The Allotment Wife


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Still blooming

An unexpected number of flowers in bloom for this time of year at the allotment today. Yes, I expected the Sweet Williams to be still going strong as they are:

But I did think the dahlias would have finished due to the cold night we had on Thursday, but they are still there!

Even more astonishing, a couple of the gladioli have come back into bud and we were just about to take them out as they should be over!

All very strange, but very welcome. Assuming that next spring will still turn up when we assume it will, we planted the last of the daffodil bulbs in a spare bed:

I’m pleased to say the Brussel sprouts are getting larger which is good news, so should definitely be ready for Christmas, if not earlier:

However, proving that we did have the cold snap on Thursday, the yakons are slightly damaged by frost, but that’s not a problem as the produce is only ripe when the leaves have all turned yellow anyway.

Here is today’s harvest, which includes carrots, beetroots, two lettuces, Sweet Williams, alstroemerias, dahlias and a couple of carnations:

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely Sunday.

Anne Brooke Books


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Planting Daffodils and an Aster Explosion

Much to our relief, the allotment has on the whole survived the massive amount of rainfall we had yesterday, though the pink asters have been flattened and have – in their turn – flattened the roses and the dahlias. I suspect the roses and the dahlias will survive as they’re tough as old boots – but I cut armfuls of the asters down all in one go to avoid further damage.

I have also planted the first of the spring daffodils, which is great news. There are 1.5 buckets of them still to go in after today’s planting – but we’ll add them in where we can as we go through autumn.

The harvest included a huge amount of the pink asters, roses, sweet williams, dahlias, a few sweet peas, plus one cabbage, one lettuce, a handful of French beans, carrots and a couple of sprigs of basil.

Here are the vases at home, which look most impressive!

Have a lovely Sunday.

Anne Brooke Books


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I Spy The Work …

… of the leaf cutter bee! Which is fabulous news as I was only moaning to K last night that we’ve not seen the leaf cutter bee at home for a couple of years at least, whereas we had a few of them for several years on the go before that.

Even the great Monty Don mentioned he had them in his garden last night and how thrilled he was about it – thus explaining my moan. Well, we still don’t have them at home (alas) but the great news is we have them on the allotment!

As you can see from the marvellous circular bites taken out of the rose leaves on the right of the picture above, they are busy making their homes somewhere nearby. They cause absolutely no damage to the plant and I think the patterns they make are very beautiful, so this is a wonderful addition to our plot!

However, not all visitors are good ones as it’s obvious that some evil creature is eating our poor cabbages:

Still, at least the cabbages – once we’ve removed the damaged parts – are edible, but I wasn’t anticipating on doing this much sharing with the wildlife …

However, the lettuces and yacons are surviving well:

In other news, I’m happy to say that the first of our asters are now in flower and the butterflies and bees are LOVING them:

In this perennial bed, we also have the dahlias arriving and a second showing of the roses, which is good news too:

Meanwhile, the sweet peas are still going strong:

And the sweet williams are looking happy too:

So, today, we have a harvest of one cabbage, one courgette, three beetroots, French climbing beans, sweet peas, sweet williams, asters, roses, gladioli, dahlias and a coreopsis:

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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The World’s Smallest Soft Fruit Harvest

Was expecting more sunshine today, but never mind – it’s still perfect allotment weather – ie not too hot to work! Am happy to say we have a couple more dahlias in bloom in the perennial bed:

And the gladioli are still going strong:

Meanwhile, the lovely Monty Don tells us on last night’s Gardeners’ World with great confidence that our sweet peas will now all be over and we should remove them. Um, I don’t think our sweet peas have got that memo so we are leaving them right where they are for now!

We are also very happy with the lettuce & yacon bed – as you can see, the lettuces are really hearting up now and just look amazing. I’m still on slug patrol …

You might remember that a while back we sowed some carrot & basil seeds just to get rid of them. Well, they are doing okay, much to our amazement. The carrots are obvious but we have to be careful not to weed the basil out – you can see some of them on the right of this pic (small shiny flat leaves). They smell wonderful even though they’re tiny. With a bit of luck, we might have another month of growth so will hopefully be able to pick them at some point soon:

Here is this week’s harvest – with the world’s smallest ever fruit crop, LOL! One blueberry & one loganberry. Hey ho. Still, we also have French beans, gladioli, roses(!!), sweet williams, sweet peas, dahlias and one coreopsis.

On the way home, however, I foraged more blackberries, so soft fruit honour is restored!

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Delightful dahlia and the nibbled courgette

So pleased that we have our first courgette on the allotment now – though it’s been slightly nibbled by something! Still good to have it though – as we had a late start with the courgettes due to various disasters.

In other good news, our newly planted lettuces are surviving though I picked up eight(!) dead slugs from the bed – thank goodness I put the slug pellets down and have also redone them today. Yes, I know – bad me, but I want those lettuces …

Also our French climbing beans are doing well:

I’m thrilled to say we have our first dahlia in bloom – I’m now only growing the pom-pom type ones on the plot as the other ones lose their petals too easily on the way home:

There are also more gladioli:

The lilies are stunning and smell amazing!

Plus the sweet peas are still going for it – these ones are just fabulous as the stems are incredibly long (we looked for long-stemmed plants deliberately as they look better in vases):

Today’s harvest is a beetroot, the courgette, a handful of blueberries, French beans, sweet peas, lilies, gladioli, sweet williams, coreopsis, the dahlia and one alstroemeria:

Here are the vases:

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Nearly Winter!

