Being slow to start

Not being idle, just not getting a grip on the umph needed to get the jobs essential for progress done. 

It’s also not a case of not taking too much on, more a case of being flexible in the face of rearranging most of the week and it’s only Tuesday.  For a while Iv’e been contemplating a website. Like the desire to have a blog, when you have to web you have to web.  Why I thought I was technically capable I have no idea I have only plunged half the depth of blogging never mind going many steps further. Continue reading

Spring

Something is happening in the garden,

When it gets to this time of the year it’s difficult to know what to look at. Things are beginning to colour in and the transition is so short and the wait so long missing some change seems to be inevitable but has to be guarded against. The fruit trees in the tunnels have been blossoming for a few weeks and apart from the Apricots seem to have set fruit, why not the Apricots I have no idea. Outside the Primroses are  abundant and the bird song three dimensional. Light is in the sky well after nine in the evening and the sun up before six but the nights are still cold and the fire in the stove very welcome.

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Daffs in full Bloom.

 

It’s no good hoping to hurry any thing along on the tea terraces it just wont do. The hedge rows are begging to turn green and the daffs are in full bloom. Everything is begging to look coloured in and of course it’s hard to wait. Blossoms are long awaited and soon gone and keeping them in the minds eye and not miss even the smallest flower needs attention.

With so much on the move and the nights drawing out wanting the tea to catch up makes for some impatience especially when the Dalreoch estate have already harvested and is now available to drink, (small plug).  I can’t say when the first flush will be ready at Garrocher, everything is waiting and on the brink and nearly ready, just not quite yet.

March wind doth blow

I have no idea if we will be having snow but the wind is back again after rather bright cold days and clear cold nights. It’s back to the tedious job of replacing the fleeces and resetting the bush guards.  I’m expecting the met office to be on my side and things to settle down in an hour or two.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               IMG_0313    This afternoons sunshine made even the most untidy of the tunnels look inviting. Nothing is too far infront in the tunnels I’m pleased to say even though the winter temperatures have been on the mild side. I’m going to learn from last spring and not be caught out by late frosts. The Peaches are going to be protected for a start, it was a very unexciting year on the fruit front without the peaches and the plums.  Tea bushes are looking better now there is less battering from the elements and the addition of a few sunny days.  I still have no idea when the first flush will be on but it wont be long and then it will be time to make more Garrocher Grey or another single estate tea there are so many to choose from. I fancy another black tea but who knows, it’s all down to what the leaf gives up on its first tasting.

A little Chaos

Before we start, I know it’s not real.

It’s all the fault of Kate Winslet. As I said I know it’s not real. But. After I had watched the film ‘A little Chaos’ I bethought myself if she could do it in corsets with no fancy machinery I can do it in modern waterproofs and although I don’t have any fancy machinery ether nether do I have to work in stays.

So began the latest onslaught on the Garrocher garden. The tea as you can see is doing just fine all tucked up at the moment in covers and more covers. The rest of the garden is a sad state of affairs. Last years less than sunny days and the glum water filled weeks of the last couple of months haven’t done much harm but there won’t be a lot of good left in the soil and to get things back on the go is going to be a challenge. Large areas are in need of a total overhaul if only to stop them getting any more uncompromising. There’s no paper plan for this garden. I abandoned that idea years ago. It’s more what lends it’s self to any given area, what there is in materials and what I need to protect. Some bits have been planted and hardly changed others seem to be constantly being rearranged with the rider that if it don’t do move it till it does. Moving from yards of veg to tea made room for more artistic ( I use the word advisedly as there is nothing un-artistic about veg) planting and room to plant out things that have been needing to be planted out for at least two seasons and never seemed to get to their rightful place.

It will be with great pleasure that I introduce Garrocher Market Garden and Tea Garden to the lovers of gardens as my little bit of Chaos and thank Kate for her inspiration whether real or not.

January days

Photographs of the tea bushes on their arrival and planting encourage me to be slightly more optimistic than the look of the bushes inside their covers today.

I was up on the terraces this morning tying the covers back down and resetting the stakes that hold the shields in place with the hopes that when the next Atlantic storm comes in there won’t be too much damage.  The land here is peat over gravel and in some places very well drained in others lower down the garden some what soggy. The ponds help to keep water levels under reasonable control and although the ponds take up a good third of the garden area the flooding would have been far worse without them and of course ponds make for interesting planting areas and the chance to lay out a Japanese style Iris garden. A looked forward to job for a later in the year time.

The leaf harvest in September was the last of 2015 and the shields and covers went on at that time with the expectation of cold, wind with the added delight of snow fall. There is of course still time for snow and frost. The challenge then will be trying to protect sodden ground and new roots from frost and leaf and covers from snow. After all this, if the new leaf is anywhere near as good as when the tea was planted and the last harvest we are on to a winner.

I can hear the rain on the roof and the strengthening wind. The Met office app does a fine job of predicting wind speeds and mb pressure but what I could really do with is a Barometer

Tea and the BBC

If certain authors are to believed librarians cannot function without tea. Add in the fact that L Space could easily exist and the BBC being a depository for information of all kinds (and having an archive), it’s not a long stretch for the imagination to put both institutes together and assume by association that there is, a strong possibility, that the BBC also cannot function without copious amounts of tea. Ok, flight of fancy over with. 

