Thursday 23 July 2015

The Head Gardener

Today* I have lived inside a big dizzily rain cloud, metaphorically and meteorologically. It's not been fun. At these low light levels I'm like a little Livingstone daisy and stay all shut up, my colours hidden away just as those outside are so dulled and touched with grey.

So to shake me out of this terrible funk I thought I'd talk about one of my favourite subjects - my hubby.

First off I'd like to once again shout from the shed rooftop that he has done everything on the plots this year. As I said in the last post, I have only started to join in recently.

Well, let's just take a look at what he did on Sunday at the Lottie. If you look again at his cosy hideaway area in the last post, you'll notice how happy I am sitting there. But really, its a shame you can't see how happy he is, at this point, at my happiness. I should have taken a photo of that moment from my point of view.

Then as I headed over to 14b, he got stuck into the work by leaving again to take lots of rubbish to the dump. On his return he planted my zinnas out, harvested the extra broccoli sprouts and weeded the runner beans...
weeding the runner beans - ~ an allotment blog

Onto to the apple trees which he espaliered like a pro. Lots of pruning, shaping and tying branches to wires and bamboo poles. Check out this RHS advice page if you are interested in doing the same to your apple or pear trees, it's a superb way to grow them in restricted spaces.

The bottom photo is one I pilfered off his Instagram account - it's of the other apple tree (the one behind him in my photo) but they were pretty much in the same condition so it gives you an idea of the shape he was able to get them into. Each tree has one apple - one each for us, shhh don't tell Maggie!
apple pruning - ~ an allotment blog
espaliered apple tree- ~ an allotment blog

But on top of everything, he encouraged me to go, made me dinner afterwards and praised my efforts. In the evening he went back (whilst I showered and yoga-ed), to plant out some more baby leeks and to use his petrol strimmer and make the place all tidier. He had his mum round to gather a harvest for her too :)

He's just all kinds of fabulous, sometimes it makes me really sick, haha.

Hugs and Love

P.S. This is what Maggie did for most of the afternoon, supervising is such tiring work...
Maggie out in the wild :)

* (written on Tuesday - the weather is nicer today)

Sunday 19 July 2015

My timing isn't so great

The stars aligned today, the medication kicked in, that fabled golden orb shone in the blue sky and I felt good.

Maggie on the bench - '' ~ an allotment blog

I saw the bench, my cosy hideaway and couldn't help but giggle, it's perfect. Rustic, handmade by the man I love, with a gravelled area and with two healthy climbers to help shelter me. Maggie of course had to nosey but funnily wasn't so interested in it than the exceptionally tiny dog that just wandered on to the plot :)

I got to work and suddenly (because today I care about such things) I noticed half finished jobs and the real state of my flower beds, which I have simply been ignoring bar some weeding. Oh they were meant to be my project this year but so far I haven't had the best 2015 and boy does it show here. Half the lovely seeds I ordered haven't been planted and I never did get round to buying another permanent flowering bushy plant.

rose - '' ~ an allotment blog

I start with the roses. Dead heading is pleasant and fragrant but then the black-spot is more noticeable and I realise why Andrew bought me a pair of secateurs a few months ago and encouraged me to garden.....most of both rose bushes need cut away, including lots of sweet buds too. The plants look great, well, healthy at least once I'm done; I'm scratched and bleeding (which is only fair after their neglect) and set an intention to look after them better.

Then on Monty's advice I cut back the two oriental poppies that I missed in their fabulous moment of flowering and cross my fingers that they may come back for a little flush again. It's so weird to think about it, I didn't really do anything this year, I simply couldn't care less and not one seed or bulb has been planted by my own fair hand. It has been all about the therapy of simply being outside in the air and getting my hands dirty weeding and creating pathways. I really miss the sunflowers this year :(

oriental poppy, sort of - '' ~ an allotment blog

I finished the evil weeding between the two flower beds and we plan to get a ton more gravel delivered soon so we can have proper paths for once on 14b. It looks ok and though I'm tired (Andrew so lovingly telling me I look like I am about to collapse - thanks) I want to do more,  put my mark on the place but it's time to go. It's bloody rotten timing as I actually want to be here and get suck in, not something I can admit to that often. Plus the very first cosmos and dahlia are blooming, both are white and I think of new hope, new beginnings.

new buds - '' ~ an allotment blog

A quick harvest of some broccoli, great broad beans and 4 mangetout, a sit down on the new bench and then off we go. I realise *blush* this post is completely about me but I shall chronicle as much of Andrew's day as I can in the next post.

a little harvest - '' ~ an allotment blog

And then when I came home I had a panic attack thinking of how utterly crap I have been and am. I was a mess whilst Andrew calmly cooked some dinner (with our wee harvest). But later, once I'd settled a bit I read my own 'Allotmentherapy' essay and rediscovered the reason I go there at all, seems I do talk sense sometimes :)

Love and hugs

P.S. Our Instagram accounts are great for on the spot photos which are sometimes better than these I put up!

Monday 6 July 2015

Sunday allotment live!

