After such a good start and me feeling all pleased with the peas and pretty birch structures, Nature has struck back in the form of pigeons who have pretty well demolished all the healthy young plants. Windmills are clearly not enough to deter them. So I have put temporary netting over the whole lot and hope this will keep the beaky raiders off while the various peas get properly established. Oddly, they have shown no interest in the adjacent and equally young lettuces which remain intact & growing well.
More happily, the double red sweetcorn seed that I sourced from the remarkable Dr Alan Kapuler has just started to germinate, so I dare to hope that it will succeed healthily in making the leap from Oregon USA to a roundabout in the UK home counties. Treasured marigold seeds also from Kapuler’s Peace Seeds are also germinating well; a variety named Frances’s Choice. I was seduced by its story (from Alan Kapuler’s “Mushroom’s Blog”):
Towards the end of Frances Hoffman’s life, I would wander the garden and pick her a bouquet. She was a lifetime seed saver, horticulturist and plant genius so my eyes were open to the unusual and unique. By the time I had picked several dozen kinds of flowers, I walked down a 40’ row of China Cat MG and saw a heretofore unseen flower, single petaled ie 8 petals, dark red-purple with a gold rim around each petal. I cut the flower and put it in her bouquet and tagged the plant. A few days later, on the phone, she expressed her appreciation for the flowers. Her only specific comment was ‘that’s a right beautiful single marigold’. So having tagged the plant and collected several mature, fertile, seeding flowers. I planted them the following year and got a 40’ row, all with the same flower as I sent Frances. Of particular relevance here is that the seeds from the one plant, now called Frances’s Choice bred true in spite of the layout wherein the one plant was in a direct seeded row of about 300 plants of a marigold mix that upon close inspection can be seen to have virtually every plant different from one another. So we found that most of the T. patula’s breed true rather quickly. This is not true of Tagetes erecta which outcrosses very easily. Frances’s Choice is 3-5’ tall and has 8-9” long stems, ideal for picking for small, distinctive and outstanding bouquets.