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After a week off, it was a pleasure to return to the gardens this week and a delight to see even more flowers in bloom.
This big, blowsy pink poppy looks like it's dressed to impress compared to the more minimal but stunning open-petalled ones. I think one of my all-time favourite seed heads is the poppy - so delicate and defined and such a wonderful design for spreading seeds from the gourd like container out of the small holes under the star like top when the wind blows.
Besides the visual gratification of the flowers on site is the even more satisfying sight of all the bees enjoying them: you can see them on the thyme, the sage, the poppies and the calendula, just to mention a few.
The beet leaves and sorrel and buckthorn plantain planted a few weeks ago are ready to be harvested next week - they have coped with the warm weather through copious watering three times a week - twice by me and the third time by Ellie and Hannah Mackie, whose weekend visits are a godsend right now.
I felt really proud when I saw the bed of beet leaves doing so well (close up photo) at Clissold. It is a great privilege literally to see the fruit/leaves of my labour, particularly in these times. Ordinarily I show other people how to do the planting and harvesting, etc and obviously do quite a bit of it myself but not anywhere as much as this year. To have done all the work at Clissold myself and now to reach the point of being able to harvest it is an amazingly satisfying feeling (and makes up somewhat for the frustrations of losing other crops to rodents, molluscs, etc).
Thanks to Jack who covered for me last week, and who watered the strawberry patch at Clissold that doesn't normally get a look in, I had one delicious strawberry this week!
As you know, I have been worrying about aphids, and to my delight, I found ladybird larvae in their pupal stage (between being larva and ladybird) all over the sweet Cicely that I was about to chop back at Clissold. A lesson in not keeping things too tidy... Interestingly they were at the end of the bed that was less infested by aphids so hopefully they had had their fill on the aphids on the lettuces before hanging out in their pupae on the sweet Cicely. And then I found a ladybird larva on a bean leaf in the poly tunnel - wonderful.
Finally, the artichokes have nicely ripened and were taken to the office to Thursday afternoon for the benefit of those who were there.