Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Juggling, strawberries and forget-me-nots

A few years ago I was inundated with sets of juggling balls. I don’t know why there were so many, perhaps they were fashionable at the time, or possibly I looked like a person in need of another juggling kit. Obviously I couldn’t juggle all the sets at once, but I fared adequately with three juggling balls - a skill I have now lost, along with the ability to do handstands or sit on a swing without feeling queasy.  

(I would have liked to have taken and inserted a photo of me struggling to juggle at this point, but that would have been multi-tasking gone mad, so instead here is an altogether less frenzied photo of a friend sunbathing outside my kitchen window).

Perhaps I was given juggling sets to prepare me for the day when I would find myself juggling a family, work, a barn conversion and a blog. In an uncanny twist, life has been mimicking my limited juggling skills and the fourth ball - the blog - has been dropped in the bedlam created when sickness bugs, work and a building project collide. I have missed the blogging community far too much, so I shall try very hard not to drop this particularly rewarding part of my life ever again.

Many beautiful plants have come into flower since my last post. One plant that I do not like to be without is Nepeta racemosa 'Walker’s Low'. It is hugely popular with bees; the colour shines in the evening light, so it is lovely to come home to after a long day at work; and ‘Walker’s Low’ behaves itself with me and doesn't get too leggy. 

Here in the farmhouse garden, the rabbit fencing has been installed and the landscapers are now laying paths. The gate to the field is sturdy and double-latched to keep out the cows who should soon be hanging their heads over the fence in search of a spot of nutritional variety in the form of interesting garden plants which have been carefully selected not to poison passing cattle.

This little corner of the garden might not look too promising at the moment, but in my mind I see borders brimming with beautiful plants which blend with the countryside beyond and attract and nurture an abundance of wonderful wildlife. Of course, while there is mud, rubble and a dream, there are no pests or disappointments, but I am an optimist, so I am planning for a positive outcome on the pest front and everything in the garden will be rosy and the cows will stick to grazing on their side of the fence.

Since we moved to Norfolk I have been missing my old strawberry patch, so yesterday I planted three varieties - 'Mara des Bois', 'Darlisette' and 'Chelsea Pensioner' (guess which flower show I was at when I ordered them). These three varieties, a perpetual, an early and a late, have been kept in cold storage so they will fruit within 60 days. I have tried this before and it was a great success. The photo of forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica) is here because I love to see forget-me-nots nestling among strawberry flowers. I have never noticed a worrying reduction in the size or quality of the crop, so it is a frippery I plan to enjoy in my new strawberry patch next spring.