Archive for July, 2009

Ireland; island 2, Rossdohan

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

A private garden until it was abandoned about six years ago. There is a proliferation of local rumor about its ownership. The ‘garden’, is a profusion of tree ferns and a jungle of exotic plants – dating from the late 1800’s – juxtaposed with some remnants of a formal garden, containing an overgrown lily pond. No less than twelve architects were consulted by the owner on the Cape Dutch style house, produced in the end by Michael Scott, a replica, it would seem, of Groot Constantia (TE Stoakley, Sneem, The Knot in the Ring). The house was destroyed by fire in 1955.

Ireland; island 1, Valentia

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Last post

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

This is the last post – for a while – as we’re on holiday for two weeks. A friend has volunteered to try to keep the plants alive – we wish Nic well. Today we planted four different types of Kale: red russian, reflex dwarf curly, jagallo nero, and sutherland. And yellow beetroot. All, again, given generously by Charles Dowding, who, by-the-way, grows and sells the best salads in the world. Today saw the meeting of two architects, two designers and one musician within the walls. The results of this collaboration yet to be determined, but a shed and a scarecrow have been discussed – fullsome thanks, especially to the two Londoners. The shed, we hope, will be a student project at University of Greenwich. The Smithson obelisk is brilliantly silvery in this damp light [larger image in Picture gallery].


Water and wine

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

According to tradition we’re in for 40 days of rain:
St Swithin’s Day, if it does rain 
Full forty days, it will remain; 
St Swithin’s Day, if it be fair 
For forty days, t’will rain no more.

Our two vines are doing very different things; see below, comparing progress. Numbers refer to the height of the vines measured in bricks. Below that, new peas on the plot.

grapesdwarf pea

Over the border

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Another gallery post which visits the world beyond the walls. Happily snapping these poppies, I came across a counterpart orache. We think the tree is a southern catalpa.

Keep calm and carry on!

Sunday, July 12th, 2009




Chard, clover & comfrey. Blast the Badgers!

Drama II

Friday, July 10th, 2009

The sequel and a setback. Badgers, we think, have destroyed much of one of the beds. They appear to have concentrated specifically on the bean seeds, planted on 4 July, now germinating. They carefully removed most of the labels too. We started a compost area a few days ago and added food waste, which may have attracted them – though no evidence to support this. Paul is organising the blocking of the bottom gate (deep appreciation). The advantage of being within walls might become clear very shortly. There exists a small possibility the damage could have been caused by a bird, we’re working on a pair of scarecrows, of which more later.

aubergine 10 July





Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Dramatic weather, wind and rain both. This is the first heavy rain we’ve had: water pours through the gate onto our plot washing the compost away with it. No harm done though. The very first, and surely only, disadvantage to our position? The wind has challenged some plants and we have been busy tying up tomatoes, tomatillos, aubergine, and even the sprouts are ready to start tying. We’ve had our first taste of the produce: a salad of chard, orache and amorina; how distant from the bland supermarket taste we’re all accustomed to. Astonishing.

7 July

7 July

8 July

8 July

Seed beds

Sunday, July 5th, 2009


Yesterday saw the addition of onion, pea, bean and rocket seeds, and the beds are now full. The seeds came from More Veg at one penny per seed. All organic apart from the onion. The moon is waxing gibbous, variously good or bad for planting beans and peas (depending on your lunar method), good for rocket, and indifferent to onions.

Our young chard leaves provided a completely unexpected salty taste sensation; we’re looking forward to having our first salad in a few short days.

tomatillo 4 July

Tomatillo 4 July

courgette soleil 4 July

Courgette Soleil 4 July

Orange Hokkaido

Squash Orange Hokkaido

And then there were . . .

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

. . . two paths. ‘You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.’ – Wendy, Peter Pan, JM Barrie. The right hand path follows the aspect of Penelope’s plot. Aubergine Moneymaker’s surprisingly beautiful purple flower.