The Allotment Wife

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Lily Heaven and Cabbage Crisis

The lilies are just amazing at the allotment this week. I’m cutting them differently this year – in the past, I’ve waited for a fair amount to come out before I’ve harvested them, but now if one is in flower and the rest on a stem are in bud, I take them anyway, as I’ve discovered they will come into flower at home, no problem.


The carnations are also doing well, although the cosmos is struggling a bit, sigh. The ones we have at home are doing much better, I don’t know why.

We’re also pleased with the sweet peas (Spencer Mixed – always very reliable).

Sweet peas

In other good news, we have our first chrysanthemum in bloom, with more to come, hurrah!


And the first of the dahlias are in bloom – covered in blackfly as ever, groan, but I am spraying like crazy and killing the pesky beasts off.

In vegetable corner, the news isn’t so good. You may remember all those lovely new cabbage plants I put in last week and then covered with ‘slug doom’ – here they are (or rather here they aren’t …) this week, so maybe the slugs are beginning to get a taste for their poison, sob …

Cabbage gone

In the same bed, the leeks aren’t doing very well either, so I have de-slugged and sprayed the whole bed. Will wait and see what happens next week, but I fear the worst …

Leeks struggling

However, the courgettes and beetroot are forging ahead, and the courgettes even have tiny produce on them, so maybe there’ll be a harvest very soon.

Meanwhile, the mangetouts have given us a huge harvest this week, so that’s brilliant – we love mangetouts – no strings, hurrah! How we hate strings …


The soft fruit area is doing well – though we suspect that by the time the loganberries are actually ripe, the birds will have taken them, LOL! (That’s how we know they’re ripe …). Also in the caged fruit area, the gooseberry bush that the birds stripped a few weeks ago has produced one more gooseberry – just enough for a tiny but perfectly formed gooseberry crumble!…

Here is the harvest of mangetouts and flowers. There were also some blackcurrants and redcurrants but they’re out of shot.


And here are the flowers at home:

Have a wonderfully sunny Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


That Mangetout Moment

Pretty tricky on the allotment for me today, as my left eye was in quite a lot of pain due to the pesky pollen, arrgghhh! Still, I kept it closed, wore my sunglasses, and staggered around the plot in a Cyclops kind of fashion. Not a good look … Anyway, the better news is that the first of the mangetouts is here, hurrah. A very exciting moment indeed!


Not only that, but the French climbing beans have finally worked out how to climb up their poles, phew …

French climbing beans

The beetroot and courgettes are going for it too, I’m pleased to say:

In the world of flowers, we have the two carnation plants in bloom, and the smell of cloves they have is simply wonderful.

The lilies also look gorgeous and even the dahlias are now in bud, well gosh.

Meanwhile, the cosmos plants look rather pale, but the flowers are okay so far.


And look at our sweet peas – they’re amazing!!

Sweet peas

However, the verbascum is now on the way out but still just about in flower …


During the week, K bought some extra netting so he has built a fruit cage round the currant bushes (the autumn raspberries are okay without a net as they’re yellow and the birds ignore them). We didn’t have quite enough pins to hold the netting down at the bottom though, so have used large stones from around the plot.

Fruit cage

Here is the harvest trug (which includes the asparagus as well):


And here are the vases at home:

The moment we arrived home, I rushed upstairs and lay down for ten minutes with camomile tea bags on my eyes (which ALWAYS does the trick, thank goodness) and all in Hay Fever Eyes world is now good.

Have a great weekend!

Anne Brooke Books


Lilies and cabbages

The lilies are giving a blast of colour to the allotment today, I’m pleased to report.

Plus we also have the first carnations in bloom, and more of the cosmos as well. Apologies for the out-of-focus carnations but I couldn’t get the sun in the right place, LOL.

The sweet williams are continuing their amazing display and we have our first sweet pea flower,  hurrah! I have to say the ones at home are doing a lot better, but then again they have more sun.

Finally, in Flower City, the verbascum are still putting up a good show, though you have to watch out for those cabbage white butterfly caterpillars …


This week, we’ve also put six cabbages in the allotment for the first time just to see how they get on. I hope I’ve left enough space for growth!


We’re also really pleased with how the beetroot is getting along, so are hoping for a good crop from those.


And the peas now have some nice flowers on them, which is positive, hurrah.


There’s lots of healthy foliage on the autumn raspberries (which means I don’t have to weed that patch!), but it’s too early for fruit at the moment.

Autumn raspberries

Here is the harvest, including the flowers, asparagus and rhubarb:


And here are the vases at home:

Have a great weekend.

