I had intended to write about the garden and, in particular, the raised beds. There’s enough work to be done, and a number of points – interesting, baffling, despair-inducing to write about. But, as you see, I got diverted…. again!
Definitely not my garden…. The nomad spirit took over once more yesterday, and I abandoned veg. beds, borders and even the fascination of the compost bins in order to wander off to Fayyum, most lovely of agricultural regions close to Cairo and truly worth the agony of an hour or two on the Ring Road. Read more
Several of us are in therapy in the Jasmine Garden. The gardener, for all sorts of bruises, cuts and grazes; a number of citrus trees, for horrendous mealy bugs and other ills; and the powder puff tree, which may, in truth, be beyond rescue.
Yet the positive side is that I have been galvanised into looking for natural ways to combat the problems, using the produce of the garden. There’s an added spin-off: I’m delving even deeper, to make a new kind of cleaning agent that avoids the allergy-inducing products available on the market here.
The main impetus is Dowding and Hafferty’s wonderful book No Dig Organic Home & Garden; but the original inspiration has been an aromatherapist who practises locally, and who has adopted the natural approach in her own life.
Whenever I write about our garden produce, it’s all about what we can eat, how much the produce weighs/how many we’ve harvested, what the taste is like – and so on. Or it might be about how I’ve got things wrong, and the crop has failed, or disappeared.
This week, for a change, I’m putting a neglected plant to good use, with a view to soothing the endless bruises and grazes I get while working in the garden.
So let me introduce you to our comfrey (Symphytum officinale). Grown from seeds brought from the UK, she has quietly persisted in a shady spot under the hedge for years. Each spring she produces new leaves, then maybe the odd head of little pink flowers before dying back in the autumn ready for a new year’s growth. No fuss, no great show and just a few mealy bugs, while the pot has disintegrated around her. Read more