Autumn plotting

This morning started off breezy, cool and sunny which is ideal plotting weather for me. At 9.00 am I was the only person on the site and no-one else appeared until well after 11.00 am. I cut much of the grass around the edges where it had grown a bit long.  It was only a rough cut using a pair of hand shears.  Any further trimming that’s needed I’ll do during the week in stages when I’m tidying and weeding an area.

As I worked I pondered on what I’d like to get done during the next month or so, and also what I’m hoping to grow, and where, next year.  I stopped to enjoy a mug of water and a handful of grapes.

BorageGenistaThere was some overnight rain on Thursday and Friday which was welcome. Borage, California poppies, cosmos, the genista, nasturtiums, pot marigolds and the rose Pretty Lady are still flowering.

The first of the asters is just starting to flower.  I was also surprised to see that some love-in-mist has grown and has buds.


I picked some French and runner beans, a sweet corn cob and blackberries to take home. I’ve been pleased, and relieved, that the squirrels haven’t touched the sweet corn and I’ve been enjoying one every day for at least the past two weeks.

Cooler mornings, darker evenings and leaves starting to change colour then drop are a sure sign that the seasons are changing.  It also means that it won’t be too long before autumn plotting gives way to armchair gardening.

Have a good week!

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Yellow and white

Yellow, along with white, is a favourite flower colour as shown by these Flighty’s flowers – nasturtium, sunflower and pot marigold.

Yellow nasturtium

Yellow sunflower

Lemon yellow pot marigold

Last weekend I bought some dwarf white narcissi for two containers. One is the variety Petrel, and the other Toto.

Happy gardening, and have a good weekend!

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Plotting as usual

Jake sittingI spent most mornings last week plotting as usual. Jake, who plot neighbour John looks after most weekdays,  often surprises me as he pads up from behind to sit down by my feet waiting to be petted.

Sweetcorn cobI’ve been picking and eating sweetcorn cobs for well over a week now, and much to my relief the squirrels haven’t touched them so far even though I saw one scampering off the plot as I arrived one morning.  I didn’t think that the first one I picked was ripe but it was and checked that this variety is pale yellow rather than golden.

Unknown squashI’m wondering when this squash will be ready to harvest, and how I tell as I’ve never grown any before. I’m also wondering what I’m going to do with it.

I noticed towards the end of the week that the tomato plants were showing signs of blight so this morning I stripped them of any good fruit, then pulled the plants up and dug over the cleared ground.  After a  slow start they did very well.

The grapes are ripening, changing colour from green to purple, but a lot of them do have split skins.  I’m still picking beans –  borlotti, climbing and dwarf French, and runner.

Red nasturtiumColour is being provided by still flowering cosmos, pot marigolds and especially the nasturtiums including dark red, lemon yellow, marmalade, orange, red and yellow flowers.

The forecast is for dry, warm weather next week so hopefully I will be spending most mornings plotting as usual.

 Have a good week!

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Tree following – September 2014

This month I’m looking at the willow from under it’s capacious canopy.

Willow Sep - 1The trunk is at least six feet in diameter at ground level and the surprisingly rough bark is variously coloured including shades of green, grey and a light brownish-pink. There are some noticeably large, and deep, fissures in it.

Willow Sep - 4Some branches continue almost vertically upwards whilst others have grown horizontally.

Given how large these are, and the tree is overall, I’d like to know how old this willow is.


Standing by the trunk I notice the bare ground, the shaded light and how quiet it is except for a rustling somewhere above me which maybe birds or squirrels.

Willow Sep - 7

Looking at the tree from a distance when it’s in leaf gives no indication of this secret world, and likewise standing here it’s impossible to gauge just what it looks like once outside.

For September posts by other tree followers have a look at Lucy’s post.

Happy tree following, and have a good weekend!

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Of Cabbages and Kings

Caroline Foley is well known to many allotmenteers as the author of the best selling books The Allotment Handbook and Practical Allotment Gardening.

Of Cabbages and KingsHer latest book Of Cabbages and Kings – The History of Allotments is the fascinating story of their origins through to the present day. It was published last Thursday by Frances Lincoln.

I really enjoyed reading this well illustrated book which starts with a Prologue and Introduction before the twelve chapters ranging from The Serf & the Commons 1066 – 1349 through to Post-war Doldrums & the Green Revolution 1945 to the 21st century.  To round off there is an Epilogue, Further Reading, Timeline , Index and Acknowledgements.

I’m sure that this book will appeal to anyone who’s interested in social history and as the inside front cover blurb says…One thing is certain, once you’ve read this book, you will never take your allotment for granted again. 

Readers can order this book direct from the publisher at the discounted price of £16-00 (inc. p&p in the UK, otherwise add £2-50) by phoning 01903 828503 or email to quoting the offer code APG209.

My thanks to Jessica Atkins, Marketing Manager at The Quarto Publishing Group UK, for kindly sending me a copy of this excellent book to read and review.

Happy reading!

Posted in Lawn lounging | 18 Comments

A popular pot plant

I’ve tried to grow Coleus blumei, a popular pot plant which has colourful leaves, several times and this was the first year that I succeeded.

I’ve grown the less common Carefree Mixture which as you see has serrated Oak-like leaves.  I had ten plants, six of which I gave away, and of the ones I’ve kept two have red, green edged leaves and two green and cream ones.  One of each colour has flowered but the spikes are rather insignificant.

Coleus 'Carefree Mixure' green & red, flowering   Coleus 'Carefree Mixture' green & cream

Next year I think that I’ll try again with Fairway, Extra Dwarf Formula Mixed, which has the more familiar leaf shape and a wider range of colours.

Have a good weekend!

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Plotting pleasurably…

is what I enjoyed doing both yesterday morning and this morning. The weather was ideal to collect seed, dead-head, dig, harvest, hoe, prune, tidy and weed.  As I worked I was tentatively thinking about what to grow and where next year, both flowers and vegetables. I want to grow less but better if that makes sense.

I stood and watched a wood pigeon drink from the water tank just across the roadway. It perched on the side, looked round at me before dipping it’s head then repeated the action several times before flying off.

Ready, steady and   Dunk

I always check the level when I arrive, and leave, to make sure it’s full to the brim. I do that so birds can drink from it and anything that falls in can hopefully get out although there is wire mesh that we put across the top. I did rescue a frog that was in it a couple of years ago.

It looks like being drizzly and dull tomorrow then dry, sunny and warmer Tuesday onwards.  Hopefully that will help my sweetcorn and tomatoes to ripen.

I did another guest blog post, Sunflowers, for Living Paintings last week which you might enjoy reading.

Have a good week!

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