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  • Debi Holland

Garden News Magazine November


Our Belfast sink has had a replant. Out with the old, in with the new, self-seeders transplanted and time called on tiny carrot seedlings. The sink has been transformed in to a mini herb garden, compromising of rooted cuttings and divided clumps.

I’m growing the hardy herbs we use most frequently, purple sage, rosemary, chives, lemon balm and golden oregano. I’ve added horticultural grit to the compost for drainage and soil aeration, herbs hate soggy roots, and will top dress with slate.

I have sown Bijou mixed, butterfly mixed, Firebrand, Old spice mixed, Pinkie and Royal Blue sweet peas in deep pots to promote long root growth. Sweet peas dislike root disturbance so each pot will get planted out next year rather than being split. After germinating I will bring them on over winter in a cool naturally lit shed to stop bolting and hopefully produce lovely stocky shoots.

I collected the last of our cooking apples with the help of our Wolf Garten fruit picker. This long arm tool saves teetering on a ladder and ensures no fruit is left abandoned on the out-of-reach branches. Crumble making is in full force as is Mary Berry’s apple dessert cake. Divine with a cup of tea! https://www.maryberry.co.uk/recipes/baking/the-very-best-apple-dessert-cake

I think the connection between what we grow and what we eat is so important. A personal triumph was growing a red pepper, harvesting and slicing it on a homemade pizza 10 minutes later. Delicious! https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/pizza-margherita-4-easy-steps

Whilst many summer perennials have faded, asters now ramp up the colour. I was given a clump from a friend’s garden; every time I walk pass them I think of my friends who have moved on to pastures new. The sight of the blooms fills me with fond memories.

I bought a small clump of Helianthus, perennial sunflowers at my local Allotment Association plant sale a few years ago, after a bumpy start the rhizomes have spread and popped up where ‘they’ have chosen to grow. Plants have a funny habitat of telling you what suits them. Now a sea of bold yellow faces greets the road and brightens up our urban street.


We inherited an enormous Betula pendula, Siiver Birch tree with the property and after 15 years the time has come to reduce its height. I feel an immense sense of sadness as the tree has solidly stood its ground long before I moved in but the vast swaying branches have become a liability and at the end of August we feared it would take down our wall during a ferocious storm so we will be visited soon by a qualified tree surgeon to halve the height and thin branches. Luckily much of the ivy-clad trunk will be able to remain, as this is a magnetic for bees in autumn and annually home to two amorous wood pigeons. The tree literally buzzes with life.

My highlight(s):

Our Gingko leaves have turned golden and gracefully fall to rest one by one around the fire pit.


AND our Belfast sink herb garden made it on to the FRONT COVER of Garden News magazine!

Woo hoo!


All photos © Debi Holland 2020