Friday, 2 September 2011

Red apples

Our little apple tree has done us proud this year. Snow White couldn't resist these beauties could she? The kids have been going out and picking their own apples off the tree. It's nice to watch. Our green apples aren't doing so well, but there's still quite a good crop, they are just quite small so I think they'll go into pies or for crumbles.

Even though I've been a bit neglectful of the allotment lately there's still a plenty to bring home. I donated some marrows to the allotment shop and hopefully we'll get some more courgettes instead. There are lots and lots of tomatoes down at the allotment all just starting to ripen.

We went and dug up the rest of the spuds, because blight is sweeping the allotment. Ours are looking good though. When we dug them up we found an egg. Again! It wouldn't be so strange if it hadn't happened last year too. Last time a fox had stolen some eggs that were bound for the allotment BBQ potato salad and buried them all over the site. Surely the fox hasn't done it again? Where has it got the eggs from this time AND why is it always burying it in with my potatoes? Why not with the beans for a change?

I did wonder if my family were messing with my head and planting eggs just to freak me out. I wouldn't put it past them, but claim to be innocent. Strange things are afoot....

The chilli's in the greenhouse are doing well.

My greenhouse tomatoes won't ripen though. They don't get enough sun. It's more of a tortoise house than a greenhouse, but come on! Get red! What's the matter with you? You're a tomato, you want to be red. You should be ashamed of yourself - green skin - feel embarrassed. Red! Red! Red!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Tatton Flower Show 2011

We went on the last day of the Tatton Flower Show and we got great weather. I was quite restrained because we were going away the same evening so I knew I wouldn't have chance to do lots of planting. I bought some huge wooden plant labels that I'm going to write and varnish for the allotment and a few plants.

The gardens that I liked best are the ones were the ones with a more natural feel to them.

There were plenty of silly things there that luckily I couldn't carry home on the bus. I did bring back a metal kingfisher though...hmmm.

I was so organised this year that I went round and took photo's of all the plants that I liked. That way I've got the name and what it looks like and I can look up the seeds later. Like this Tomato Soup Echinacea. That's on my list for next year.

The veg stands were amazing as always.
I think you can take ideas away from all the gardens and adapt them to your own. There seemed to be a lot of plants being built up this year. The drifts of colour were effective too on this one. I'm going to have a go at making lettuce patterns on the allotment next year. See? I was inspired.

Friday, 22 July 2011


We've made a bird scarer. I don't think it's going to scare off many birds, but it does look good. Amazing what a few plastic bags from the Bargain Booze shop can turn into. No? Oh well.

We made a scarecrow. Isn't it lifelike?

Here he is in all his glory. The Cat in the Allotment. He didn't win a prize, but he's a winner to us.

Look at my beautiful little baby pumpkins. If I don't grow a pumpkin this year then I won't be happy. You're supposed to feed them with beer aren't you? Well, I'm not doing that. Sorry pumpkin, I don't want you that much.

I went to help out at the open day. We did well and raised £600.00 which isn't bad considering how wet it was. The gazebos all blew away in the wind. My favourite moment was when someone opened a plastic bag for me to put some eggs in. The eggs fell straight through and smashed on the floor because the plastic bag had no bottom. I'm easily amused.

In other news - my blueberries are going blue.

Monday, 11 July 2011


I won't make stupid jokes about my lovely pear..... it would be childish. Last year we had a grand total of one pear, this year we've got loads! No weird pear tree disease that we had last year either. Hopeful signs, unlike my apples. They've got little peckerty peck marks all over them from the greedy pigeons.

Oh dear oh dear.... Shhhh don't tell my sweetcorn but it is a source of great embarrassment. I'm ashamed of it. There, I've said it. It's pathetic. I tell it I'm proud of it and I hide my secret shame behind a fake smile.

I have inter planted my courgettes with sunflowers - not because my sweetcorn is so dreadful and I'm going to get rid of it, but because will be so aesthetically pleasing when they grow. Oh yes, that's why I've done it.

