Sounds good, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, I don’t actually grow bamboo.
It’s more of a bamboo cane garden.
I use vast quantities, and it’s just as well I know people who grow their own – who grow lots more than their own, as is the way with bamboo. Many are are used in normal ways: holding up paeonies or irises, marking the position of a yet-to-flower heath orchid so there won’t be another Unfortunate Mowing Incident. But about now the garden takes on a rather ramshackle insane-scaffolding appearance, as though some of Terry Pratchett’s characters had run amok (I’m sure Ankh-Morpork is built like this).
It’s especially bad in the veg patch – well, until plants grow up and obscure some of the worst excesses.
I know it’s not elegant, but they’re really, really, really necessary – I’ve had whole bean pyramids blown over. In fact, I’ve given up on the whole pyramid thing this year; they take up a lot of room, especially when they collapse.
It’s really the bracing poles that make this inelegant*, like the one in the corner below, supporting the mangetout canes.
Here there are beans on single canes around the edge, generally two to a cane: runner bean Czar, Cherokee Trail of Tears and Cobra. And my broad beans are individually staked, of course.
Then there’s the bean tunnel. This year it looks madder than usual, rather like an inverted boat. I don’t care; it will stay up and that’s what matters.
No mind-altering drugs were involved in the making of this tunnel. We did it on tea alone, which is probably worrying. Tea and lots of string.
It looks better close to. Honestly.
This is for the Cosse Violette and Borlotti beans, and they’re thriving. The rose hedge behind them is giving them some protection, which is just as well. The Borlottis in particular had a traumatic start: they were in the line of fire when the wind hurled an old gate on top of the cold frame.
Which reminds me: the white iris has produced an almost-undamaged flower:
It’s still slightly crumpled.
I admit it, that was a diversion. I’m trying to ignore (or maybe distract myself from) the strawberry cage.
Last year I netted my strawberries for the first time – they’ve never been very good and it didn’t seem worthwhile. I have hundreds of small wild strawbs, and they just do their thing. But I planted a few cultivated ones among them, so I thought I’d give it a go. And it was wonderful – apart from the occasional trapped and panicking blackbird, the netting was a great success. This year the patch is bigger. Old net not big enough. Go buy more net. New net not big enough.
This is the sort of situation that leads to bamboo-cane boats, and this is what we produced.
It’s a bit difficult to see, which is probably just as well. More canes (of course); old net – black – on top and down the front, new net – green – doubled round the sides. Tied to the canes with string, and held together with pegs. Yes, pegs, as in clothes pegs:
At least I’ll be able to get at the strawberries, and liberate any marauding blackbirds. But there might not be any, because the sides are well weighed-down with stones. Evidently all my childhood spent watching Blue Peter** was not wasted. I wonder where I could use a washing-up liquid bottle and some sticky-backed plastic?
* Just the bracing poles. Yeah, right.
** For anyone not brought up in the UK in the last – oh – 500 years or so, a children’s TV programme featuring alarming things to make, misbehaving pets (‘down, Shep!) and occasionally misbehaving presenters.