Castle Garden in May

I was given a few plants – a nice meaty tomato, and a winter squash – and went to plant them in the garden in Castle Row. Last time I went was in the winter – and it looked a bit dead and unkept. Now it is beautiful and lush:


There are many little patches of good stuff. Strawberries at the front, that Italian herb which I think is marjoram, three stalks of fennel are coming up, the rosemary bush. Many different aromas and colours.

The rest of the cover are non-edible plants native to the Cambridge area. They’re not really a problem, much better than naked soil, and we can pretend we’re doing polyculture. Nothing really dominates, probably because we’ve pulled out lots of alkanet with James before it flowered.

The trees are doing well, I think the optimistic future of this garden are large towering fruit trees, known to every local pear-eating child. This is a hazel:


I am also a fan of these raspberries. They’re flowering, there’s a buzz around them, and in this picture I have managed to snap a particularly good bee:



We’ve planted this last time as well. Very healthy mint!


It still puzzles me what the last gardener wanted to do – the barrel had a heavy porcelain thing on top of the soil, I think it was meant to crowd out the weeds and grow stuff in the gaps but the main result was that the soil was very compacted. The barrel had nothing growing in it and was full of weeds. We’ve removed the thing from the top, emptied the barrel, put the turf upside down, put some soil from the middle above the turf, and planted the mint. Feel free to borrow the upside-down-turf trick as an alternative to weeding, works every time, you just need to start with a garden in a barrel.

The mint took, it’s definitely going to crowd out anything else in the pot – I took the picture before doing anything to the pot, and you can see there wasn’t really anything to weed. Now I can rely on it to be there for years and years. If there’s ever a heatwave that comes and kills a mint plant planted in half-shade over a metre of top quality soil, I will probably have bigger things to worry about.