Tree Following, February 2015 – A fig tree

This year I wanted to follow a tree that is markedly different to the willow that I followed through 2014 so I spent several weeks looking around at various candidates. I narrowed it down to a handful then had a another look before deciding which one to follow.

Trevor's fig treeIt’s a fig tree (Ficus carica) at the other end of the allotment site on Trevor’s plot.  It stands about twelve feet high,  perhaps twenty five years old and is probably a Brown Turkey.

As you can see it looks dormant at present, and rather uninteresting, but I hope that by next month it will be showing signs of new growth.  Click on the picture to see a larger image.

I don’t eat figs and know little about them so I’ll be learning all about it as I follow it’s progress through the year.  As well as reading the Wikipedia link above I found this 2005 Guardian article Fig Easy, written by Monty Don, an interesting read.

See Lucy’s Tree Following post for details of what it’s all about, and this post for other tree follower’s posts for this month.

Happy Tree Following, and have a good weekend!

[PS ~ I’d like to say thanks to everyone who commented on Liz’s guest post, and I know that she was delighted with them.]

Posted in Flighty's plot, Lawn lounging | Tagged | 29 Comments

Tree Following, February 2015 – Liz’s Stewartia

Hi, I’m Liz from Lexington, Kentucky, USA and as I don’t have a blog Mike has kindly offered to include my tree following posts here, for which I’m most grateful.

I admit that my tree, a Japanese Stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia), was an impulse buy. Three years ago my daughter took me to a favourite local garden nursery for a Mother’s Day treat.  There standing close to the entrance was this lovely plant in a pot. It had shiny leaves and the most exquisite pinkish-white buds about to burst into bloom.  It said “I’m yours” and so it was to be.

This tree along with it’s relatives, the Franklinia (named for Ben) and camellia, belong to the tea family.  The camellia-like flowers they share only bloom for a short period of time, but this tree has other features to recommend it such as a lovely fall (autumn) colour.

Liz's Stewartia and Dulcie, Jan' 15It’s in a bed in my back garden and now stands well over five feet high, and is surounded by a healthy stand of wild onions that will be pulled when the ground thaws. I’m not sure how old it is – perhaps others will know when Stewartias first bloom. I would hazard a guess that it’s no more than six years old.  It has seen three winters pass in wildly variable temperatures and so far, so good.

This picture shows it in January being inspected by Dulcie, one of my two dogs. Click on the picture to see a larger image.

In doing my homework I found an interesting tidbit on the Polly Hill Arboretum website. The Stewartia was named for John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute and one of the founders of Kew Gardens. In his botanical classification, Carl Linnaeus misspelled the name, and there are some who have now taken up the cause to have it classified correctly.

See Lucy’s Tree Following post for details of what it’s all about, and this post for other tree followers blog posts for this month.

My thanks to Mike for letting me guest post, and to Lucy for hosting Tree Following.


Posted in Flighty's plot | Tagged | 23 Comments

I’m always delighted…

Most days I look at the Admin and Stats pages here just to make sure that there’s nothing amiss. When I looked on Sunday, 11th January I was surprised to see that the previous days page views numbered over 200 which is at least four times higher than I would have expected.  Looking at the posts viewed I saw that most of them were from I started the blog at the end of May 2007 through into 2008.

All was revealed later that day when I received an email via the Contact me page  –

I came upon your blog by chance when reading another one, so one gardener led me to another…I started reading your Flighty’s plot blog yesterday morning starting at the beginning and need to ask you a couple of questions…I was born and raised in the UK and now reside in Kentucky, USA so I’m familiar with, and can relate to, a lot about which you write…And you write well…I am enjoying your posts and will sit down to read more later, with a cuppa!…Thanks, Liz.

I replied and since then we’ve emailed back and forth fairly regularly.  Liz has now read through into 2013 and so far made nearly 150 comments (!) on posts, all of which I’ve replied to.

She sent me one email saying that she’d been distracted by Lucy’s Tree Following which she thought was a great idea and wanted to join in the fun this year with one of her own trees but she doesn’t blog.  No problem I replied you can do guest posts here, the first of which should be published on Tuesday.

I’m always delighted when non-bloggers read and comment here, and often email me as well. Liz wrote in one of hers…Thanks for your generous attributes to your fellow bloggers, your upbeat attitude to life and it’s daily blessings.

