What a wise dispensation of Providence that hungry people come to Kirkmichael just when my garden is at its most productive. There is a glut of courgettes, a real glut. All in all, it’s been a good year – I think it was you, Angel, who said that it might turn out so, when I was sunk in gloom at the results of that spring drought.
The really exciting news, horticulturally – although it will be difficult to enthuse any readers with this one – is that I shall have some runner beans to enter in the “collection of four vegetables” class at the Games next week.
I always grow runner beans, because they look so pretty climbing up their tepee. Victorian gardeners, I have read, originally grew them for the flowers and only later discovered the beans. In England, they’re a garden staple. The books of advice tell you to keep picking even if you have to throw them away, in order to keep them coming.
There’s no danger of that in Strathardle, with our brief interval between the Last Frost of spring and the First Frost of autumn. I often get a reasonable crop in September, but so far that’s all I’ve ever achieved. This year they will be not just reasonable but abundant – and a few, down at the bottom, are ready now. That’s never happened before, so early.
I spent happy hours weeding. This is the time of year when the vegetables, if they have succeeded at all (and there’s still no salsola soda) can pretty well stand up to the weeds, and things tend to get neglected. But this year, with the responsibility for grass-cutting off my back, I have been able to keep at it. Everything looks unconscionably tidy, and I kept reflecting that the more I can keep on top of things now, the easier it will all be next spring.
You can just see the tip of the runner bean tepee, sticking up at the back above the abundant growth of mange-tout peas.
We had a nice time with family, and there’s more to come. James is planning a camping trip off into the wilderness, to a loch I can’t even find on Google Maps. Helen is in London with her three fierce boys, but will be back on Friday.
I did very little knitting, but last night and this morning, back in Edinburgh, I finished the knitting of the Child’s Cardigan. There’s plenty of tidying still to do – thank goodness I knit it in one piece to the armpits. Last night, in a flash of brilliance or idleness, or both, I decided that since I hate buttons in all their aspects, I would put on only one. So I’ve done that – one vertical buttonhole at the top. Vertical, perforce, since the band was being knit sideways. Today, insh'Allah, I'll buy a button and sew it on, and finish the tidying, and maybe even block it.