Sunday, 9 August 2009

Sunday Quotation

Vegetable Beauty
by Gertrude Jekyll, 1900

Getrude Jekyll's ideas about gardening were on a much grander scale than anything the modern gardener with his small plot could ever achieve. The lucky few might have an allotment for growing vegetables but these are hard to come by and every council has long waiting lists for them. To make matters worse, many former allotments are under threat with councils wanting to sell them to developers for hard cash to fill their depleted coffers.

In my little town this haven still survives, hidden round the back of the ancient almshouses and chapel and here, together with Mrs. Jekyll's words are a few pictures of the results of hard work done by the allotment holders.

I have often thought what a beautiful bit of summer gardening one could do, mainly planted with things usually grown in the kitchen garden only, and filling up spaces with quickly-grown flowering plants.

For climbers there could be the Gourds and Marrows and Runner-Beans; for splendour of port and beauty of foliage, Globe Artichokes and Sea-kale, one of the grandest of blue-leaved plants. Horse-radish also makes handsome tufts of its vigorous deep-green leaves, and Rhubarb is one of the grandest of large-leaved plants.

Or if the garden were in shape a double square, the further portion being given to vegetables why not have a bold planting of these grand things as a division between the two, and behind them a nine-foot high foliage-screen of Jerusalem Artichoke.

This Artichoke, closely allied to our perennial Sunflowers, is also a capital thing for a partition screen; a bed of it two or three-feet wide is a complete protection through the summer and to the latest autumn.


  1. Lovely photos of the vegetable garden. I am writing to you under a spreading lemon tree in the center of a vegetable garden bursting with green beans, tomatoes, lettuces, leeks, and cabbages gleaming with the blue drool of snails. The air perfumed with lemon balm and basil. It is heaven.

  2. How well those garden photos show what Mrs. Jekyll must have had in mind. This post and the comment just above mine have got me wishing even more that someday I might have a bit of earth on/in which to make a garden grow.


  3. I'm wondering what the quotation was? The link didn't seem to work, for some reason.
    I used to enjoy being able to pick vegetable just outside my kitchen door in the days when I had a resident gardener i.e. husband! Now I have a kitchen that faces the street, and a garden full of concrete slabs.

  4. I’d love to have a garden. We have the land – one acre (I don’t know what the equivalent is) but that would be plenty if it were not that it is covered with many huge pine trees. To have a bit of sun in the front we had to get 14 trees cut but there are still 6 left at least and I don’t count them in the back. Every time there is a storm we are so scared one of them will fall on the house (3 fell close already, one on the car). Then there is hardly any top soil in this area. You dig and after 1 inch you get rock. We had a very hard time placing the bird feeders. We have the only mountain in the Atlanta area close to our house – rocks, rocks everywhere. I guess we could get a garden if we purchased huge trucks full of good dirt … so we only have several planters in summer with herbs and flowers.

  5. Gorgeous plantings - neat rows - so very English, I imagine.
    The deer thinned all our plantings early in the season, so there won't be much to harvest. I have high hopes for next year, though, now that the deer fence is in place. Photos like yours are inspiration.

  6. Celeste Maia - lucky lady again. But do you have to rub it in? You are indeed fortunate.

    Frances - everybody (who wants it) should have a little plot to grow their cabbages.

    Jinksy - there is not link - Gertrude Jekyll's words are in italics. Perhaps it is a little misleading.
    I am sorry about your concrete slabs, is there no getting rid of them? You could grow Russian Vine and smother them?

    Vagabonde - How very sad. Get rid of most of the trees, they are sucking every bit of nourishment and water out of the bit of soil you have. Here you wouldn't be allowed to have trees so close to a house, No Insurance company would cover you. Or is there a reason that you are keeping them?

    Pondside - good luck for next year.

  7. Gertrude Jekyll was the sort of gem that happens once in a life time. This morning, from my own small, untidy patch I harvested my first ever three stems of rhubarb. It made the finest rhubarb compote I have ever eaten, for breakfast!

  8. Lovely veg! We miss our allotment in our old village. Hopefully if we get moved to the cottage, we'll have our own up and running again by next spring :o)

  9. I would so love an allotment - not to be had on a windy hillside looking at Wales. We went to the Gertrude Jekyll garden on Lindisfarne last year- fascinating lady.
    Lovely pictures F.

  10. Thank you (once again) for the breath of fresh air, five past four in the morning, very much welcome. Please have a nice new week.

  11. Next year I'm having a Jeruselem artichoke screen for sure. I grow regular artichokes, but I can never bear to cut and eat them bacause they make such wonderful flowers.

  12. Celtic Heart - Congratulations. Once you have a plant you will have rhubarb every summer.

    Jenny Holden - I wish you luck; get digging!

    SBS - What, no garden? a farmer's wife? No egg money either?
    Sorry, only joking.

    robert - Thank you, Robert, I hope you enjoy these interrupted nights.
    Is the baby well?

    20thC woman - Go for it, Mrs. J knew her stuff.

  13. Friko the 14 trees we had cut down where the biggest trees on our lot. The tree which fell on our car was from the neighbor’s lot and the trees that could hurt our house are on his lot too. We asked him to have them removed, but that would be very expensive. In this country money is everything. The trees are far from his house, but close to ours, so they stay.

  14. Hi Friko

    This vegetable garden is flourishing.
    With the allotment system how do you prevent people coming in and helping themselves to your produce...

    Happy days

  15. Friko, what a great vegetable garden. Ours is really suffering in the intense heat right now. Tomorrow there will be storms, which will help! :) Silke

  16. Vagabonde = If his trees fall on your house, you can sue him, can't you?

    Delwyn - It just isn't done in the countryside, people will give you produce if they have a lot. Perhaps cities are different.

    Silke - We wish we had some heat and not all this rain. It's always the wrong way round.

  17. am just back from a mini-trip so I am catching up. To answer your question – if a tree falls on the house can I sue my neighbor? No, not here, they consider it “an act of God”.


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