Oct 012011
 

Regents Park

Yesterday evening I walked through Regents Park. It was busier than I’ve seen it all year, full of people enjoying the summer we never had. They were quaffing wine, having picnics, playing football and eating ice cream, seemingly oblivious to the fact that in less than an hour it would be completely dark.

I find this time of year a bit difficult. I love summer, and wouldn’t mind autumn either were it not for the fact that it’s followed by winter. We often get some late lovely weather, as we are this year, but there’s no getting away from the fact that the show’s almost over. And yet lots of plants, like the people in the park, seem oblivious to the fact that soon they’ll be nipped by a nasty frost or plunged into darkness, and are still innocently flowering their socks off.

But enough of this doom and gloom. This weekend, I’m going to ignore the fact that it’s October. Apparently there are ripe raspberries and strawberries at my allotment and the forecast is 28 degrees. So I’m going to don my sunnies and flip flops, pretend it’s July and forget all about the predictions of snow at the end of the month.


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 282011
 

St Albans

I went to pick up my nephew Joe from school the other day. He goes to the same school that I went to in the 1970s and almost everything about it is exactly the same, right down to the smell in the classrooms. But where once there was a concrete paddling pool (used a handful of times a year when the weather was hot enough) there is now a small garden. The pupils also have an allotment and there are plots for parents to rent, too.

When Joe came to my allotment last year, he expertly harvested a courgette, twisting it off at its base. He said he’d learnt how to do it at nursery. I wouldn’t have known what a courgette was at the age of four.

Any article about growing food with kids always says that children are more likely to eat food they’ve grown themselves, but that’s not the case with Joe. He’s not likely to eat a courgette anytime soon – or any other green vegetable for that matter. Although when it comes to the strawberries that his Dad grows in pots, no one else gets a look-in.