Netherfield news
Netherfield news

Reflections on our garden: Depending on the size of your garden it is possible to indulge, in varying degrees,one’s passion for herbs. Rosemary on lamb; basil in pesto; borage in salads. The list is endless and when in flowe,r they are a magnet to bees and hover-flies. They also look good, with the range of blues in the lavender and the yellows and greens in the marjorams.

It is also that time of year when our grape vines need their annual trim. They cover some of our fences and a pergola at the bottom of the garden. The wet winter gave them an extra boost at the start of the season, with growth exceeding all expectations. So on each new shoot, the embryonic cluster of grapes went from one, to two to three in just a month or so. This as you would expect places a strain on the first bunch as it struggles to find enough nutrients to service its hosts. As we use the fruit at the end of the season to make wine, both red and white, then culling is required.

For the last five years our harvest produces about 50 bottles of what can only be described as mediocre “plonk”, but it adds flavour and body in our culinary forays into the dishes of the world. It is especially good for a ragu Bolognese, where both my wife and I favour an age old recipe from a Robert Carrier Book on Cooking. The prolonged, gentle heating of the sauce, removes the sharpness of the wine and enhances the full-bodied flavour of the resultant meat potage.

That is why it was necessary for me to transport my sturdy step-ladders to facilitate the clipping of the highest growth. Whilst it is time consuming it is also very therapeutic. It has to be done with a pair of clippers rather than shears and each tendril must be checked for the fruiting buds and the length to be chopped. When it is mixed with octopus-like extensions from the rampant wisteria it is almost an orgy of cutting and chopping.

Every year the “Ladies Mantle” fronts one of our beds and overflows onto the lawn. My wife sees this as the perfect antidote to uniformity. After a shower the leaves retain droplets of water as though they were pearls on a cloth of green. The delicate flowers, which seem to rise like a phoenix from the ashes are just beginning to show. Their beauty only enhances the wondrous nature of this perennial.

More next week.....

Netherfield Breakaway Club: Juliette Vane from the Netherfield Breakaway Club asked the local shop to save her 6 copies of the Battle Observer from 10 June. The Polish guests who were here for the 75th commemoration wanted to read the reports that appeared in the paper. Unfortunately, due to a slight mix-up, the shop saved the following week’s copies. If any of our readers still have a copy, or you know someone else who might have one then Juliette wondered if you would like to donate them to this worthy cause. Your copy can be left either at the Netherfield Village Shop or in the church. Juliette has had to resort to this request as she contacted The Observer office and they informed her that do not keep any for posterity. They all get sent for recycling. However, they did manage to find her two. If you can help and the drop-offs are not within your reach then contact Juliette Vane at or alternatively using the contact points below. Thank you.

Contact: If you have any stories or articles of interest that will give our readership a reason to buy the paper please contact me on 07957588172 or via email at

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