Tuesday 26 November 2019

A new start


We've moved. We're now in the Forest of Dean making a home we hope will last us the rest of our lives. This is the view from the back porch.


We don't have as much land as we did, a mere four acres but we have inherited a well established shrub and flower garden which is revealing itself slowly as the months pass. It's particularly nice to see that the last owner, a keen gardener, has taken care to find plants that will give a succession of flowers and interest throughout the year.  All the photos were taken today (except one, you can win a prize for guessing which!).


There are a number of fruit trees scattered around and a few walnuts, which look to be as about as productive as our old French tree was, that is, barely at all. Some of the apple trees are very old and decrepit, infested with mistletoe but there is a productive Bramley's seedling and a cider apple Tom Putt which fruited heavily. Not knowing the variety I made a couple of crumbles with it and they were good supporting the notion that it's a good all rounder.


The figs and grape vine were heavily overgrown and neglected and although we had lots of fruit from both it was mostly underripe and small. Next year I'm anticipating proper care and attention to pruning will improve that. I have made a demi-john of ginger wine with some of the grapes and added sugar which I hope will be a success. It's bubbling away nicely at the moment.


The winter jasmine is very cheerful outside the front door and I've already inadvertently taken cuttings from it when some sprigs taken for cut flowers rooted in the vase.


Several hollies and yews around the place give a Christmassy feel already.

I'm sure though that it's the vegetable gardens that will be most interesting. There is an old polytunnel without a cover which I hope to rehabilitate and a small veg patch with raised beds which has been abandoned for several years and is completely overgrown with nettles.


This is one side of it from when we arrived. All that's left apart from nettles is a small patch of Jerusalem artichokes, always a survivor. Elsewhere there are a few asparagus plants and oddly some small yellow dahlias which it may be possible to save.

With help from a good friend some clearance has been started. I'm mildly anxious about using such an old and decayed plot - who knows what pests and diseases may lurk within - but for this first year it's easier, even with the nettles, to get started in this area than carve something out from meadow grass. We shall see.