Wednesday 29 April 2009

Seeing Red

Over the past couple of weeks I've noticed a lot of lovely green sprouting up all over the show. I love green, it's the colour of my eyes, the colour of Ireland and the sign of growth and happiness to come. I love flowers, yes, but greenery such as bamboos and ferns bring joyous colour to my world every day of the year.

But, recently, over these very same couple of weeks I've been attracted to all the wondrous shades of red. The unopened apple blossoms, the ladybirds, well see for yourself.....

Apple Blossoms
Ladybirds (2 are getting friendly)

Broad Beans - Pink close to the stem
Rhubarb - RED

Hellebore leaf veins
New Cherry Tree leaves

Brussels Sprout leaf veins

Rhubarb Flower head (not mine)
Pink blotches on the new Pear leaves (tell me it's supposed to be like that!)

Alan and the old cooking pot

Okay, so I cheated on the last 2! But I really do have a lot more photos of things, for instance the new Raspberry cane shoots, the fine hairs on the Redcurrant bush's main stem and the gorgeous red thorns on our climbing rose.
Oh, where will I be when you read this bloggette? Scheduling it for train up to Milan. Oh, sorry, have I made you jealous, hehe. x

Monday 27 April 2009

We have an Orchard!

On the BBC news on Friday I found out that The National Trust declares an orchard to consist of 5 trees, even if they're in pots on a patio! Now Andrew did tell me this before the piece was presented but I thought he was being fanciful ~ we have 8 fruit trees on our Lottie but I wouldn't have thought to call it an Orchard. But there you go. Here's the link.

Never mind all the lovely heritage Apple trees planted up by the car park, if you count all the fruit trees on our Eden Allotment Gardens I'd say we're definitely doing our bit to help all those insects (of course the yummy apples, plums and pears etc are an added bonus)!

By the time you read this I'll be in Rome, yes Rome! Can't believe it, lucky girl, eh?

Just leave you with a photo of our Orchard Arch, hehe.

Friday 24 April 2009

Rosemary's babies

I have to tell you about my Selkie/Rosemary. She's from 'down south' (ie. Ireland as opposed to Northern Ireland) and has only been a friend for a short while through the ever excellent GrowVeg.Info forum. Recently she posted me some off cuts (or 'divisions' is probably the right word of her favourite plants, great for attracting bees and butterflies to the Lottie. I wrote about it here.

Well look at them now! Unfortunately we lost one of the Poppies, we did all we could but we just couldn't save him....and the other one is in ICU, you may wish to prepare yourselves for the worst.....But everything else is so healthy and bursting to get planted. I LOVE the leaves on this Elecampane and every time we're at A24a I go off for a moment alone with it and give them a little rub ~ so soft.

Well more than all that! Today I received a Hug in an envelope (that is literally what it said on the card, hehe) with a lovely letter from Rosemary and more of my very favourite colour of Sunflower, the red-bronze ones. I have a different variety (same gorgeous red colour) upstairs growing away in their pots on the window sill, but now I really can have that sunflower hedge I talked about!

The weirdest sensation came over me when I got that letter out of the blue; I felt loved and calm and was able to sleep for 3 hours right there on the sofa. A big deal when sleep has been taking a holiday from my brain recently. A huge big hug to my friend Rosemary, makes you think ~ what could you do to make someone feel special this weekend?

Thursday 23 April 2009

If you get 5 minutes.... / venture further a field

When Andrew got home from work last night, it was case of everyone in the car and away; we had a quick picnic dinner at the Lottie. Andrew needed to get into the prep of our new half plot. Luckily Bill was there and lent him his petrol strimmer - I left him to it, he seemed to be enjoying himself, hehe.

At the meeting the night before, Myrtle (our Chairwoman) asked me to give out some leaflets; I find it hard to say "no" to people (don't take advantage of that information!) and so I ended up with 20 odd to hand out. ( has discounted seeds for us on his on-line shop - cool!) It was a colder evening and I was freezing so the walk would do me good anyway and I couldn't really help Andrew with the strimming; I doubt I could lift the contraption even if he had let me.

Firstly I visited friends that hadn't been able to make it to the meeting. Davy and his son were having a wee tea in their shed after picking Cow Slips for Davy's wife. How cute are they?! Then over to Rab who has just swapped plots, now he's on the other side of Ronnie on a piece of land that isn't water logged all the time. He has achieved more in a couple of days on this plot than he did in a year on his first. The enthusiasm is back and it's looking great already - Well done Rab (and David).
On up at the top of Field A I met Mary for the first time. Ridiculous I know, we've both been at the Lotties since they started and I often admired her Dahlias last summer but never spoke to her. My Goodness I was missing out on someone special there ~ she is lovely, make that LOVELY. We had a good old chat and I'll be back there again for a coffee and natter, that's for sure.

