It’s fairly safe to say that my next door neighbour has the largest, most unruly redcurrant bush I’ve ever seen. To my knowledge, it’s never been pruned or tidied, and each year gets steadily wilder and bigger: hence now it’s about three metres across and two metres high.
The neglect appears not to have had a negative impact, as there are absolutely oodles of unripe redcurrants growing in clumps wherever you look. As the plant borders our properties, my neighbour is quite happy to share the harvest, and this we did very successfully a couple of years ago – it was redcurrant jelly for everyone.
However, the subsequent year told a different story. Again, masses of currants appeared, and we collectively rubbed our hands in anticipation. Then the currants started to ripen, and it was a case of ‘here today, gone tomorrow’. In just a couple of days, our bird population swooped down and scoffed the lot.
So, this weekend we decided to take action beforedisaster struck, and reclaim the bush before the birds made their discovery. A rustle around in my shed produced an assortment of netting that had been used elsewhere in the garden last year. The bush was so wide in places that I had to balance precariously on a chair, and try to feed the net across the top of the plant via a long cane, to my neighbour, knee deep in nettles on the other side. After a fair bit of huffing and puffing, we stood back to admire our Heath Robinson handiwork. We’ve not managed to cover the whole plant – I’d have had to scale the shed roof to reach some parts –but hopefully we’ve done enough to stop the birds eating the entire crop. I’ve got some grand designs on redcurrant jelly and wine this year: I started off a batch of dandelion wine a week or so ago that’s currently blobbing away nicely in the shed: it would be great to expand on that.
In other news, the other half returned from work bearing gifts in the week. Whereas I used to get excited about a bunch of flowers, he now knows exactly which buttons to press… two varieties of spring onion seeds and a pack of radish seeds gratefully received. Oh yes, thank you very much.
“I’ll have a look round the patch and see where we can squeeze a space in for them,” I said.
His reply – and the fact he’s taken control of the tomatoes and strawberries this year – confirmed to me that indeed, he’s slowly succumbing to the gardening bug.
“Err… I thought they would look good in a pot,” he countered… “On the patio.”
With that, he emptied and prepared a planting trough and in no time at all we had our very own salad garden right outside the back door.
Excellent news indeed. The vegetable plot’s stretching up the garden!
This one appeared in The Hinckley Times on 6 June 2013