Autumn is a great time of year for reflection, looking at the highs and lows of the growing season and eagerly planning ahead for next year’s perfect plot or border. I spent a couple of hours discussing such matters with friend Lisette in her veg garden and as we talked, she started jotting down ideas in her notebook about what she wanted to grow and how she’d like her beds to look next year. And with the jotting down came splendid clarity. I’m not saying these ideas are set in stone, but it’s great to get all your thoughts down, even if it’s just to cross them out again and replace with new plans at a later date.
Through this process we both concluded that sometimes less is more (grow less varieties, but more of each chosen plant) and even more importantly, that after the initial year or two (or more!) of trying out all sorts of fruit, veg and flowers, it’s best to grow what you really love to eat and what you really love to look at (even though these preferences are themselves forever changing!).
What I’m sure about is that next year I want to mix my edibles and ornamentals more than ever. I love the look (such as the frothy pink Cosmos amongst spiky arching stems of a Japanese Wineberry, above) and such diversity of planting encourages beneficial insects and reduces the risk of pests and diseases.
With space (and time) always at a premium, I now plump for fruit and veg that I find truly delicious or wonderfully decorative (or both!) and flowers that fill my heart with joy. I’ll be trying out Lab lab beans (Dolichos lab lab or Hyacinth bean), above, for the first time next year as I’ve been seduced by their wonderful two-tone blooms,
and the alien like Kohlrabi for a bit of drama within the plot. Still tweaking plans in my notebook for next spring and enjoying searching through seed catalogues and websites in order to create my utopian veg patch.