The only people in Field B were committee members, (Maxine and John) I didn't realise who they were until I was right up beside them. That was somewhat of a wasted journey, of course they had the leaflets I was handing out!

Field D had a good few people on it as usual. The new plot holders have so much energy and drive, I love it. I even bumped into brothers who are hoping to get a plot and were checking the project out. You know I spoke to 5 or 6 people in that field and was so nervous by then that I couldn't even tell you one name, I don't even think I introduced myself! I really do think the Allotments have grown too quickly for me, I can't begin to keep up with all the plot holders, I was just getting used to my group of friends in Field A!

Lastly (to complete my loop back to my shed) I went through Field C. I first met another Davy and very nice he was too. My Papa (grandfather) always said you can tell a lot about someone by their hand shake - well his was lovely, firm and friendly - I instantly warmed to him. Then there were friendly 2 families (one of which sat behind Andrew and I at the meeting, but of course I don't know their names - I'm so bad) and then 2 nice blokes working hard. At the very end I bumped into dear Donald as well.

Andrew and Maggie had by now started their own little search party for me! Andrew had finished his work and wanted me to see the plot cut back and pegged out. It is great and the soil under that black plastic is good but I am still holding out for the plot adjoining ours, I just need to get in contact with Mark & Charlene and see if they will swap with us.

Anyway, it was really great having a reason to force myself out there into the wider Eden Lottie world and chat to people. It's pretty obvious we all need to socialise with each other more, it has become quite segregated into different Fields and I don't like that. It's also obvious that communication is terrible on site and people are hearing either nothing or all sorts of rumours from people - Chinese whispers. I look forward to the AGM and the Fun Day - hopefully we can all become more of the community I hoped we would be.

So after talking to so many people I was a wreck, wine and meds both were needed for me to get any sleep and I was up at 6 this morning panicking badly again. I love to meet people but it makes me so acutely anxious. I'm on a self-imposed strike today ~ doing nothing but reading and maybe yoga!
Wow, that's got to be the longest post ever!

Wednesday 22 April 2009

Tuesday 21 April 2009

A very poor turn out :(

So we just had a Allotmenteers' Meeting in the local Civic Center. Everyone was invited of course, though it was mainly an opportunity to welcome the newer Lottie holders in Fields C and D and a chance for all of us to tell our Committee the issues and ideas we have.

Hardly anyone was there. I'll tell you I was very disappointed. I took the trusty wee camera to take a nice group picture of us from the balcony, but I ended up taking pictures of the roof of the building. Honestly, the AGM better be 5 times fuller or we won't even be able to pass a single issue ~ you need a quarter of the members to be there to get anything done.

Though we do have a major problem with that - to vote in our association you have to be a full £5-fee-paying-member, just owning a plot isn't enough. Though I don't think the majority of people there know that.

I know that people have other things they would rather do than go to a meeting (working on their plot for instance on a nice night like it was)~ red tape and arguments are certainly not my cup of tea ~ but Andrew and I were there with bells on. Even with my anxiety I spoke out many times but when things turned sour I really couldn't cope. We are supposed to be in this together; petty fighting has no role in progress.

Anyway, not a great deal was done. Ideas have been thrown out there, tensions were vented and the poor members of the committee had to try and stand up for themselves at every turn. Goodness, there is only so much they can do and with our project only being a year old, we have little creditably behind us, plus half of us started last year, half this year. We're seedlings ~ needing support and a period of stability and some nurturing.

Well I don't even want to talk anymore, I'm so tense after all my talking in front of people and desperate attempts to make the meeting about communication and working together. I've the worse headache - god knows how everyone else feels, including those who stormed off.

Lastly, Andrew has been co-opted into the committee! Eeek, I don't envy him, the bureaucracy would drive me mad!

Monday 20 April 2009

Random photos from a Great Sunday...

If I knew how to do a fancy slide show, I would...

Another Blip

Saturday at the Allotment I wanted to kill myself. I not joking. I was going to ram the garden shearers in under my rib cage, I was talking nonsense and shaking uncontrollably; Andrew took me home. I was medicated and slept the majority of the day. You probably don't want to know that but I think it's important to tell you ~ Ecotherapy is not a panacea. Sometimes it can make you feel worse, even on your usual tablets and even though you want to be there ~ this cancer of the soul is sometimes stronger. It rips away the only pleasures you have in life and turns them into spiteful enemies. I was scared of every other person down there, I didn't deserve to be there and I was an embarrassment to my husband.

