My goodness, my garden has been good to me this summer!
I am more and more grateful every day for the lovely patch of land we inhabit. From giving us a space to meet family in the early days of lockdown easing, to feeding us delicious fruits and vegetables, and drying the constant stream of laundry which comes out of my house daily, the garden has nourished us.
I’ve done my best not to waste a single gift I’ve been given. The beetroot has been pickled for winter – a sweet and tangy accent to hearty stews and stovies. The leafs have been saved for salads and a soup I’ve taken to calling ‘summer borscht’ – a mix of potatoes and beetroot leafs.
The wilds have been fruitful too – mushrooms and berries aplenty. We’ve supped on blaeberries gathered from a woodland carpeted in plants dripping with fruit, and on peppery chanterelles, buried like gold.
I’ve dried camomile, fennel and lovage in the sunlight that streams through the car windscreen – an impromptu dehydrator that we’re so lucky to have.
And the peas and courgettes keep coming – dressed in fine summer mint, they make every meal feel like a treat.
And the salads! They look like sunshine on a plate, sprinkled with petals and agate-slices of radish.
We’ve even had hazy elderflower cordial and blackcurrant schnapps from our wonderful trees and fruit bushes.
I’m not naive enough to believe that we could feed ourselves entirely from the garden – we’ve had help from an incredible Community Supported Agriculture farm a few villages over. If you’ve not looked into this scheme near you, I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough. It has totally changed the way we eat, building our meals around vegetables we’d never used before. The farm near us make YouTube videos about what they’re planting and how they’re doing it, so even my beige-food-loving child is excited to eat the things ‘seen on TV’.
My next step is to start looking into ways I can be good to my garden. I’m already composting everything I possibly can – the next step is to use this as mulch and put it to good use. Other than that, my main aims are to try and remove as much of the rosebay willow herb as I can, and to address the black spot that’s involved itself with my roses.
…and the mystery spots on the gooseberry bush…
…and the spots on the crab apple…
… and finally the rather tragic pear tree…
I hope I can find out what these issues are – I would love to be able to save these plants!
If you have any suggestions, I’d be really keen to hear them!