Today I had the wonderfully civilised job of walking over to near neighbours to buy some of their delicious home-produced honey, which Simon and Gill Sylvester produce as London Honey. Joe, our eldest, has really bad hayfever, in fact he has been hospitalised with it twice. I looked for ways to manage his very violent reaction when I was told by a Chinese doctor to try and find honey produced as close to where I live as possible. The thinking is that it contains the pollen of the plants that are stimulating the allergic reaction and a dose a day, like immunisation, helps to build up resistence.
|Bizzy bees on my flowering marjoram|
So I asked around and was delighted to find a honey producer right on my doorstep and after a year of honey every day (thankfully Joe loves the stuff) I have to report he has had his best year ever with no big reactions.
Having bagged the good gold stuff, I headed off to the allotment where my recent purchase influenced my gardening. One of my jobs had been to cut down the herbs as they are flowering and if you strim them now, they will come again before the end of the growing season. But seeing the flowers were covered in bees and butterflies, I decided to let them get on with the important buzziness of collecting pollen. As we have all been hearing lately, bees are in diminishing supply and we all need to do what we can to keep their numbers up. If there are no bees, there will be no pollinated flowers and, of course, no honey.
At the allotment I found the beetroot I was growing to majestic proportions for our show on the 20th had been eaten by the same rodents that had attacked Alan Jenkins's beetroot as reported in the Guardian allotment blog on 4 July.
Four hours of hard graft later, I had to say farewell to the allotment for the next two weeks. It's difficult for gardeners to leave their posts – some people get their legs waxed or shop for holiday clothes just before going away, but I garden until the last minute and leave knowing that no matter how much effort I put in before my departure, it will be a shambles on my return. Every time. Still that's life. I have organised a team of allotment waterers, bunny minders and house sitters so even though the weeds and slugs will have a fine old time in my absence, things should at least survive our two weeks of Cornish sea, sand and, if we are unusually lucky, sun. Can't wait. Mine's a pasty.