Cultiver votre jardin

Now I am writing this blog more regularly I will try to tell you more about the travelling life, and the shows I do, places I visit.  At the moment though I’m facing the prospect of the down time – January through April, when there are no shows and I’m permanently in my yard near Chester.  So until the shows restart in May I’ll tell you something of my daily life and what I get up to during this quiet season..

I’ve talked a little about the garden that I am working on here.  I spent more time on it today, clearing the rest of the years of accumulated detritus from the greenhouses and paths.  I love the rediscovery of the old garden, totally overgrown and neglected but with a few hints that at sometime in the past it was loved and cared for.  There are three greenhouses!  One is very large and has an old vine with dead bunches of last year’s grapes still in place and a great deal of overgrown weeds and plants, some of which may be ok.  I’m leaving this one till last as the other two are chocker with pots of some dead and some just living plants.  I cleared out one of those today and found to my great surprise a rusting pipe stove that must have heated this greenhouse many years ago.  It was full of rubbish and rotting stuff, but when I had cleared it out I decided to try to light a fire in it and amazingly it worked fine.  Before long the whole greenhouse was warm and cosy.  I almost heard the plants say ‘OOOOHHH that’s loverly’ and when I then watered them all and cleared out the dead ones it felt as though I had blown a new breath of life into the place.  It was blowing a new breath of life into me too and I finished clearing the paths around the garden and now the area is ready for some real creative work.

Tomorrow I will start digging.  There is a large space that I shall make a into a vegetable plot and concentrate on some early potatoes, spinach, beetroot and French beans.  A little later on I will go for all the tasty salad stuff, rocket and lettuce, spring onions and radish.  I want LOADS of fruit too.  There is already a big strawberry patch I found, totally overgrown with weeds and too many plants so an early job is going to be thinning that out and weeding it so we can have some yummy fruit salads in the summer.  Maybe grapes too if I can find out how to maintain the vine! I’m going to plant raspberries and thornless blackberries around the veg patch.  It will be great to take a fridgeful of homegrown goodies on the road in the summer. 

I read Candide by Voltaire years ago and recently listened to In Your Time on Radio 4 which had the book as the subject.  Candide at the end of all his adventures finds himself with his childhood sweetheart, cultivating his garden (hence the title of this blog).  Even though I never had a childhood sweetheart, I am cultivating my garden, and I still hope to have a few more adventures.  It will be great to return to a garden though. And the sweetheart?  Well who knows!

Tonight I’m relaxing writing this and listening to an audio book – The Hunger Games - a brilliant scifi trilogy, now a film too I think, but I will read the book first before seeing the film.  Always the best way round I think.  I’m not a great reader – my eyes become tired very quickly but I love listening to a good story and this one has already hooked me.  I love strong female heroines and this one has a great one. So writing this now, there’s almost the sense of the worst being over and some hope on the horizon today!  Not drinking has certainly helped.  I don’t even think about it now, and there’s still some beers in the fridge which have stopped beckoning to me every time I open the door!

Finally I had some very nice feedback from one of my regular readers.  It’s great to hear that there is someone out there.  Please let me know if you’ve read this and what you think.  All respectful criticism gratefully received! And any unwanted plants!!!

All the best from a road near you,

Mr Alexander
Mr Alexander