All my lugging of wood chippings in wheel barrows has paid off and my paths are looking good. The wood chip pile was smoking this morning - yes on fire!!!! I put it out. I'm like a super hero path maker. Putting out fires and building paths and before I'd even had my lunch. All in a days work.

I like it when the perennial sunflowers come out. It cheers me up.

The poppies are nice too.

I've got baby pumpkins! I'm so proud. I'm glowing. Aren't they beautiful, my little babies. Don't tell the sweetcorn it will only get jealous....

Friday, 17 June 2011

Gardeners World Live 2011

This garden is called 'Grass' by Tony Smith. It was quite striking - if you like grass. The square in the middle is dug out and has a sunken seated area - made of flowers - no, don't be silly - made of grass. It's about sustainability and the way that we use grass these days. Do you use grass?

These people know how to use colour and contrast. I just chuck stuff in - nature doesn't clash right? Some of the stands are artistic perfection.

The wonderful Monty Don was there filming for Gardeners World. We hid from the cameras and watched from the edge. He's even got his red braces on. Hail the Don! Hail the Don!

We collect guitars in our house. Every one with its own specific purpose of getting in my way. They had a great idea of using them for planters....I have this idea filed away under 'Spring Cleaning'.

See what I mean? Look at this - some neater Aliums that mine in the Floral Marque.

The Delphiniums in all their glory. Mine always get slugged.

I'll try again with them next year. They are too nice to give up on. Some people don't like fox gloves in our house, but it was pointed out that 'you can't have a cottage garden without them' and it's right. How can you not like these? I'm planting some next year - shhhhhh don't tell and nobody will notice.

Fancy them letting a live gorilla in. You'd think it would be dangerous. He just stayed up there like a statue - amazing.

The carnivorous plants are always a bit Tim Burtonesque. On the way out we saw an old man and his wife with bags of them - you can't always trust the old timers - vicious streak well hidden under all that beige clothing.

The orange and reds in this garden were so vivid and vibrant they were like fire. Yes! Fire!

Nice roses - I saw a purple/blue one but it was gone when I went back for it. Next time Mr. Rose you will be mine.

What are these called? I've forgotten - they have them abroad - the ones from abroad we'll call them.

'Simple Elements' by Stephen Cobb. A garden to be viewed rather than used. The different elements representing fire, water, earth and wind. Far too neat and tidy for me to recreate, but I like the idea of living sculpture. We should have more of it.

This one is 'Remember the Dream' by Yvonne Mathews in honour of Macmillan Cancer suppot. There is a wishing pool and a place to sit and dream. It was a mass of pinks roses and clematis leading to the swing where you can reflect and breath in the scent of lavender and sweet peas. Every hospital should have one of these gardens.

The bonsai trees are always incredible at these shows.
They are like little works of art.

I like aliums. Hurrah for aliums. They are kind of fun.

This is the garden that Monty was filming in. He mentioned the combination of flowers and vegetables together. This is probably how my allotment should look and if I had more space it would do. It's got to be the best way to trick the naughty pigeons and to attract the good bug eaters.
Fancy a sit down? I'd pinch this idea if i had a big garden. It would be really easy to do. There should be more of this too. Why don't they put some of these in the parks? I'm always tempted into doing some gorilla gardening when I look around our boring town. I don't think I'd get away with this recreating this one though...

We stumbled upon Joe Swift in The Bodgery garden designed by Chris Myers.

What is a Bodger? They make parts for chair makers but never the whole thing - hence an unfinished job becoming known as a bodged job. This fella with a beard is the bodger that inspired the garden. He does that job for real - in real life. I liked the little hut built in the hillside with the smoke coming out of the top and the workman in his rural setting turning the wood. Natural and scruffy - like me. Well scruffy like me. Not sure why the scarecrow was advertising back supports though - oh well.

