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Flowers And Friends

Posted Aug 04 2011 12:00am
Apart from the garden my other passion has been working on the allotment.I have been up there a few times over the past few weeks on my annual leave.The plants are growing well with my extra attention.
I like the quietness of the plot.The wind blows through the trees.The birds sing and chatter at me if they are disturbed.The bees buzz in the air.Butterflies perform aerial ballets above the plants.I usually take my camera and sometimes when I'm not weeding or watering I will be photographing.I planted some summer flowering bulbs to add some colour.My Gladiolus have flowered up in front of the shed between my Asiatic Lily's. I found an old packet of Sunflower seeds.I sowed about a dozen seeds between my Carrot rows in the raised bed.It is made from recycled wood that I got when I first got the plot.I have tasted the Italian Carrots from the plot and they were delicious.They were so sweet when cooked,unlike the usual supermarket ones.They get uniformity of size and colour,but lose the flavour.My Carrots will not win any beauty competitions but they taste good.This Sunflower is the first one in flower.It will provide the birds with some extra food in the winter when it gets tougher.
The Sunflower growing between the Carrots, and the Borage.I find the idea of growing edible plants and flowers appealing.It reminds me of traditional Cottage gardening which used to be grow your own food near your door.You grew what you liked to supplement your diet with. I have picked a few Blackberry's too from the hedgerow that runs along the allotment lane.I love these in pies with Apples.Apple and Blackberry pie with custard is heavenly.Very few people seem to forage now for wild fruit.August is a prime time to get to hedgerows where the brambles grow and collect some.Eating them as you pick them and getting stained fingers is a memory from childhood. The pollinating insects are out in force too at the allotment.They love the idea of beautiful flowers growing besides vegetables.This is the salmon coloured Gladiolus at close range. My Hexagonal planter by the shed has the fiery coloured Gallardia flowers growing in it, and a brown leaved plant.I need to get some watercrystals to try to keep moisture in the pot as it drys out.I water it and these Blanket flowers seem to revive. One of my favourite photos was this Bee hanging upside down to get to the Borage.I planted this to attract pollinators.The Blue flowers are nice in ice cubes for summer drinks.For me part of the summer is the buzzing noise you get around a Borage plant from all the Bees. A Butterfly alights on one of my compost bags.I bought these 220 litre green refuse sacks for starting compost off.I will need to cover the tops to exclude light and then keep turning it.I'm hoping for some usable compost to dig back into the allotment soil.The winter plan will be to get loads of manure from a local stables and to dig it into the soil.Some parts have nice soil like chocolate brownie mix.Other parts are solid clay and dust.Home made compost and the manure will improve the soil year on year.Digging it over has already improved it over the past three growing seasons. Another beautiful flower belongs to my Scarlett Emperor Runner Beans.They have had a slow start to growing but now have entwined themselves up along the wigwam supports.I think these plants were grown just for their scarlet flowers before.I think the flowers look beautiful. My first year if growing Sweetcorn has not been as successfull as I would have liked.I grew the plants from seeds in the Greenhouse and had healthy vigorous plants.Putting them in the ground shocked them, and the hot dry weather has stopped them growing as they should.However a few of the plants have the corns on them.Fingers crossed we get to eat a few Sweet corns.They need plenty of manure, and water.Next year we may try growing these in the garden in large grow bags.I could control the watering then.As I work full time its not always possible to get to the plot to water thirsty plants. Some of the plants that are thriving are the Courgettes (not pictured),and the Pumpkins Atlantic Giant.I have never grown Pumpkins before.I want to grow them for two reasons.One is to have a Pumpkin to carve for Halloween,and the other is to make Pumpkin soup.I made Pumpkin soup first in Australia where it is readily available most of the year.In the UK the Pumpkins appear around middle of October for a few weeks.This Pumpkin is about the size of a bowling ball.There are five smaller Pumpkins growing steadily. The Unicorn Cabbages seem to be thriving under the netting.The metal supports came from the Spring Flower show.They have been excellent in keeping the cage intact.Butterfly and Pigeon damage has been minimal.These are growing nice hearts in the centre of the leaves.The French Marigolds look nice but do not appear to stop White fly infesting the plot.I have been trying organic pest control.My allotment plot is surrounded by wild areas on two sides.I have used no sprays,chemicals,or any slug pellets.There were hundreds of Ladybirds,Spiders,Hover flys, Butterflys,flys,and wasps.I think that the healthy insect life reflects my organic approach to the plot. This was the plot yesterday with all the plants growing nicely in the allotted beds.I kept imaging a green quilt with different beds having different plant shapes and textures.There have been successes,but also failures.
The biggest problem has been Onions,and Garlic.I checked yesterday and found signs of White Rot on the bottom of the Onions I dug up. This has inhibited the growth of the roots below,and the leaves above.On Gardeners World Monty Don said if you had White rot in the soil you could not grow onions there ever again.The strange thing is some people have grown big onions.My plot neighbour burnt all his because the white rot set in.I wander if the soil is infected but not across the whole allotment?I wander if the the white rot has effected the Garlic,and why they have only grown slightly from when I planted the cloves in March. The rainclouds were gathering at the plot as i watered and weeded.A thunder storm raged behind the Sunflowers.This was the end of the day at the allotment.I had taken a few photos of what was happening on Wednesday.
The allotment is much wilder than the garden.If you leave it too long the weeds return and nature exerts her will on you.Growing your own Vegetables from seeds is one of the most satisfying things you can do.It connects you to the earth and the rhythm of the seasons.Going up there is always a pleasure in the summer.
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