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BIRTH OF A GARDEN

Gradually we are turning the field into a garden (or, if John has his way, a thicket of trees). So far this year I have been creating a vegetable plot from virgin ground (the third - and last - that I've done in the last eight years), John has been planting trees and we've fetched the bees down from Scotland.

The fruit cage has been erected (with much cursing and swearing about rubbish instructions - I daren't suggest adding another!) and strawberries and raspberries salvaged from the last garden planted inside. Potatoes and onions are planted and lettuce seeds beginning to show under the cloche. We've also put in several fruit trees on the side of the hill which are beginning to put out leaves.

The rhubarb which I thought safe from rabbits and deer due to the oxalic acid in the leaves survived all winter but has suddenly been devoured by something, the crows have torn up all the labels marking the potatoes and no doubt the pigeons and pheasants will have a go as new shoots appear in the garden but it's all good exercise up and down the hill in the biting Pennine winds! In a few years' time we may have a garden!

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