xmlns:fb='http://ogp.me/ns/fb#' Karen Wagner garden & design: September 2012

Monday, 24 September 2012

vegetable dreaming

With Spring well and truly upon us...I have been quite enthused and have even been finding half hours between rain showers, work and school holiday activities to get some weeding done.  
Sometimes I really don't mind a bit of weeding.  Its a bit of a cliche but it is sort of theraputic.  You feel like you are doing something good (virtuous?), it gives you headspace outdoors to have a think without phones or other interference (peace and quite) and you can see where you have been quite quickly (reward).

I have also been putting some seeds into small pots getting them ready to go into the garden.  I am finding I need to sow almost everything into mini pots (newspaper pots usually)  at the moment to stop the blackbirds decimating everything.  If there is a seed for free, they will find it.  They will even work it out from under netting and love peas, beans and anything just starting to sprout with mini cotelydons.  They are quite frankly a pain! 

It does start to make me dream of much larger vegetable gardens....mine is so small.
I also have been reading a few vegetable growing books...there are some great and really inspirational ones around, and I caught a stray episode of River Cottage recently and was feeling rather green over the great big veg beds out the back door.
Wouldn't it be lovely to have a couple of gardeners and grow lots of fabulous veg and fruit in enormous long productive beds.  Every season I dream of larger areas to grow lots and lots of veg.  I think one day I will just have to go out and make the dream come true.

I want to grow a great big row of artichokes to serve from now through summer.  And lots of french snap peas on a continual three week sow for a really long spring, summer season. And I would love to master growing 2 or 3 really fabulous varieties of tomatoes and have the space to make them work and make sauces and chutneys out of them.

And then there are at least three varieites of beans I would love to try.  I grow green beans and broad beans but would love to also grow borlotti and a couple of new varieties of mini runner beans.
I have also at least 10 varieties of lettuce and greens I have my sights set on......and I just can't fit them in.  I have been trialling a few with the seeds we are now carrying in store...the vilmorin range - a french seed company - the seeds are great germinators and the packets are really generous.  
And of course there are two varieties at least of radish. I would love the space to have an experiment with carrot varieties...at the moment I just grow the little round ones which are lovely.  And there is beetroot, spring onions, mini fennel, parsnips, purple sprouting broccoli, leeks, at least 10 herbs, pumpkins, zucchini, potatoes and kale all on my list and each of them has at least two varieties I would like to try.
I would also love an experiment with the 25 varieties of basil I saw growing in the glasshouse at West Dean when I visited there....

Looks like I need at least an acre....and a couple of gardeners....or maybe some apprentices.....maybe a glasshouse......a large kitchen.....lots of time.....oh and I'll have a view also please........I'll keep dreaming while I water the seeds and squish everything into my surburban mini plot.  Great dream though!!.  I'm sure one day I will make it come true.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

springs gales, wreaths and plantings

For the last week, while I have sat at my desk staring out the window to the garden, I  have been amazed at the weather we had all in a week.  We really have had 4 season in one day for most of it.
Spring started with the most beautiful unseasonal  warm sunny still days and graduated into snow, gale force windes, rain and dark clouds.  Its sunny and a little blowy again as I gaze out my window again this morning....typical spring weather.  Not freezing, a little blowy, intermitantly sunny.  
And of course there is blossom everywhere.  On one of the more gentle days....I went and stood under the plum tree which blossoms first in our garden and it was like standing under a thick cumulus cloud that was showing gentle snowflakes.  It was lovely.  It snowed blossom on me and I came in with my hair and clothes sprinkled with delicate white petals.  The simple things that just make you smile ....!

In between times, we have been busy....there has been lots of stock landing in store which we are unpacking and sorting.  Lots of lovely things....keep an eye on facebook for all of these.

We have also had a great collaboration with a local artist, Laura Purcell, who has made the most magnificent enormous pinot noir vine wreath for us to hang at a special job we were doing.  Its great fun doing things with other people and getting wonderful results.  Laura is very clever and has a fabulous eye and does the most amazing work.  We will be having lots more of her things in the shop over the next year.  I'm twisting her arm to weave wreaths for xmas and lots of other things while the vines are pliable from their Tickleback Ridge Vineyard near Conningham.
We have also planted up some beautiful pots with indoor plants to thrive in the conservatory. 
Its all looking fabulous.