Keeping Care of Hopwood

It's Bank Holiday Monday and we have to get in the car to go to the Hopwood garden. There are plants to pot on and glasshouses to water. The problem is that we've never been to the Hopwood garden when the college is closed. We drive up and sure enough the barrier is across the main road causing curses from Andrew. Don't they know that plants keep on growing? Will be the mantra today as we trudge around to the gardens the long way, the secret way, the old way of horse and cart but today we meet an old man, a couple of dogs that Little D shies away from and a Dad with two kids; he looks tired, harassed as if this weekend Dad work didn't include Bank Holidays. Surely, that's the realm of grandparents. It's time for Little D to ask where the Hopwoods are now. All dead. Oh dear. What happened to them? Life. This is the kind of conversation you often hear between Little D and Andrew, that and bickering, they bicker for England. 

Hopwood hall, middleton, life on pig row

When we get to the gardens we get that rare moment where Little D will actually go within a few feet of an animal. He had a bad experience with a football and a dog some years back, and he now thinks that all animals are out to eat him or steal his pocket money. Suffice to say that within seconds they have eaten his coat, shoes and are winging their way to Africa on the 70p and some lint procured from his pockets. His wildest nightmares have come true including bad dreams about Danger Mouse dying.


The Hopwood garden has come a long way under Andrew and his students. The old plant nursery has just been planted with vegetables that are really loving the fact that it's a Bank Holiday and that means rain. There's courgettes and beans in here, courgettes in open ground and in bales -- nitrogen rich thanks to the leavings of the animals who used them -- there's brassicas and salads, cornflowers and cosmos and there's another six beds to fill and an open sided polytunnel to plant up.

gardening, life on pig row

We discover new friends as we walk around, a goat that is more than happy to meet us and meerkats nosing through windows. We talk about keeping our own goats, and it's a pay off between them and pigs. Andrew thinks pigs are more fun. Can't agree with that not with this one vying for attention.

goats, life on pig row

And inevitably we are forced undercover to have lunch. Bang goes the idea of having a picnic in the woods and hello to the potting shed. The rain barrels down on us and we wait it out munching beef sandwiches, salad from the polytunnel and tomatoes from home.




life on pig row

Of course, these two can't resist fooling around with jaffa cakes.

jaffa cakes


Even with the rain coming down outside, Andrew has to water everything undercover and that takes a couple of hours to do well.


In the spirit of all Bank Holidays we're not being defeated by the weather, somewhere there is a wet beach and bracing North wind waiting for us.


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