Saturday 28 April 2012

Cute little babies (you can eat)

I can't take any credit for the sowing of a single seed this year so far though I have been present at the buying of my Sweet Peas plants, the Broccoli and it's just happened, the Strawberries :)

Here are my lovely Sweet Peas - three different types and they are ready to get planted - eek, exciting! From left to right I have:
* 'Galaxy' which looks like they are going to be reds and pinks
* The very Royal Jubliee themed red, white and blue, 'Spencer Mix' and
* 'Flower Arranger's Delight' which is all lovely delicate pinks

Sadly I wasn't able to get my all time faves 'Cupani' which are gorgeous purple and pinks in the one petal :( Nevermind twas my own fault for not being on the ball sooner. Still, they are going to be lovely and I shall be surrounding myself with many vases of them and living up to the Holywood Goddess view I have of myself, hehehe. Got to love yourself first, right?

The Purple Sprouting Broccoli...
The Strawberries are 'Elsanta'...ummm no photo as well I can't be bothered and they are still in the car I think *blush*

So onto the babies that Andrew has so loving planted into the soil and has gently nurtured into live so far.. The Sweetcorn ('Swift') was an epic failure, we only got one out of the first attempt as they all rotted but this little fellow, grow little fighter, grow! We'll be planted tomorrow and watched closer and watered less.

The Celeriac ('Monarch') and it is doing absolutely fantastic, seedlings all over the show. Lucky I am so fond of the stuff. Seems every single seed that was sprinkled just wanted to grow :) I hate the bit when they get thinned out - I generally leave that to Andew too, wow I am such a baby!

So we're off the the plot in a moment and I will take more photos (I can't help myself) of the beds that have stuff done to them and get that list of what has been sown direct, though I won't bore you with photos of empty looking beds :)

Here's a pic of Maggie's cute wee butt to keep you going until later....

Thursday 26 April 2012

Just like a fairytale (or something)

I went to the lottie on Tuesday on my own as well! Leaving the house with Maggie I was up there by 5 or a quarter too and got to work (with thanks to Elbow on my MP3 Player) in the sun. Andrew arrived at 5.30ish and had the biggest ever smile on his face - not sure if I have ever seen him quite so happy, hahaha.

We had a picnic and a dander around the plots together, praising this and despairing at that (so many abandoned plots!). Then it was back to work. We weeded like there was no tomorrow and Andrew managed to stake the Broad Beans and prepare the broccoli bed.
Me and Maggie chilling after our picnic
We came home at 7pm and the sun was still shining. But since then I have been asleep - seriously. I went to bed on Tuesday night and woke up for Breakfast, in the knowledge that it was Wednesday and therefore my Support Worker was due - but she was ill and couldn't make it. I sat down on the sofa, a little deflated, got a little chilly and wrapped up in my blankie. I woke up at 4.30pm hahaha and even napped after dinner. Wednesday done. Ummm I seem to have lost a day :)

This morning it was the postman that made me get up (at 11am!!!) and now I am sitting here typing and half asleep. So I guess Monday and Tuesday, though big leaps forward for me have somewhat taken it out of me too. I need a wee nap....
Oooops - 5.15pm now... *blush* but I couldn't help it!!

all harvested now
I have to update you on what we're eating lots of ~
Purple Sprouting Broccoli ~ eating and freezing,
Garlic ~ stored from last year, it just never ends!
Rhubarb ~ eating it in compote form and giving loads away

Oh but the amount of blossom on every single fruit bush and tree, the spuds growing so fast and all the seeds that are germinating! It craziness, the whole place it turning wonderful shades of chartreuse, lime, dark green, yellow-green, pale green, blue-green, dead grass yellow (yes!!) and white and ooohhhhhh, it's fab! Too fab in fact - I'm going to have to show you photos over two days. Tomorrow will be cute baby plants - today? how the lottie is colouring up :D

plum blossom
Cherry blossom

my huge Echinacea coming through - bees love this
so many new raspberry canes
anyone want these - I hate them

my Primula survived it's move :)

Monday 23 April 2012

Ummm, don't compliment me, I will not be held responsible for my actions...

I got yet another compliment today on being 'inspirational' and you know what? It made it mad. Mad, like fuming - there may well have been smoke raising from the top of my noggin but I didn't have a mirror, so I'll never know. It's a weird response I can see that but I do not think of myself as inspirational, not at all, not one bit. In fact I think I fit the role of the anti-hero very well - read by blog, look at the world through my (wonky) eyes and I swear, you would do so much better doing the opposite to me at all times.

Maybe that's how I can be an inspiration - do the opposite of Carrie! :)

Well thanks to that friend I was so pent up that as soon as I read it, I was on my feet and dashing up those stairs. I got dressed (yep, I am gross - I didn't even wash) and grabbed my hiking bag, stuffed 'necessities' in it and grabbed Maggie. I didn't even ring Andrew and tell him what I was doing. I was off, earphones on and Jonie Mitchell drowning out the noise of the traffic. I didn't even have time to be nervous - I was on the way to the Lottie and I was going to do something that could actually made me feel proud, grant me a teeny tiny bit of inspiration from myself.

