This is Erica. She is a friend of mine and, like many of my friends, she has superpowers. (Ah, I do pick them.) Erica lives in London. Her superpowers include beautiful illustrations and the uncanny ability to turn little city gardens from nettle-strewn wastelands into verdant cornucopias heaving with fruit and veg. You may remember her Brussels sprouts from last winter.
Erica doesn’t have any formal training and I don’t even think she watches Gardener’s World, but she seems to have a talent for this sort of thing. The other day she sent me the following list. These are all the foodstuffs that she is planning to grow in the garden of her Hackney houseshare this year:
Sugar snap peas
Red Curly Kale
Not bad, eh? Heck: I’m growing runner beans too, and I’m bursting with pride over the seedlings’ progress. But Jerusalem artichokes and redcurrants aren’t even on my radar! I goggled at this list for a while – and then asked if I could chart her progress, from now until those very last blackberries are plucked from the bramble bush.
So this is the first instalment in a new series: Erica’s Garden Pantry. I’ve given the series that name because all the other names I came up with sounded like bad headlines from The Lady magazine, and because the word “pantry” always makes me chortle.
In the next post we’ll be looking at the garden, the stirrings in the vegetable beds and some of Erica’s thrifty brainwaves. In the meantime, I’d like to show you her garden pond:
Yes, it’s a pond-bath! Erica says:
The tub only cost £1 off eBay. The taps provide a waterfall that filters the pond, and if Basil [her cat] didn’t eat so many of the frogs, this would be home to an army of slug-slaying allies.
Apparently the bath tub used to belong to the boxing promoter Frank Warren. So this may be the thriftiest of water features, but it is one with celebrity credentials…