Friday, 31 May 2013

Survival through Expression

I wrote this piece for one of the best websites on the internet and it was posted yesterday. I feel so honoured so have been allowed to write my story and have it so well received by the world. I have been rather ill and so I am sorry, things are going nuts (in a good way) with the garden and the allotment and I promise to get you all caught up as soon as I can. But for now I thought maybe you'd like to learn a little more about me as a person, not simply an allotmenteer :)

Please do click the link -
I don't want to post the whole piece here as Amanda (at Kind Over Matter) deserves all the visitors and she has been so incredibly kind to me.

Here's one thing that has been going on in the garden - we got a Chimenea and we love it! There are also new plants and art! Oh boy :D
Summer feels like it's coming
Love all the little tea lights we have (the tall ones in the background are Jo Alexander ones) in the garden, the perfect atmosphere for friends over, drinking wine and sitting round the fire :)

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Start of a Beanstalk

Fabulous goings on at the allotments 2 weekends ago. I do apologise for my tardiness in writing, sadly depression and such things do take one's concentration and motivation away and for me the lottie hasn't been on my mind. I do care, don't get me wrong but with my mental health difficulties I do feel, well nothing a lot of the time about everything - numb; that's a good word for it.

So here is some happiness on the plots that I photographed but never felt strong enough to post....


Wow, plot 24a is looking good. We are so glad we changed it from a plot with 8 planting areas to one with 4, it's cleaner and easier to look after - love it! Can't wait to get the gravel down to make the path safer and less slippy - *shakes fist at the clay and lack of good drainage in the field*. Here we see (far bed, left to right) Peas, Broad Beans and Garlic. And in the closer bed there are Spuds which are now coming through - wow I am so far behind with blogging - sorry.

my favourite photo this year - just look how it wants to grow and get itself strong and tall!
There are blossoms on all the fruit trees and the sweet peas are planted, plus we have lots more seedlings in the back garden hardening off and some sown direct but I'll talk about them another time. For now our attentions are focused on finding some well priced gravel to put down as a path on 24a and to get rid of the weeds growing in the patio area and the paths in 14b. I've heard vinegar might be good - I'll try it before I try any more drastic measures - have to try and keep the place safe for Maggie the wonder Dog.


A load of produce to take home (but we haven't eaten it yet) Purple Sprouting Broccoli, yes it's been attacked by all the pests of the day but we were just happy it survived at all. There is loads more :)

Chives galore and a really healthy artichoke plant...

A before and after of the flower bed - I worked so darn hard on this!!
Really need to sort out that 14b sign *blush*

Gooseberries are coming, rhubarb is still giving and the summer raspberries have settled into their new home happily.

Love and Hugs

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Some happy photos of the back garden

It has been sunny now and then this week, albeit with frequent hail showers and freezing winds; so when the sun has been shining I've been out and taking time enjoy it a little. Here are just a few little snap shots of the main patio area in the warmth :)

Apart from that, there has been much work going on at the lottie and maybe on Friday I will be able to update you; I've been asleep since my first craft fair of the year last Saturday, it was a bit of a strain. Good fun at the time but I never seem to realise just how much I have to push to get through it, depression sucks :(

Anyway a wee peek at the garden ...

 We have tided up since these were taken; all the daffs have been removed and some of those weeds in the patio too, haha. We decided next year all the bulbs will be in pots as it seemed to be too much for the cherry tree to be surrounded by so much. We've also cut some the bottom branches off the tree to try and give it a better chance.
 We still have cold frame full of goodies and even had an amazing side salad with the young tasty leaves of our baby lettuce plants - yum! 'Cut and come again' is so cool :)

The sound of water in a garden is an absolute must, I just adore this well feature Andrew hand made :)
Look at that green and blue, oh please can we have more. This is me looking up from sitting on the ground to the really rather healthy pleached beech hedging and the tea room beyond.

I'll write soon about the lottie

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Succulent Seedlings

As I mentioned in my last post we have some great looking seedlings all ready to go into the ground this weekend - finally!
Apart from the Sweet Peas which came from a lovely friend, everything shown here (or sown here, hehe) has come from and I must say I am very  impressed with the germination rate of everything.

 * Pea 'Kelvendon Wonder'
A really popular pea variety that we have grown for the last years - oh it tastes so good and each plant gives loads of pods, each pod gives about 6 juicy peas each! It's main crop, dwarf  variety and we tend to plant some in succession through out the summer so we are never lacking :)
Maggie also likes to cheekily eat this straight off the plant - they hang at just the right height for her, gggrrrr, hahaha.