Let me tell you one thing that this 30 something girl knows for sure - no one can inspire you more than that reflection in the mirror or that self portrait. Look at yourself, are you happy with who you see? If not, bloody change it, do everything you can to become what you are inside. For one day show yourself what you can be.

Personally and this is very personal indeed, I went from this; when the panic did hit me sitting on the bench by the shed....

to this
licks and a little cuddle from Maggie at the end of the work.

One and half hours of solid hard work at the empty allotments and I felt... Well I don't actually know what I felt, it wasn't the usual hatred, saddness or anxitey so it was umm, weird and kind of okay.

I have a heck of a lot to tell you about the work we have done at the lotties over tha last week and all the seeds we've planted etc but for now I am knackered and want that coffee I can smell brewing and a night of tv with my 2  best friends. xx

Sunday 15 April 2012

And my birthday present goes to....

I swear this was random and I am sorry I can't give everyone a present or two. I adore you all and swear you do keep me going, keep me fighting and help me cope with life. I love learning about your own gardening adventures and enjoy so much the privilege I have of sharing my own lottie ones with you.

My random winner is....

Please do email me your home address as I have a few little gifts all wrapped up and waiting to go to you :)

Happy Birthday 24a!!!

Saturday 14 April 2012

Ummm , wee gift announced tomorrow...

I'm not really feeling that fabulous right now, I have made the right decision  for my businness, I know that, but it still hurts and I don't want to be around the internet or my phone for the rest of the night. I need time alone xxx

With love x

The Front Garden Makeover

This pretty much ruined our Easter holiday (it's taken me until now to write about it!) - so you better blasted well like this, hahaha.

Andrew was determined to get something done with the front garden to stop cheeky children and the very naughty postman from taking shortcuts across it. I must point out the oddity that is 'the strip'; the long section of grass that runs along where the streetlight is - we don't own that - the people behind us do!!

So you can see Andrew where is standing in the first photo? This is the spot that we wanted to plant our tree, it would have looked lovely and would have blended in well with the back garden, a little extension of gorgeousness over the back wall. Well it was not to be as centimetres under my dear hubby's feet was about a ton of concrete :( Poor thing spent hour after hour with a sledge hammer and a crow bar etc, but it just wasn't going to work, the poor tree, had he got a pocket dug out, would have been living in a stone box with nowhere for its roots to go - it simply wouldn't have lasted.
Plans were changed and the tree was brought forward to a more suitable place. It's going to be a real beauty, at the moment it was sweet little white flowers on almost bare stems. I say almost bare as there is gorgeous new fiery growth up top and even newer leaves that are a lovely silvery green down low. It's an 'Amelanchier Canadensis' also known as a June Berry. It was purposely picked for it's Autumn colour, but in June it has edible berries for human or birdy consumption.

So the front garden wasn't quite as simple either. First Andrew turned all the sods over and laid them neatly down again. (Under there lays concrete and stone and builders' rubbish - ggrrr). The first attempt of weed suppressing membrane wasn't great - the stuff was just too thin and obviously any weed that cared to would have just grown through it. We needed heavy duty stuff.

In amongst the prickly atmosphere I came up with a good idea :) We needed to create a channel the whole way around the edge of the garden to give the bark mulch that was to come an area where it could dip down and not just blow out onto the road. So another trip to the garden centre was required and by now I ought to point on, we were well into the 2nd day!
But! things were looking better and the new membrane is a beast :) Once down Andrew planted our lovely Hydrangeas along under the windows, they are going to be beautiful red ones and perfect for a seaside location and for stunning single blooms in vases. In the second photo above there is a BT box in the ground just where Andrew is so that had to cut out too for access. Damn thing doesn't actually look like a beautiful feature in the garden but such is life.

Hydrangea horensia Red
In clumps ever side of it and towards the road, box hedging plants were arranged in groups. The idea is that when they are older and mingling together they will be trained  and pruned into stunning Japanese Cloud formations. Loads of Pine Bark down; the smell amazing and viola! the finished new garden - now I just have to most impatiently wait for it all to grow (whilst outwardly appearing very clam and at one with nature and her slow ways).
I know, I know, alright! It's a wick photo but it's the best I have right now - at least the sun is out :)
I shall chat again later as today is our 4th Lottie Anniversary and I have a present to give to a lucky reader :)

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Bring back the bees! (with thanks to some Friends)

I love guerrilla gardening and I really ought to do more - as you know I haven't been well this year at all, but the anarchist in me wants to get there and plant wildflowers again on the dead industrial area near my house!! Who shall follow me and take up arms full of seeds!
I am passionate about local wildlife and so when Friends of the Earth contacted me about the plight of the bee I was more than happy to promote their campaign. I have seen local honey for years, the last I heard the hives had been attacked by a disease. I love bees themselves - here, this is a picture I took of a little bloke at the plots last summer; he has so sleepy in the sun, but there were kids screaming and poking at him. Well he got moved to my big blooming Echineachea and those kids haven't come back to our plot (I was firm but fair in my words!!) He's gorgeous, I hope he was okay :)

