Sunday, 31 January 2010

Transplant shock

Sorry to all my fab readers (who I love loads!!!) but I am experiencing transplant shock. A very severe case of it I'm afraid. The books don't seem to apply to the the rare and unquie case of the Carrius Gaultius so I am having to fight through this unaided by professional knowledge.

Lots of rest and warm drinks, not much in the way bad weather conditions and certiainly but sadly no reading or writing for a while. I have however been  placed beside a gorgeous bunch of Persian Buttercups (I do know the latin but my brain is fried and spelling is not good at the moment) which is utterly delightful. Once things settle I can post photos of the blooms - just need to find my camera leads etc in amongst all these freakin' boxes!!!

From now on I am going to be much more sympathic to plants that I wish to move around the plot. Let me tell you!!!

Stay with me and enjoy on set of Spring - cold though it may be; I can see blue sky! Though no Lottie visits for us - first because I'm a mess; second, it's been snowing again and third, we have lots of work to do in this new place called home. xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, 25 January 2010

When is the best time to transplant a Carrie??

The 'Carrius Gaultius' ( common name - Carrie) is a delicate plant and needs much pandering to and a great amount of mollycoddling. She (for this 'plant' is a girl) prefers a sunny climate but in dappled shade, plenty of water and a comfy soil; not to stoney and diffinatlely not clay - she hates wet feet. She doesn't do winter cold snaps well, they often result in a period of grumpiness and rather unattractiveness; a nice blanket goes down a treat at this point. Prone to pests and diseases she is none the less a delightful little (max height 5ft 1.5 inches) plant that can bring joy and darken a gloomy place from time to time if only you can stick out the tough times with her too.

Now, generally this 'plant' fears change and hates being uprooted. It doesn't mind a little holiday and a chance to see another aspect of the 'garden' but generally it is a homebody. So the diffficult question remains - When is the best time to move a Carrie???

It's happening on Wednesday folks and this girl is getting a bit stressed as part of her roots are in one place and part in another. And her new home is only for 6 months so she'll be off again to another site just as she is settling in to this first move and getting used to being under someones else's cover and in their space! Oh my. Any suggestions as to how to make this transplanting process run as smoothly as possible would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

House plant anyone?

Oh golly gosh (by that read something a little a lot ruder), this time next week we'll have the hire van and be transfering our lives from this house to Mamma G's. Everything must go, including the pots in the garden, some hardwood cuttings, divisions of fav plants and the contents of the shed! Again I say golly (again use your imagination as to what I'm really saying).

So I was thinking, in our new pad we will be living in a loft conversion and thus there is loads of light and there won't be much room or indeed structural stabilty to have much furniture up there. But one thing I do want is a house plant and for this I require help. In the past I've only ever had ivy or spider plants in my house and I hate them!!! Well I love ivy, but outside for goodness sake not as a feature plant in my room. Downstairs, i.e. in Mamma's House - there are lots of christmas cacti which always seem to be in flower, maybe we should buy them a calendar? So dear friends, no ivy, spider plants or cacti; what can you suggest for a girl to have in her new home to add a little greenery and joy??

There are lovely gardens front and back including fruit and veg so I have that covered, this is just for me to admire as I work away. But I feel utterly lost in this domain, maybe I should just have some flowers bought in every now and then and have loads of photos up?? Oh I don't know...

By the way I still feel bloody awful and still haven't been anywhere near my lottie or even the garden outside the door. Stinky weather, one's mood does not help!!!! I need the spring. Off to hide under my blanket again, until next time - HUGS xx

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

I'm back :)

It has been brought to my attention that I have let my 5 mins of fame go to my head and really, I must get back to work. Thank you Mo for the kick up the bum that I needed, I have blogging to do!

Well, let's talk about the allotments then. Nothing is happening on the plots. The weather has put stop to things on our sweet little slices of Eden and not a thing has been achieved, apart from talking about it!! But to be fair our whole weekend there was taken up with the gutting out of Mamma G's attic room and en suite bathroom, painting it and generally working our (not so little unfortunately) bums off getting it ready for us to move into. This was Andrew's old bedroom and bathroom built as a loft conversion so there are lots of memories there and Mamma had also been using it as storage for the past while, all this equalled much work to be done. But we managed it and everywhere is painted and today the new carpet goes down! This moving house lark is very hard work and we've got to do it twice this year, hahha (manic laughter).

Anyway can't complain, it is going to look lovely and Mamma is great (Maggie adores her Granny) and I'll still be able to blog away as there is broadband at the house - yippeeee!!!!!

