Oops, another little hiatus. In my defense, I probably didn’t have anything interesting to say anyway! It’s been a busy time at work, with conference season kicking off and events to plan throughout the year, a website to remodel and several funding schemes to advertise, shortlist and interview for (with all the attendant cat-herding of tracking down an interview panel and getting them and the candidates in the same place at the same time), and all the finance paperwork that goes with such processes.
With the slightly warmer weather though we’ve had some nice surprises in the garden – we have wood violets appearing in the border underneath next door’s rampaging clematis, soldiers and sailors (pulmonaria) under the front hedge, and more frogs in the pond than we know what to do with. The SAGE! (capitalisation well deserved) is well on its way to taking over the herb bed again. Last year it even managed to see off the mint so we’ll be cutting it regularly this year to stop it from swamping the remaining peppermint, chives and rosemary in that little bed. One slightly less pleasant (and very odd) surprise was the disappearance of the little trailing fuchsia from its pot outside the front door. Beautiful glazed pot: untouched – twiggy, unappealing little plant: gone. Matt suspects something chewed through the stalk and the plant itself blew away. He’s probably right. It didn’t look remotely like anything you’d want to smoke and that’s the only reason I can imagine any of our shiftier neighbours stealing it! As a replacement, I’ve gone for something a bit less easily compromised – Sea Mist. A dense, mat-like plant that grows all over the place on coastlines, little pincushion hummocks of thick grassy leaves and heavily scented pink/purple flowers. We like our bees, we do.
To help (and take advantage of) the bee population I’ve also started lettuce, pea, courgette, tomato, sprouting broccoli, chilli and bell pepper plants, along with snapdragons and nasturtiums in the greenhouse. I’ve sown parsley, spinach beet and chard directly into a bed in the back garden, and planted lily corms in the suntrap under the front window (and was delighted to see while doing so that the £shop blackcurrant and redcurrant plants I put in last year have a ton of new shoots on them). Hopefully when pay day rolls round I’ll also be able to invest in some of those staged or tall strawberry planters to put outside the front door where they’ll get as much sunshine as they can eat. I don’t expect to get huge, household-sustaining crops from any of these, but one of the best things about last summer was watching Leo take himself off to hunt around the back garden for alpine strawberries or raid the greenhouse for cherry tomatoes, and later, scour the fenceline for blackberries.