 * Broad Bean 'Aquadulce Claudia'
Okay so we really adore this bean variety and it is a must on our allotment;  haven't grown it?! you must. It is the easiest thing to grow ever, so hardy that you can sow the seeds in winter if you want (if your plot isn't swimming like ours does) so tasty you'll fall in love, so healthy and packed with goodness you will feel good just holding the packet :) You get lots of beans from these and we even get gluts so it's great that I can tell you from experience...these freeze really well :)

 * Rainbow Chard (sometimes called Swiss Chard)
Funny how colour can sometime affect how you feel about a vegetable - normal chard, blugh, it's okay. Rainbow Chard is fantabulous to look at with the sunlight streaming through it, I would have it in my garden as pretty plant :) It wilts fast but grab it take it home and cook it and all the goodness of a spinach is there on your plate but in yellows, pinks, purples - it makes me happy just thinking about it. 

 * Beetroot - 2 types 'Boltardy' and Yellow Cylindrical
Until I had real beetroot and not the vile stuff pickled and brought out at Christmas, I thought it was disgusting, evil stuff.  Now, I adore it. Roasted in the oven or on the barbecue you will find the Gault's eating beetroot all summer long. Hint - HP sauce is amazing on it!!! We always grow Boltardy and again in succession as these babies reach adulthood in 3 months so you can have loads and write Beetroot into a search engine and you will see why you want loads for yourself and your family - it's so incredibly good for you! (P.S. the clue is in the name - they don't bolt easily)

I can't remember if we grew Yellow ones last year or the year before but there isn't much difference in taste, even the striped white and purple ones taste the same; it simply makes that big plate of salad out on the patio look even better. 

 * Leek 'Musselburgh'
This had been our fail safe, go to choice for leeks since we started growing our own. They are really hardy and overwinter well even in our soil, they aren't too strong tasting and it gives you such joy to harvest something from the plot in the darkness of those winter days and they don't need lifted all at once either so not glut worries. Think soul warming soups, hearty and filling risotto - yummy. As someone intolerant to onions these have saved the day in our kitchen and we always have a load every year :)

And lastly the Sweet Pea 'Cupani'
These are my favourite sweet pea ever and I wish I could remember to plant in successions for even more throughout the summer but I never do. They are a fabulous red/pink and purple and are stunning. Butterflies like them and I generally have an arch way of them and an obelisk.

I realise that excited as I am you are probably really rather bored now; like looking at a million photos of someones new baby. Yes very cute, they look so healthy, you're happy for me, what adorable green leaves..... I shall leave it for now, but there are more seedlings and photos to be taken, so until next time....


Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A New Dawn

I've been sick, very sick for the past 2/3 days and the world has seemed like such a dark and dead place to me. I didn't sleep well last night; even though I took my medication, I was awake at 5am and up at 5.30am. Porridge was made as usual and Maggie merely grunted and snuggled farther into her bed - I sat quietly in the living room with the blinds open and watched the blackness fade away...

To watch a sun rise and see a sight such as this as the light grows stronger has done more for me and any shopping trip or great meal has done in a very long time. It was all the more potent as it felt like this beautiful morning was forming just for me. I highly recommend a sunrise for the soul xx

So today doesn't suck :) And I have already showered, washed Maggie, vacuumed the house, researched new furniture, read the news and had coffee with my hubby. I also ventured into the garden and spent some quality time merely looking and feeling the spring penetrate my skin and give me a little serving of 'happy'. See, our seedlings are doing so fine and the sight of them have brought unimagined joy to my heart, joy I haven't dared dream off; all seems okay with the world - I am still ill do not get me wrong, but I feel I can cope today.

What does a new seedling say to you?
To me  is shouts, it yells HOPE! Joy, optimism,  positive thoughts of the future,  picnics, chasing Maggie round the garden, eating food so fresh it's still warm from the sun, plates full of colour and a sense of being grounded and in touch with what actually matters in life.

I have so many photos of our new seedlings but I am so fortunate to have my best friend coming round to the house for coffee and a good old chin wag; I'll show them all tomorrow with their proper names xxx

And, with apologies to Ms Nina Simone -

Birds flying high you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Seedlings growin' strong you know how  I feel....

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good