Six on Saturday – photos from my garden 1st August 2020

This is the place where I’m spending most of my time at the moment- my cut flower and vegetable patch. There’s a never-ending list of tasks; tying in, propping up plants, weeding and harvesting. I’m not complaining. Mentally it’s a ‘covid-free’ zone. As soon as I step into this place, my thoughts are solely on gardening. The covid problem, and all the questions in my head, quickly melt away. It’s become an essential sanctuary. A breathing space. Literally.

The orchard and view though to the veg patch in February. Sometimes I look at these photos from just a few months ago, and want to turn back the clock, go back to a time when life was less complicated, when we could go out without face coverings and hand gel. When the words social distancing, isolation, PPE didn’t exist. However, it’s not in our power to go back, only forward. And I’m finding comfort in the ever-changing pace of the veg plot. Tiny seedlings are now towering flowers. Dahlias are five foot tall. Bean shoots are spiralling anti-clockwise along rustic hazel poles and soon there will be a harvest to fill the freezer. For the past 30 years I’ve stood on this vegetable plot, and dug the soil, planted the seeds, hoed the ground and harvested the crops. Everything in the outside world is unfamiliar, but here on the veg plot, plants are performing just as they always have. Nature is carrying on regardless. Humans are changing a lifetime of habits. No hugging, no hand shakes, keeping a distance. The house and garden, usually so full of laughter, is quiet. And yet, there’s plenty of butterflies, bees, grass snakes, hedgehogs, owl chicks, swallows- all thriving in the peace and solitude.

And I’m picking plums. As I always have. A bumper harvest this year. The variety is Victoria. Sweet-tasting and prolific. I’ve made jam and I’m sharing it with friends in the village. One good thing to come out of covid, we are all sharing what we have, spare plants, surplus food, knowledge, hints and tips. We share bread, cakes, face masks, fabric for making scrubs. There’s a strong feeling of caring, and helping one another get through this time.

Here’s my plum and almond jam. Delicious in jam tarts, cakes and simply with bread and butter. In winter, I line up jam jars along the kitchen window. It’s like looking through stained glass. Very cheerful on a cold, dark day.

I’m picking flowers. Dahlia David Howard is doing well. Photos taken at dusk seem to glow. Beautiful bright orange flowers set against dark foliage. Flowers last nearly 10 days in a vase. I cut stems early in the day and immediately drop them into a bucket of cold water. Perfect for cheering up the kitchen table.

And another favourite, semi-cactus Dahlia Nuit d’Ete. I love the dark red centre and the curled and twisted petals. These are on my bedside table, combined with sweet peas. It’s wonderful to wake up to the scent of summer flowers, windows flung wide open and the hum of bumble bees under the eaves.

Looking out from the garden, I can see crops ripening in the back fields. Soon there will be the sound of harvesting. Another sign the season is moving on.

What’s looking good in your garden this weekend? Have you found solace in gardening during these difficult times? Thank you for reading and leaving your comments. It’s nice to know I’m not talking to myself on here.

Links: My plum jam recipe is here : https://bramblegarden.com/2017/08/22/peaches-and-plums-crumble-and-jam/

Dahlias : https://www.gee-tee.co.uk/bulbs/dahlias

Plum trees: https://www.chrisbowers.co.uk/

Orchard Odyssey : https://bramblegarden.com/2019/09/27/an-orchard-odyssey-book-review-and-prize-draw/

Recipes and ideas on what to do with the harvest : https://bramblegarden.com/2018/12/04/book-prize-draw-winner-the-creative-kitchen/

Making flower posies, courses and flowers: Georgie Newbery : https://bramblegarden.com/2020/07/01/online-hand-tie-posy-course-with-georgie-newbery/

Six (or more) on Saturday: https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2020/08/01/six-on-saturday-01-08-2020/

41 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – photos from my garden 1st August 2020

