Monday, 30 April 2012


It was probably inevitable that declaring a hosepipe ban would usher in weeks of heavy rain. After all, it is April. And if there’s one plant in particular that I’ve noticed making the most of the wet weather and romping through every garden, it’s goosgrasss. I spent most of Friday afternoon gardening up to my elbows and, at one point, ears in the stuff (I should point out that I was lying down in order to weed under an awkward cornus – it’s rampant, but not that rampant). Galium aparine is known by many other names; in addition to goosegrass, perhaps most commonly cleavers, but also stickyweed, catchweed, coachweed, bedstraw (from its historic use as a matress stuffing), robin-run-the-hedge and, of course, sticky willy. Though I’m much too mature to find that particular epithet even remotely funny.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Mini orchard

The apple trees are planted – a milestone in our home. We’ve always known where we wanted them but somehow, with a rundown house to renovate, garden buildings to erect, borders to fill with flowers and the kitchen garden to fill with annual veg, it always slipped to the bottom of the list. Which is a shame because planting fruit trees really should be one of the first things you do when you move into a new house, partly for the practical reason that it will take a year or two before they bear fruit (the maturation period depends on the vigour of the rootstock; larger trees take longer to achieve their productive potential), but mainly because there’s nothing better than planting a fruit tree to make you feel as though you’ve put down roots. Quite literally.