Monday, November 23, 2020

Room Mate

This little brimstone has taken up winter quarters in the greenhouse. I tried putting him out, but when he just sat and stared for a day and a half I brought him back into warmer environs.


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Naked Seed

Sowed broad beans 'Aquadulce Longpod' yesterday and continued garden clear-up in sunny 16°. Also liberated the seed from 'Lady Godiva' squash. Not a very impressive take at 2/3 of a pint ...

Monday, November 02, 2020


Fougasse Luck of the Draw 1936 (click on illustration to enlarge)

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Will You Walk Into My Parlour...

"There are pretty curtains drawn around, the sheets are fine and thin; 
 And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in."

Thursday, October 08, 2020


This might have looked promising back in July/August, but I hold out little hope now of getting a bathscrub out of this vine. Perhaps next year I'll start the seeds much earlier. I sowed them late April along with the squash and they germinated well. But they didn't start to flower until September and until yesterday I never saw a female in flower. I've taken a little paint brush and transferred pollen on the off chance it will develop ahead of the cold weather...


Monday, October 05, 2020

Squash 2020

I put a question mark beside Zucca Mantovana because it doesn't look like what it oughta. It's either a sport or some mis-labelling has occurred somewhere. Not exactly a bumper year but I'm blaming lack of rain for all ills this year. Scabby potatoes, stunted beets that ran to flower, tiny miserable corn cobs, ...

Monday, September 07, 2020


 Well, in the event, it was 2 and a half years. But here they are!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Helianthus annuus 'Titan'

Today I liberated the head from it's stem and hung it in the potting shed out of harm's (in the shape of a squirrel) way. With remaining foot and a half of stem it weighs 5 pounds and is about 15 inches in diameter. Quite a beauty. Two more slightly smaller ones are netted for now. 

Friday, August 21, 2020


Yesterday I dealt with some of my cucumber overload - 5 x 1 litre jars of sweet and sour ...

... made with some love, spices and half a packet of GurkenDoktor.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020


"Day after day, day after day,

We stuck, nor breath nor motion;

As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean."

And as days of pandemic inspired incarceration have stretched to weary weeks and now six months, I feel ever more kinship with the ancient mariner and more and more strongly that we have indeed, collectively, shot the albatross. 

The Richard Burton/John Neville reading of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner happily showed up on ResonanceFM's 'Voices on Record' about a decade ago and is still available as a podcast! I grew up with the Gustave Dore illustrated text - a facsimile edition that my mother gave me for a teen birthday. But scouting around now I see that there is another take by the wonderful Hunt Emerson. In fact I have just ordered two T-shirts, one for me and one for him indoors.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Tom-ay-to Tom-ah-to

It may be another bumper year for tomatoes. We are eating as fast as we can and also oven-roasting and freezing batches. The chief factor in their survival over the coming weeks will be my ability to keep up with their water needs as the gods have been no help whatsoever. These are possibly the driest 5 months I have experienced in London and currently a prolonged hot spell with no rain in sight. Ugh.


Friday, July 31, 2020

Spectral Dust

Dang! I see, too late, that there was a 'potato photo of the year' contest. Next time.

Thursday, July 30, 2020


The one in the middle is about 10 foot tall, bloom the size of a large dinner plate and the base of the stem is about 2 inches diameter. The others were gifts of Dr.K, so I don't know the variety but have several blooms per plant of about 6 inch diameter and overall height is close to 10 feet as well.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Curly Cukes

Coming thick and fast now... Telegraph and Longue de Chine

Wednesday, July 22, 2020


Dug some second early Charlottes yesterday. When I opened my storage sack I found these. They look a bit like arteries feeding some desiccated organs. Perhaps if I was more adept at haruspicy I might decipher a message regarding this year's harvest.

Friday, July 03, 2020

Winsome X 6

Started hatching three weeks ago today. Another week and they will be able to go outside, for now I've been bringing outside in to them.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Solstice Stock-Taking

After zero rain in May we have had a couple of nice wettings this month so everything is looking a bit happier. One sunflower is taller than me now, potatoes are flowering, first blueberry has ripened and tayberries continue to produce copiously. I especially like the things that just self seed - foxglove, nasturtiums, chard - popping up in a path or next to a cabbage. Still no red tomatoes, but we've eaten a courgette.

Friday, June 05, 2020

June Already

And that day of rain in April was it. There was a promise of rain yesterday which didn't materialize. So watering has been an almost nightly activity. Collected the first handfuls of snow peas and giant Tayberries. Small tomatoes forming on 'Peasant' early variety and tiny little cucumber beginnings are visible. And I can never get enough of marvelling at tendrils...

Tuesday, April 28, 2020


An end to our drought! And with the rain the mercury has dropped to 10°. I removed all my seedlings and plants from the greenhouse and cosseted them indoors under the grow lamp for the day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Seed Packets

Above are some of the newly designed seed packets from 'Real Seeds' which I received this winter. I have only just discovered footage of their 120 year old seed packing machine! Brilliant. See it in action here.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Barley Patch

My trial 'field' of Lawina Hull-less Barley is coming along nicely!

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Remains of Today

Cleaning up, re-positioning and re-kajiggering the hen house to make it into a duck domicile has turned up the treasures pictured here.
Exhibit a. A solitary wasp nest

Exhibit b. Dead Peacock butterfly

Saturday, March 28, 2020


H has sent me this very helpful guide to manoeuvring one's sheep...

Monday, March 23, 2020


Unendowed with wealth or pity,
Little birds with scarlet legs,
Sitting on their speckled eggs,
Eye each flu-infected city.

W.H.Auden The Fall of Rome

Pigeon nesting near London Bridge, possibly unaware of the pandemic

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Up-side?

It hasn't been this quiet since Eyjafjallajökull blew.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

First Pull

Back from hibernation now and glorious weather in the garden - when it's not raining.
Today we'll have our first taste of rhubarb ...

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Green Meat Radish

"I first of all found that radishes agreed with me, then they did not,
now they do again."
Michel de Montaigne

Friday, January 03, 2020

January 2020

Temperatures remain mild here in SE London and we haven't had a ground frost yet. We had 150% of our average rainfall and 1.3° above average temperature in December.