A definite hint of autumn in the air today – lot of torrential rain followed by bursts of welcome sunshine. Strangely we were the only ones on the allotment today – and we certainly needed wellies.

I’m pleased to say the carrots, courgette & French beans are doing well.

The courgette even has its first very small fruit which is great news (thank you to Maureen who kindly donated the plant to us!).

Last weekend, when I was (a) hugely busy and (b) depressed, K did the allotment on his own and planted up some hearting lettuce which has bravely fought off the slugs (so large!) to make it to this week:

They’ve got a while to go though! I’m also happy with the scented lilies:

And the alstroemeria and gladioli are also coming along:

Today, we have a harvest of lilies, astroemeria, Sweet Williams, sweetpeas, blueberries, a few loganberries, beetroots, French beans, carrots and one cabbage (so nearly winter then!):

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely weekend.

Anne Brooke Books


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Working Hard in the Hot Sun

Yes. Today is the hottest day in the whole world this year apparently. So how better to spend the hours between 11am and 2pm building a fruit cage in an area with NO SHADE!!

We are indeed insane. Still, we remembered to take water – so delightful when the water is hotter than you are when you drink it. Today we have finished the base which we have also been working on throughout the week. K has been putting the wood down and I’ve been building up the ground with mulch as the allotment ground isn’t straight. The result being no gaps at the bottom of the structure.

I also cut strips of ground sheet out to give to K to staple onto the roof cross-pieces so when we put the netting on, it won’t tear. After ten minutes of doing this, I took my scissors, my kneeler and the ground sheet roll to a tiny bit of shade near the hedge as it was just too darn hot in the full sun.

K has also very cleverly built a door which we fitted today.

We’re pretty pleased with it – it opens and closes and everything. Here is a picture of our now protected roof cross-pieces:

In other news, the gladioli now have their first buds on which is fabulous:

And the courgette has a flower:

And in very exciting news, the first climbing French beans have cropped:

Here are pictures of the two harvests we’ve taken during the week:

Above you can see carnations, sweet peas (such long stems!) and lilies.

And today’s harvest (above) is roses, sweet peas, coreopsis, carnations, the last of the mangetouts, the first of the amazing climbing French beans and some blackcurrants – which I’ll make into a crumble with some plums I bought.

Here are the vases at home:

Enjoy this scorching weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Fruit Cage Plans

We’re planning to put a permanent fruit cage around the whole of our soft fruit area to save having to build it each year which is a real pain. The allotment committee have said yes (thank you!) so we are now starting to build it. Here is the wood which we took a couple of goes to get from the car to the allotment:

Today K put in 4 corner posts so the structure is basically in place (sorry – forgot to take a picture of that!). It’s tough work, but it will be so worth it.

I have also done a huge amount of weeding – as everything is going crazy with the rain we’ve been having. Here are some views across our plot:

The verbascums were knocked flat in the rain so I have tied them up to give light to the other plants around them:

As you can see, the gladioli have not fitted in with our succession planting efforts as they’ve all come up at the same time:

We finally have some lilies!

And Monty Don made me grit my teeth a bit last night on Gardeners’ World when he told us we should be picking our sweet peas regularly. Ha! Not in our case!

Good news on the veggie front though as we have our first small harvest of the mangetouts:

And the French climbing beans are slowly on their way – I do love their dark stems. So elegant.

Here is the harvest of carnations, lilies, asparagus (our last cropping of this one) and some mangetouts:

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely weekend, everyone! And happy Fathers Day

Anne Brooke Books


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Brussels Sprouts & Carnations

Hot work on the allotment this morning! We have finally cleared the rest of the second bed of tulips and planted up the Brussels sprouts in their place.

I’m pleased to say the courgette gift we planted last week is still with us, hurrah!

The rhubarb continues to do well and there’s enough of it for a crumble this afternoon.

As promised, here is the picture of our sweet williams which I planted up last week – they are still with us, which is great news:

Plus the verbascum is going for it – but honestly it is NOT a great cut flower as there are just so many caterpillars and ants that come with it so my plan is to dig it up later in the year and just put it in our garden somewhere. Good display though:

We are very pleased with how the dianthus are doing and the spicy smell is just wonderful:

Today’s harvest is rhubarb, asparagus, verbascums and dianthus:

And here are the vases at home:

Enjoy the rest of Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Thinking of Spring

K took out the last of the potatoes today which are definitely enough to keep us going during the week. He then dug over that bed and I planted some of the daffodils ready for spring:

As you can see, they had already started to root so I think they’ll be fine.

Other flowers are also doing well – here are the asters:

I picked the blue ones, but left the pink ones as they’re really far too short for cut flowers – so I think when they’ve finished flowering I’ll take them home to the garden.

Speaking of pink things, the dahlias are doing much better than they did last year when we planted these ones – maybe they just needed a year to settle in …

The gladioli are also still just about hanging on:

The sunflower (which you can see in the photo above at the back) is also amazing and I’m really pleased with this pic:

We also harvested some beetroot, mangetouts and French beans – the latter of which are still battling with pesky black fly (boo!), so I gave them another good spray. Here’s hoping that does the trick.

Here is the harvest: potatoes, beetroot, French beans, the sunflower, gladioli, dahlias and the asters, plus one carnation and one rudbeckia:

And here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Body Shop at Home Independent Consultant