Make Do and Mend

keder green houseAt last the polytunnel has been repaired and we’re ready to garden again. After being exposed to the elements for two months a major clean-up was required. This mainly involved shovelling up sand and wind-blown debris, fortunately the local starling flock preferred the warmth of my neighbours cow shed as a roost. The accumulation of assorted pots, containers, labels and old bamboo poles was ruthlessly sorted along with the bits and pieces of junk which “might be useful one day” but never are. The polytunnel has not looked so clean and organised for more years than I care to admit to. So with a new propagator, lids for trays and a big envelope of new seeds I am all set to start gardening again.
Unfortunately none of my winter crops survived, apart from a few sad-looking carrots and some parsley. So this year the “hungry gap” is going to be longer and leaner than usual. My first sowings of mizuna, radish, winter salad leaves and winter purslane have germinated but it will be a while before I can even think about feasting on micro-leaves, nevermind a green salad. It will be even longer before the baby spinach is ready and not much hope of some beetroot or fennel until June. However, anticipation is everything and I promise not to complain about a glut of anything due to my over enthusiastic sowing of everything at once.
Most of my over-wintering herbs were only fit for the compost, and the surviving six very small sage plants and a rosemary are not going to have much impact in the herb garden. So my plans for introducing some discipline and order into the cottage herbery are in abeyance. Once again it will be a riotous assembly of chives, fennel, mint and buckler-leaved sorrel with self-sown Calendula, nasturtiums, and borage fighting it out with the fennel and carraway.  Perhaps a beautifully arranged physic garden would not be quite right for the cottage garden where the main design feature is plant anarchy.cottage herberyThe herbaceous plants and bulbs were nearly all rescued, and whilst some look a little the worse for wear, after a period of intensive care they will eventually be moved into the borders or containers. The Agapanthus look a little sulky, but the scented-leaved pelargoniums are already producing flower buds and enough shoots to enable me to take cuttings. Alas the salvias joined the herbs in the compost.
There is definitely no procrastination in the garden and all this hyper-activity will doubtless result in the predictable logjam of seedlings waiting to be potted on and young plants needing to be hardened-off. Our ancient cold frames have also been repaired which will provide some additional space, provided of course I don’t buy any more seeds.

Procrastination is the thief of time

An impossibly monochrome afternoon, the island is dreich and damp. Chronic procrastination is allegedly symptomatic of creativity,  this bagatelle of a post as an excuse for not finishing a very long and tedious report in data mobilisation.
A friend recently sent us a photograph of our croft house (now Croft Garden Cottage) taken in the 1980s. This was the perfect excuse to look for photographs of the cottage taken since we purchased the croft in 2007.


About 15 years ago the original stone blackhouse was renovated – the dorma windows were replaced by modern velux roof lights, the original slates replaced by tiles and the whitewashed stone covered in harling. In 2013 we removed the leaking roof lights, replaced all the windows and door, installed new plumbing and central heating and the old croft house became Croft Garden Cottage. Architectually it has lost some of its rustic charm, but the the location is still as beautiful as ever. I would like to think that the garden also adds a little something, but that is pure vanity.

And the canon – the story of myth and legend, allegedly genuine, but we were just left the concrete plinth!

Women’s Wednesday – #nevertheless we persist

It may have taken 140 years but finally Fanny Mendelssohn’s Easter Sonata has its UK premier on International Womens’ Day. Culturally, politically and financially we still live in a patriarchical society and the only we can gain equality is through persistence.

Silence is what allows people to suffer without recourse, what allows hypocrisies and lies to grow and flourish, crimes to go unpunished. If our voices are essential aspects of our humanity, to be rendered voiceless is to be dehumanised or excluded from one’s humanity. And the history of silence is central to women’s history. – Rebecca Solnit

Whether it is Elizabeth Warren refusing to be silenced in the US Senate, women MPs in the House of Commons speaking out against domestic violence or women all over the globe protesting about mysogynism, FGM, trafficking, abortion rights or access to education they are using the only weapons they have – loud persistence.
Many of us are privileged, we have been able to fulfil our aspirations, use our talents and enjoy opportunities that are denied so many women. It is now easier than ever to use your voice – whatever your method of choice – blogs, social media, protest marches, writing to your MP, heckling your local councillors, please be persistent and loud. Please don’t be silent on International Women’s Day use your voice on behalf of the women whose voices are not allowed to be heard.