Vines and mints

The new grapevines I ordered (from Victoriana Nursery Gardens) arrived last week. The planters for them should arrive this week…. I want the vines to grow over the arbour, and we’ve chosen a pair of wooden planters that can be fixed to the arbour, so that the whole lot can be moved together should the need ever arise. The vines are going to be long-term residents of the garden, after all. It won’t be too long before I can enjoy cooking with vine leaves, although a decent crop of seedless dessert grapes might take a little longer.

Harvested shallots

Over the weekend I decided that the shallot bed had got a little too weedy – and pulled out the biggest Fat Hen I’d ever seen. I had to use a garden fork to lift the root out, but then I needed it to lift some of the shallots anyway. By the time I’d done that, I’d overheated – the shallots have been left higgledy piggledy to dry out a bit in the sun; the bed awaits a fresh dose of compost and will then be replanted with the flower sprouts for the winter.

Strawberry weeds in the garlic bed

Speaking of weeds, I do get some interesting ones in this garden! Last year Tree Spinach and Strawberry Spinach (both Chenopods) sprung up by themselves – welcome plants that do that tend to get called ‘volunteers’. I planted this year’s Strawberry Spinach, but the Tree Spinach is still coming up by itself. The leaf miners get the better of it, though (they are rife, no doubt because this seems to be a Fat Hen hotspot). This year I have strawberry weeds in the garlic bed – probably alpine strawberries, although I can’t tell for sure until they fruit. They can stay put for the time being, anyway.

Elsewhere in the garden…


…the skirret is reaching for the skies…

Fuchsia berries in flower

…the fuchsia berries are in flower…


…there are two agretti plants worth mentioning…

First courgette

…the Triffids have started producing courgettes…

Epazote, Chenopodium ambrosoides

…and this has appeared in the sweetcorn bed. At the beginning of June I dumped out a seed tray of mixed herb varieties into the sweetcorn bed, fed up with it having done nothing in the month since I sowed it. This is the result – it’s Epazote, Chenopodium ambrosoides, a Mexican herb.

“The entire plant has a pungent odor, which has been likened to that of eucalyptus, pine, turpentine, or camphor.”

When I saw the plant yesterday, Ryan and I noted it’s almost diesel-like aroma. Since then I have checked the leaves, and yes – it’s Epazote (it helps to know that some of those seeds I sowed were Epazote πŸ˜‰ ).

That quote above is from Mother Earth News. I also love the growing instructions in the same article:

“Buy some seeds. In early summer, plant a few in well-drained soil in full sun. Give the rest of the seeds away. Thin seedlings to a single plant. Don’t let it go to seed unless you want a forest of epazote next year.”

It’s not quite as simple in the UK climate. When I bought the seeds from Joy Michaud (Sea Spring Seeds) at the Edible Garden Show, she said its germination was… quirky. Sown outside it wouldn’t germinate until brought inside; sown inside, it wouldn’t germinate until it was outside. Maybe the extra time is the key factor…. Either way, it will be interesting to see whether it goes to seed before winter, and – if it does – whether it joins the ranks of interesting weeds in my garden next year!