Saturday, 24 May 2008

Good Neighbours

One of the frequently cited principles of garden design is to take advantage of the "borrowed" landscape - in other words, take advantage of good plants and structure in the neighbouring gardens.

We have a fine backdrop of mature trees at the end of our garden, and we more or less share some of the plants along next door's fence. At the moment that means we have a wonderful wisteria flowering halfway up the garden, giving off a glorious scent, especially in the evening. Earlier in the year, the bright yellow flowers of forsythia and kerria were a perfect foil to our dark blue shed, and through the summer we can look forward to sharing passion flower, clematis and jasmine.

Somehow this blurring of planting boundaries is indicative of the friendliness of this area. Because it's a cul de sac with kitchens looking out onto the street, it's safe for children to play together outside, including riding their bikes and playing football on the little green at the top of the street. Earlier today, I was talking to some of them about the plants that will be going in the herb garden planned for the front of the house, and they took a great interest in Southerwood, and its cola like scent. Another neighbour was walking the family's dog, who had retired to the country but was paying a visit and relishing the attention.

Best of all, last week our next door neighbour gave me samples of the soap they had just started making. I'm going to be making some goats milk soap tonight, and giving them a sample in return.

This weekend is crucial in predicting the weather for the rest of the summer. The Enfield Classic Car Show is taking place from now until Monday. If the weather is bad for the show, we should expect a hot dry Summer. Last year, the show passed off without incident or trauma. In 2006 there was torrential rain, the show was cancelled halfway through and most of the exhibits had to be sucked out of the mud by tractor. Storms are predicted from tonight onwards, so I have high hopes for getting a crop from my okra seedlings this year.

Two tasks are highlighted in the Wartime Weekend Gardener for this weekend - sow maincrop peas (Onward, Hurst Green Shaft or similar) and start lifting early carrots.

If I find any carrots with roots on, I may just do that.

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