horticultural Journal outback 2020
From Jeannie’s point of view
March – Coronavirus lock down: Physically distanced gardening
As the spring opens, by the end of March, the massive beech tree finally catches the sun early in the morning. The wych elm is in yellow, green bud and alive with birds! Birds! The Rowan tree has finally unfurled. Surely the ivy will kill that Sycamore? Next door’s willow is SO alive.
Indoors, with seed trays on newspaper near the back door, I’m planting tomatoes, broad beans, cosmos seeds, coriander. Lobelia, is that? Not sure. Whatever was left over from last year.
We’ve got potatoes in bags to save space…
April – still no garden centres open, but our greenhouses are
Blossom everywhere and bluebells . beyond this garden. The Rowan tree looks like a fan palm. Transplanting tomato seedlings. Tom has ordered plants through the post, which during this pandemic still seems to be working, so plants arrive. Peppers, aubergines, tomatoes. The tiered system in the greenhouses works well for watering. Shouldn’t we have changed the compost inside?
A new bed appearing from the nettles/brambles/cow parsley.
Every day watering. The driest May on record and the water butts are empty. This sun and wind also dry out what’s above the ground, as well as what’s in the ground. The trees that were left in pots need a lot of water. They look sad.
Planting out peas, beans, kale and chard. The lettuce has been spectacularly successful. Lots of salads and although contentious, stopping the chard from flowering in its second season means it’s still good to eat and not bitter. How do we encourage people to come and pick what’s flourishing? Something is eating the new kale, chard and beans???
June: Downpours and thunderstorms
Lots of weeding and now rather than half an hour of watering every evening or morning, I’m tipping 6 inches of water from the big pots of sweet peas. Sodden. From worrying that everything would dry up, I’m now thinking roots will rot. Never wanted to be a farmer, horticulturalist …nor someone living in fear of climate crisis.
Strawberries just coming to ripeness, courgettes flowering. The new green roof on the log store is covered in pink, blue and purple flowers. They are like jewels when the sun’s out.
Salad for picking and lots of herbs. Runner beans coming on. A couple of cauliflower from last season.
Tomatoes on the way!
Courgettes and mange tout to pick and eat. Abundant salad for months now. Kale and chard on the way out from last season and we need some new plants, but they are being eaten as soon as we put them out - slugs and snails? Not a single strawberry left. Bind weed coming into flower - on a mission to stop it.
August – windy, cold and wet
Bad back - the kind of work that I do in the garden is only noticed when I stop doing it. Watering, for example, and weeding. The work day on Sunday was limited to me pointing and saying thank you to those with strong backs for all the chopping, weeding, moving compost etc.
The runner beans are beautiful and abundant now, courgettes too although some have a kind of mould near the stalk? Pumpkins like the rain and the tomatoes in the green house are turning red.
It’s not balmy. 12 degrees today, feeling like 8 in the wind, and single figures at night.
Sunflower competition - The sunflowers have grown in spite of it all and the winners claim their prizes.
We have a new pond!
September: Halfway through now
The beans have carried on and the tomatoes are edible now. Hurrah!
So, some wins and some not so great results - our fruit is minimal – focus for next year.
Rhubarb, berries, apples and pears. Did the wasps get all the damsons?
This weekend – taa daa!
Scarecrow and stall as part of the local Festival.