Anne Brooke Books

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The June Allotment

The allotment really gets going in June. The asparagus is obviously going crazy and trying to start its end-of-season forest a little too early for us – so we have harvested it and had half for lunch today.


I have now planted the rest of the beetroot which arrived this week. The type is Golden Burpees – which is a lovely golden colour and again doesn’t stain. The picture is very bright because for some reason the camera-phone wanted to use the flash. No idea why!

Beetroot Golden Burpees

Have also planted a couple of cosmos plants and the rest of the chrysanthemums, the latter of which are in the perennial flower bed. I’ve put the cosmos more in the sun this time round as last year they ended up in the shade and were a total disaster.

We also have our first couple of lily flowers out now, and the Sweet Williams look wonderful – the latter are just amazing for vases and always look good, no matter what you do to them.

The sweet peas are finally growing (hurrah!) though I’ve had to wrap them round the netting more as they’re very keen to escape. And the verbascums are looking good too. NO white fly this time round as I’ve left the lupins well alone …

On the vegetable front, the peas are looking good, and four of the five yakons (Peruvian Ground Apple) are on their way, so that’s a good result.

And the rhubarb is as bushy as ever – more of a crop this week, so I’ve made rhubarb compote again – with a splash or two of cheap brandy and some ginger. As you do.


Bad news on the gooseberry front though – as we feared, the birds have picked the bush clean and left us with only one gooseberry, sob … Oh well. We must really net the area earlier next year!

To combat the slugs, K has watered the whole allotment with Nemaslug which should keep them off the crops for a good six weeks or so. We live in hope!

Here is the harvest:


And here are the flowers at home in their vases:

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


Weed week

Heck of a lot of weeds at the allotment, today. Mind you, we didn’t do any weeding last week due to the Royal Wedding (couldn’t miss a thing!), so we only have ourselves to blame. In spite of that, it’s all starting to come along nicely. The asparagus is doing its thing and the peas are beginning to climb their poles.

We actually have gooseberries growing on the gooseberry bush so I took a speedy pic as next week they’ll all have gone as the birds will have got to them first, LOL – even though they’re not ripe yet! In addition, the soft fruit and autumn raspberries are really going for it – which means a lot less weeding, hurrah.

Meanwhile, the lupins are going absolutely insane – you wouldn’t believe that’s only one plant. Mind you, they are overrun with whitefly so I am spraying crazily to try to make the bugs disappear – wish me luck! I’ve put the vase outside at home and done some more spraying, but I don’t think the whitefly know when they’re not wanted, sigh … Oh and there are a couple of flowers on the Sweet Williams so that’s good news at least.

And there’s lots of rhubarb but all the stalks are a bit thin and green – not quite what we were hoping for, oh well.


While there, I’ve planted the rest of the gladioli we saved from last year – a lot of them were rotten so we’ve chucked them out and are only using the best. I really wanted to plant up until the end of June to give us more flowers into mid autumn so I may well get a few more new ones next month.

K has planted the climbing French beans around the gladioli that aren’t supposed to be in that bed as we didn’t have the heart to take them out. You can just see some of the beans near the poles.

Climbing French beans

And he also planted leeks into loo roll holders as you’re supposed to plant leeks in non-filled in holes and then fill the hole with water (rather than soil) – however when we do that, the soil just falls in, so K had the brilliant idea of using loo rolls instead. Let’s see how it works!


And here is the harvest of rhubarb, asparagus lupins (plus whitefly) and some verbascum (soon to have whitefly too, no doubt)…


Have a great bank holiday weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books

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Major Skin Care & Beauty Haul Featuring The Crème Shop, SpaLife, Global Beauty Care, Kina Cosmetics, Nature Love, Herbal Essences, Zatik & L’Oréal

Mrs Strawberry Blonde

Hi there! Today’s post is about all the stuff I bought since mid-April. I’m not going to do a long intro. Here are the goodies:

The Crème Shop Tumeric Face Masks (pack of 5 sheet masks), The Crème Shop Rose Oil Overnight Gel Mask, The Crème Shop Charcoal Overnight Gel Mask, The Crème Shop Collagen Overnight Gel Mask, The Crème Shop Maca Root Face Masks (pack of 5 sheet masks). These were £4.99 each.

Kina Coametics Pure Volcanic Facial Sheet Masks (pack of 10 masks, £7.99), and Nature Love Hyaluronic Face Masks (pack of 5 masks, £4.99).

