Busy as a bee

Jean Vernon's garden is buzzing with the first signs of spring, and Jean has been buzzing around as well - taking delivery of 20-square metres of new meadow matting as well as a trip to Cornwall to test out new wheelbarrows. All in a day's work!

Bee on cherry blossom
The bees are busy in Jean's garden
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It’s been a busy few weeks. Not only have I been commissioning, editing and writing for the Richard Jackson’s Garden ebsite, writing a feature about QVC for Telegraph Gardening, a feature about a bee and insect enthusiast for the RHS journal The Garden and a piece about the Royal Kitchen Garden at Hampton Court for the same publication, but I’ve also been rustling up a few delicacies in the kitchen.

In the kitchen

With rhubarb possibly the earliest fruit in the garden, it would be rude not to make the most of every luscious stem. Thanks to a divine rose and rhubarb knickerbocker glory recipe from Leiths cookery expert Max Clark, I’ve been making and eating her delicious concoction so we could photograph it for the website. Rosewater really brings out the flavour and adds a fragrant dimension to the whole dish. I would never have thought to mix custard with Greek yoghurt, but you know what? It’s delicious. Even if you don’t grow rhubarb, make sure you buy some and try this recipe, you won’t be disappointed.

In the garden

In the garden, there’s 20-square metres of new meadow mattting ready to feed the bees. It arrived on a pallet on the back of a truck from MeadowMat.com and is already looking lush and wonderful. Packed full of 34 British native wildflowers and grasses it’s gonna be simply buzzing this spring. Watch this space for updates.

coriander seedlings
Coriander seedlings in Jean’s greenhouse.

I’ve been watching four fat queen bumblebees feasting on the nectar of my ancient crocus patch and the patio peach that has to be moved out of the greenhouse on sunny days to feed the bees and be pollinated. It’s dripping in pretty pink flowers that are full of sweet nectar.

In the greenhouse the first seedlings are up, no thanks to my resident mouse, which has resisted all attempts to catch him (or her) without actually killing it. But if it eats any more seeds I just may resort to tough tactics. At least the coriander is finally sprouting.

Tried and tested

I’ve been testing the very latest in garden shears – the unique and exclusive three bladed shears from Darlac. A top-secret tool that has only recently been unveiled. So far it seems pretty good and has helped trim a few hedges before the nesting curfew. It’s already been shortlisted for the RHS Chelsea Product of the Year award 2015. Looks like it will be a hot contest this year with 14 worthy finalists. Hope the judges are up to the challenge. I’ve been in their shoes, just the once, and it’s a tough call.

St Michael's Mount
The beautiful setting of St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, where I’ve been testing wheelbarrows.

For Telegraph Gardening I’ve had a trip to St Michaels Mount in Cornwall to test wheelbarrows for the next product test for the paper. It’s been a huge logistical endeavor and a massive undertaking for the gardening team down there, thanks to everyone involved. Should be published just after Easter, when you can find out which barrow coped with the challenging terrain.

I’ve also set up an account on Twitter and my first follower was James Wong. Thanks Wongy for giving me a little street cred. You can follow me @TheGreenJeanie.

Jean Vernon

About Jean Vernon

Jean Vernon is a slightly quirky, bee friendly, alternative gardener. She doesn’t follow the rules and likes to push the boundaries a bit just to see what happens. She has a fascination for odd plants, especially edibles and a keen interest in growing for pollinators especially bees. She’s rather obsessed with the little buzzers. Telegraph Gardening Correspondent, mostly testing and trialing products and Editor-In-Chief for Richard Jackson’s Garden.
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