Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Harvest festival

Here's a selection of what I've grown (successfully) at home in pots and on the allotment at work. Shiny homegrown peppers before they went under the knife - a record crop of five this year.

Tomatoes a-ripening - but they may yet end up as green chutney as the shadow of White City is looming a little longer every day and we are running out of sun.

Winter minestrone ingredients coming along nicely. Cabbages get a bad press - these brassicas are really beautiful plants in their own right. The red kale glows in the sun and the Tuscan kale is like one of those fountains children's entertainers used to make out of rolled up newspapers.

But the prize winner is - the one and the only Butternut Squash. The sole offspring of the free BBC Dig In seeds.

This might represent my most successful veg growing season yet.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

A night at the Museum

I went to the Garden Museum last night for a sneak preview of the photos in Dan Pearson's gorgeous new book.
The museum has become a vibrant hub for gardening glitterati, repositioning itself a la V&A, with less emphasis on the artefacts and more on looking at design, and gardens, today. I like what they're doing. It's a great space, the Vista talks are stimulating, the changing exhibitions are thoughtfully put together ("The Good Life...100 years of Growing Your Own" is coming soon and sounds like it will be a fun trawl through the archives). But it's a shame the lovely old tools, seed packets and gardening clogs have been hidden away upstairs like an eccentric aunt.
Still, saw some lovely photos from the book - I loved the ones of community gardens in New York, Japan and our own Bonnington Square in Vauxhall. Were they the first guerilla gardeners in London?

Monday, 21 September 2009

Colours 2

September in my garden brings pink to the flat heads of sedum, the first flush of autumn burgundy to the forsythia leaves, crocosmia seedheads, caryopteris in bud, speckled trycirtis and pale anemone in full bloom and a few sprigs of rosemary and pineapple mint.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Borrowing plants

When you live in such close proximity as a London terrace, it helps if you can borrow your neighbour's garden. I am lucky that I have generous gardeners next door, who have planted bananas, echiums, a gingko tree and as much as they can cram in, so we have a wonderful view to the rooftops beyond. And closer still, the wisteria is shared over the trellis that divides our plots. Yesterday Fabrice painted the wonderful pendulous pods so that he would stop bumping his head on them.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

September mourning?

That autumn back-to-school feeling never really goes away. And it feels especially acute after a long weekend. The trees seem to have started shedding lots more leaves just because it's the official first day of autumn; Radio 4 is glumly predicting the onset of winds and bluster.
What happened to the joys of an indian summer? Against the odds, I am clinging onto a faint whisper of optimism. Autumns have been so mild in recent years, that I have planted bulbs in short sleeves on the second weekend of October for at least the past two, into ground hard as concrete because it hasn't rained for weeks.
So today I celebrated September by planting out some basil. Excuse me? Yes, any book will not have in its timely advice that now is the season to plant out basil. But I had two pots, one supermarket bought and one grown from seed that never made it out into my garden, and deserve a better end to the season than languishing on the kitchen windowsill. So I thought I'd see if six weeks more growing time outdoors will generate enough new leaves for a jar of pesto.