27 May, 2008

Return to the mothership

If anything got me going on this vegetable-growing lark, it is where my mother lives. It's a special place. A semi-communal estate in Hampshire, high on a hill overlooking Alton. The house is Georgian and enormous and really cold. My mother shares a quarter of the house with her partner, my brother-in-law and my niece.

It's the garden which is the main attraction. There are two enormous Victorian walled gardens and this is what they look like:

People share some patches like the rhubarb and cultivate other parts on their own. There is an enormous glasshouse - it deserves the old term, just look!

I love the interior of the glasshouse. It still has the wonderful mechanism for opening the windows. And check out the tomatoes, grape vine and seedlings.

Below for those interested in compost, rhubarb and globe artichokes, in that order.

They grow most things and all of it organically. To be honest I think sometimes the residents end up taking it a little for granted as they have had all this bounty for over 30 years now. But the whole place has this wonderful slightly dilapidated feeling and the kitchen gardens feel so productive. There's always something worth looking at or eating. My favourite patch is Tom's. He is probably their expert and has a magnificent bed which takes companion planting to new heights. No straight lines, no labels, just the most wonderful mix of flowers and fruit and vegetables.

My plot isn't on this scale but it was good to come home and pull some radishes and a lettuce for supper. Oh and prop up the tomatoes after their elaborate frames had keeled over in the downpours of the weekend. And the beans and shallots are all leaning up hill. I wonder how bad the weather was? Nothing seems too much the worse for wear and lots is coming along wonderfully. More pictures tomorrow may be - this time of my rather less palatial garden.

Oh and a postscript for Vegmonkey. I would have posted pictures of the new chickens at the Grange (above) but unfortunately Fantastic Mr Fox arrived on the same night as us and took the lot.


Anonymous said...

That is one swanky glasshouse. It all looks very professional. I've only got half a plot so don't have my own shed even! Must get a bigger garden...

Gordon Mason said...

That glasshouse is just gloriously glorious. That is quite something. I'm positively veridian with envy!

vegmonkey said...

Hiya, meant to comment on this ages ago...so came back. Shame about the chickens. I'm thinking i won't be there for at least 5 or 6 years. Need a better paid job first!

I have to say though, that garden is incredible...it could easily be opened and shown...i bet people would flock in. I'd go as far as say it's my id4al garden. Cheers for sharing it!