In the garden

It’s raining.
Right into our new water tank, connected in the nick of time yesterday. Not much, granted, but if it does this for a couple of days, as predicted, I’ll be happy.
I had the feeling (and it’s only October) that it was never going to rain again.
So things I have learned this winter and spring:

• There is no such thing as a rabbit-proof plant*, with the possible exception of bearded iris**.
• Slaters like beer, just like snails, and die happy. Sadly, they also like seedlings.
• Very small kittens can take on very large rabbits and win.
• If you buy a bunch of spring onions at the supermarket, even if they’ve been in the fridge for a while, and stick the leftover ones in the garden, they will just keep growing.
• Parsley, even when not moved as seedlings, can go from baby leaves to bolt in about a week. Who wants to molly-coddle their parsley? (On the other hand, I do have a self-sown one flourishing in the driveway gravel – gardening is so random sometimes.) And ringtail possums love it.
• Raspberries will flower in the first year.
• Pear trees will not (and not much in the following year, for that matter, but I do have one centimetre-long Buerre Boscs so far this season). Cross-pollinators don’t always flower at the same time, but it somehow worked anyway.
• Roses are actually tough as old boots.
• Broccoli can be too – but when being eaten, not growing.
• Never think “Those cherries are coming along nicely – I’ll put the bird netting on at the weekend”. Your tree will be stripped by then.
• Sugar cane mulch actually stops water getting through to the soil.

Pleasant surprises• All the alliums seem ridiculously happy in my veggie patch: red onions, garlic, leeks, chives, garlic chives, ornamentals – all booming.
• Broad beans are going nuts, in spite of being badly mauled by slaters.
• Broccolini, as opposed to broccoli, grows like the clappers and tastes sublime, though it can be very hard to find in the first place.
• The rhubarb inherited from my dear late great-uncle (who could grow anything) divided into three crowns and thrives in his honour.
• Waving poppy seed heads around in the air one year creates poppy heaven the next (only I think they might be opium, so too many more and it’ll look like Afghanistan).

And I know it shouldn’t really be a surprise, but you’ve never tasted food as good as food you’ve grown and picked just before you eat it.

* Allegedly rabbit-proof plants include rosemary, grevillea, lavender, correa, borage, comfrey and succulents of all sorts. I’m a witness to the fact that rabbits will eat any or all of these, even when there is plenty of other green stuff around. Correas are simply pudding.
** Irises, however, are not sheep-proof, as I have learned to my cost in my country garden, but that may not concern too many gardeners.

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