Clarke family’s lockdown experiences
Charlotte & Olivia Clarke
Gardening was a very therapeutic activity during those Lockdown weeks. Mercifully, the joy of growing something you can eat and share is something one never grows out of.
HARSTON POTAGER from planning to productivity in 2020
The plan was to evacuate the voracious weeds from our useful but messy veg garden and make it ornamental as well as productive.
Plans on paper came first, ably interpreted by the skillful Mick Mynott who did the hard landscaping for us. The right-hand side was completed in 2019 and the raised beds filled with compost liberally laced with horse poo courtesy of Durrow (the spotty grey pony often seen from the A10).
The first crop of spinach appeared and sceptics at home (“Mum, why have you paved the garden?”) began to be convinced that this might work. Part II was built in late summer 2019 in time to sow onion sets and broad beans in late autumn. Early spring weather inspired some veg sowing but then storm clouds gathered in March; our long-awaited holiday was cancelled and spring took a bit longer to arrive.
Lockdown meant lots of time for gardening and road-testing the just completed right hand side of the potager. Our two sons and our daughter all came home and household bills sky-rocketed so growing veg became a serious priority. The winter-sown broad beans came first followed by spinach, mangetout peas, carrots, beetroot, potatoes, climbing French beans, courgettes and salad crops interspersed with sweet peas on teepees constructed from our coppiced hazel.
In early April (2020) Harston resident, Victoria Oldknow cleverly sourced four lovely hens for the village. We have one Light Sussex, one White Leghorn and two Black Rock breeds. The White Leghorn lays white eggs and the others brown eggs.
They settled in well with the already resident hens at Harston House and soon started to lay eggs which contributed to food boxes for Harston families during Lockdown. Since Lockdown has eased eggs have gone to the Harston Food Hub and for baking for regular deliveries to the village’s over-60s Lunch Club. The Lunch Club has not been able to meet since March but monthly deliveries of freshly baked cakes have raised spirits.
Olivia’s lockdown sketches
Having finished my dissertation at the start of lockdown, I found myself with a bit of time on my hands! I decided to pick up my pencils and do a few sketches from my travels to Africa last summer, as well as a couple of creatures a little closer to home.
The first picture is an African Wild Dog. (I’ve named him Martin). This was one of the first animals we saw while I was on safari and probably my favourite. Since they live together in big packs it seemed like they knew a bit about being stuck with your family for long periods of time!
The second picture is an ostrich who happened to wander into our camp and attempt to steal some breakfast. Her name is Edith.
I was inspired to draw the third picture when out walking around the fields behind my house. Hares are one of my absolute favourite animals and I’ve seen a huge increase in numbers around here since the beginning of lockdown. She is called Juliet.