Saturday, 27 May 2017

Come Into The Garden...

This is the rather forbidding entrance to my garden. There is barbed wire on the fence. The gate is almost always locked. Few people see what's behind it. But you can come in.

     My orchard, in its pots. There's a plum tree, a purple filbert, a Kentish cob and a Bardsey apple. Crammed among them are potatoes (Pentland javelins) growing in old compost bags, lettuce and rocket, onions and carrots and strawberries. And herbs: rosemary, mint, dill, sage, chives.
     The pond is just out of sight, behind the trees.

      The view from just outside my kitchen door, over the pond, which you can't see because so much has grown up around it. The wrens love to skulk in the undergrowth and then bullet out when you're not expecting them.
      My cherry tree (in a large pot) is just out of shot to the right. Also out of shot, to the left, are a blackberry and a tayberry, in pots. And a fennel. And two small bay trees.
      Below is our 'wild-flower meadow.' It's behind the 'orchard. Beside it, in the black tub, we're growing peas. Out of shot, behind the peas, there are tomatoes in grow-bags.
     We hope all the wild-flowers come out and feast the bees.

       This fella below may be my favourite in the garden at the moment.

     The big green fella, I mean. It's a teasel. You don't get much idea of scale but it's not far short of six-foot. It spent all last year as a little rosette, hugging the ground, but this year it's going for it.
     It's a bit bizarre. Its leaves, as they hug the thick central stem, form little green basins that have filled with rain-water.

     Follow that leaf in the foreground back... See the water shining in the basin? Look a little higher and you can see the round, leafy basin above, cupped around the next outgrowth of leaves.
     Francis Darwin, Charles Darwin's son, suggested that the plant was at least partly carnivorous, trapping insects in these pools and absorbing them. This hasn't been proved, but in 2011 an experiment was done where insects were added to the in-built pools of some lucky teasle plants but not to others, and their growth measured. Those that were fed insects didn't show any increased growth - but they did produce more 30% more seeds than the unfed ones.
     Carnivorous or not, it has teeth. Look at the spikes on that stem. On the underside of the leaves too.

      Try to brush one of these big leaves aside and you get a nasty jab.

The water in the leafy basins is supposed to good for the complexion but I don't fancy smearing my face with insect-soup.

And finally....




Sue Purkiss said...


Susan Price said...

Thanks Sue.

maryom said...

my kind of slightly crowded, something growing in every square inch, garden :)

Leslie Wilson said...


Susan Price said...

Thanks Leslie and Maryom. Every square inch, yes, and I'm trying to pack more in. I sometimes look at neat, well-laid out, well tended garden and think, yes, that's very nice. But it's not what I want to see when I look out of my garden. 'Edge-of-woodland habitat' that's what I want to see. I'm working towards it.