Sunday, 4 October 2009

Who's Queen?

I'm not sure about you - but when garden design, or 'what veg to put where' is on my mind, I do my best thinking when I'm free to wander around aimlessly with a steaming cup of tea, a mug of coffee strong enough to stand a spoon in, or my personal favourite, an ice cold goblet of Pinot Grigio. And naturally, exactly what I am holding, is largely dependant on what time of day it is...
And how much thought is needed!

Having made endless horticultural and culinary mistakes over the years, I'm rather keen to learn by them this time around, and so, having moved to The Funny Farm mid-April, Trousers and I have very much sacrificed 2009's produce in order to get things right for 2010 (ish). And I've taken myself back to The Drawing Board, where I first started to culinarilly 'crawl', before I learned to horticulturally 'hop'. It has kind of 'pinched me' back into the reality of sowing, growing and harvesting in tune with The Seasons - because I now have enough space to do that effectively.

It's a cracking good time now to get a bit of research under the belt me thinks!

The front of The Farmhouse is beginning to look superbly Autumnal now, and leaf-fall is imminent, meaning hopefully, that Trousers will build a LeafMouldBin for me for my birthday?!

I need to spend more time in the front garden next year, but sooner than that, on return from our holiday, I need to drastically cut back the very overgrown shrubberies.

I spent a whole day last week tending to the lawns at the front, because they've been very badly neglected over the last 5 years, and it's only TLC that will ever bring them back to their true glory (see Wellie with her underpants on the outside of her skirt again?!)

And I love a challenge - because to see the lawns in the front garden, or the grass paths in the kitchen garden at the back, looking luscious and green, will 'show off' the riot of rambling roses in June, and just about 'anything' that I've been clever enough to grow in our back garden......

Talking of Riots & Ramblings.... can you believe just how disorganised my draughty dutch greenhouse is still? If it weren't for the fact that the rose bush growing just inside the door was actually of Exhibition quality, and may win me a potential First Prize in my local village show next year, it would have met it's maker way back in April. It couldn't be more in my way if it tried? But the scent from it in full bloom was magnificent today again.

Trousers has promised to re-erect The Big Girls' Greenhouse that we brought from The Cottage before Christmas, so that I can grow my Tommies, Peppers, Chillies & Aubergines in it next year, rather than clutter up the Kitchen Conservatory (which is now bereft of the aforementioned), and has become the most enjoyable of sun rooms to have a sunny & sheltered brekkie in every morning.

Last week I showed you the pristine pallets that Trousers managed to snaffle for me for my noo Compost Bins. Well this is kind of why? At the very bottom of this compost heap is about 4ft high x 6ft wide of upturned turves - which will be the most beautiful Loam in a while - but on top of that is a cornucopia of kitchen and garden waste, and when The Big Girls Greenhouse is built, I'll need a new, more accessible site, which we plan to site near the Hawthorn Tree, and so this one can rest in peace for at least a year, or get periodically mixed with the new bins, and well-rotted farmyard manure, for a bit of heat-generating 'kick up the backside' !

There's just one question on my lips as far as The Orchard goes:

WHAT Windfalls?

But, being the kind of gal that flies by the seat of her pants, it's share and share alike, and actually I'm pretty cool about it, because after I've helped myself to what fruit I want from the trees, I get to go in there and just collect the sheep droppings for soaking in a 'liquid tea' in a waterbutt, to make the most nutritious liquid feed for all of my little garden darlings for next year.

There's probably many a woman amongst you that would rather go shopping than pick up Sheep droppings - but not me!

Double Negatives work beautifully for me, and so: Wellie's none happier than not going shopping.

A Double Positive also works: A Windfall is personally collected, and turned into Liquid Gold for the future.

And I can't believe that my parents brought me up so superbly, and that I've actually completely forgotten my manners!

Unfortunately, because one is not allowed to record the guided tour, I cannot show you photographic evidence, but I had the HUGE priv, priv, honour to be escorted round Highgrove Gardens on Wednesday, as part of the Biodynamic Group that I've been associated with since meeting Rachie. And every single garden just completely 'blew me away', with its' presence, its' magic, aura and individuality. I began to appreciate the book on Hostas that Diana Grenfall had so kindly signed and given Trousers for me, having now learned that Prince Charles had the National Collection of Hostas. Everything really began to fit into place, but on an everyday and totally unpretentious level.
His gardens were BEAUTIFUL, and every bit as I had anticipated them to be.
And in anticipation of a heartfelt 'Thank You', I spent quality time at home the day before, perfecting a very individual jam, with some home-grown qualities, that I thought Charles might appreciate. Unfortunately, the Cape Gooseberries don't swagger the same pectin qualities of the bog-standard Goosegogs, and so I spent much of the night trying to get the sodding jam to set, she said politely through gritted teeth (!)
However, with the encouragement of a little Lemon Juice, and a multitude of tastings, to make sure I'd not damaged the flavour, I did finally hit the success button, so got a few precious hours sleep beforehand. And I do hope that Charles and Camilla will put it on their toast at least once! or, failing that, will give me The Thumbs Up and ask me to supply them with that jam all year round, which I would gladly do, given that it's so exclusive as not to be available in the shops.
Or I'll get a Royal Letter, written by his Secretary, to tell me that it was so very kind of me to think of them, at which point, I think I'll just pick up my very black cat, and cuddle her in front of the woodburning fire, get Trousers to play the Violin (which he's never played before) and watch a Chick Flick or two, knowing that it was Royal Politeness for 'Get Out More Luv?'
Thank you for being here.
You are always really really welcome.