Aug 052013
 
Strawberries in a hanging basket

Nunney, Somerset

It’s a brave and generous person who grows luscious-looking strawberries in two hanging baskets right next to a busy pavement. Nunney is a pretty village with a very grand ruined castle, and it attracts its fair share of tourists. People must be walking past these tantalising berries all day – I wonder how many have succumbed to temptation?

I think the variety is strawberry ‘Toscana’, a new-ish everbearing variety that has pink flowers (you can just see one to the top right of the pic). Something this pretty and edible is the holy grail of gardening as far as I’m concerned, and I will definitely be growing some next year. They will be residing in my back garden, though. I’m not at all generous as far as soft fruits are concerned.

Jun 232012
 
Oct 312011
 

Soho

Only in Soho, I would wager, is it possible to see two prostitutes and an apple tree within a few feet of each other.

No sooner had my friend Vicky told me that her boyfriend was once propositioned in Soho by a lady who said ‘Any business?’ then we saw two women and two men down an alleyway, all looking slightly shifty. Of course there could be a perfectly innocent explanation for the goings-on, but let’s just say that the women weren’t dressed for a day at the office or a night out and there was definitely some kind of deal going on. Then we heard one woman saying to the other, ‘Do you want one or two?’ Oooer.

Moments later we walked past 68 Dean Street, where this apple tree had lots of juicy-looking fruits on it. There’s also a big old ivy and a jasmine, which makes the house look like its been there for years. Which of course it has – since 1681, in fact. I’d never noticed it before, but it’s used for photo and film shoots.

Sep 222011
 


People may be tapping on their smartphones throughout it but the Jardin du Luxembourg is very traditional with boules, a carousel and old fashioned swings.

I’d never noticed these traditional beehives before, or the orchard (below), originally tended by monks from the Chartreux monastery. It’s home to over 600 varieties of apples and pears, many very old, all trained as cordons, espaliers, U shapes and pyramids. It aims to show the public just how many varieties can be grown in France. Some of fruits were shrouded in paper bags – to keep them unblemished, maybe?

One pear tree even had its own obituary. A ‘Louise Bonne D’Avranches’ died at the age of 111 in 1978.

Apr 212011
 

Finsbury Park

My friend Naomi is one of the keenest gardeners I know. She gardens for a living, has two allotments and has also set up a street growing scheme in her area which has given away free seeds and bulbs, beautified tree pits and so on. One of her neighbours says that if she had been around during WW2 she’d have been in the ATS.

Anyway, her front garden is looking pretty splendid at the moment. She’s got two raised beds in which she grows mostly veg and flowers for cutting. When she started a few years ago, she fully expected some of the produce to be pinched – but it wasn’t. Although you can’t see it from this pic, among the tulips (‘Ballerina’ and ‘Curly Sue’) are mustard leaf and strawberries.

Full details of how Naomi built her raised beds can be found on her lovely blog.

Mar 192011
 
Victoria

I wasn’t expecting to take any pics yesterday as the weather was pretty grim, but towards the end of the day there was a beautiful sunset. I found these pleached pear trees – several rows of them – in the gardens opposite some swanky flats in Victoria.

And guess what? Beneath them was a lush lawn – and a sign saying ‘Keep off the grass’. Oh dear. Looks like the theory in my previous posting was not 100% correct. The sign did say it was private property, though.

I walked on the grass to take this pic.

Feb 152011
 
Lemons growing on Wigmore St, 15 February

Wigmore Street, W1

… take a picture of them. This balcony is on Wimpole St, above a steak restaurant. Before Christmas, white roses were in bloom, and now its lemon tree is fruiting. One white rose remains. I nearly got run over taking this picture – in the end a friendly cab driver stopped for me.