A Wren is busy amongst the wood chip on one of the paths. It’s a beautiful little bird, constantly moving, watching, feeding, taking flight, then returning to feed again. It seems to live it’s life at a frantic pace. In the introduction to The Oxford Book of British Bird Names, W. B. Lockwood states that, the vast majority of our bird names are folk names, arising anonymously. He locates the origins of Wren’s name in the older Germanic languages, stating that, the basic sense is little tail, a reference to the perky, cocked-up tail, unique among our birds and thus calculated to inspire a name. Instantly recognisable, the tail tells the bird. It disappears into the Hebe growing on the border of the plot next to ours.
We’ve collected the apple trees together, and now have an orchard. They’d been given temporary homes while we set about reorganising the plot, and now they’ve a permanent home. The Cox Self Fertile, Worcestershire Russett, Golden Reinette, and Green Costard we brought with us from Brighton. The Lord Derby, Jupiter, and Blenheim Orange, we grafted at a workshop in Whitley Bay three years ago. All are doing well. It’s a young orchard and one we’re excited, and anxious, to watch grow.
We’re slowly reorganising the plot. Fruit & flowers on one side, vegetables on the other, although there’s always a mingling. Courgettes will be planted near the cherry tree, wigwams for beans between the Apple trees. Herbs planted in one bed will spill over into others. They already have, marjoram and oregano have been planted around the apple trees. One of our neighbours has given us clumps of chives, some of which are to be used, but we’ll also let the chives flower, food for bees.
An old strawberry bed is now slowly becoming a herb bed. Motherwort, sage, chives, camomile, mint and lemon balm have been planted so far. Oregano and Marjoram too, but then they’re growing all over the plot so it’s more a case of trying to contain them in particular places. Bay cuttings are now in the ground, temporarily, until their roots have developed and then we’ll need to find them a permanent home. Elecampane is beginning to poke through on the border of the bed. Mullein and artichoke might have found permanent homes, but let’s see how they grow and then decide during the autumn. The artichoke was left for the bees last year, and will be left to flower this year.
So this is our allotment, so far. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but we’re slowly changing, rearranging beds, establishing a structure that will eventually make sense to us.
And today the first earlies are in the ground, planted in two new beds that will eventually be contained in a poly tunnel, but that’s for later in the year when we can afford one.