Global Beauty care Anti-Aging Collagen Face Masks (pack of 5 masks, £4.99), and SpaLife Hydrating Facial Masks with Volcanic Ash (pack of 6 masks, £4.99).

The Crème Shop Resveratrol Face Masks (pack of 5, £4.99), and The Crème Shop Charcoal Face Masks (pack of 5, £4.99).

I managed to get…

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Summer veg planting

Today, K took half a bed of daffodils out and we’ve planted beetroot in their place – striped ones which don’t stain red (hurrah!). We’re waiting for the golden beetroot (which also doesn’t stain) to arrive, but it’s not here yet. In another cleared bed, I’ve put the five yakons (Peruvian Ground Apple) we saved from last year, and also three courgettes which arrived as super-plug plants this morning. Yes, that’s only 8 plants in one large bed, but they’re enormous when they get going, and last year I had to move them twice to make space, so I don’t want to be caught out again.

Meanwhile, the asparagus have gone mad while we’ve been away on the Isle of Wight (a jolly nice holiday it was too!), and also the rhubarb has grown – enough for a rhubarb crumble for lunch tomorrow, I think.

In flower news, the alliums are now out and the lupins are doing very well, so have picked those today. Lupins do look a bit odd in the vase but I’ve done my best, LOL. I’ve also put slug-doom down on everything I can think of and bug-sprayed the lilies and the lupins so hopefully all manner of thing shall be well.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


Peas and Chrysanthemums Week

Today, we’ve planted some early chrysanthemums as they’re such great cut flowers – colours this time round are red, purple, bronze, gold and white. In other news, K planted the peas in one of the beds that used to have daffodils in – and we put the slug doom round them to dissuade the slugs from having their usual party, LOL. We’ll save some of the daffodils for planting on the allotment later in the year, and we’ve taken the smaller ones (Narcissi Tete-a-Tete) home for planting in the front garden as we have a mini Tete-a-Tete “hedge” which has been very successful this year, and we need to add to it.

I did my usual hoe-round and we also trimmed the plot edges – as we had the annual allotment inspection last week (we passed, hurrah!) but untidy edges were noted (oh, the shame …), so we’ve got those under control now.

The last of the tulips have been harvested and look very nice in the vase. The type is Blue Heron which is a large fringed tulip which is just stunning and lasts a long time at home. We’ll definitely get more of these next year. K also cut some asparagus tips, some of which we’ve had in an omelette for lunch (very tasty they are too).

The alliums are also on their way, which is great, and I planted the remainder of the new gladioli (Wine & Roses). There are also last year’s gladioli to plant so I’ve made a good start on those – especially the ones that were already sprouting big-time in the bucket in the shed! Which just goes to show you can’t keep a good gladiolus down – it’s the gift that keeps on giving …

Have a lovely bank holiday weekend everyone – enjoy this glorious sunshine!

Anne Brooke Books

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Rhubarb Harvest

Just me at the allotment this morning (early to avoid the rain!), as K is studying for an exam next week, so I did a general hoe round, scattered some slug pellets and sprayed insect doom on the lilies. As you do.

Today’s big excitement was the first of the rhubarb harvest – so I’ll make a rhubarb & apple crumble tomorrow for lunch (hurrah!). Plus the first of the gladioli are starting to come up in the bed they’re supposed to be in (the one with the plastic bag markers at the end) and also in the bed they’re not supposed to be in – as no matter how thoroughly you dig them up, you just can’t keep a good gladioli down, LOL! The lupin and alliums are doing well too, but the sweet peas are struggling a bit. I hope they catch up soon.

Also pleased to see some more asparagus just starting to appear, and the soft fruit and autumn raspberries areas are doing fabulously well.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Anne Brooke Books

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Allotment Spring Party

The allotment spring working party is suddenly here – that came quickly! So we spent a couple of hours this morning tidying up the allotment to get it ready for the summer, and then had a BBQ together which was great. Fantastic weather for it too!

On our own allotment, K planted some potatoes – second earlies – and I put another couple of rows of gladioli in for the succession planting. The rhubarb is coming on swiftly but not quite ready for harvesting yet – and we have our first two asparagus spears, hurrah! Which I have taken home – a small but perfectly formed meal, LOL.

We’ve also taken out the rest of the beetroot and have managed to glean one or two edibles ones – ie large enough to be worth eating – but the rest we will put in the garden waste bin at home.

The first alliums are on their way, and the autumn raspberries and soft fruit zone are also doing well. And the tulips are of course glorious!

Have a great Sunday, and good luck to all the London Marathon runners today, especially  Karen at work!

Anne Brooke