Thursday, 14 April 2011

Hens and Herbs and Green Things and Ahhh.

As you know, the back garden at Much Malarkey Manor is undergoing a major revamp, mostly because the spectre of 'let's move house' is raising its head again and Andy is convinced the state of the garden will scupper any possible sales. Personally, I think anyone who is put off by a spot of minor and superficial chicken damage ('Minor?' says Andy. 'Superficial??' says Andy. 'Pah!!!!!' says Andy), doesn't deserve to buy our house anyway. I mean, it's only a tiny back garden and see what we've crammed into it - hens, a living willow arch, a very active bee-hive, a greenhouse, an apple tree, a damson tree, hops and now, nearly completed, a herb garden. If that isn't inspiration for the wannabe self-sufficient home farmer, then I don't know what is.

Anyway, the idea is to fill the back garden with as much greenery as possible, because we've given up with grass. Hence the willow, and the fruit trees and the hops. This will work only if we try to sell the house between April and October, of course. But the herb garden should give a bit of greenery all year round. Provided the chickens don't eat it.

Which, according to my extensive interwebbly research, they shouldn't, because herbs seem to be one group of plants that hens will leave alone.
'Ha!' says Mrs Slocombe. 'We peck holes in your interwebbly hens versus herb research!'
And, of course, every time I mention my theory to people, they say, 'Oh, my hens eat herbs all the time.' But only if those people have hens, of course. And herbs.

Other people say, 'Won't they just scratch them up?' to wit I reply, 'Have you seen my newly patented anti-scratch hen wellies'? Other people say, 'Aren't some herbs poisonous?' to wit I reply, 'Yes, but I'm trying to avoid those because I have a newly mobile grand-daughter who can't keep her sticky little mittens to herself, so I'm not going to plant anything detrimental to her health, am I?
'What about being detrimental to our health?' says Mrs Pumphrey.
'You have instinct,' I say. 'Use it.'

So, Veterinary/ illustrator/ allotmenteer/ writer/ crafter of top-bar hives/ Doctor Whoee Andy will soon be able to add 'herb garden builder' to his list of many talents. He has been slaving in the garden since 8 this morning digging and levelling and mortaring and tapping and assessing progress with his builder's eye. And he says that by this afternoon, we shall have a herb garden!

I am worried because he still has a bit of cough and it's his day off work and he should be relaxing, but he says he is enjoying the project because...

'...I like building things for you because I love you!'



Anonymous said...

Trouble is, every time I hear the hens promise that they won't eat the herbs, they have their feathers crossed behind their backs.

Olly said...

Rosemary - fine. Sage, thyme - all ok. Chives ... the darn things have been cropped to about 1" high, despite having an empty hanging basket upended over them. Grrr! And don't mention basil or parsley within a hen's hearing ...