Tag Archives: flowers

Seedy Penpals – First Letters

…sons of bankers, sons of lawyers,
turn around and say, “good morning” to the night.
For unless they see the sky, but they can’t and that is why,
they know not if it’s dark outside or light

Elton John

Seedy Penpals

Seedy Penpals is up and running thanks to the hard work of Mel at Edible Things and Carl Legge.  Some of the people doing it I know a little, like Carla in Rome, and Maria Paola in the New Forest, but we are not necessarily paired up with people we know and in fact that is part of the excitement and the mild terror of writing to someone you don’t know at all, have no clues about at all, except a willingness to reach out to another human being and begin tentatively to make contact.

So now I have two new friends, I don’t know what else to call them, Joyce and Michelle and the potential for many more in the future. Joyce and I exchanged email addresses and a clutch of emails describing our gardens to each other and what we like to grow and then Joyce sent me these in the post. She wrote to me as well describing the seeds and why she had chosen them

The Christopher Lloyd french marigolds are much taller than other french marigolds. I keep the seeds from year to year and they are very precious. Christoper Lloyd was my gardening idol and influenced my gardening style greatly….the white borage is quite an untidy plant – the bumble bees love them

and very excitingly because I have sown them already – a selection  saying

Sow Now

Seedy Penpals(like something out of Alice in Wonderland) a selection of Japanese Greens, Chervil and Corn Salad for autumn eating – in salads and stir frys I am hoping.

I have sent in my  turn some seeds to Michelle who also runs the 52 week salad project (we don’t send and receive to the same person) which somehow got put to one side as I went up and down the country earlier this year. I will post something about that again soon.

I have been reading loads of gardening blogs and thinking about how very hard people work at their gardening. I think too about all the thinking that goes behind it, the exploring and the reading, the fine tuning and most of all the complex set of emotions that growing food and flowers, raising trees, looking at soil and weather engenders in our hearts and minds. At the risk of romanticising the work, it is a wonderful thing to be able to do and embeds you in your life in a way that sitting in front of a computer screen can never do.

Special Tin for Seedy Penpals Seeds. This is an old perfectly airtight Japanese Seaweed Cracker tin given to me by a lodger many years ago

I don’t get involved with that many people I don’t know – let me amend that – I don’t think of myself as someone who is good at making new friends – but – of course I have made new friends with people who read this blog, people I have met on baking days, people I talk to when I walk the dogs and people I tweet with on Twitter. Some of them I will never meet in person, but all the same, there is connection, a reaching out to the Other and as you get older this is increasingly precious.

Seedy PenpalsSeedy Penpals

Here are your seeds coming up Joyce!  Fingers crossed and I will let you know how they do and what happens next. Thank you so much for being my Seedy Penpal. It was thrilling to receive your seeds and I hope I can nurture them well.

This is just the start and Seedy Penpals will be carrying on into the future, so if you want to join in, even in the smallest, most tentative way I know you will be welcome!

Do you have friends you will most likely never meet? In my teens I wrote to a prisoner in a German prison, something my language exchange family suggested. We wrote for a few months and then I think he left prison. He just came back to my mind, but I am not sure I can remember his name now and that is the other thing that all this reminds me of: friends do indeed come and go; there are people with whom you have great long exchanges of emails who then just vanish again, but that’s all fine, life is like that.

Autumn Bees


The weather is being very British right now. We have warm days and cooler nights, the tail end of someone’s hurricane has swept through, but today is calm and warm again, and the plentiful sunshine is being put to work ripening the apples and the tomatoes. There are so many late flowers full of nectar that on a warm morning the garden is humming with all sorts of wild bees and a few from local hives I imagine. Continue reading