Friday, August 10, 2012

My urban garden...within Spring's grasp.

The days are getting longer and the glacial mornings less frequent. Deep winter has not been as pleasant as I thought. It is always nicer by imagination, by a wood fire, waking up mid morning, with a cup of chai and flicking through my cookery, pastry and garden books. To head to the market, find some interesting things to cook and spend a leisurely day contemplating Nietzsche (I'm kidding people...about the Nietzsche part the rest is FACT). But in all seriousness, to me, winter has almost always been a time for relaxation, to go on short trip, to recharge. 

But no, this winter has been filled with 5.30am alarms, long drives and long(ish) days. So it is so so nice to glimpse the Spring ahead, to see some sunshine, and to see the azure blue sky once more. To only have it so swiftly snatched with a series of wet, cold, miserable days. A glimmer is nevertheless a glimmer.

Despite the damp, cold and miserable weekends, I've tried to get into the garden as often as possible over the last few weeks, because what I do now will hopefully pay off in coming months. You know the old adage, you reap what you sow? I've been taking it in the literal sense. Next level interpretation.

As I was clearing the garden beds, I couldn't help but harvest some of my rhubarb. I know I probably shouldn't have done so whilst they are still in hibernation....but I really couldn't help myself. It's worse because they're only 1yo's. I'll just apologise with a bag full of compost or something (they were certainly delicious).

The tomato and pepper season is also starting but I may have transplanted my tomatoes in haste, so some did not survive. I will need to revisit my seeds and start them from scratch and give them some more time before I transplant them again. Or maybe just do a better job at transplanting them. One or the other

Remember the wild alpine strawberries that I had started 12 months ago? I've managed to get around 50 plants from the seeds that I had propagated. Probably more if I had taken more care of them during the year. I put a few, haphazardly, in a shady garden bed as an after thought last year as I had a few extras and lo, they did unbelievably well. Their resilience over our cold winter is remarkable as I certainly did not expect them to fruit in July or August. I can't wait to see what they offer up during the Spring flush.

You may wonder what my obsession with these tiny tiny strawberries are, let me say one thing. I am no fan of strawberries in general. But wild alpine strawberries, are nothing, I repeat, nothing, like what you buy in the shops. Nothing just to be sure. Their intensity in flavour is infinitely superior to any other strawberry you'll buy or grow. It is just bizarre they're not grown more, because they are relatively easy to maintain once established. Starting them from seed however can be a challenge. I nevertheless got 4 additional varieties (Yellow Wonder, Reines de valles, Mignonette, and Alexandria) in seed, so I'm certainly excited to see what this year brings.

Anyway, with that, I leave you with the first blooms of the garden, another hint that Spring is only moments away.

My urban garden.

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