Quincetastic

Quinces reek of the Renaissance. They conjure dreams of splendid feasts in a 15th Century Florence palazzo, or Dutch Old Master still lives, complete with dead pheasants and a jug of hock. I bought a little quince tree fourteen years ago when I first moved into my present home. At the time old fruit trees, such as…

Event: Red Gooseberries

I have an excuse for not knowing the variety of these delightfully sweet goosegogs. Not a very good excuse, but an excuse. Okay, so I’d stopped off at a garden centre on my way to visit pals (aww, c’mon, we’ve all done it…) where I spied an angry young gooseberry plant, all gangly spines and…

Event: Whitecurrants

I’m a firm believer whitecurrants are an essential on an event allotment. They’re hard to find in the shops and if you do they’re hideously expensive. It’s hardly surprising; mature bushes take up a fair footprint and they tie up the ground for the entire year, yet crop only once, but these little flavour-bombs are…

Event – Gariguette Strawberries

This is the second year I’ve grown Gariguette and I’m absolutely delighted. I took runners last year and have always been a little concerned that they’re notoriously light croppers. I figured, though, that I’d rather have a few superb fruit than a load of indifferent berries. I’m happy to report that both the second-year mature…

Hospital Corner

Oh dear. I totally failed my duty of care for this poor fellow this winter. He somehow got stuck in a corner of my tiny conservatory and I neglected to water him enough. Serious TLC is needed. I’ve already removed the dead leaves (there were lots) and the obviously dead twigs – anything that doesn’t…

Last of the Forced Rhubarb

Both the upside and downside of seasonal produce is each crop’s end. There’s nothing better than going out with a really explosive firework of a haul and this year’s forced rhubarb has just rewarded me with truly exquisite last knockings. It’s been a long season. I’ve been dipping into that forcing pot since the end…

On Test: ‘Climbing’ Strawberries ‘Skyline’

Last year I tested – and approved of – three French strawberries. Each scored highly in the flavour stakes but for different reasons. My plot just isn’t big enough to grow lots of different strawberries, so I’m not planning any new trials of standard strawbs but I am intrigued by the concept of a new ‘climbing’…

Ooh, La, La: French Strawberries

  Gariguette is probably my favourite strawberry ever. Long, conical and superbly flavoured, it reminds me (to look at, of course) of the strawberries Dougal used to eat in the Magic Roundabout, though frankly it clearly also inspired the local Brians too. My meagre haul was decimated by slugs. It’s supposed to be a really…

Event Apples

When I first took the plot I’m on now, I was keen to get a row of cordon fruit trees in as soon as possible. I took up an offer by Pomona Fruits for a mini orchard, and, to give it its due, the six trees have grown strongly and all, apart from the Victoria…