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Sunday, 18 August 2019

Plums

Plums - August 2019

The biggest, tastiest, juiciest plums we’ve had in over twenty-five years here. They seem to have thinned themselves out naturally during the earlier hot, dry weather and then swelled to perfection in the recent rain. At last, something to match the produce from all those gardener-bloggers who don’t live at 750 feet in the north of England.

Gardening for me now has become a case of simply keeping things under control, hoping to benefit from the fresh air and exercise. I enjoy it but we don’t have anything that would pull in the crowds at the village open day.

It started when I was little and wanted to “plant some seeds”. Dad dug up a thin line of lawn along the front of the shed and sowed some Virginian Stock – his mother used to like them he said. Soon I was studying flower catalogues, taking geranium and hydrangea cuttings, transplanting clumps of oriental poppies begged from relatives and spending my pocket money on anemone bulbs and sweet william seedlings at the local gardening shop. I kept quiet about it at school, though.

I surrounded my little patch of garden with a miniature picket fence made from the wooden lollipop sticks that littered the streets (three sticks as uprights and four or five alternately woven in-out and out-in). I grew lettuces from seeds and tried to sell them door-to-door from my bicycle saddle bag – almost too embarrassing to remember. I helped myself to some rhubarb rhizomes from an unkept allotment down by the railway but Mum made me take it back: the first time I heard the word “pilfering”.

Nowadays, I try to put on a decent display in the front garden, still sometimes with a few Virginian Stocks and those daisy things my dad always misnamed “mesantheambriums”. At the back we have various beans, Sungold orange cherry tomatoes, courgette, strawberries, raspberries, apples, pears and plums. Potatoes do well when I make the effort, but other things like cucumbers, beetroot, carrot, cabbage and cauliflower have suffered so often from mildew, grubs or caterpillars I rarely bother. And we must have some of the most health-conscious sparrows in the country; they peck peas and lettuce to shreds.

We also keep a sizeable wild patch under the trees for the hedgehogs who visit our feeding station. We captured this on an infra-red video camera last year:


Things are always a month behind everyone else here. This year has been particularly disappointing: we are still waiting for our first tomatoes. At least we can enjoy the plums.

You might also like: Help ... my courgette looks like a duck!

15 comments:

  1. My heart went pitty-pat, seeing that your garden adventures brought you to the rudiments of weaving. Look at all you learned!

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    Replies
    1. Are you available to give more advanced lessons?

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    2. You already know enough to weave potholders from old sock tops, on a frame from a thrift store.

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  2. When I was a kid 55 years ago, the picket fence in front of our house was made by my Dad out of the handles of broken hockey sticks, painted white. Very Canadian, eh?

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    Replies
    1. I bet that was more like four feet high rather than four inches. How did he manage to get hold of so many broken hockey sticks?

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    2. He worked maintenance at the local hockey rink one winter and collected all the broken sticks that players left behind.

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  3. I envy you those plums. Ours had almost reached their prime when gale force winds overnight this week ripped them from the tree and scattered them far and wide. Your boyhood love of gardening must have been fairly unusual back then?

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    Replies
    1. That's why I kept quiet about it at school. They took the p--- enough as it was.

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  4. I bet that Mrs Tasker Dunham (aka Demelza) also likes your plums. They are plump and juicy and surprisingly hairless.

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    Replies
    1. You seem to think that in real life I'm Ross Poldark.

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    2. "Thee be careful on them cliffs thy's often paradin' upon Ross!"

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  5. You were an enterprising child with a green thumb!





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  6. I was hoping this post was going to about your testicles.

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    Replies
    1. You appear to have mistaken me for Sir Yorkshire Pudding (see 2 comments above).

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