We are still keeping up with the early starts. Bright light streams in around the tiny gaps in the shutters; getting up is not so hard when the sun is waiting to greet you.
In the garden, the bees arrive dozily, a few at a time, meandering amongst the lavender flowers. Soon, there are countless numbers, the tempo increases and the combined buzzing is audible from the other side of the garden. Nature’s own rush hour.
Share in our morning ritual and enjoy this slow-motion capture of the first bumble bee of the day on the lavender flowers.
By the French doors, a single sprig of self-seeded verbena catches the breeze. I have tried buying verbena plants from the garden centre before and they have never taken. During the lockdown, I have been a lot more appreciative of “weeds” and their potential as free flowers. I have been allowing them to grow and, like a lucky dip, seeing what I have got. I’m so happy with this latest arrival.
Tucked into an old mossy log that forms part of the edging to our stream, a strange silvery leafed “weed” appeared this April. It looked a little like sage at first, then grew taller and taller, the leaves became scallop-edged and multiple large buds drooped heavily towards the ground. By then, we had already guessed it was a poppy, but could never have imagine how beautiful it would be.
On my kitchen windowsill, I thought I was only nursing newly sprouted courgette seedlings, safely away from the greedy snails. However, little bell-like mushrooms appeared overnight; there must have been some spores in the organic compost. The tiny fungi only survive into the afternoon before withering, though for the next few days, every morning I find another trio.
When my order of bird netting arrives by post, I plant the courgettes into the old onion bed, with gravel around the stem, copper mesh and the netting stretched above. So far, so good.
The rose has been persuaded to attach to the arbour and now, clinging on securely, it is climbing at speed. Fresh buds are appearing daily. My little daughter, who always likes to run around the garden before her breakfast, enthusiastically points out any new ones, happily calling “flower!”
As soon we see the honey-scented white blossoms appear amongst the vegetable plants, it is time for our first ever potato harvest. Unlike most of the vegetables we grow in our potager, the potatoes give no hint to the size of their crop, hidden so completely beneath the soil. Even onions give you a bit of a glimpse of how things are going.
My son chitted these seed potatoes throughout Lent and, keeping with horticultural tradition, dug the trenches for them on Good Friday and kept them watered them throughout the draught. I really wanted them to be a success for him. Happily, he is able to pull the plants out whole from the loose no-dig soil and as he triumphantly raises them aloft, the bounty of new potatoes hang beneath on tiny white stems like little baubles.
We ate this first batch within an hour of unearthing them, simply boiled and served with a little butter. They were delicious; soft and melting. It was one of those times I have wished for our own acre of land, meaning we would never need to buy shop-bought potatoes again.
Newly emptied terracotta pots now await my next round of seedlings.
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