Monday, 31 May 2010

Hay festival almost passes me by

It's the annual and brilliant Hay festival this week, but sadly it's rather passing me by this year - I was incredibly busy last week with lots of extra orders for the Festival and different venue, and by Friday, when the jamboree began, I was fit for little except gasping. My gardens somehow managed to fill hundreds of vases last week, I can't quite imagine how! Luckily the first batch of cornflowers came on at just the right point, and a stand of sweet williams, along with the lovely iris, camassias and lots of other bits and pieces, but it was quite a job picking as everything is scattered in different areas at this time of year, I must try to get better organised for this time next year. This week I'll expect to be picking the first delphiniums and campanulas, veronicas and larkspur, pinks, astrantia, camassia, nigellas, alliums, iris, cornflower, sweet will, stocks, alchemilla, bupleurum....... but all in small quantities.

The gardens are beginning to look really beautiful, fresh and inviting, from the herb garden in the cottage garden outwards. And rather weedy. I'm trying to sort out how much labour I need for the summer but haven't quite got it right yet.

Every sunflower seedling has been eaten by pigeons. They arrived one by one at first then a whole flock came. About 100 metres x 2 metres now empty. In desperation we have sown some in modules in the tunnel but we can't fit enough in as the tunnel is full. Bother.

The dogs have been doing their bit for pest control though. They're both getting quite plump as they're spending a lot of time in the hedges and every day seem to eat at least one rabbit. It was a bit much when I arrived back with them from somewhere in the car, opened the boot, they jumped straight out and killed a rabbit in the garage though. Not good.

I had a call from a journalist wanting to mention me in a feature in one of the national Sundays in a few weeks. I hope that I was helpful but I know I was not as forthcoming as usual. Gardens Illustrated, who I really rate and want to continue to work with in different ways sent a photographer for a (wet and windy) weekend last year, and a writer, and had a good look at what's going on here (though I'll probably grimace a bit when I see it as things have moved on so far from last year, now we're more than double the size and production!) and the GI piece will be coming out at about the same time as this proposed mention. So I really didn't want to give too much away - to be fair this journo is not writing a piece on the gardens but how people can create their own cutting gardens and just wants to mention a couple of places where they can go to buy garden flowers if they don't want to create their own, so she was really looking for advice on plants through the seasons and so on, and she did understand when I explained that I wasn't going to give away my favourite four plants for each season as i didn't want to cover the same ground as in the GI article as they had priority. If she had come here she would have known that I am probably not the person to ask for advice on what to grow in a small space or in a well organised manner, I think I will invite her up later in the year.

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