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
I love pottering around plant nurseries. Not garden centres, with their underwhelming supermarket rows of same-ish plants and overpriced packets of seeds and shelves of useless stuff for adding trendy touches to conservatory and garden.
No, I mean the kind you meander through, never knowing what plant you might encounter in the next section or under a pergola or tucked away in a corner. Places where serendipitous finds enthral, appearing when least expected.
My latest haul from just such a treasure-hunt: Moringa (tallest, at back), Justicia (a little less tall, with few leaves), Sedum – oh, and a couple of surprise seedlings too. And I’ve had such fun rooting them out. Read more