So there we are. I had sore feet afterwards, but I was really restrained, I only bought a magazine. I have come away with inspiration instead. Happy to have stood in the presence of the gardening god that is Monty Don. Hail the Don! Hail the Don! etc. A grand day out Gromit.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Nets Done

Thought I'd share my cottage look front garden with you. We've got loads of bees. Scruffy is best for wildlife right?

The strawberries are starting to turn. Just made it in time to net them up and put the straw down today. It's more fun if you do things at the last minute right?

I've got some broad beans starting to come. Saved them for the kids to pick when we go up on bikes this week.

In other news I've bought my grow bags and my tomatoes are doing quite well thank you very much.

Sad news too though, my giant pumpkins have gone! Where are they? As if someone dug them up and stole them because they were so beautiful. Actually, I think they have been viciously eaten. Anyway, I might have to cheat now and buy a couple of squash plants. I've got one sad looking one left that is still in the greenhouse. Planted up some sweet peas today and finally strimmed the grass. Even treated ourselves to some new choppers so that there's more chance of the grass getting a trim (I also cheated and bought a courgette plant from the shops while I was there - mine are all dead, may they rest in pieces eaten to death by passing slugs).

Thursday, 19 May 2011


There wasn't anybody else at the allotment today. It was fabulously quiet and peaceful. Apparantly they have installed CCTV... somewhere, but is so C that I could SEE it. Very high tech and it's better to be safe, but can't help thinking that it is probably all down the other end of the site where my plot isn't - so I'll just be left lying in a puddle of blood and unsuccessfull planting if anyone did attack me anyway.

Still, there was no blood today. Just ants biting me. I didn't get ants in my pants, but I did get them all over my hands and shoes... and they hurt.

As I was alone I thought I'd take the opportunity for an undisturbed erection (see above). I don't like being watched by the old men while my erection is starting to go up, it puts me off. Theirs are always so much more impressive than mine. I always think they're laughing at me. This year I've gone for the 'tunnel' look with cane on the top. Fancy eh? No?

And by the way making crap jokes about cane erections, is funny EVERY year, EVERY year I tell you and shall continue to be so (for me anyway).

Some of my canes were all rotten - who would have thought that wood would rot if it was left out in the rain and snow?

Let your teeth into that lot... My radish crop has got lots of little biddy bite marks out of it. Shame...but, I pulled out a couple of nice spring onions. Big fat babies.

The beetroot is looking good.

Sign of spud growth. So I covered them.

My little iddy biddy leeks have sprouted. Some people are talking about transplanting theirs and chopping the tops off.... I'm sure mine were alright to plan last month. Anyway, they are growing, but aren't ready just yet for top and tailing just yet...

Look see, I have grown something! Broad beans, with lots of flowers on. Hurrah! No sign of any black fly ... yet, something has been nibbling at the leaves though.

I know, look at the state of them. I put my sweetcorn and my pumpkins in. It might be too early, but I've done it. My sweetcorn was going yellow - it's not meant to be doing that yet. Be green please! Anyway, they are in and Monty would have been proud of me. My green manure (rye grass) that I planted and dug over had rotted down beautifully in this bed and has made wonderful rich soil. I am definitely going to do that again next year. Although it did take until now to rot down, so it will only do in a bed that isn't needed until May/June time I guess. Or not? I don't know.... it seems to have worked so far anyway. The soil is great, the plants aren't.. but, I have grown them myself. They might be spindly and sad looking, but they are all my own work.

That's about it. I've done most of the jobs that were on my list... I haven't netted my strawberries..... gulp. They've got loads on too. Don't worry, I'll do it. The worst hated job. Netting.

Things to remember to do:

Plant some more beans direct

Buy another grow bag

Dig up that big mad lemon mint

Get some more planks round

Do the scarecrow! - important job

Stupid nets for stawberries and brassicas

Oh yes, strim the edges - very important to stay in good books of important allotment lady

Erm, oh yes plant stuff...