Liz's first crocuses

I’m sure that Liz won’t mind me showing these crocuses which she photographed in her garden yesterday morning. As of Friday the first of mine was still tightly furled.


Have a good week!

Posted in Flighty's plot, Lawn lounging | 36 Comments

A snowy plot

I woke up on Tuesday morning to find that it had snowed overnight so after breakfast I took a quick walk to the allotments for a look round.  Here’s what the plot looked like –

Flighty's plot, 3 Feb '15 (2-3)

I was surprised to find that there were no animal tracks, such as foxes, as there usually are after it’s snowed and presume that it started after they’d been out and about.

Thankfully the snow melted during the day and there’s been none since, but it continues to be bitterly cold, wet at times and windy.

The day before I’d been reading Nikki’s Monday miscellany post with a slight touch of envy as she wrote about the weekend being in the mid 70’s F (24C) with a few clouds and soft spring-like breezes when here it’s hardly been above freezing recently.  And if you’re wondering where she lives it’s Southern California.

Have a good weekend!

[Click on the picture if you want to see a larger image]

Posted in Flighty's plot | 34 Comments

Into February

Unlike yesterday which was damp and dull this morning was dry and sunny, although still with a bitterly cold wind, so I took a quick look round the plot.

White crocusNestling next to one of the white heathers I noticed this lone white crocus which will be flowering before long.  I hope this is a sign that spring isn’t too far away.

Sturon and Red Baron onionsI then went across the road to the horticultural society trading shed to buy some onion sets.  I generally do well onions and still have about 30 in store from last year which will last me several months or more. I regularly check these to make sure none have gone soft or started sprouting.  I bought the white variety Sturon, which I always grow, along with some Red Baron which I grew for the first time last year. Weather permitting I will be planting them out sometime after mid-March.

The forecast for the coming week is cold, dry and windy so it looks like wintry weather is seeing us into February.

Have a good week!

[Click on either picture to see a larger image]

Posted in Flighty's plot | 32 Comments

Birdwatching, pineapples and pruning

I wasn’t surprised that I saw few birds when I did the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch last weekend.  It was cold and I guess that they were all tucked away trying to stay warm rather than being out and about.  In one of her comments Glo provided this interesting YouTube video Where Do Birds Go in Winter?, which also has a bit of history and myth thrown in.

Anna/The Transmutational Garden, mentioned that there is another similar global event, The Great Backyard Bird Count, being held February 13 – 16th.

On the subject of pineapples I came across this interesting blog post all about them!

It’s been a very cold week so I’ve only ventured to the plot a couple of times just for a quick look round. The forecast is for more of the same into early next week so any plans I had for pruning the blackberry, blackthorn, dog rose,  grape vine and hawthorn will have to wait for better weather.

Caro’s post yesterday was “Pruners learn by pruning” and Carrie’s Shrub rose pruning,  both of which are helpful and informative.

Have a good weekend!

Posted in Lawn loungers | 10 Comments

When I get plotting again,…

hopefully in mid-March weather permitting, the first vegetables that I’ll be planting or sowing will be broad beans and first early potatoes.

I’ve grown broad beans Witkiem Manita the past few years but I remembered, and reread, Caro’s post Broad Beans – Top of the Pods from September 2013 and decided to try Karmazyn this year for the first time.  One other advantage of this variety is that the plants only grow 2 feet/60cm high which is ideal for my exposed plot.  I’ll be sowing a short double row of about 10 beans, which I’ll repeat in mid-April then mid-May.

I only grow one row of first early potatoes, which have been Vales Emerald in recent years. The horticultural society isn’t selling them this year so I’ve chosen Red Duke of York which I’ve not previously grown, and get an impressive accolade from JBA Seed Potatoes.

The sweet peas didn’t do well last year lasting only a couple of weeks before frazzling in the summer heat so I was debating whether to grow any this year.  However as I won two packets of seeds from Chiltern Seeds during December I will be trying again.  There are far too many for me to use so if anyone would like some please say in your comment. They’ll be a potluck mix of several varieties which could include pink, orange, red, dark purple and white flowers. Depending on how many people would like some I may have to pick names out of the hat.

Have a good week!

Posted in Flighty's plot | 40 Comments