Thursday, 22 March 2012

Spring is sprung

Can you feel it? That almost imperceptible shift in the atmosphere? Even the sunlight seems different and there's a more optimistic vibe in the air. Spring arrived on Tuesday morning, although far too early for me - at 5am I was still in the land of nod. But it's amazing how much has just burst into life in the garden. There's the primrose...
The damson has burst into bud, on Tuesday
The bees are out...
And the frog spawn is back in the pond! Hurrah

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Seedy Sunday

As you can probably tell, the obsession with seeds is not likely to go away any time soon. We already have seeds everywhere in trays in the house and our little polytunnel, and now there's going to be a whole lot more! The reason? We were at our first sale of the year, a seed swap at Foxton Village Hall, near Market Harborough, today. It was the first time I'd been to a seed swap but we made sure to bring along plenty of herb seeds like angelica, hyssop, camphor, fennel to name but a few. The seed packets were all sorted and put into alphabetical order - which turned out to be a good idea, as once the doors opened there was a bit of a scrum as everyone headed straight for the boxes of seeds. There were packets people had got free with magazines, the heritage seed experts from Ryton, Coventry, and envelopes of seeds labelled with neat, fountain-pen copperplate handwriting from elderly gardeners. We had a great time, talking about herbs and wildflowers with people who came along. It was great to see so many people interested in herb gardens. Richard's a big fan of Harry Dodson, star of the 1980s BBC series The Victorian Kitchen Garden, and this year he wants to try to grow as many heritage varieties as we can. And look at this little haul!
Cardoon from 1885
Cabbage from 1821
Salsify from 1860 Hopefully we can add these to the vegetable seedlings we'll be selling from the market stall alongside the herbs and soaps. I love the descriptions of the old varieties, too. "A newer variety which is positively the largest Tomato ever produced," sys the 'Oxheart Giant' label. "The skin is purplish scarlet. The individual Tomatoes weigh as much as a pound and a half each. Although not a heavy yielder - excellent flavour." Can't wait!


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