The Allotment Wife


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Roses galore

Beautiful morning at the allotment today and the roses look amazing:

They smell pretty good too and it’s great to have our first proper rose harvest today.

The lilies are also doing well, though still no sign of flowers!

Whilst there today, I filled up the remaining space in the gladioli bed so there’s no more to plant now. I also completed our perennial bed by adding a couple of rows of echinaceas, which should give us some late summer colour:

In general the allotment is looking good and the cabbages haven’t yet been eaten which is positive news!

Today we have a harvest of roses, one gazania, sweet williams, asparagus and mangetouts:

Here are the vases at home:

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Mangetouts and our first rose

We’ve had a lovely break in the Lake District this week – amazing gardens and views! – and are back on the allotment today. Much to our surprise we have our first mangetouts crop:

And the joint mangetout/gladioli bed is looking pretty good:

We also have our first rose, which is astonishing!

The asparagus is doing pretty well too:

On the other hand, the French climbing beans do seem to be struggling a bit but they are producing some flowers which is positive:

The fruit cage is looking good and the early blueberry even has some fruit on it:

The rhubarb has also benefitted from our absence:

Much to my amazement there are no lily beetles on the lilies this week, but perhaps they are hiding?…

In the perennial bed, something has definitely chewed the gerberas but appears to be leaving the gazanias alone for the moment:

And the nasturtium seeds I scattered around the plot vaguely a couple of weeks ago are starting to grow!

Whilst there, we did a bit of hoeing and strimming down the weeds, plus we took the last two half-beds of daffodils out so will store those for next year.

This week’s harvest is mangetouts, asparagus, rhubarb, sweet williams and one rose:

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Gazanias and gladioli

Gorgeous weather at the allotment this morning and not too hot for working either, which was great. I planted up a couple of rows of gazanias (Red Shades) in the perennial bed for summer colour – I have more of these which I will plant up at home in the front garden.

The lilies are doing well though I did spray them to deter the dreaded lily beetle!

And, thankfully, our second planting of sweet peas next to the shed is still surviving:

We are happy with the rhubarb but will let it grow for a while longer before we do any harvesting to give it time to gather strength:

The mangetouts are looking okay, and – as ever! – the gladioli are going for it. Nothing will ever destroy that flower, honestly! I planted up another couple of rows whilst there, so only another row to go before I’ve filled that bed:

In the week since we’ve last seen the allotment, the asparagus has grown so that’s a nice starter for tonight’s dinner:

The French climbing beans are still happy and we even have a flower on one of them which is great news:

And the beetroot and shallot bed is looking good:

So, only a small harvest of the asparagus this week, though we have dug out the rest of the tulip bulbs to take home for planting:

Whilst there, we also did a jolly good water round to give everything a drink – always a worthwhile task!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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First Beetroot and More Daffodils

Lovely day on the allotment today though the wind is still a bit chilly. The daffodils continue to look good with more to come:

The tiny tulips are also looking quite bright and are just about long enough to cut this time!

I’m happy to say that the mangetouts we planted up last week seem to have survived the mice and I’ve added some more slug doom to them while they are at this vulnerable stage:

I’m a bit worried about the sweet peas next to the shed though, which look very unhappy indeed. I’ve given them a water and am hoping for the best. At least the rhubarb is doing okay:

I have put some sunflower seeds in around the tulip bed as we’re not planning to use that for anything in particular, and the tulips will be over by the time the sunflowers arrive – if they do! We have also planted up our first row of beetroot. As ever, we are using a non-red variety so it doesn’t stain when you handle it. Tastes exactly the same though.

Here is the harvest of daffodils and tulips:

And here they are at home:

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books


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Planting for Spring

There are many more daffodils on the allotment this week, which is lovely news:

The little narcissi next to the shed door are also out, which is very cute – I have to be careful when opening the door, but they seem to survive:

We also have our first tulip but, annoyingly, it’s one of the small ones (way too small for cutting!!) that I thought I’d got rid of last year. Oh well, the splash of colour is still very welcome:

This morning, we put up the stakes and netting for the mangetouts and have planted them out. We used most of them, but put the remainder on the allotment bench for other people if they can make use of them. And, yes, I put slug pellets down to protect them. Here’s hoping the mice don’t eat them all first though!