So apart from that and a couple of serious nervous breakdowns, I have been busy trying to relax get some sleep. 2 months, two months of about 3 hours a night and yesterday I finally slept all night and all day :)

Now to some important Lottie News; a Extraordinary General Meeting has been called for. Oh dear :(
There was a letter sent out to the assocation members and it contained another letter signed by a number of people who have called for a EGM soon; they are unhappy with the way things are being run (or not run) and feel the committee is split down the middle and thus practically useless. Which in one way is true, the committee isn't split as far as I am aware but they have very limited powers (read none) and thus it can appear that they aren't doing anything. Our council still runs the whole place and our committee is sort of a talking shop.

I do hope this goes smoothly and the meeting is a time were people can have their thoughts and concerns listened to without it descending into a row. I fear we sometimes forget how lucky we are to have allotments in the first place and I also fear that making too much of a noise will make the council think twice - I can't lose my plots ~ I'll lose the plot !!!(pun intended even though embarassingly bad).

So there we are, all updated, now I'm off for a wee decaff and a homemade gingerbread star - yum. I leave you with a seaside photo to calm the mind....

Thursday, 14 January 2010

5 mins of Fame

Firstly I would like to tell you that the issue of Women's Own magazine in which I briefly feature is now on the shelves for all to see (including a cheesy photo of me). I am very much honoured and proud to have been able to spend the word of Ecotherapy and of Mind that little bit further, let us hope it touches even 1 person out there.

Secondly, during this week I have steadily gotten more and more mentally ill, resulting in a nervous breakdown and shakes and not being able to talk much or look after myself well. It has taken quite some time to type this and I am giving myself a horrid headache in doing so. Complete rest is the key and an appointment with my psychartrist in the morning. I tell you this only so you will remember that I too am suffering. I hope to share with you the bad days and the good, in that way you shall not be deceived into thinking Ecotheray is a miracle - it isn't but it DOES help.

I wish you a happy weekend and may all this heinous weather and hatred that Mother Nature is bestowing upon on Earth end soon. Keep warm my friends, keep healthy in body and mind and think of those less fortunate.

I thank you all for you rcontinuing support - you help me fight each day. Hugs xx

Monday, 11 January 2010

A winter's dusk....

The sun was already dipping far beyond the hills. Lengthy shadows permeated with the cold frosty mist lay over the freshly tended plots, still speckled with dirty snow. Here and there under the belly of the sky, heavy with clouds, you could see a few rosy streaks of sunlight, their rays highlighting the City in the distance and the sparkles of ice by your feet. The wind, laden with the smells of thawing earth, of sweet compost and the sound of pheasants and cows, cut through you like a blade of ice, chilling your very bones. The ground below your frozen toes is's time to go home. The allotments are sleeping.

Nothing much to report about the plots these days my friends. But I continue to grow; I as a person I feel I am growing all the time. Andrew is my soil, my light, my water and with him I grow. The seeds of love, of hope can not be stunted, will never wither if we are as one.

Happy anniversary darling x

*sorry for my lack of communication in the blogosphere - I am just so very tired*

Friday, 8 January 2010

For Ali and Doug

An Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

May God be with you and bless you;
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warms rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

GrowVeg, how I love thee....

I really must make a point of praising the most fabulous forum ever: As I said, yesterday I was feeling really bad (once the Hubby came home I felt better, kisses to my Andy) but during the day I was so thankful for all my friends at grow veg. They keep me busy and helped me talk out my worries and let me into theirs too, where I was able to help in return. It's not just a gardening forum oh no, we chat about growing all sorts and share recipes, our hobbies, our holiday photos, our troubles and our happy times. I swear I have made so many really good supportive friends that I can't imagine not being a part of the family. We even do secret Santa which is so much fun and their are pub quizz style competitions in 'real time'!!

(If you have ever read my Allotmentherapy essay you'll have noticed that I thanked them for their support in writing the piece and publishing it in the first place.)

Plus Flighty joined us a few days ago which really tickled me pink!

I hope you are pleasantly surprised everyone to be thanked so openly - bear hugs xx

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Focus on.... Jerusaleum Artichokes

It's been a bad day. I swear if I hadn't a skeleton, my body would still be upright and workable ~ my muscles are so tense and I am running on adrenalin. I'm a tiny bit of a mess. Still not sleeping much these nights (that's almost 12 weeks now!) and therefore the double vision is worse and the depression and the anxiety and I've been crying; my brain is fried.

I do want to learn about these Jerusaleum Artichokes though, so I'll get one or 2 of our new Christmas books out and  try to unravel the mystery of these tasty tubers. I just need a doze first, please Mr Sandman.....

Ah that helped and Andrew is home and we're settled on the sofa together - bliss.

So, Jerusaleum Artichokes then. We did have 2 here on Sunday but they were chopped up and put in a gorgeous stew before I could take a photo. Not that they are very exciting to look at...

* They are low maintence, prolific perennials, best planted out between January and March
* Their knobbly tubers can be harvested between October and March (that's a great harvest period!)
* They are tall wind break plants, produce lots of compostable material and have very lovely sunflower-like blooms in the late summer.
* I can also testify to their super tastiness - something like a nutty earthy potato and according to my book 'Veg Patch', they are high in potassium, iron, fibre and lots of other vitamins and minerals.

