Sunday, 16 September 2012

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

Shasta daisies with greenhouse in the background
Gardeners throughout the North East would agree that 2012 has been one of the worse years ever for vegetable growers. On the allotment rabbits ate the early peas and broad beans then pigeons nibbled most of the brassicas. The sweet corn refused to swell and the beetroot is almost non-existent.

Sadly, slugs ate every one of my glorious sunflower plants which usually stand guard at the entrance to my plot, charming all visitors with their happy,smiley  faces, yet the insistent Jerusalem artichokes are rampaging determinedly across the allotment landscape.

In the greenhouse tomatoes are desperately in need of sunshine to ripen their trusses and peppers and chillies are sulking and refusing to ripen. Cucumbers have resisted mildew but haven’t produced as many fruits as in previous years, even so, nothing beats the tasty crunch of freshly harvested cucumbers eaten with home-baked bread and greenhouse tomatoes – delicious.

All-female cucumbers

Despite the difficult year, the Bishop Auckland Hospital Garden Club held its inaugural show. Some classes were poorly represented – especially onions, both those grown from seed and from sets – but participants put on a wonderful show regardless. The room was bedecked with splendid tied bunches of dahlias in a myriad of colours, autumnal flower arrangements, delicate button holes and gleaming jars of fruit jams and chutneys.

£200 was raised for The Stroke Unit at Bishop Auckland Hospital so well done and sincere thanks to both those who took part and the staff of the Hospital Club who hosted the show at no charge.

Chilli peppers

Thanks also to the judge who awarded me first prize for my greengage summer jam!


  1. First prize, yes! I'm sure it will have been well deserved I bet the jam is delicious - I love greengages but I don't think I've ever had them in jam.

    I'm not surprised the chillies and peppers are sulking - aren't we all after this summer? Still you make the idea of home grown cucumber and home baked bread sound absolutely delicious. As it happens I've just been given a home grown cucumber so now I might just have to make the bread to go with it.