I was a mess. Luckily I didn't do anything stupid and was back the following day. I had a great Sunday, the Allotment helped immensely. I spoke to friends and I took photos, the sun was shining and it was (according to Ronnie and I at least) the 1st T-shirt day of the year, I even got a little colour on my arms. It was a joy to see growth all round me, to hear petrol mowers and kids laughing, feel the sun on my face and arms and smell the grass, the barbecues, Maggie's little warm body.

Hope: it's an intangible thing but the greatest ally when it visits, even for one sunny afternoon.

Friday 17 April 2009

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - a la May Dreams Gardens

May Dreams Gardens is a fabulous blog and does this monthly (i think) update that everyone takes part in - showing the blooms in their gardens/plots. I wasn't going to take part because Andrew and I had our house up for sale last year through into this ~ bloomin' recession, we had to take it off the market. Therefore I don't have many photos as there weren't any bulbs planted etc but here we go.

I'm off at a Wedding all day whilst you read this! I love the weirdness of post-dating!
So in our Back Garden we have these blooms:

Skimmia and Wallflower

Blueberry blossom and Japanese Acer


And at our Lottie we have this beauty and these in the hedgerows:
Hellebore and Broad Beans
Wood Anenome and Daisies
Hopefully the next time there is a meme like this I'll have more lovely blooms. Check out everyone elses on Mays page.

Thursday 16 April 2009

The Big Easter Weekend Project

Saturday saw Andrew and I up early! We had to get to the timber merchant before he closed at 12.30 and believe me, everyone in Carrickfergus seemed to have caught the DIY bug. I think I heard once that A&E departments hate Easter because of the all the people suddenly picking up their hammers and saws etc and them running to them bleeding all over the place. Safety first, my friends!!

So we bought timber and went to the Lottie (after a fortifying scone and coffee) to get to work. We'd been planning this project for a while now and the weather was unexpectedly good, there was no time to waste. Well, actually there was...we visited Mamma G on the way, but it was in relation to 'The Project'; 2 old wrought iron gates.

Holes were dug to receive 8ft vertical posts and then tightly secured into the ground, 2 ft deep - they are going nowhere. Andrew did all that huffing and puffing, I played the vitally important role of overseer and encourager. I also held the spirit level when required. My main job though was using the wire brush to rub off god knows how many decades of flaky paint from the 2 gates! Boy that warms you up alright.

Andrew then was moving on with more timber. When we were making the Fruit Arch a while back, one of the posts broke at the bottom whilst being driven into the ground (there are some BIG rocks a spade's depth or so down) so we had this big piece of wood laying around and then - yes! it was perfect to act as a lintel between our 2 uprights. It this point I went off to talk to Ivan, Andrew likes to work alone.

Back again and my super duper Hubby had cut to length 3 bits of wood to run from just above the shed door over to the lintel - thus making a pergola. Just to see how it would look we put up the gates on the uprights, one on top of the other - we're using them instead of trellis - recycling ahoy!

Sunday and we were back at lunch time, with sandwiches. Andrew put up all those extra fixings to make sure that a hurricane wouldn't move the darn structure! (We don't get them here in Carrick but better safe than sorry). I started to paint the wood. I had a very dickey tummy and was throwing up into a flower pot so Andrew kindly took over and finished the work. I just sat there feeling sorry for myself and tickling Maggie.

So there you are, our Easter project done. The gate trellis will have a beautiful climbing rose growing up it (Queen Elizabeth ~ shown below) and some wonderful climbing beans, the ones we got free from the council and which are already germinating. It should look lovely.

Wednesday 15 April 2009

Happy Birthday A24a

It's been a year since that inconspicuous letter full of happiness was pushed through the letter box and landed on my hall carpet. Yes, my friends, THE letter; the one sent my the council to say we had the rights to plot A24a for a year!!!! God, I remember how excited we were, but I can't believe it's been 1 whole year.

This is what our field looked like then and now.

This is what our plot looked like!

We were so happy, I took photos of OUR grass, OUR soil and OUR weeds, how sad is that?!

I have lots of photos to look through today and just remind myself how far we've come, the friends we've made and the delicious food we've grown ourselves.

I have said it before and but will keep on saying it til I die. This little piece of Eden was saved my life and continues to do so. Ecotherapy, 'getting-back-to-nature', call it what you will, but when all is said and done the Lottie (along with Medication) has made more in roads in my mental health problems that any other type of therapy I've done (and that's a lot).

Here's to another year!