  1. The D. David Howard is a real beauty!
    I think you are correct in mentioning that a garden is a sanctuary, a safe place. In my case, I’ve been able to complete small construction projects. Being busy, amis a calm space, is wonderful.
    Garden has moved past its summer best, but I always look forward to the dahlias now. Francis battered mine, though.
    Have a great week, a chara.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Yes they really have haven’t they. I’ve only left my garden five times since February. But on the plus side, I’ve had time to tie in all the plants properly, and all the weeds are hoed off . For the first time ever, I feel like I’m on top of the jobs. Thank you for reading. All the best. Kare

      Like

  2. Karen I love your flower and vegetable patch sanctuary. I wish this Pandemic had never reached the world, but it has and we have to learn to live with it. But as you very well say Nature follows its course and you have your wonderful vegetables and divine flowers, your garden animals of all kinds prospering to isolate yourself from it. Congratulations on the plum harvest! True, we have become more caring and kind to one another. Plum and almond jam, I love them. Dahlia David Howard is divine. I love Dahlia Nuit d´Ete and with Sweet Peas on your nightstand, what a wonderful sight and perfume! From your garden the views are enchanting: crops maturing. I am still in Madrid with my Mother and throughout the Summer with doctors. Karen thank you very much for your kind words and encouragement for my Mother and for me, we need them. On July 28 her ophthalmologist and surgeon saw her and said that the operation went very well but that the glaucoma was already well advanced. He has sent her to another Ophthalmologist who specializes in Strabismus and a Surgeon to see her and see if she can remove double vision with both eyes. I keep putting drops in her eye. I am not well either, because I am reliving day by day what happened to my dear Father who rests in peace last year: on August 1 we came from the country house to Madrid to enter him in the Hospital Emergency Room where 11 days later passed away. We were only in the country house for 4 days and we went because my Father wanted to go and wanted to go. And I relive every day what happened: I can’t help it. Karen I hope you and your whole family are in good health and safe. Lots of health, lots of strength, lots of encouragement, hope, positive thinking and lots of love for all your family, Mr B and for yourself. Loving caresses to Grace and Meg and to the kitten if it is already with you. Take good care of yourself all. Happy gardening and enjoy your divine garden. Much love to all. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Margarita, I’m so sorry for all your pain. I knew it was the anniversary of your father’s passing. You have much to bear, with the sad memories, and now your dear mother and her eye operation. I want to send comfort and hope. I’m so pleased to hear the surgeon said the operation went well. My mother in law had double vision for several months and eventually it cleared without further adjustments. I think we had to buy several lots of different glasses and eventually they helped the situation. The drops sting and are uncountable, but I think they are worse to administer than to receive. I used to wince giving my mother and my mother-in -law their eye drops. It looks so painful. But over time, this again is something we all become accustomed to. I know you won’t feel this yet, but time is a great healer. With everything that’s happened, you are bound to feel sad and troubled. But in time you will remember all the happy times with your father, and the terribly sad days when he died will fade into the past. Honestly, you will smile again, and I’m sure you’ll be able to go to the country house soon. It’s a relief that you were able to take your father to the country house, where he wanted to be, when he died. How much worse to be in the city with him longing to be in the country house he loved so much. You must take credit for making that happen. We too take comfort from managing to get both my father and my grandfather home from hospital in ambulances when the time came. It was not easy to do, and mum had to find a doctor who would agree to them being moved. I can still remember their struggles to the last, but mostly I have managed to block that out now, and just remember all the lovely family gatherings, the lunches I cooked with everyone sitting round the table, the holidays, all ages together, sharing the family love. That is what my relatives wanted. They wanted me to remember the good times, and he happy. They didn’t want me to be sad. And I’m sure your father was the same. He would honestly want you to be happy and enjoy life, even though it’s difficult to do so at the moment. Remember, I’m there in my heart, holding your hand through all these difficulties. Sharing your ups and downs in life. This is what friendship means. To offer comfort and speak freely to remind one another what our fathers and grandfathers would have wanted. We have to find comfort in very small things at the moment. Take tiny steps towards happiness. It has to be a determined effort. And I know you can do it. Don’t relive every day the sad things that have happened. Force those thoughts from your mind, and focus on something good. Keep in good health and strength. Sending lots of love. Affectionate greetings from the family, my mother, Grace, Meg and the new kitten Monty. Take care of yourself and be strong. Karen Xxx 😘