But if you are more the person who likes grown adults dressing up like bees and acting the maggot, here you are. The Friends of the Earth Bee Cause launch today, haha - great suits! Here they were 'creating a wildflower meadow in the shadow of the Royal National Theatre, London, to highlight the need for more bee-friendly habitats.' I think this may have been noticed by one or two people :)

Here's the link to whole album of fun photos -

But for all the fun - it is a serious issue, here Friends of the Earth (who I have no affiliation with other than a love of nature) got Reading University to give them a hand with some facts for you..... Here is their Press Release.
Friends of the Earth gives away 10,000 free packets of seeds to encourage bee-friendly gardens
It would cost the UK £1.8 billion every year to hand-pollinate crops without bees – 20% more than previously thought – according to new research launched today by Friends of the Earth as it unveils a new campaign to save the bee.
The new figure – which would inevitably be passed on to consumers in rising food costs – comes from research conducted by leading bee experts at the University of Reading on behalf of the environment charity as it launches The Bee Cause to call for action on bees before it’s too late.
In recent years Britain has lost over half the honey bees kept in managed hives and wild honey bees are nearly extinct. Solitary bees are declining in more than half the areas they've been studied and some species of bumblebee have been lost altogether.
Bees and other pollinating insects are responsible for most of our favourite fruit and vegetables. One reason for their decline is a shortage of natural habitats, so Friends of the Earth has outlined simple steps people can take in their gardens to help provide it:
  • Sow bee-friendly seeds and plant bee-friendly flowers in your garden such as mixed wildflowers packets, single-flowering roses, open and flat-headed flowers like verbena and yarrow and tubular-shaped flowers such as foxgloves.
  • Create a place to nest for solitary bees by piling together hollow stems and creating a ‘bee hotel’.
  • Try to provide a small amount of rainwater in a shallow birdbath or tray which honeybees need to keep their hive at the right temperature.
Friends of the Earth is calling on David Cameron to commit to a bee action plan to save bees and save the country billions of pounds in the future. To support this action and find out what else you can do to help bees, join The Bee Cause and claim a free packet of wildflower seeds at
The campaign is supported by celebrity gardener Sarah Raven. Sarah said:
“Now is the perfect time to get out in the garden and it's not hard to make a few changes to make life a bit more comfortable for bees.
“Without bees, we'd all be in serious trouble and our diet would be, without so much veg and fruit, incredibly dull. I’ve backed The Bee Cause and would encourage others to do the same.”
Paul De Zylva, Nature Campaigner at Friends of the Earth said:
“Imagine a world without strawberries, apples or even coffee – bees are about much more than honey and our food supplies will be in trouble if they bite the dust.
“Unless we halt the decline in British bees our farmers will have to rely on hand-pollination, sending food prices rocketing.
“But there are a few simple things we can all do to help – planting wildflowers in your garden or herbs in a window-box is a great way to provide food for bees and help them thrive.”

Monday 9 April 2012

the caged bird sings

I may as well have a large gaping hole in my chest were a blunt knife (or maybe a spoon) is slowly being twisted round and round in my heart. Chronic Depression and acute anxiety are constant sources of deep pain but recently life has been throwing in a handful of salt every now and then just for kicks. I haven't been well at all and though it almost kills me to write that I know I must life my life in truth.

Was I a terrible person in another life? Everyday that I have wanted to go to the Allotment over the past weeks it has been freezing or raining, or both. When I am in my own private hell, the sun is dancing in the sky and the birds are twice as chirpy; everything begging to be seen in its spring glory but I am in a world of darkness. Oh and add to that the sleepless nights and subsequent unmanageable double vision and you have the perfect cocktail for a fun filled day ahead, wishing you were dead.

So the plots are behind this year. I haven't planted a single flower seed and in reality I don't even care. I am cheating this year and anything I really want will have to bought at a comparatively ridiculous price as a plug plant. Andrew is behind in the sowing of everything else so at least we're in this together, plus any time we're down there it's a ghost town anyway. What's wrong with everyone this year? There appears to be what can only be described as an atmosphere of general malaise or 'a no one bloody well gives a hoot'.

Oh pish posh!! Backed into this corner I shall not lash out nor shall I cower. Instead I am forcing my wonky eyes to look at the fresh green that abounds and bashing my senses with the taste of fresh Purple Sprouting Broccoli, the sensual feeling of tulip petals, the songs those optimistic birds send forth and the smell of cut grass.

On the 14th of this month we shall be celebrating the arrival of that confirmation letter through the letter box, telling us we owned a brand spanking new allotment plot. That was 2008! so it will be our 4th Birthday on Saturday. To cheer myself up I am giving a wee present to a lovely reader, a person picked at random from amongst those who leave a little message here this week. I have been so blessed by the support and encouragement, the friendships and the fun exchanges I have had since starting this blog and I would love to take the time to say a huge and hearty THANK YOU to every single person who has ever glanced at this, my humble home in the online community.

And on top of that the front garden was started over this Easter Break so I do have much to show and tell ....

later my lovelies!