Updated: Jun 17
I started the morning listening to the Sunday service at Westminster Cathedral which gave me a real lift, the familiar sound of their fabulous choir (although presumably recorded) was heart warming and I considered again as I’ve done several times during lockdown, whether or not I will be playing for their Christmas Celebration this year. I certainly hope so…we will just have to wait and see.
It was a very warm day today and Meave and I were lucky enough to see a beautiful large dragon fly laying her eggs, on or under, the lily leaves.
I started work by planting out 14 cauliflower plants in the brassica quarter. These plants had been rather overlooked, partly because I was planning to weed a rather complicated bed to plant them in. However, today I decided they would fit alongside the calabrese in an area that was already clear. I surrounded them with some lovely ‘Lemon Gem’ tagetes – I like the smell of these plants, for some reason it reminds me of my childhood, which doesn’t make any sense, but never mind, smells are incredibly evocative. The cauliflowers were sharing a tray with some coriander that was beginning to go to seed. I planted this amongst the Californian poppies in the middle of the bed containing the spinach and the beetroot (note to self, I must sow another tray of beetroot). It doesn’t matter if the coriander goes to seed, it will add to the companion planting and we can use the seeds. I then decided to plant tobacco plants around both sweetcorn beds, this used up 72 tobacco (nicotiana) plants which looked very nice with the sweetcorn, and their blooms will attract night time pollinators. By this time, I had persuaded Meave to do some weeding. I gave her a not very easy bed, this is one where it is necessary to weed around any self-seeded companion planting – in this case, Californian poppies. We both decided today that our new favourite coloured flower is the deep magenta of the rose campion, before that it was the perfect blue cornflowers that are standing like soldiers (but not as stable) around the onion bed and before that, it was the perfect pure orange of the Californian poppies that are everywhere!
I then return to the bean and onion quarter and start preparing the ends of two beds to receive the soya and edamame beans. To do this, I need to tame the Californian poppies which are older in this section of the vegetable garden and a bit floppy, so they get a trim, which also removes a lot of seed heads which will encourage flowering. I plant out two root trainers of soya and edamame beans and put in some miniature (1 foot tall) wire fence sections for support and a cane trellis pyramid. I then surround these areas with clarkia. Interestingly, it becomes so warm that the newly planted squash and pumpkins start to wilt despite last night’s downpour, so I water them.
Patrick starts his day cutting the sides of the front field hedge, then James and Aideen shred all the clippings for compost. They then all go and work on finishing the shed in the compost yard. Later in the day, Meave and I have a dip in the pool, the first in more than a week because of the weather. It is blissful and helps my aching muscles. This type of pool might be ‘cheap and cheerful’ but it is a real godsend!
At the end of the day, I shell a big bowl of peas and pick all the remaining broadbeans to go into a chicken casserole with dumplings, I also pick some more broccoli from the tunnel which has been delicious so far.