Tuesday, 3 August 2010


Lycopersicon esculentum 'Sungold'.

I was going to rant and rail about the media trying desperately to whip up another destructive and pointless food scare over the possibility of, shock, horror, CLONED milk finding its way into the food chain. But the whole thing is too damn silly to bother with and, frankly, I can't be arsed. One thing that did scare me rigid, though, was discovering in the Independent that in the House of Commons, there is only one - yep, just one - scientist. Lord help us all! The Luddites are in charge and there'll be free homeopathy for all. Hurrah!

But instead of ranting, and because heck, it's August and lazy times are here, I thought I'd show you a little of Wendy's opulence on the tomato front. This is how she looked on Monday, before the PG raided all the ripe tomatoes for cooking and was spotted grumfling them raw, in the kitchen. I've stopped some of the plants, but others will be trained round the roof, for late fruits, and because it's a bit of a laugh, going against the text books.

Sad Thing - the swifts have pretty well gone. I saw some flying high yesterday, but our nesting birds have dumped us for warmer climes, the ungrateful little sods.

Amazing thing. Two ravens flew over the house yesterday. Are we doomed? Is this the end, the coming of Wotan, signifying the doom and sending Brunnhilde to snatch me off to Valhalla for an eternity of gardening leave? Don't jest. Brrrrrrrrrr! Scary!!!

Happy thing - when I pruned the massive yellow banksian rose on our house, I exposed a song thrushes nest with three roughly 1 week old fledglings. I withdrew sharpish and mum thrush has continued the rearing task. Lovely and so good to see a succesful late brood. It will be her third, at least, so three chicks shows she's a dam' fine bird.

Because they are invasive aliens, gurus and boffins have been having a serious down on buddleias - or buddle jars, as we're supposed to call them these days. I have been rejoicing in the glory of Buddleja davidii 'Nanho Blue.' It isn't blue but the bush is quite small and dainty - by buddle jar standards - and has an exquisite fragrance.

Buddleja davidii 'Nanho Blue'

I pruned the tops from the most vigorous half dozen stems in June, to temper its growth a little and to secure more late blooms. That works well and I'll do it again next year. Each February I take off about 70% of all growth.

The buddle jar - isn't it ridiculous? - grows near a batch of agapanthus seedlings which have a good smattering of soft blues and whites. They're bone hardy and die right back underground each winter. August is the proper time for aggas, just went so many other garden flowers are about as appealing as unlaundered pants.

My seedling agapanthuses.

I'm reading John Updike's The Widows of Eastwick - I love his take on religion and hypocrisy - and aim to re-read its prequel, The Witches of Eastwick which was made into a pretty bad but utterly enjoyable film. That was my first sighting of Susan Sarandon and I have to confess to being rather smitten at the time.

This day in 2006 I was in Norfolk, walking over the salt marshes near Stiffkey. The ground was vivid with sea lavender and I spotted a Black Tailed Godwit, in full summer plumage, in in a creek.

This week's film was Fish Tank, a wildly acclaimed BAFTA winner which was one of my week's most bitter disappointments. It was so self-indulgently over-length at more than two hours, that I would have fallen asleep if rage hadn't kept me watching. The tired old theme, of disillusioned teenager with a slut-bitch mother living in a hellish part of Essex where no one is safe was trotted out laboriously for what seemed hours. To make matters worse, the DVD print was cropped for a 4:3 TV - why do that still do that? - and the sound was so abysmal and the actors' diction so poor, that much of the dialogue was inaudible.

Oh dear, Another moan. I must get out more.



  1. I will now grumfle all my tomatoes henceforth.

    Although I feel you have overdosed on pictures of 'Sungold' just to annoy me (see previous posts and comments).

    Am also going to call those purply railtrack-side shrubs buddle-jars from now on. They had a dwarf one at T&M's the other day - about 3ft high but still looking like a buddlejar - which I thought was pretty tolerable given the usual state of the things. Not one of my favourites, no matter how much the flutterbys like them.

    I'm afraid I liked Fish Tank. I obviously need to watch more films as I'm not jaded enough.

  2. Your tomato plants are very impressive indeed. I hadnt realised that Buddleja was considered a pest, if we get rid of them surely that will affect lots of butterflies. If we got rid of all non-native plants, it would be quite dull

  3. LOL, here I am thinking I twig on all your British expressions, but "can't be arsed" is a new and good one for me. Thanks!

  4. I think Huginn and Muninn are just gathering information for Odin - he is probably interested in how you got your 'sungold' to crop so well.

  5. I didn't realise that Sungold was a GM crop (or have I muddled things up).

    Oh well back to the day job.

  6. Buddle jars - honestly :-) - the swifts have also left here, here being Switzerland, always a bit sad to see them go. Very impressive your Sungold crop, might show it to my lazy buggers in the hot house, see if it could shame them into being a bit more productive.

  7. Yes, the lack of scientists in Parliament chills me to my soul. But my soul warms up when I admire your Sungold tomatoes. I have yet to have a ripe tomato, but am hoping to beat last year's record of my first ripe tom on 27th October. One year I'll get around to planting them up earlier.

  8. Lord Charles - Sungold definitely not a GM crop!

    Happy M - I used to grow a few late toms in a tiny polytunnel and would often be harvesting until late November - until one year when the whole thing collapsed under heavy snow.

    Monica -we first heard 'can't be arsed' from the innocent lips of our eldest daughter, when newly at her secondary school and had to pretend to be shocked and scandalised by such language - before having a good laugh quietly later. That was a long while ago - the aforementioned daughter is now mother of two - and everyone uses the expression.

    Constant G - the PG tells me I'm a miserable old grump and need to see Fish Tank again, as I was obviously in a negative mood when I watched it.