Sounds great, eh? It gets even better when you realise that they just need plonked into the soil 15cm down and 60cm apart and left there!!! All you have to do is wait until harvest time and in the meantime enjoy them growing up tall and showing off their flowers, they even like frost. Leave them in the ground and only harvest as needed; they store best in the ground. Lastly, you get around 2kg for each tuber planted, just leave some behind for next year and let the joy perpetuate.

They can be treated just like a spud (except they'd be crap baked and stuffed with cheese - too small!); mashed, chopped in soups (and risottos), roasted and baked to make lovely crisps.

I urge you to grow, harvest, eat and enjoy! xx

Monday, 4 January 2010

But Baby it's cold outside

Is anyone else feeling the cold or is it just me? The Hubby certainly doesn't seem to really have taken it on board that it is in fact FREEZING!!! Apart from all the moaning he does in the evenings, he has blinkers on when it comes to the plots.

He had me down working away on Saturday digging over yet another finished up bed and adding manure and seaweed to it. (It's going to be a potato bed soon).  Have I mentioned before that I have an Adaza? It's fab, making working the soil much easier, I wrote about them way back here but when we where in France recently we bought one of our very own. I highly recommend it as it takes a good bit of the sore back element out of digging. Anyway once manured and mulched the bed was ridged up like the others; this seems to be really working well for us - on our clay soil the raised beds can get rather water logged but this winter, even with all the rain and snow, the water has been draining away much easier; if you haven't tried it, I recommend giving it a go.

Once that was over and I had drunk up a herbal tea to warm the cockles of my heart, we went over to 14b, to the scary part..... This half has had some work done to it but we really needed to break the back of it. The previous owner had rotivated this plot and then covered it all in very thick black plastic and left it. In turn we have ended up with some pretty decent soil and no weeds to speak of. Once the plastic was lifted the ground below is ready to go. Here we are putting a large 'permanent bed', which will be split in 2 and filled up with strawberries and squashes. These will stay in place for 3 yrs and then swap sides back and forth every 3rd yr from then on - permanently. This sort of bed and system may have a fancy name, if it does, I don't know it but you get the idea.

Of course by happenstance I got a phone call just as the harder work was about to begin (we had marked out the bed but hadn't started digging it) and Andrew suddenly really needed to speak to Bill, haha. We ended up not getting any more done there and packed up (but between you and me, I was so happy; we went and got a coffee and a biscuit instead, yippeee!). Sometimes Ecotherapy can be going to the plots, getting frozen and then rewarding yourself by leaving!

That night was my cousin's Hen Night so I needed to go out and wine, dine and party the evening away. Something I do not do and am still recovering from even though I didn't drink much alcohol at all and was on the tap water! It was a fabulous night but on Sunday I was in no state to go back to the plot and get 'stuck in', I'd only arrived back home at 3.30am. Andrew went though (crazy fool! it was so cold) and got some of the said bed dug. I slept and dreamt of dinner time - we were having lottie stew and all food is exciting at the mintue as I'm on a strict bridesmaid dress diet!! Haha.

More tomorrow ~  we were given Jerusalem Artichokes by a friend and I have to research and learn about them and then write it down here. Ate a couple last night in the stew - gorgeous.

Friday, 1 January 2010

John Cushnie

I am shocked to say that an Northern Irish gardening guru has passed away. Always enteraining, Mr Cushnie enlivened many a Garderners' Question Time for me and it is always a joy to have an Irish voice on BBC radio, especially one so witty.

Here is the BBC news coverage of this sad event -

Oh I do love to be beside the seaside

Whitehead beach - lovely

Today at the allotment was AWFUL!! But being the good wife I am, I went. Standing there in the shed shivering with Maggie shivering in my arms and the hail stones falling down I can tell you I cursed the very existence of plots in the first place. It was just silly, the ground was frozen and unworkable and the bloody gas canister for the coffee to brew on was barely working it was so cold. It took a while but then Andrew admitted defeat and I got to go home!! So much for the 1st day of the New Year on the plots.

However, a few days ago we all went to Whitehead and gathered seaweed. There has, as we all know, been bad weather which brings up a load of seaweed onto the shores. We drove our car down a boat ramp and filled up our big bags 3 times over.

I highly recommend seaweed as a mulch, I have said it before but I do kind of like to emphasise these things - it's free and good for the crops! Just make sure you aren't near a sewer outlet and remove any plastic that may be in amongst the harvest and you are good to go. Ours doesn't even smell; it's very well rotted and shredded to small bits by the storms - perfection. 

the asparagus bed all snug under the seaweed

Hugs, I'm off to have a coffee and a snooze under my blanket x