June view 2009

June view 2009
View of rose and herb garden, June 2009

Small Garden Story

Over some 15 + years, I have been photographing the evolution of my small (85 x 15 foot) garden and it seems a waste not to put these records into some sort of context. Beginning here in April 2010 this Blog is intended to both act as a diary and to share past and present successes (and some failures), pleasures and disappointments with fellow garden-lovers. In due course, I intend to fill in some of the background and early days but that will have to wait until the winter months!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Of burglars and berries

Mahonia berries
Ivy, rampant roses and clematis seem a brilliant idea when you plant them - but they are also very good at taking over, forcing their way between fence panels and shading out just about everything in a space-limited garden - unless you are prepared to put in the hours and collect the scratches.  I spent a very large part of a beautiful Saturday pruning and have just about succeeded in getting the jungle under control. Satisfying.  

Fierce spiny thorns on gooseberry
Next on the list is picking the gooseberries and black currants.   This week brought a revelation about gooseberries.   I have always thought you had to cook them with sugar to make them edible but a friend told me to just leave them on the bush until they are almost falling off - and he is right - they are divine.   No sugar necessary - at all!   But their picking is not a job I relish as their prickles are so fierce - more like spines.   In fact when there were some attempted burglaries in the area I was most distressed that someone had jumped over my (high) fence and demolished half of my precious pink gooseberry bush.   But maybe I had the last laugh - I bet in REALLY hurt!   That was the last straw before I decided to get a burglar alarm fitted (not that it will help the gooseberry bushes much!).

Another very spiny plant that produced the most beautiful berries is mahonia, also known as the Oregon grape as apparently the berries are edible, although I have not plucked up the courage to try them.   Usually I don't get chance as the blackbirds go crazy for them - developing all sorts of unblackbirdlike acrobatic tactics of hanging upside down, jumping and diving at them.   This year - for some strange reason - they are leaving them alone!

Mahonia berries showing very spiny leaves

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