Weeds, weeds are everywhere, and towards the end of June they are even more threatening as they bow their heads, weighed down with seed. Gardening lore tells us ‘one year of seed do bring seven year of weed’. If we don’t cut off their heads now, in a week’s time the thistledown will set sail, the docks scatter, nettles disperse, and the gardener’s life will become hellish. Although we are very lucky to have the kitchen garden set in such a beautiful rural setting, this does present some challenges, that a more sheltered garden would be saved from. Short of topping the fields around us with obsessive frequency, there is little we can do to prevent the weeds and grasses blowing in season after season. Maybe we should get some goats to keep on top of things … but then they’d only eat the things we didn’t want them to.
It’s not all bad though, this time of year is truly exciting in the vegetable garden: broad bean ‘Aqua Dulce’ have podded beautifully, the herb garden has fluffed up, the peas are covered in flowers but most exciting of all: the courgettes are in flower. Each morning more magnificent custard coloured trumpets unfurl and everyone is squabbling over this ephemeral prize. The Cookery School hanker after them for classes and the chefs at The Swan, always early birds, come down first thing to nab them for their summer menus. We promise exclusivity to both factions, then head off to the far reaches of the kitchen garden, its best to avoid the disappointed party.
The borage has gone berserk, the cucumbers are stretching out their noses, strawberries are shiny and fat, the mints have erupted ... after all Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s almost time, the tennis starts on Monday, so while you are rustling up this month's gardener’s recipe after a hard day of weeding, why not indulge:
1 part Pimms No.1
4 parts really good ginger ale
1 part sparkling water
Handful of borage & mint
Thinly sliced cucumber