I also took the opportunity to plant up three rows of gladioli for the first of our successional planting. I’ll do the next few rows in a couple of weeks or so to elongate the season:

I’m pleased to say the rhubarb has come on well in the past week and is looking quite happy:

I even had time for a bit of a sit-down and admiring the roses, which was nice:

So here is the daffodil harvest:

And here are the vases at home:

Have a good week, everyone, and let’s hope that the world news gets better very soon.

Anne Brooke Books


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Planting and Mending

Sunny but very chilly on the allotment today, especially in the wind. We took some mangetouts and sweet peas which we bought at a garden centre yesterday to the allotment for planting out – there’s no space yet for the mangetouts while the daffodils are still going strong so we ended up bringing those back home. But I did plant up the sweet peas next to the netting on the shed to give them something to climb up:

There were some sweet peas spare so, as I hate throwing them into the compost, I planted them up in the perennial bed so they can scramble across there later on if they so wish:

The daffodils are still sparse but doing their best:

And the tulip bed is coming along nicely too:

The rhubarb is slow but sure:

K also finished off mending the raised bed he was working on and so we levelled out and raked the soil when that was done. There’s nothing more beautiful than raked soil in a raised bed, to my mind!

Here is the daffodil harvest:

And here they are in the vase at home:

I hope you have a good week, and let’s hope that things in the world are better soon.

Anne Brooke Books


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The Productive Plot

Loads of gladioli now in bloom at the allotment today – and more to come too, which is fabulous.

We also have one remaining scented lily – I do love the colour of these ones:

And the sweet peas have gone insane! I think they are taking over the whole shed now.

Meanwhile, the French climbing beans are really laden with beans so that’s brilliant.

We are also happy with the cabbage bed which is quietly doing its thing:

Plus we have two more courgettes on Maureen’s plant:

Here is today’s harvest, which is French beans, three mangetouts from the second mangetout sewing this year, one courgette, some beetroot, one cabbage, a handful of blueberries, the gladioli, the lily, sweet peas and sweet williams, plus a couple of coreopsis.

On the way home, I also foraged some blackberries from the bushes along the road – you see, it’s definitely autumn!

These were added to the plum crumble I made today.

Here are the vases at home:

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone.

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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New Rose Garden and the Developing Fruit Cage

Back in the allotment today after a two-week hiatus due to mental health issues. K has been nobly keeping things going and also working on our massive fruit cage, which is coming along amazingly well. He calls it ‘woodhenge’!

As you can see, we have decided to skirt round our rhubarb bed and the door area can be seen next to the rhubarb in the photo immediately above. A work in progress and a major undertaking from my amazing husband, but it will make life so much easier when it’s done.

We have also decided to take the verbascum out – well, it was just becoming a nightmare and to my mind is a terrible flower for cutting – it sheds petals every second or so and it’s a hive of moth caterpillars! Yuck. So I dug those out for the compost heap today and instead – inspired by our trip to Hampton Court Flower Show last week – have planted three scented roses for cutting. We have Desdemona, Lycidas and The Poet’s Wife. We also bought a fourth rose – William & Catherine – but we will plant that at home.

As you can see, the lilies are doing wonderfully:

And the sweetpeas are finally starting to grow:

Another thing that struck us today is that the weeds are just crazily out-of-control. Honestly, this year is the WORST year for weeds both on the allotment and at home that I have ever known. Must be to do with the amount of rain we’ve been having, but it’s just crazy.

Mind you, the rain does mean vegetables are doing well too. The cabbages are beginning to ‘heart up’ which is great news:

And the beetroots are doing okay too:

My favourite of all of them though is the climbing French beans which have already reached the top of their supports:

We have discovered a small wasp nest in the shed which is a real pain – K went back after we’d come home to deal with it, as we certainly don’t want those sort of shed tenants!

Here is another allotment view for you:

You can see that the gladioli at the front are doing well too. Today’s harvest is the lilies, some mangetouts and a decent amount of blackcurrants plus one redcurrant, all alongside my boot, LOL:

Here are the gorgeous lilies at home:

Have a great 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