My smartphone, like most I would suppose, has a feature were you can write yourself notes, reminders or indeed long pieces of prose. For today's blog I thought I would share a couple of hours on the aplotment (wow, I haven't called our plot that in years!) as it was happening...

3.00 pm
Thank goodness we're here I really thought it wouldn't happen today with all that rain. I've just got Maggie all set up on her running lead and am now admiring the cosy hideaway corner Andrew has been building. At the moment he's putting up netting around the trellis for more of a wind break. Time I got my weeding stuff together.

3.15 pm
I'm alone on the plots for a wee while whilst Andrew runs and gets his drill, some netting and hopefully some marigolds for me. I told him I could do this on my own but I'm struggling, someone else is in the field, I can hear them but not see them. Thing is, what if they come over for a chat - I'd die, dead on the wet grass, dead, that's how strong my anxiety levels are right now.

It's rained heavy most of the day and the ground is really squelchy. I can also hear the boats on the Lough as the Tall Ships leave Belfast. Oh and I just saw that wren Andrew's been harping on about - it's nesting in our compost heap.
Big deep breaths.

eminder on shed door - - an allotment blog

I really miss my music at these times. I need to get one of those wee mp3 players and wireless headphones...

3.40 pm
Andrew's back and instantly it rains. Maggie has gone bonkers, she hates the rain yet she will not stay in the shed and goes for a run around - who is this imposter dog?! ....We three are now locked in the shed, not exactly fearing for our lives but it is a downpour of quite epic proportions.
shelter in shed- - an allotment blog

Now we can but stare out at the plot and the things we so want to do. Andrew wasn't able to get netting for over the blueberries and gooseberries and it's just as well as there wouldn't be time to do anything with it. There are puddles forming all over and I only brought one glove in here with me, why, Carrie??

3.50 pm
Ventured out again. Oh goodness that other glove is sodden, gross.
glove on post to dry out- - an allotment blog

4.00 pm
Typical, it's gotten sunny again and the fleece is off; that's Northern Ireland for you. I've just hoed around the peas - our compost had a lot of seedlings in it - oops. It goes against everything I stand for, I get very weed by the root and turf it, but boy using a hoe instead, well, it was extremely satisfying and the area looks great in no time at all.

Andrew is planting the celeriac babies, they're really healthy looking and will love all this crazy apoplectic rain.
planting celeriac - - an allotment blog

4.20 pm
Andrew is just thinning out the kohl rabi and pak choi (which are being attacked by flea beetles). We need to move the netting from over the kale and calabrese to over them. One line of garlic must be lifted to facilitate this - eek!! our first harvest of the season :)
calabrese, pak choi and kale - - an allotment blog

first garlic lifted - - an allotment blog

4.45 pm
All paths are weed free (for now, boy that was 3 trug loads! Now to more glorious weeding and removal of dead leaves in the newly released brassica area :)

5.00 pm
I run around tidying up my stuff, taking some pictures and throwing in a few yoga moves. I'm desperately trying to find any more gooseberry sawfly too, darn things, I hate them! You can really tell I am nought but the undergardener here :) But awesome work have been achieved between us.

Parsnips, carrots and beetroot doing good - turnips have bolted; pink roses and poppies; the asparagus fronds are so pretty
Proud I came, glad I got over the panic attacks but...time to go home :)

Hugs and love

Saturday 4 July 2015

Obadiah, is that you?!

My skin smells of the earth and my body aches a little in that enjoyable 'I've worked hard' way. A great days work was achieved on the allotment today and I am blissfully sleepy now as it is starting to get dark. Maybe I should have a shower and shed the sweat and pollen from my body and hair, but this sofa is so comfy and the blanket is hugging my tired self. I don't think I could make it up those stairs.

There is a soft smile across my face as I think of Andrew, still working there. He's building me a hide away with screening and climbers so I can feel more comfortable over there. It seems to give him endless joy, trying to make me happy and also woodworking outside.

His efforts are so greatly appreciated and the peaceful corner is coming on so well. - an allotment blog

I cut away our musty old diseased honeysuckle today. It was a lot of work but yet so rewarding. That poor plant was only a tiny baby when we put it in the ground to grow up the fencing. But it never did well and was too restricted, prone to all diseases and took up much desired room. Yes it was vigorous and had many flower clusters but each one was infested with aphids and had begun to smell. The rose is going too - it's got the worst, most vicious thorns.  But, on to newer and better things! - an allotment blog

May I just also point out the Felco secateurs are fantastic, if you don't have a pair you need to make hints for birthday or Christmas! - an allotment blog

The weather has confused our little turnips and at home, our rocket, as they have bolted. However everything else seems happy and those things most recently planted have settled in well. Naturally the weeds are continuously happy and procreating like crazy but I have a better handle on it now. Well I keep telling myself that! - an allotment blog

Fun facts ~

* I stopped and dropped everything, because I felt the strong urge to do yoga
* My jeans finally ripped, in doing said yoga, haha!

* We meet up with our frog friend Obadiah who had managed to get himself into a little bottle - he got out again. He seems to like the slate garden and compost area a lot. - an allotment blog

Love and hugs