Gardening: Dreaming of a summer glutBy Linda Fort
August 28, 2012
It would be really rather marvellous to have a glut of something.
Other people get more courgettes than they know what to do with. They spend weeks boiling up ratatouille to fill the freezer.
Or they cut and blanch runner beans till their fingers turn brown with vegetable juices.
In my garden, I relish the rare, the single, the unique, the solitary – wondering what it must be like to be blessed with plenty.
At the moment, I have three plums on my Marjorie’s seedling tree.
Last year I think I had a few more than that – but this year I can count all too easily that there are three. They are perfectly formed and not yet ripe.
Three people live in my house so that when the time comes we can have one each, possibly with a little ceremony.
I have had no round courgettes yet. One is forming and may in the fullness of time reach a suitable size to pick – but not yet.
There are many, many yellow flowers on all my plants, but so few vegetables.
There have been one of two of the regular-shaped courgettes – not a particularly tasty variety – but the sweet little round ones are proving elusive.
The beans – runner, dwarf French and climbing French – are beginning to produce and I have had a few – but – as Frank Sinatra says – too few to mention.
I have certain flowering plants in the garden which are as ungenerous in their flowering.
My water lily often doesn’t flower. At the moment I feel touchingly grateful that there is one pretty white flower in bloom.
I don’t think I have ever had more than one.
I know my water feature is not on the scale of Monet’s lake – but one flower every few years is a pretty poor show. But it is positively prolific compared with my agapanthus.
It was placed in a large pot originally – too large no doubt – then later moved to a smaller one about a foot across.
I waited hopefully thinking that when it became pot bound – as the reference books suggested – it would then start to flower.
It was planted in the first place in my last garden so it is at least 12-years-old.
After a few years it flowered once producing two beautiful blue flower spikes. That was about six years ago – nothing since.
So you see, gluts are not something that we are used to in the Fort household.
We savour the rare, miffy, unreliable sulky plants.
I brought in my first purple chilli today – and showed it round to everyone in the house including the visitors.
They all looked at me rather oddly as I cradled it lovingly. I’m planning a small dinner party in its honour.