The Allotment Wife


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Striped Tulips and Asparagus Rising

We knew our allotment tulips have done well this week as a couple of lovely allotment people have been admiring them – we were stunned when we saw the flowers today!

Tulips 1

Tulips 2

Tulips 3

Tulips 4

Tulips 5

So thrilled with all this glorious abundance that I can’t even speak! Now there’s a shock, eh …

The tulips aren’t the only thing going for it either – last week, we had absolutely no asparagus at all and this week we have an enormous one (as it were!!) and there are others ready to spring up any day now, LOL!

Asparagus

Just looking at that picture makes me laugh!… Other excitements are the rhubarb – no flowers on them this week, phew – and the lilies.

Rhubarb 1

Lilies

I’m not spraying the lilies yet and they look okay – but possibly the dreaded lily beetle is just waiting for the right moment, yikes! We’re also pleased that the peas K planted a couple of weeks ago haven’t been eaten by mice after all, and are actually starting to sprout, well gosh! Alongside some weeds of course, but I’m leaving those in to distract the mice …

Peas

The onions K planted are also starting off, and the smell around that bed is just brilliant, even though they’re still so small!

Onions

Meanwhile the sweet williams are doing well, as is the soft fruit area & the autumn raspberries:

Sweet Williams

Soft fruit area

Autumn raspberries

Whilst there today, I planted another three rows of gladioli bulbs and K planted up a bed of potatoes:

Potato bed

Here is the harvest of tulips and a couple of asparagus stalks:

Harvest 1

Harvest 2

Harvest 3

Here are some narcissi and the tulips at home:

Vase 6

Vase 1

Vase 2

Vase 3

Vase 4

Vase 5

Have a fabulous weekend and enjoy the sunshine!

Anne Brooke Books

 

 

 


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A Scented Heaven

Lots of flower excitement on the allotment today – the most thrilling thing of all though is that the tulips are out in force, hurrah! First of all, here are some at home!…

Tulips 1

Tulips 2

And here are the allotment ones …

Tulips 3

Tulips 4

Plus those that aren’t supposed to be there, LOL!

Tulips 5

Then there are the glorious daffodils, plus the incredibly scented narcissi (the smaller ones): the yellow narcissi are very pungent indeed and the lighter yellow ones smell just like sweet lemon. Bliss indeed.

Narcissi 1

Narcissi 2

Our rows of new sweet williams are coming along too …

Sweet Williams

… as are the lilies:

Lilies

Whilst there today, I did a hoe round and K mended the shed guttering which has been battered by the winds. I also planted 2 rows of gladioli – these are the older ones, though we have some new bulbs too. We’re planning sessional planting so we can extend the season so will put some more in next week, and so on, until they run out.

Gladioli

I’ve also planted five purple sunflowers which we’ve been growing at home but are now big enough to go in. They’re very spiky though so you have to wear thick gloves whilst planting …

Purple Sunflowers

The rhubarb is coming along well, though the oldest plant now has a head of flowers on it (you can just see the pink towards the top of the picture) – which apparently can happen if it’s feeling stressed or if it’s been a warm spring, so we’re hoping it’s the latter reason. K cut them off so we hope it will carry on fruiting so we can get a decent crop from it.

Rhubarb 1

Today’s harvest is narcissi, daffodils and the tulips:

Harvest 2

And here are the flowers at home – the narcissi scent is just incredible!

Vase 7

Vase 8

Vase 9

Vase 10

Vases 1

Vases 2

Vases 3

Vases 4

Vases 5

Vases 6

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Sunflower and Aster Explosion!

Our first sight of the allotment this morning was two of our sunflowers lying collapsed across the path, oh dear me – must have been the storm during the week. Luckily they didn’t cause any damage and they were about due to come out anyway! It’s amazing how tiny a root system sunflowers all have for such a top-heavy flower – it’s a miracle how they stay upright at all …

resting-sunflowers

So we’ve taken the rest of the sunflowers out, and also removed the runner beans.This gave me a chance to get half of our planned daffodils into the empty runner bean bed – I put the new ones in today, but I’ll put the rest of the old ones from last year in next week. The new daffodils are supposed to bloom even earlier than the ones we had last year, so I hope they all do all right.

