Today the garden is abundant. I have been harvesting more mange tout peas and the first of my baby cucumbers. Cucumbers seem rather exotic for a Scottish garden but I find I can grow them in pots in my plastic greenhouses. I don’t have a proper greenhouse but these plastic structures provide enough protection to grow small cucumbers. I have some conventional green cucumbers which I pick when about six inches long but the little yellow ‘Crystal lemon’ variety is a particular joy. These produce round fruits about the size of a ping-pong ball. They are best eaten still warm from the plant, rather than stored in the fridge.
Their big cousins, the marrows, are already the size of rugby balls. Many gardeners reject marrows as tasteless but they make the most amazing chutney and are worth growing just for their sheer size. So long as I can get them past the early slug sensitive stage they just keep growing before my eyes. This year they I have several plants and they are already enormous. We’ll have a lot of chutney this winter.
The tomatoes are coming on well, enjoying our recent heat wave. This has also brought out some autumn fruiting raspberries which don’t usually fruit until September. The runner beans are sprinting up their cane wigwam, surrounded by self-seeded borage and luxurious deep blue sweet peas. They are covered in bees. Bees are also enjoying the lavender and buddleia in the front garden. The buddleia is also known as the butterfly bush. There don’t seem to be many butterflies but the bees love its strong honey scent. Anything that brings bees is worth having.
I am reminded of a line from a poem by Walter de la Mare, where he advises us to enjoy the beauty of nature while we can:
‘Look thy last on all things lovely every hour’*
Today I have been trying to appreciate what’s best in the garden. The bees win the prize but I also enjoyed a blackbird having a bath in the pond, splashing water over its wings in the sunlight.
*From ‘Fare Well’ by Walter de la Mare (1918), published in Walter de la Mare Collected Poems, Faber and Faber (1951)