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Karen, you are a great friend and your friendship is very important to me. Your words of comfort, help and hope encourage me and touch the depths of my heart and move me. Thank you very much for them. True, my dear Father loved the country house: the garden, his hammock and his faithful friend and companion dog Antón who passed away in 2017. Afterwards he was no longer the same. His very long walks of 3 hours with Antón stayed in 1 hour. And he had a mental and health drop because Antón was his best friend and confidant and also mine. Karen, you have also suffered a lot with your dear Grandfather and your dear Father. It must have cost you a lot of pain, tears, sadness, time and courage to put aside the bad times lived with them and their illness and only keep the happy memories: you have done it. I’ll get it too, but I need time. As if things weren’t few, I’m going to have an operation to remove a cyst that suddenly appeared in my private parts at the beginning of July. On Monday the 10th I go to the Hospital to do the Preoperative tests. If they tell me the day of the operation, I’ll let you know. The Gynecologist has told me that it is a very painful operation for at least three weeks, with a lot of inflammation, bleeding, very strong pain and safe infections due to a lot of hygiene and care: it is a very delicate place. This year I do not think I will go to the country house: between the operation, the doctors of my dear Mother and what scares me the most of all the large number of daily infected with COVID-19 that are in Madrid and many areas of Spain . As a joy my sister brought home plants and I have a mini garden with a large and beautiful Spathiphyllium that I spray with water every day, and 5 green Chlorophytum comosum plants that have blossomed and now have young to make more plants. Karen very good health and much love for your whole family, your dear Mother, Mr B, Grace, Meg and for you. A welcome kiss to little kitty Monty. Take good care of each other. I send love to everyone. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx 😘

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my goodness. You have much to bear. I am sending you an e mail. Look out for it tomorrow. Sending all our love and many hugs. Karen xxx 😘 xxx

        Like

  3. I have seen photos and positive comments about the David Howard Dahlia before. It really is attractive. It has been far too hot to even consider gardening here, until today! I managed an hour of dead-heading before retreating to the cooler indoors and later we finally had a really good thunderstorm with rain. We had waited a month for that and sat on the doorstep watching it pound down on the yard, getting our feet wet! Luckily no hail or strong winds as we always fear. I am so sorry the virus situation has been such a worry to you Karen. Our gardens are so important at times like these. We wouldn‘t be surprised if we get a new lockdown at some stage, so are both planning materials for new garden projects for the autumn. A new bed. Vegetable patch? etc. Thank goodness I have such a good online nursery to order plants, and since there are so many farmers around us the agricultural supplies are open whatever, so we can still get top soil, mulching material, compost, etc and building materials too, even if they close everything else. We are so lucky to be tucked away in our remote patch of land. 😃 Take care and carry on enjoying your garden! xx

    Like

  4. What a wonderful and thought provoking post, Karen. So well-written and with your lovely photos to accompany it too. No wonder so many people follow your blog and listen to you on the radio

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Cathy. That’s very kind of you. I should really go back and edit them when I’ve written them, but I would probably lose my nerve and not post them. I just sit down and pour out my thoughts and hope my feelings resonate with someone else. Thanks for reading. Have a lovely Sunday xx

      Like

  5. Karen, I’m thrilled to see that you too are enjoying your veg patch and cutting garden. I’m managing mine more intensely this year. Still following no-dig principles, and hope to have small plants to put in as soon as the onions are up. I’m trying multi-sown onions and beetroot this year as per Charles Dowding. I suspect I’ll have too many, and could drop some off to you if so.
    I’ll be in touch.

