New boots and pansies

This morning I trotted along to the Royal Bath and West Show in Shepton Mallet, the biggest of the summer agricultural shows. My dad had been helping out there with his charity group earlier in the week, and had bought a gizmo that didn’t work when he got it home. It needed returning, and would I mind…?

Although the core of the show is about livestock, farming and showing off best breeds, this is now dwarfed by a huge pop-up retail park, with hundreds of stands, too many IMHO selling stuff of dubious quality and origin. Like the thing my dad bought. When I got to the stand I thought: What was he thinking?!

After a quick scoot around the horticultural marquee, I was on the way back to the car park when a tent calling itself “Craft” caught my eye. I stopped, raised an eyebrow, and in I went.

Inside I found nothing ‘crafty’, but did find this fabulous new Wellington boot brand, Rudds. I do love a nice pair of boots, and these looked the business, so I stopped to ask some questions. The founder’s husband, Niall Rudd, kindly showed me all the features of the boots, designed in Devon by his wife Rachel: proper split-proof rubber construction; neoprene lined; steel foot support; unique grip sole; fluorescent ‘go faster’ stripe that glows in the dark (very useful when walking back from the pub, I thought).

We then had a good old chin-wag about what it takes, and takes out of you, to start a business in the U.K. from scratch. More needs to be done to help entrepreneurs. With a lack of decent jobs, people are going to have to create their own. We need help and support! Then we got back to the boots:

All of the details on Rudds premier boot are intended for horse riders/mucker-outers, with the rubber being specially formulated to stand up to corrosive urine acids, and the foot shaped to suit stirrups. They have prototypes in work for other specialisms too… farmers boots, sailors boots… and, I hope sooner than later, gardeners boots.

Despite being equine-specific, I’d quite happily wear these horsey ones for gardening. By this stage I’d slipped a pair on and they were so comfortable that I didn’t want to take them off. If I didn’t already own a pair of Aigle boots (which cost me a pretty penny a few years ago and I’m hoping are going to last many more) then I’d have gladly walked out in them. Like Aigle, Rudds are 4x as much as an ordinary pair of wellies. Which is pretty much my annual shoe budget blown. But then I’ve got to the stage where it’s wellies, slippers or flip-flops. What more does one really need?

Why not have a go at WINNING a pair of RUDDS? Click here to enter the competition. 

When I got home I had a good amble around the veg patch. Rain was forecast, so I got to work planting out these celeriac seedlings which my uncle Hugh had dropped round.

I’ve read that celeriac likes very moist, rich soil, and sunshine, and the bed should never dry out if you want decent results. I think this was my big mistake last time, resulting in small roots. This bed was very dry and previously had greedy cabbages in it, so before planting I trowelled-in some super-rich compost from the wormery, mixed with some leaf compost.

Digging out the results of the leaf compost heap, started in autumn 2015, which I decanted into a bag

I watered all of that in with a good long drench with the hose pipe, then spaced out the celeriac seedlings. Once planted, I mulched the bed with some Strulch and then gave that another good soak, which should help keep the soil moist on dry days.

Then the skies opened! Typical!

Here are some more photos from the garden today:

Peas, broad beans and courgettes are suddenly all showing fruit. Yippeee!

The chives, pansies, thyme, clover and lavender are looking very pretty together, doing their own thing.

Due to lack of space, I’ve dotted most of my cabbages among the borders this year, protected from cabbage-white butterflies with these upturned wire paper baskets and a copper collar to keep the slugs off. I’m hoping that, when they get too big for the baskets, the surrounding flowers will help camouflage them. A big hope!

And finally… This runner bean appeared on its own accord out of last year’s bed. I think it has actually sprouted from the roots of one of last year’s plants, not from a rogue seed.

And why the gaudy clay parrot? Well, I was having a clear out and he only just escaped being sent to the charity shop. He originally came from Panama (my 21st birthday), and the look on his face persuaded me to give him a second chance. He’s got himself a new perch and created his own job as Bean Protector.

What the nibbling hedge-sparrows will think, I really don’t know.


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