I’m also totally delighted with the new flowers – Little Carlow asters (they’re blue) – which we planted a few weeks ago just to see how they do. They’re TOTALLY amazing – and look stunning in their vase (see later) so I am so definitely going to get more next year.

little-carlow-asters

The dahlias are still going strong, though the stalks are shorter now so more of a challenge for flower arranging, LOL!

dahlias

The last of the gladioli is a beautiful red one – I’m sad to see them finish and we think we’ll get more of them next year and do more successional planting so they go on later into October, rather than finish now.

last-gladiolus

And the sweet peas are most definitely done! Didn’t get a chance to take them out today, but I’ll try to fit that in next week as I really don’t like them when they get this untidy:

dead-sweet-peas

We’ve also taken out one of the courgette plants, but the other has two large courgettes and two mini ones today, plus five or six still to come, so we’ll give that one a bit longer:

courgettes

Meanwhile, the autumn raspberries are fruiting far more than they did last year – is this possibly because I did what my stepfather told me (very rare, LOL!) and didn’t cut them down last year as you’re supposed to do? It certainly means you get loads more fruit, but not cutting them down might be something we do every 2 years, as this year they’ve got very untidy and are drifting over the path which makes things tricky.

autumn-raspberries

So, here’s our harvest – the courgettes (the mini ones are SO cute and you can even wear them as earrings, LOL!), some autumn raspberries (no time to pick all of them today!), plus the gladiolus, the Little Carlow asters, crocosmia, penstemons, marigolds, dahlias and coreopsis:

harvest

Here are the vases at home – first off, those glorious asters, which I put together with the penstemons, and I think it works very well:

vase-little-carlow-asters-and-penstemons

I kept the dahlias together which I think they like best:

vase-dahlias

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the crocosmia and gladiolus as I don’t really have a vase small enough for them, so made do with a champagne glass:

vase-crocosmia-and-gladiolus

I’m really happy with how the marigolds and coreopsis have gone together though – the yellow and gold are stunning!

vase-coreopsis-and-marigolds-1

vase-coreopsis-and-marigolds-2

Have a super weekend!

Anne Brooke

 

 


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It’s (nearly) Showtime!

There are five days to go (not that we’re counting …) to the big Allotment Show which takes place this coming Friday, so the allotment folks are becoming quietly focused. Or it’s contained panic – but it comes to the same thing, LOL!

As a result, we haven’t taken any flowers for the house today – except for a few sweet peas – as I’m keen to put some flowers into the show so want to see how everything is doing Thursday night. However, I have cut down half of the gaura as they’re starting to be a bit of a nuisance even though the bees love them. They’re trailing through the dahlias so I can’t see what’s going on, and likewise on the other side with the chrysanthemums. NB: Sad to say the chrysanthemums are behind so there won’t be any from us at the show this year. Back to the gaura – I don’t think I’ll grow these again, as though they look nice in vases for about 1 or 2 days, they then kind of explode and the pesky petals and seeds get EVERYWHERE – I’m forever cleaning them up, so it’s really not worth it! I could replant them in the garden but we already have some and there isn’t really any room for more – so it’s the garden waste container for them, I’m afraid.

Gaura

Flowers I do have my eye on for possible show entries are the sunflowers (which came Second in the blooms section last year – in case you’d forgotten!!), the echinacea, the dahlias, the gladioli (if there are any left by then!) and the marigolds:

Sunflowers

Echinacea

Dahlias

Gladioli

Marigolds

I will have to do something creative with oasis this year, as that’s what other people did last time – I was the only one who just plonked them in water, LOL! Shows what I know, eh – absolutely nothing!

Turning to veggie city, the courgettes have morphed into marrows again and are going full-tilt for world domination, go them:

Courgettes to Marrows

Courgette to Marrow family

However, they’re not as rampant as those runner beans – so if it comes to a dust-up between the marrow/courgettes and the beans, my money’s on the beans, every time … I only harvested a few runner beans today – enough for lunch and a couple of other meals this week for sure! – as we’re hoping to enter some of them in the veggie categories at the show, as well as the longest runner bean category.

K. has also dug up the potatoes, but sadly there are no super-large ones this year, probably due to blight, but we might see if we can find three roughly of the same shape and size for Friday. Oh, and the lettuce looks amazing – can’t wait to try some when the leaves are a bit larger! We also planted some new lettuce seeds and sweet william seeds in our spare bed to get another flower/salad crop going. It’s great to have new things at this time of year.

Lettuce

Anyway, here’s the harvest from today (not including the courgettes). I added the autumn raspberries to our apple crumble and very tasty they are too!

Harvest 1

And here are some sweet peas (mostly the perennial ones from home, with some allotment ones – the last of the crop, alas!):

Vase

Have a super Sunday!