    Suella

    Your books are being shared and are bringing solice to a friend who has incurable cancer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh that’s really kind Suella. Yes please. I am delighted to hear about the books! Give your friend my best wishes. Sometimes I feel I should be doing something more. Something on a bigger scale. I’m thinking of what I could do. But for now, I’m concentrating on the power of small things. Kindness is like ripples in a pond. That’s what I’m hoping. xx

      Like

      • Sometimes something more takes too much of our precious limited energies. You do a lot already. You spread joy and love with your media work and publications as well as your blog etc. That is far more than idividuals could do some years ago. I’ll ring re the multi sown blocks when they are ready and see what you think.

        Suella

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Dorris. I agree with you there! I feel like I am living the life of my grandparents and great grandparents in the 1930/ 40/ 50s. They were very home-based, entertained themselves, spent a lot of time just looking after the home and garden, never travelled very far. Going abroad was as likely as travelling to the moon. And yet they were happy. And I’ve always pondered on this very fact. They had less, and yet they were happier than subsequent generations. They were delighted to see all the opportunities open to me, but I’ve worn myself out trying to take advantage of every possibility. Now, until there’s a vaccine, I’m living the life they led, with a less-is-more approach. Thanks, as ever, for reading. Enjoy your Sunday.

      Like

  6. Because of other obligations, I will be unable to make any jam or jelly this year. It is frustrating to see blackberries, elderberries and two types of American plums come and go without doing anything with them. I normally compete in the Jam and Jelly Competition at the Santa Cruz Mountains Harvest Festival. This will the be the first time in many years that I will not do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A very peaceful post.
    I’m not usually a fan of dahlias but the photo of the orange one is lovely.
    I love plums. Have not come across plum jam with almonds before but I imagine it has a really interesting taste. (Like bottled bakewell tarts?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Lucy. I’m glad you can feel the peace and calm here. As soon as you step through the gate, it’s like crossing into another world. I must admit, I went off dahlias for a number of years, but the. Started growing the waterlily and cactus types. I love the deep glowing colours and the fact they last so long in a vase. They are good value and cheer up the garden right up to November. That jam is exactly like Bakewell tart! Especially lovely spread on a freshly-baked scone with Devon cream. Yum! It’s just the plain plum jam recipe, with almonds added just before pouring into hot sterilised jars. You can also add walnuts if you like. But I like almonds best. Have a fab weekend 😘 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes, a lovely thoughtful post with beautiful photos. Life has certainly been turned upside down this year and I am seeing what a superficial and consumer driven world we live in when some people are more concerned about getting their eyelashes extended than whether it’s safe for certain members of society to simply go outdoors. I’m so happy that I have had my garden to lose myself in, although it is beginning to feel a bit like an open prison after 4 months.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I know what you mean. It’s certainly been a very challenging time. I’ve convinced myself I don’t need many of the things I might have bought before lockdown. I’m relieved to find that I’m happy with very little. I expect I have been spoiled all my life, being able to have more or less what I like when I want it. Popping to the shops on a whim seems totally alien now. Although sometimes I’d love an icecream or some nice chocolate. I just can’t risk it at the moment. I had serious illness three years ago, and wouldn’t be offered a ventilator. It colours your opinion on whether you’ll risk going out or not!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not much of a shopper anyway, most of my purchases are done online and not often. I can understand the not wanting to risk it, my son is the same. He was seriously ill three years ago too and has a poor immune system. He’s been shielding since March even though he’s not on the ‘at risk’ register.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Pressed send before I’d finished. Wanted to say, I’m glad you have found comfort in your garden, and yes, it’s going on for too long now. Thanks for reading and for your kind comments. It’s much appreciated. Karen

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Noelle. I am finding the garden to be a wonderful distraction from everything. Tomorrow for breakfast, I shall trot up the garden to collect blueberries for my porridge. Simple pleasures are keeping me going. I’m enjoying the colour of the jam almost as much as the taste. It’s such a cheerful sight! Just like jewels, as you say. Enjoy your weekend. Thank you for reading the blog. Karen

      Like

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. It's nice to know I'm not talking to myself on here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s