Sunday 5 May 2013

Grand Garden Plans

I'm increasingly disheartened at the lack of herb choice in supermarkets - it's always the same eight. But, providentially, this culmination of dismay coincided with the removal of my sons' trampoline from the back garden so I now have a sunny, sheltered space just crying out for raised beds.

I'm starting small, with two little seedling propagation units, oh, and two lemon verbena plants that were ordered in error; I thought they were seeds.

Lemon verbena. Wants to be in a vinaigrette or cut up
with crab meat.
Garlic chives, borage, chervil and the lemon verbena are my choice. Chervil is one of those herbs that are always called for in recipies, especially classic French stuff, but is almost impossible to buy fresh. 

I'm not sure I could identify the chervil flavour in food but I read that it's a mild aniseed so I'm expecting Dill-lite. 

I want borage mainly for its gorgeous (if slightly terrifying were they scaled up to the size of a man) edible flowers. The herb itself tastes of cucumber which is a bad thing, cucumber being an offence to god(s) and nature. Of course, you may like the green rod of slime and will carp on about the delights of Raita or Tzatziki, in which case I will reply that the yogurt and mint obliterates the taste anyway, and rightly so. You might say you enjoy crisp, succulent cucumber in your tuna sandwich. I would reply that if I wanted someone to sneeze on my lunch I'd do it myself. I'm saying, in case you missed it, that I don't like cucumber.

Next I have to actually build the raised beds. Why not just plant? Because the soil in our garden is awful London Clay. There's also a whopping great Sycamore so the soil is very dry in summer and a squelchy mess in winter. Greater minds than mine have sucked their teeth (yes, minds have teeth) and told me I would need much soil improver, sharp sand and a soak-away drainage system. And this would all be very expensive. I'm always amazed at how costly it is moving dirt.

So I'm going to buy some tanalised timbers and a tonne of topsoil and make my own rather than buying a kit. This shouldn't cost more than a £150 I'm hoping. It does mean a lot of soil to wheelbarrow but I currently have an adolescent standing idle who will still just about obey my bidding.

I want to expand the beds beyond herbs obviously, growing bizarre veg, tomatoes that actually taste of something and most importantly... strawberries. I have this idea of guests tramping up the garden (in their stilettos, yes) and picking their own dessert.
Will soon be the site of my raised beds. Do you like my star gate BTW? It's turned off at the moment because it was very inconvenient walking into the shed to get the secateurs only to end up a hundred billion light years away. 
I never knew what to pack for a start. 

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