Something struck me as odd about this lovely old garden wall at the fine country house I’ve been working at lately. ‘Strange size of bricks’ I mused… Then I spotted a place where the brick facade was falling away revealing stone underneath. I’ve never seen bricks laid on their sides like this before to create a brick ‘veneer’ on a stone wall. It seems to have lasted for quite a few decades anyway, against the odds!
The soft fruit area of my allotment 1 is looking rather lovely today with strawberries blooming abundantly. Virtually all this food-producing loveliness came free courtesy of mother earth! The only things in the picture that I paid for are the two apple trees, (and having been on a grafting course recently, next year I hope to produce some of my own fruit trees too). The currants and gooseberries all came as cuttings from my old Milton Keynes allotment, and the strawberries started as runners, as did the thornless blackberry.
I think it’s a great shame that people head to the garden centre when they want strawberries or fruit bushes – it’s so easy to grow your own (save money and food miles – most UK fruit bushes are imported from Holland). Currants and gooseberries are really easy to root as cuttings – in the autumn take 12 inch long prunings, push them 6 inches into the ground or a deep pot of compost, cover with a propagator lid, fleece tunnel or similar (this improves the success rate) and wait for spring — your cuttings will be growing away happily by April. Strawberry plants produce lots of runners every summer, which root themselves into the soil – in the autumn simply pot up or transplant these new little plants. Anyone who already has currants, gooseberries or strawberries will be glad to give you prunings or strawberry runners – ask your relatives, neighbours or local gardening/permaculture group. Failing that, you could support your local organic gardener and reduce plant-miles – I usually have fruit bushes and strawberry plants for sale 🙂