A little while ago I wrote a post about what a rebel I am. I was all like: ‘Check me out, guy! I’m planting asparagus in a massively rubbish trench!’ and: ‘Them RHS dudes are, like SO square with their huh huh dedicated asparagus beds!’. Well they showed me. At the start of the year you can’t think why everyone doesn’t plant asparagus in their borders: it produces these beautiful thrusting purple spears which turn to lovely fresh ferny foliage. The trouble comes not-a-whole-lot-later-on-in-summer, when the foliage flops over dramatically. This is a bit of a problem if you’ve planted it at the front of your beds, and so have to lift the foliage with your foot while pushing the mower underneath it. Lucky I’m a tai chi master and so have been waiting for this moment. I still think it’s a good border plant, but it will have to be moved nearer the back (I know! Moving asparagus! I just can’t help myself *chews gum, spits*).
So I know how you gardeners like a bit of ‘warts n all’ stuff, so this is really just a quick round-up of successes and failures so far. The asparagus is the major problem, but I also have to admit that the ‘perennial’ shallots (just ordinary shallots, they are all perennial, see?) are looking utterly ropey. Again, loveliness itself early in the season, straight and true and green, but now flopped and slug-bitten. I am leaving them where they are for next year though. Too early to call time. I have also managed to kill all but a single solitary one of BlundstonedLove‘s perennial leeks, which I am supremely sad about. Sorry, BlundstonedLove, and if you ever have an excess again…
The major successes right now are salad leaves. Only planted this year none are coming in vast quantities yet, except the perennial rocket, which has been incredible, almost forgotten about in among the strawberries it is perfect in every way, not a leaf-beetle hole in sight and pumping out leaves as fast as I can eat them, which is pretty fast. It’s a taste I love very much, despite the fact that each and every bite makes me think of Tony Blair. I have grown it from seed before and it has instantly bolted or been nibbled to pieces. But not this baby. Also, the garlic chives are garlicky, the sorrel is citrusy and the good King Henry isspinachy, if a little bitter. And they just slip in under other plants, no trouble at all, so far. The rhubarb, as you can see above, is magnificent, a triumph! It looks incredibly ornamental next to the blood-veined sorrel, and has massive wavy leaves, and is so healthy I have even taken a couple of sneaky stalks (in it’s first year. Yeah, deal with it *rides away on motorbike, helmet off*)
The strawberries are a bit too big. Not their fault, obviously, I just planted them when they were small and failed to picture them bigger. Clevergardening lady, eh? Also, they are too close to, and merging with, the white alpine strawberries, which I have had for a few years and was going to rip up for being tasteless, but which have mysteriously come good, delicious and tart this year, so earning a reprieve. So there’s going to be lots of shifting around some time soon, but so far, no chucking out, which means that overall I must be at least holding my own. This thing aint over yet, RHS Encyclopedia.