End of Month View – June 2018

I am a complete allotment newbie, so I am learning on the job with the help,of reading other allotment blogs.  If you are new to my blog (hello and welcome!) I am ‘caretaking’ a half plot allotment for an elderly lady who can no longer manage it herself but she is loathe to relinquish it.  She is happy for others to look after it, she pays the allotment fee and it’s mine to do what I wish.  I am on the waiting list so will only manage it until I have my own.  It was terribly neglected and since April we have had almost no rain so the ground is rock hard and it’s been very difficult to get it looking the smallest bit cared for.

The plot at the end of April (when I took it on)

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The plot as it looks today (1 July 2018)

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I have decided to work a few beds and keep the rest tidy.  I’m loathe to spend lots of effort only to have to walk away in March, which is when I believe I’ll have a plot, the waiting list is very short and they have recently released 10 half plots so I’m almost at the top of the list.

The pumpkin patch 

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The plot consists of a few little square beds and I have used one at the back for some pumpkin plants I was given by a neighbour allotmenteer.  They were initially quite spindly but had plumped up a bit after a few weeks and we’re ready to plant.  They now have flower buds so fingers crossed I will have at least one pumpkin for Halloween.  I have left all the dead grass hoping it might work as a mulch.

Flower patch bed

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Not having a garden anymore (😢😢) my main plan is to grow flowers on the allotment.  As I’ve already said I’m not going to invest anything this year, but did buy  a few summer bulbs.  All the gladioli are coming up, which I am delighted to see and should be a bright orange/red flower.  The lilies have struggled and I’m not sure why, but there is still hope they will be late flowering.  When moving the dahlias into my daughter’s garden I inadvertently broke off a shoot, which I put in a small pot and am happy to say within a couple of months it is looking good so now lives in the allotment flower bed.   I think you always have to have sunflowers on an allotment and I raised four plants from seed, planted them when about a foot high.  The snails had two of them before I had to breathe.  The other two I protected with a thick bed of slug wool, which I also put around the dahlia.

The vegetable patch bed

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I had to think carefully what vegetables I could grow in one bed and came up with sweetcorn, sugar snap peas, pak choi and  mangetout peas.  The sweetcorn is coming on great guns loving the sunshine.  I have a few flowers on the mangetout but something has nibbled the tops off the sugar snap.  I’ve strategically placed a few bird deflectors so hope they may get a little protection now.

Odds and ends

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Do you sometimes buy seed packets without any idea as to where you are going to plant them?  I did this with a packet of Thompson & Morgan climbers.   Having started them off in seed trays, they are now happily growing at the back of the vegetable bed.  From left to right they are Morning Glory ‘Grandpa Otts’  Cardinal Climber and Spanish Flag which has a lovely red flower and is great for cutting, it should really be in the flower patch.

And finally…what is this white flower?

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As time goes by it is clearer to see the plan of the plot and where various beds and paths are.  At the front of the plot there is a triangle space which I am keeping tidy with strimmer.  I’m not sure what grew in there but there is the odd verbena bonariensis and a shrub with the most beautiful white flowers.  I don’t recognise it and neither does my PlantSnap app.  It has very woody stems and initially before they flowered I thought it might be a chrysanthemum.   Do you know what it is?

UPDATE:  I’ve been informed it is Achellia ‘white pearl’.

As always, a big thank you to Helen at The Patient Gardener who hosts this monthly meme.  Please pay her a visit and take a look at her wonderful garden.

End of Month View – May 2018

They say better late than never! No longer the owner of a garden I was feeling a little melancholy, to say the least, when reading the links to the various blog posts for the End of Month View. Whilst looking at the photos of other gardeners flowers and plants I realised there is no reason why I can’t still join in even though I no longer have a garden.

I left my lovely garden in Worthing at the end of April, moved to Emsworth and now only have a patio, however I do have an overgrown bindweed choked allotment that I offered to look after whilst waiting for my own to come up.

It is only half a plot, owned by an elderly lady who is loathe to relinquish it (naughty!) and advertised for someone to look after it. Whilst not ideal, it is something to do until either I am offered another plot or I can persuade the lady to pass it on to me, which can be done apparently if we send joint letters to the council. It is so overgrown, but has lots of wonderful fruit bushes. I am making myself work on one area at a time and not spend any money!

The other gardening project I am involved with, (again not mine!) is helping my daughter and son in law renovate their large overgrown garden. I have written several blog posts on our progress titled Restoring a Hampshire Garden. They are both still learning and I have given them an idea of what to plant and in what positions. Also I brought a lot of plants from my old garden for transplanting into theirs. There were a number of precious plants with memories that I was not going to leave behind. Last week we planted the grasses, including a rather beautiful Pennisetum ‘Karley rose’, Penstemon ‘Husker Red’, Dahlia ‘Preference’ and a bright pink echinacea.

As for my own personal gardening, I am getting into container gardening in a big way! A couple of years ago I completed an online course for container gardening with Learning With Experts, and my tutor was the inspirational Harriet Rycroft. With extra words of advice from Harriet plus the likes via Instagram I have been busy planting my own container garden just outside my patio doors.

The patio faces south, and is bathed in sunshine from early morning to late afternoon. There are a lot of trees around and I have had an issue with squirrels digging up the pots. One morning I came out to find all my freesia bulbs missing. Magpies and pigeons are also a nuisance.

Turning to good old Google, I read that chilli flakes and especially Birds Eye chillies were an excellent deterrent. I added gravel around the base of all plants and gave them a liberal sprinkling of chillies and so far, fingers crossed, the squirrels have kept a wide birth.

Talking about trees, there is a fabulous Monterey Cyprus opposite the entrance drive which has a tree preservation order. It does block out the sun for a couple of hours mid day, but that’s no great loss, a little shade can be a good thing.

There you go, that is my End of Month View, and although I no longer have my own garden I am keeping very busy. It is very hot working on the allotment during the day so I am trying to go early evening and soon hope to be able to post some photos of it’s progress, but it’s a bit daunting and sometimes soul destroying. The bind weed grows overnight, apart from pulling it up daily I can’t really do anything constructive until the autumn and the slugs have eaten all my sunflowers – but that’s gardening for you!