Favourite tomatoes

Sweet aperitif and Golden Crown tomatoes I haven’t been quite as scientific as I’d set out to be with my tomato growing this year. However, out of the selection of tomatoes I did grow, two varieties have really shone out both in texture and in flavour.

‘Sweet Aperitif’ (the small red fruits above) from Thomson and Morgan have been growing abundantly in long trusses in my greenhouse and the sweetness of taste is divine. I’ve also grown ‘Gardeners Delight’ in my greenhouse (and outdoors) as a sort of baseline, and although they’re reasonably sweet and perfectly acceptable to eat, they don’t come anywhere near the delicious taste sensation of ‘Sweet Aperitif’.

I have managed to grow ‘Golden Crown’ (from Sea Spring seeds) both indoors and out and they have a wonderfully tangy taste along with a lovely amount of sweetness and a firm texture. Strangely, the ‘Golden Crown’ tomatoes grown in my greenhouse have a mushier texture than those grown in the garden and aren’t quite as sweet, and this goes for the ‘Gardeners Delight’ too and the majority of the tomatoes I’ve grown in my greenhouse. Not quite sure why this would be. I did use a new sort of compost (made from sheep’s wool) to plant them in this year and am wondering if this could have been overly water retentive for these divas, although I did use the same compost outside. More questions than answers here.

What I do know is that I shall be growing both of these tomatoes again as both are early fruiting, delicious to eat and wonderfully gorgeous to look at, and you can’t get better than that in my (tomato growing) book.

Street Holloyhocks on AmblerHollyhocks are giving a wonderful display in our streets and front gardens this year.

Street Holloyhocks on Ambler 3Their ability to grow in such tricky conditions never fails to astound and delight me.

Jean Loup ChartresOn a recent trip to France in June (postings to follow soon on some amazing gardens visited) we stayed in a B&B in Chartres with Jean-Loup Cuisiniez (above) and his wife and met a kindred greener-upper-of the-city. Jean-Loup has been strategically sprinkling Hollyhock seeds around Chartres and has a fair few plants growing in a car park (above),

Guerilla Hollyhocks in Chartres 2and along his street. He’s promised to send me pics when they’re all in flower. Jean-Loup is in discussions with the local council about making more paths public rights of way to create easier walking routes throughout Chartres and he also wants to adorn the streets near the Cathedral with roses.

Roses in Chedigny 4I nodded sagely as he explained his aspsirations, but it wasn’t until we visited the Rose Festival in Chedigny, a village in the Loire near Loches, that I really understood what this could mean.

Roses in Chedigny 2

Every wall in the village was covered in these glorious climbers and ramblers,

Rosesign  in Chedignywith labels letting you know the variety. How bloomin’ marvellous.

Roses  in Chedigny with arrowThe Rose Festival is the brainchild of Mayor Pierre Loualt who started the project in 1998, working with French rose specialist André Eve to plant over 700 roses in the village. The festival takes place over two days every year with specialist nurseries setting up stalls,

Roses in Chedigny 3

but you can happily wander through the village at other times to enjoy this marvellous rose extravaganza.

Finsbury Park Streets

Both sights and scents were truly inspirational, and, although our North London manor doesn’t quite conjure up the bucolic bliss of the Loire, I’m wondering if we could start some similar rose planting in our streets in Finsbury Park?

Grow LondonGrow London is now in its second year. Last year was a fabulous show, beautifully curated with top-notch nurseries, classy garden furniture and the most desirable tools and it looks to be the same again this Friday to Sunday. What’s more, there are great talks happening every day and I’m looking forward to hearing Cleve West, Helen Yemm, Patti Barron and Fergus Garrett talk on Saturday. What a line-up! Violas Wildgoose Nursery will be there again with their deliciously scented Violas, Crug Farm will be offering up some exciting and unusual plants (which should mostly be hardy in London) and Hardy’s return with their glorious herbaceous perennials (see top pic). Dogs at Grow London The show is taking place on Hampstead Heath and if you fancy killing two birds with one stone, you can go for a walk and then bring your loyal canine into the show with you. Can’t say fairer than that!

The show costs £16 on the door, but pre-booked tickets are only £10.80 (a tenner plus booking fee). Not to be missed!


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