Gardening 6

The drought is getting very serious for the farmers – though we are still allowed a hose for 2 hours on odd evenings (since our number is 31) and that has kept the veg garden producing well – especially runner beans, and a couple of plants I bought as courgettes which produce full-size marrows more or less overnight at the drop of a hat. My solitary grafted ‘Super Tom’ has only done moderately though – not more than 100 tomatoes I should think compared to one round the corner which (so I hear) is 8’ high and has 600 on it!

The garden’s a bit of a mess at present because some grass clippings we carefully dug into the new vegetable bed as enrichment for the soil had grass seed in and we now have lawn where there shouldn’t be and dry grass and dandelions where there should! The first of the home-grown produce is just about ready now – carrots’ll be the first. And we’ve a whole cupboard full of apples, pears, rhubarb, tomatoes and beetroot, more beetroot and yet more beetroot!

I am starting on the huge garden. It has a great tennis court of lawn and some more grass and veg, and is spotted with stupid beds in the grass and many queer trees and bits and pieces. They were mad keen gardeners and did some pretty peculiar things to my mind. The so-called compost heaps appear to have everything but the kitchen sink embedded in them and it is all too obvious to me that enormous rose prunings and suchlike will never rot down in a thousand years, so I shall have to do a little re-organising in due course. Not to mention the odd plastic bag or bottle that seem to have got in too. But although I am rude about them they actually got things to grow in an extraordinary way and there are all sorts of twigs and bits and pieces stuck into the ground which will apparently take root in time! Except that by then I shall have probably dug them up in my ignorance. There are miles of hedges!!

The trouble is that the compost is so full of weed seeds that wherever I use it I have to go back endlessly to repair the damage! I don’t know why it should be, as I use some expensive and evil-smelling mixture supposed to contain millions of bacteria per cubic hair’s-breadth so that the compost ought to be beautifully sterile.

The lemon tree is bowed down with ripe fruit and every other stage of growth, which is a good thing as I’m down to my last pot of marmalade, the peach blossom and prunus are in flower, the buttercup and mimosa trees too, and the camellias are still flowering. Also the daphne which smells delicious, the forgetmenots and odd daffodil too, and lilies of course and masses of pink daisies that go on for months.

Lemon tree