Friday, 29 August 2008


I finally got to meet Veg Plotting today in very happy circumstances at Jekka's Herb Farm. There were plenty of cats in evidence: in fact we were told to check our cars before leaving for Borage, a large and adventurous grey, as he "has already gone to Chelsea and Hampton Court."

Jekka's talk about how to look after your herbs in winter was great, and it's repeated at 11am and 2pm tomorrow and Sunday, if you can get there. It wasn't very long, maybe 25 minutes, but you just got such a nice sense of her, how the nursery works, and her sense of plants. It was really really intimate and you could see everything - despite the fact that she was saying "this is the most people we've ever had!" in slightly amazed tones. VP and I particularly fascinated by her amazing range of tools - I can't believe her espousal of Bekko secateurs will not eventually lead to the Felco backlash, and the tiny Snips she uses ("John Lewis Haberdashery Department") made me water at the mouth. 

She did a nice thing about how it is time to get on with propagating strawberry runners - she said some called them Irishman's Cuttings ("because they already have roots on") but anyway I felt inspired to get on with that job on the four little wild strawberry plants I bought. 

The other thing I was stocking up on was weird mints, as all mine have somehow gone, and she gave the interesting piece of advice that you shouldn't mix mints in a tub ("Unlike BBC Gardeners' World,") she said, wrily. Apparently if you do the tastes will eventually intermingle. I feel I want someone to explain this odd process to me, but in the meantime, the new pineapple, Atlas Mountain and chocolate mints are going in separate containers, Jekka. 

We finished up snacking on garlic chive petals, and I, like many other suckers, immediately bought plants. I've put chive flowers in salads before but this is another one to add to the mental menu. Jekka announced she's writing a herb cookbook for 2010 so we fans have that to look forward to now. A great morning out, made especially good by the hour-long gossip in the car parking field by the comfrey. 

Lovely VP demonstrates her vintage potato fork as I check out people's carboots and interview them about their plant trolleys and thermos flasks (such a journalist. Or is that such a nosey?)

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