Anne Brooke Books

 


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Marrows everywhere!

After another week, the tiny courgettes we left undisturbed last Sunday have turned into monsters! But at least the autumn raspberries are the usual size, LOL

Harvest 1

We’ve not harvested so many runner beans as usual today as the Allotment Show is in a fortnight’s time and we’re planning to enter the Longest Runner Bean comp – go us! Still, we did take a few, plus a couple of beetroots too.

The dahlias are looking amazing at the moment though sadly we’re getting to the last of the gladioli, oh well. Next year, we’ll do a later seasonal planting as well so we might get some for the Allotment Show.

Dahlias

Gladioli

The sunflowers are astonishingly tall so I’ve tied them together with string to give some support and also some flexibility. No point putting canes up as the sunflowers are stronger!

Sunflower

Meanwhile the sweet peas must have heard us say they were for the chop last week as they’ve rallied a little -though still definitely reaching their end.

Sweet peas

Anyway, here is the ultimate harvest, including courgette/marrows, beetroot, runner beans, autumn raspberries, gladioli, echinacea, coreopsis, geums, and dahlias.

Harvest 2

And here are the vases at home – the stock is definitely slowing down now as I only have 3 vases instead of 5. Autumn is on its way …

Vase 1

Vase 2

Vase 3

Have a great Sunday – and Bank Holiday Monday, hurrah!

Anne Brooke 


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Gladioli Gold

This week, the gladioli just keep on flowering and do look stunning in vases so I’m definitely going to get more of the same next year. I’ve recently discovered the trick of snipping the last few flowers off at the top when I pick them (as they won’t come out anyway) and that definitely makes them last longer and helps the rest of the buds come into bloom too.

Talking of buds, now that the dahlias have recovered from the dreaded blackfly, I can pick a harvest of them twice a week and still have huge numbers of buds remaining, waiting to come into bloom:

Dahlia buds

Meanwhile the autumn raspberries are doing well, and we are beginning to get the beginning of a small harvest, even though it’s not ‘officially’ autumn yet – though actually there’s a change in the weather that is definitely autumnal to my mind, plus we had the first of the large autumn spiders (yuk!) in the house this week so that doesn’t look good for the rest of the spider season, oh dear me …

Autumn raspberries

And the runner beans continue to do their thing in great abundance – we have now filled the freezer with them to see us over the winter, and there’s no sign of them stopping yet! Maybe we’ll try to enter the longest runner bean competition in the Allotment Show next month and see how we do, LOL!

Runner beans

Anyway, here are the two harvests of this week, which include courgettes, runner beans, autumn raspberries, gladioli, gaura, penstemons, sweet peas (now reaching the end of their season, alas …), crocosmia, coreopsis, dahlias, marigolds, geums and echinacea.

Harvest veg & fruit

Harvest 1

Harvest 2

Here are the flowers at home in their vases:

Vases 1

Vase 2

Vase 3

Vase 4

Vase 5

Vase 6

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Anne Brooke Books


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Runner Bean Riot

Oo-err, we can’t get to the allotment for one week and the runner beans have gone mad! This is the trug I normally get everything in but not today …

Runner beans

The courgettes aren’t that far behind either and definitely have marrow aspirations:

Courgettes

I think courgette/marrow soup is definitely on the menu for us! Mind you, the beetroot are going for it too:

Beetroot

That should last us the week for sure. Flowers are doing well, and the gladioli and echinacea have bounced back:

Gladioli

Echinacea

And here are the sunflowers, getting even taller!

Sunflower

Dahlias are doing well as well, and are still blackfly-free, hurrah!

Dahlias

We’ve also got some crocosmia growing, though I had thought I’d taken them all home last year – obviously not! I shall have to have another go to get them home when they’ve finished flowering this year:

Crocosmia

Here is the harvest, which consists of gladioli, sweet peas, sweet williams, geums, dahlias, echinacea, coreopsis and marigolds.

Flower harvest

And here is the total harvest – also including some autumn raspberries!

Harvest

Whilst there today, K watered and I hoed, but there honestly aren’t too many weeds anyway, hurrah! We also did some composting using stuff from home, and took down the pea frames. I managed to get a splinter in my finger in the middle of doing that (ow! ow!) but thankfully K is a GENIUS at getting splinters out of fingers and managed to rescue me, phew. Heaven alone knows how he does it but it’s wonderful.

Here are the vases at home:

Vases 1

Vases 2

Vase 3

Vase 4

Have a wonderful weekend!

Anne Brooke Books