|Hampstead Heath ponds frozen over in February|
Effectively, there she goes … goodbye to 2021; a bittersweet 12 months however one which I’ll bear in mind fondly. That will appear an odd factor to say, on condition that the nation was in lockdown for the primary a part of the 12 months, and held to ransom by the coronavirus pandemic, however I used to be one of many fortunate ones who remained in glorious well being and was grateful for vaccines when provided.
So, for me, conversely, lockdown was a time of freedom; freedom to enhance my run throughout Hampstead Heath, to potter within the backyard within the morning solar, to stroll by the Thames and its tributaries, and to discover the Larger London space.
Terribly for London, streets and trains have been nearly empty. This was one thing I doubt I’ll expertise once more so I made probably the most of it. Strolling by means of crowd free streets gave me the time to understand beforehand unnoticed historic parts of my metropolis – venerable outdated buildings, boundary markers, structure, historic churchyards, quaintly named alleyways, wigmakers, tailors, outdated gibbets on the docks, enduring post-1600 taverns, indicators of Roman occupation and different vital occasions, and mudlarking together with the Thames. I do love a little bit of historical past. And there’s extra to see in London than the Tower and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Talking of which …
|There’s the church, and there is the steeple … the place are all of the individuals?
Empty streets symbolising the far reaching results of the pandemic.
As a result of I really like the outside life, as soon as lockdown began to ease I delighted in exploring cities and countryside in Lancashire and Cumbria. So many really beautiful moments – listening to dwell music in Lancaster, exploring Ribble Valley villages, seeing wildflowers and surroundings within the Trough of Bowland, strolling by the River Lune, selecting winners at Carlisle races (whoop!), chatting about classic ephemera in Accrington market (sure, the city famed for the soccer staff and the Accrington Friends conflict heroes) … and naturally the drive by means of the majestic Lake District culminating in mountain climbing up Wainwright’s favorite fell, Haystacks, adopted by the reward of sitting within the distinctive quiet of Innominate Tarn on the high. Indescribable bliss.
|THE tarn. Two hours climbing but it surely was value it!
(Click on the picture to enlarge)
In order that was it for adventures however what concerning the gardens?
It was a incredible 12 months for herbs – I assume copious rain saved the vegetation blissful. Clary Sage (so lovely) flowered and Oregano Kent Magnificence appeared lush. No small marvel that; up to now I’ve killed a number of of those oregano vegetation however this one is fending for itself within the soil – hurrah!
|Clary Sage (a biennial) flowering in second 12 months …
and Oregano Kent Beaty dwelling as much as its identify
Mint, rosemary, lemon balm, bay, lemon verbena, lavender and the savouries (winter and summer season) grew fortunately alongside tiny woodland strawberries. It was a candy smelling jungle within the herb backyard!
The salad backyard the place I develop vegetation in raised Veg Trug beds and containers was much less profitable this 12 months. The beds have been continuously below assault from nighttime creatures, leaving disturbed soil and dug up vegetation for me to seek out within the morning. (Grrrr – I’m taking a look at you birds and squirrels.) I bolstered the salad beds with hoops and mesh, and barricaded the tomato mattress with rocks, pots … no matter I may discover to cowl the soil that may deter the foe. Amazingly, tomatoes, cucumbers and chillies survived and finally offered ample harvests.
|All this plus herbs, strawberries and the lemon tree; the salad backyard|
The lengthy awaited spotlight of the salad backyard was the slowly ripening two fruits on the little lemon tree. Twelve months I waited for these lovely fruits to succeed in the purpose of perfection … solely to have them stolen once they have been prepared. Un-be-lieveable!!
So the veg patch (the primary of my three backyard areas) was the least of my worries; perennials and self seeders populated the patch (asparagus, raspberries, strawberries, orache, achocha, rhubarb, fennel, feverfew, calendula and forget-me-nots) however annuals struggled. I planted out a number of veg (beans, courgettes, root veg and brassicas) and watched them being nibbled into oblivion by pests. I’d prefer to nonchalantly toss that apart and say “Effectively, it occurs” however fact be advised, it made me lose curiosity within the backyard. Yep, shocker.
Fortunately, enthusiasm was restored in August with my invite to go to the trial fields at Mr Fothergill’s seeds for his or her annual press day. A ravishing drive by means of the countryside adopted by a day of taking a look at completely grown veg, fruit and salads. Now that’s what I name a time out – luscious vegetation, fields of billowing flowers, a scrumptious lunch and an opportunity to meet up with outdated pals and acquainted faces. It was so good to be again.
|The sphere of goals …|
However again to peering over the veg … I’ve made it sound as if I had a dismal gardening 12 months; sure, there have been challenges however there have been additionally successes. The Hotbin composter offered lovely mulch with many worms, and this 12 months I found a simple to develop chard with pink stems the color of seaside rock, and grew small courgettes in pots. Purple sprouting broccoli sown in 2020 produced a by no means ending avalanche of scrumptious tender shoots from early January, wild garlic reliably appeared in spring, candy corn with bicoloured cobs and pink striped leaves ripened in August, autumn sown carrots have been large enough for winter harvesting, two cauliflowers survived, and kales grew undaunted. So, not that unhealthy then!
And there was fruit by the bushel – gooseberries, blueberries, strawberries, apples, cherries … no lemons, however perhaps in 2022? And I may hardly sustain with choosing raspberries, there have been so many this 12 months attributable to … rain? soil? mulch? magnesium? who is aware of! However my favorite must be the aptly named Mr Joyful cherry tomatoes; tasty, prolific and one which I’ll positively develop once more in 2022.
And the proper finish to my 12 months was getting revealed in December (January version of Backyard Solutions). Yep, apologies if that’s been not too long ago talked about however I used to be nicely happy!
So, onwards in the direction of no matter’s in retailer for subsequent 12 months. Might it’s protected, wholesome and rewarding. x
Most of my harvests this previous 12 months have been grown from Mr Fothergill’s seeds.