Today I was pleased to welcome Caz from BBC’s Radio 4 ‘You and Yours’ program. The lovely beeb have visited before in the guise of BBC Radio Scotland.  To make sure that the welcome was consistent, the conditions were nigh on the same. Radio Scotland’s ‘Kitchen Garden came on a Summers day when the rain had been pouring down for days. We escaped from the cold and wet and went to look at the fancy planting in the vine house, listen to the rain hitting the roof and drink the Garrocher Gray tea. I’m so glad I converted that green house into something a bit showy other wise there would have been no reasonable photos for the radio, (you know exactly what I mean). Today was also cold, wet and windy. There is something to be said in excuse, it is after all January. We did venture out on the terraces to look over the weather fencing at the covers on the bushes but I cant say it was fun. Next stop  as before to look at the bushes under the vines. The bushes are to my constant joy looking very well and ready to spring forth at the first sign of clement conditions. It being a grotty day we broke a little with tradition and parked ourselves by the homestead stove to drink the celebrated brew, have a chat, record sound effects (tea pouring into cups, dogs joining in the chat and the ever present rain on the roof.)

I would like to be remembered by Aunty for the quality of the tea, a warm welcome, and an hour or so’s quiet chat. But. I fear it will be more likely the fact that all this was with a back ground of falling rain. Que, sound effects !!!

New beginnings

With the new year comes a new range of teas from the Wee Tea Plantation and the band of happy Scottish tea growers. Something my customers have long awaited and for the lucky few a sneak prelaunch taster was available at the 015 Christmas markets. One of the teas amongst this new family of Scottish teas is the just launched Rose Tea. Some of you may be used to the rose floral tones of the Wee Tea Company’s Darjeeling blend but, Ah, where to begin with the Scottish Rose Tea. Although I talk tea endlessly -given a chance- and I drink quantities of the brew in all its colours I refrain from going into wine tasting mode and airily declaiming on the nose, after tones, hints of and all the other terms real tea tasters use. It’s lost on me and I have no idea if this is a good thing or not. So I say again where to begin? With a discription? mmm, Scottish Rose Tea, is a black Oak smoked, pink rose petal scattered large leaf tea. So much easier when one takes a run at it. Like all the Scottish teas on the market there is little acidity to the brew, it comes out deep and rich and very very drinkable. To the point that if we don’t sell the small amount of stock now available we could be in danger of drinking it all ourselves. And, Yes it’s another smoked tea. It has been noted by others that we seem to go in for smoked teas at Garrocher and the Wee. Maybe this could be put down to the love of the other local nectar or the favourite resting place next to the wood burner. What ever the reason we have to state we are very proud of the results. The proof is in the tasting. Oh just before I go, there are another four teas in small amounts waiting in the wings and I’ve heard tell several more after that being tasted.  

I have a small amount of stock and will of course be doing tastings at the early inviting’s. If any one wants a wee taste leave a message on my fb page or go to http://www.weeteacompany.com. When we say were growing tea in Scotland you’d better believe it.

The weather outside is…….

IMG_7978This is a photo of the statchoot of… now let me get this right.. Mercury or Hermes, with a winged sandals and hat, and carrying the caduceas a winged staff entwines with two snakes. he stands in among  the tea bushes on the roof garden of a very posh hotel in London. It seems an age since I was standing there myself. It also seems an age since I stood outside in warm fine (not raining or blowing) weather…. I’m not sure why Hermes was the chosen deity, whether for his being the messenger of the gods or the god of trade, athletes and sports, the hotel is Art Deco after all so all associations could apply.

I could do with a bit of the sun on my back at the moment. The wind has dropped but there seems to be a sneaky draft around the ankles. We went for a walk yesterday, it being the season of doing that sort of thing, not today though far too inclement for more than a short walk and I fear yesterdays amble may have been too far for my ow’d girl who is rather stiff and wobbly today. So were doing our best to keep the home fires burning, the cat off the stove and the ow’d lass wrapped up in a blanket, as for me I can still feel that nasty sneaky draft.

Coming into a quiet time

I’m saying quiet, but it’s anything but quiet at the moment with storms battering the west coast. It recons to be on it’s way out by the early hours of tomorrow and that should give me chance to put back what’s been moved and sort out the bushes and the covers and get a bit more wind protection up along side the beds. It always sounds worse after night fall and even though I  have just been out and checked on a glassy tinkle there seems to be naught amiss.  The garden is fairly protected from the south west and although were sitting in a hollow the wind comes in and twists and turns and as soon as you put polythene any where near a garden you get noise. I’m beginning to think that gardening is all about damage limitation. On those balmy days when the world seems to be in it’s rights, thoughts are hijacked to when the worst is expected and all the planning to make things safe. It’s a pointless exercise, protection from the wind makes the event of snow more difficult, frost covers begger up the protection from wind. If you get all so well protected there’s no way to get in to do any harvesting and when the storms gone your so damn glad that you’ve survived all your fit for is a cup of tea and a nice biscuit. Until you remember the loose pane in the glass house and see the weather forecast for the next 24 hours.