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small tortoiseshell

Rulers of the Garden

Tuesday, 26th March 2002, West Yorkshire

seed packetsAt last I get the chance to spend an afternoon in the garden. This time of year always seems to go so quickly; some urgent job crops up and I miss the sowing season. I rummage in the cupboard to find the seeds that I didn't quite get around to planting last year.

barrow I soon get one of my 4 ft wide vegetable beds cleared of weeds then I fork in a barrow-load of compost and a liberal sprinkling of fish, blood and bone.

Broad Beans

The seed packet recommends sowing in rows two feet apart while deep bed cultivation would allow staggered rows six inches apart. I reckon that a good compromise for this bed will be staggered rows eight inches apart. This allows me to sow the whole packet in a 4 ft by 6 ft plot.


As I'm trying to cram so much in I feel that the spacing is critical so I turn an old off-cut of skirting board into a 4 ft garden ruler, marked at 3 in intervals along one edge and 4 in along the other.

dibber I consider marking the dibber to the recommended 2 in depth but I feel that might be going a little too far with accuracy. The dibber was made from a broken spade handle for me by Barbara's dad.

broad bean There's a tradition of planting seeds at particular times during the lunar cycle. These broad beans are probably just glad that they haven't been consigned to the cupboard for another year. Have you noticed that two sprouting broad beans appear in the opening credits to the X Files?

small tortoiseshell A small tortoiseshell chases off all comers - a bee and a peacock butterfly - then returns to sun itself on our garden border.

Adventure Park

Tarzan swing School holidays again; the wood is like an adventure park with some boys climbing oak trees, others performing reckless jumps on mountain bikes while up an ash tree one boy climbs out on a branch overhanging the stream to fix a Tarzan swing.

Where the chiff-chaff sang yesterday at pile driver is now at work. This probably heralds more development nibbling away at the fringes of this little wood.

teals Five teal (males and females) join the coots and moorhen and a single mallard on the rushy page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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