Sunday, May 26, 2024

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Water those herbs and find thyme for a right good stuffing

in my lady garden

Do you like my watering can? My husband modelled for it when he was a strapping young man. No wonder I got up the spout.

An implement like this can be very handy in my lady garden, especially when I just can’t be arsed to get the hose out.

The watering can is very easy to use. Simply carry it from the garden to the tap (indoors, or out if you are lucky enough to have such a thing) and fill it via the hole in the top.

You need a “rose” on the end of the spout, that is the bit with lots of tiny holes in, to water tender seedlings but for sturdier plants, just carry the can to them and tip it at an angle and you’ll find that the water just pours out of the spout end without undue strain to the operator.

watering canMy eye-watering can

The watering can was patented by John Haws in 1886, which made him like the Dyson of his day.

Later they were made in plastic by the celebrity gardener Walter N Cann, who made the device even more famous under his name.

Now the weather is getting drier, one thing I like to keep well-watered is my herb garden.

With this bank holiday you may be tempted by a lovely roast chicken. Or you may prefer to get stuck into a good bit of pork.

There is nothing my husband and I like more than a good stuffing, which we do together in the kitchen after a few glasses of wine and some local Aspall cyder.

Juicy sausage

I like to take a packet of Paxo and add some onion, and snipped fresh sage and thyme.

Sometimes we thrust a nice juicy sausage in.

Rosemary (Conleyum Dietborium) is lovely shoved under the roasting potatoes with garlic and sea salt. But if you are short of time get Aunt Bessie to do your roasties.

If you’ve never grown herbs, this is how to do it.


You won’t find MY tip in any ordinary gardening columns. Take yourself along to Tesco or Asda and you will find at the end of the vegetable aisle, herbs growing in pots. Often they are BOGOFS (that is not a herb, it’s an acronym).

Simply take them home and show off in the kitchen by popping them into a trug lined with a bit of bin bag to stop leakages on your worktop.

It will look to any mere non-gardener as though you grew them yourself. Cut bits off for your soups and Bolognese BUT before you have demolished them completely, transfer them to the garden to a large pot or in the ground, first making a hole with a trowel or if you don’t own one, a tablespoon from the kitchen drawer. Water regularly.

Believe me, this is how I got all my parsley, coriander, sage, thyme and rosemary, without buggering about with seeds. And as I had already used them in recipes, the continuing plant is like a free gift. Sometimes the basil also takes but it can be a bit fawlty.(groan)

This week my sister made a structure for our runner beans (Usainium Boltius) to climb. All she needed were some seven-foot poles, some string and an engineering degree.

runner bean polesBean-friendly construction

This is the best time of year to see rhododendrons in posh gardens but if you want to grow them you need acid soil. You can check the pH values of your soil by using a testing kit. But the last time I bought one, it told me I was pregnant.

Remember I warned you a few weeks ago about the Norwich carrowpillars invading our borders? Well now local farmers are having their sugar beet, rape seed and barley devoured by Spanish slugs. If that’s not a reason to close our borders and go for Brexit, I don’t know what is.

A modern “green” way of defending your hostas and other plants from slugs is to use natural wool fibre pellets (available from all smug garden centres). You water them to expand and the slugs can’t bear the feeling of wool. Perhaps they prefer lycra!

Slugs also hate to come up against crushed egg shells. Suffolk farmers could try this, but they’d have to eat so many eggs, they’d be farting for Britain.

An old way to kill slugs is to put out a “beer bath” in an old tuna tin. They climb in, can’t get out and drown in beer. What a way to go, though!

A wise old Suffolk neighbour swears by another beery way to get rid of slugs.

“Yow take a good swig of Adnams,” he told me this week as he stood in his smock top, puffing on his clay pipe. “Then, when yow’ve ad enough, you just stamp on the little bastards.”

spanish slugSpanish slugs are a garden pest

Jobs to do this week

* Mow the lawn regularly ahead of it growing to keep it tip-top, and every now and then give it a sprinkle of lawn feed. Soon the surface will be fine enough to play marbles on.

* Sow winter cabbage and cauliflower.

* Do an “instant makeover” with colourful bedding plants that are already blooming. Your neighbours will be weljel.

* Pop radishes and lettuce (Little-gemmo lesstastius) seeds in IN SUCCESSION. You don’t want them all maturing at the same time unless you are a lettuce-aholic like that pie-phobic stick insect Gwyneth Paltrow.

Answers to your problems

Don’t be shy about asking anything. I steal your stupid ideas for the following week! Pip Pip!

* Sonia L: Yes I have worked with Miss Trimley St Mary. Unfortunately, she is a bit of a slut and didn’t pay much attention to her Lady’s Mantle.

* Peter C: Thankyou for comparing my garden to the prestigious Jaywick Allotment society. I would cut back on those magic mushrooms if I were you and mind you don’t fall on a “misplaced” pitchfork.

* Mr D C of Combs: It sounds like your periwinkle has got completely out of control and needs pulling out before it does any more damage.

I’ll be back next week with more tips. Enjoy the Bank Holiday. I’ll be out in this new pink apron a friend gave me to go with my Barbie wheelbarrow.

anita bush in my lady garden apronMy lovely pink pinnie


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