Optimism in the garden

I look back at my blogs and chuckle at my optimism each week. Of the posts I have written, where I have confidently expounded my next step, I have yet to find any fire baskets for the grates (I have measurements but now worry that I need to talk to the sweep about how the fires should ‘draw’), have yet to begin to lay-out, let alone to plant the kitchen garden (though I have some espalier fruit trees in pots, now with peach leaf curl)  or to meet the conservation officer about our plans for the Castle (I am waiting for architect’s drawings, like a goose sitting on a long awaited egg).  The Holm Oaks, mentioned last week, have yet too arrive ( they are too long for the trailer, won’t fit in a Luton van and cannot cross the Solent with their heads dangling about) and the limes in ‘New Limes for an Old Feature’ have yet to be ordered as we lurched from late winter to late Spring in one step,  with not a drop of rain to be seen. I daren’t plant them in this weather.

So I am scurrying about trying to fix these problems (not trying to fix the rain problem), commuting to  Winchester (reduced again, a cut price house by now) to see what has leaked and rushing to London to fulfil commitments at the Chelsea Physic Garden. First World Problems, of course and I hear the faint echo of my sisters telling me to get a real job. Perhaps after this I can join Sarah Beeney.

However, that aside, I need little to remind me what a lucky person I am, as I stand in the garden and look out to sea, stop in the kitchen garden to admire the combination of yellow tree peony wreathed in wisteria or admire the early purple orchid (Orchis mascula) that popped up in the Castle grounds this week. And positive news is that I have found a courier to bring the oaks this week, before the whole plant world becomes too tied up in the Chelsea Flower Show, that we have a new gardener working with Alasdair, and a girl to boot, Steph,  so I am no longer out numbered and that we start the layout of the kitchen garden next week, we are just awaiting delivery of the plastic crating (sounds distinctly in- Victorian) which will hold the gravel in place on the steep gradient of the paths.

I am alarmed by the scale of the kitchen garden now that it is cleared. How can we possibly eat all that produce? James had a solution when he ate at Thomson’s last week and asked them if they would like their herbs and veg supplied by us. I am caught in the romance of that, imagining the kitchen garden akin to that at Le Manoir au Quat’ Saisons ( which I have never visited let alone eaten in), producing delicate and exotic micro salads for the restaurant. And no, I haven’t forgotten about my shop either, mentioned many blogs ago.  There’s nothing like a big plan when all is chaos around you. I think that should be the theme of my blogs.

Kitchen garden wall, cleared of weeds but waiting until next year to be planted
The scale of the kitchen garden with large temporary entrance in the box hedge for machinery


Part of the new yew hedge, 80 plants in all


Rubble for the base of the paths



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