Thursday, July 05, 2012

Back again, and Mr Murray has managed all right at Wimbledon without me.

Theo sent me this picture of his parents – my sister and her husband – with the caption, In sadness as in joy, LeComptes know what to do. It is a very good picture of them, and a pleasant glimpse into Jenni and Theo’s house in DC.

I took the Joseph’s Coat yarn and pattern to the knitters in K*rkmichael. They were very pleased, especially when they found out I wasn’t asking them to knit it for me. When Jenni and Theo get their baby, I’m thinking Baby Surprise – the pattern I’ve knit far more times than any other – and I’m thinking madeleinetosh.

As for vegetables, I have never seen such a mess, not even the year I had my cataract operations and everything was unweeded for months. We’ll stick to the good news, of which there is very little.

The potatoes look fine. I earthed them up.

Nature’s next move will be potato blight. I used to think we didn’t have it in Perthshire, like snakes in Ireland. Alas, not so, and the current wet, wet weather is perfect for incubating it.

The vegetable cage is working. Three lettuces seem to have gone missing. I blame slugs. These are the plants that spent a week in the post, remember. They weren’t in the best of condition when planted out.

Nature, here, will no doubt soon unleash cabbage white caterpillars onto the little broccoli plants. And, worse, I saw a rabbit in the cage – or was it just window-shopping? The netting is pegged down, but there is space between the pegs for an industrious rabbit to wriggle under. I improved the defences somewhat with flat stones. But nothing stops rabbits except fencing which goes several inches underground.

And I saw a deer on the lawn. One expects them in the winter, a hungry time, but they are meant to stay away in July. It is hard to dislike them, such beautiful creatures with their long legs, but they do a tremendous amount of damage. No doubt there are people who don’t even dislike bunny rabbits.

Saag gosht with Good King Henry supplying the saag was a success. It is hard to be absolutely sure whether it was just that the spices covered the taste of the greenery, or whether – as I believe – the bitterness of GKH contributed a dark and interesting note to the total effect.

The messiest bit of all was the herb border. It had become a solid tapestry of weeds and herbs. I flung myself upon that task on Sunday, cleared most of it out, replanted. It now looks like a battlefield, which at least implies effort. There’s more tidying to be done around the edges – I hope I’ll get to that next time. And I’m going to order some garlic chives (=Chinese leeks).

I knit onwards on the Japanese shirt – now just over halfway from cast-on to armpits, knitting fronts and back together. Slow going, but wonderful. And back here, Alexander’s toe-up sock is not far from the ribbing.


  1. Commiserations on the veg adventures. My plot is looking similarly pathetic. Broad beans are doing okay, as are potatoes - but I have only managed to get 2 out of 24 french/runner beans to germinate and/or get big enough to cope with prolonged slug attack! Oh well, there's always next year...

  2. My garden is in an even worse state and I live with it just over the wall!
    The pigeons ate my kale and broccoli, the rabbits ate my chives and have started on the marigolds for an extra spicy treat. I grow a mean thistle. Nettle soup anyone?

  3. We have had such heat and wet I feel as though I live in the tropics. The weeds are growing faster than I can pull them. And something picked my ripe blueberries that I was waiting until they were just perfect. Not many yet, as the two bushes are small, but still! Fight on.

  4. Welcome back!
    I always enjoy the views of your garden.

  5. Anonymous2:05 PM

    Your garden doesn't look so bad to me. Here in NJ we are fighting the heat and the dry. And we had a water main break last week and are on an outdoor-watering ban. I've been saving gray water but it only goes so far.

    Regarding the cabbage worms on the cabbages - have you tried floating row cover? It is tremendously helpful for warding off insect attacks by flying insects, especially on plants that don't need to be pollinated by bees.

    If you can't find it there, I'd be happy to send some along.

    Beverly in NJ

  6. Anonymous4:40 AM

    oh, DEER - so lovely and graceful, except when nibbling the roses, drat them! I always enjoy your garden update, so much more exciting than ours. We have a few tomatoes the deer have not eaten, and through mischance we are out of town on annual vacation just as the blueberries were ripening... well, there is next year.

    Beverly near Yosemite

  7. Both the allotment and kitchen garden are a mess, everything is soggy and/or struggling for enough warmth and sun to grow. The brassicas are bolting, the beans just won't grow, the slugs and woodlice have eaten most of the strawberries and even the courgettes are fading slowly. Oh, and the pigeons have had all my red gooseberries. It's one of the worst years I can remember tbh, things just can't put enough growth on to outrun the pests and diseases. Blight next!