Heavens! Whatever happened to July? It’s harvest time already. My only excuse is that I’ve been painting the beach hut in every spare moment – I’ll post some photos when I feel it’s ready. Back in the garden, Ludo and I have enjoyed the dozen or so apricots and gages that each small tree produced, and are now overwhelmed with plums, damsons and cherry plums.
Friend Thane Prince has been down to do a piece with me on what to do with them, and we had a jolly day, posing for photos, eating plums then dining on oysters at Wheelers, and tea in the beach hut. She told me: all the little plums – the damsons, bullace and cherry plums are good in jams and gins, and the bigger ones are best in crumbles, pies and tarts. I made a spicy crumble with a mixture of all of them cooked in the oven with allspice and topped with oats, hazelnut oil, brown sugar and ground almonds.
Phoned round a few local growers for pruning advice – my old damson trees are a little straggly now, and they said to only prune when the flower buds were beginning to open. So will have to wait till next year, and be brutal cutting off flowering branches (they can come into the house as blossom in vases). They also said never to prune on a wet day – it encourages disease.
My story about a lovely farm garden on Romney Marsh appearing in next month’s Gardens Illustrated, and my usual weekly column in the Sunday Telegraph on gardens I’ve visited, books I’ve read and gardeners I’ve met. The Whitstable Horticultural Society are planning a town garden opening – hopefully for the NGS next year, so will need to pull my socks up.