I'm not at all sure what is going on with the weather again this year, but it's driving me to distraction. For the second year running we’re in June and it's cold. This spring we have enjoyed rain, dull grey skies, more rain, a few tantalisingly sunny and heat-filled days, but only a few mind before there is yet more rain, dull grey skies..... And so it goes on. This seems to be a new pattern for us in the UK and sadly for me, work and personal commitments have meant that I've only managed to grab maybe one or two days in each brief period of sunshine to spend up at Magic Plot 7.
|marjoram, yarrow and lady's mantle on the flower bank in April|
The energy there is so much better this year. No intrusions, no trespassers, no damage, and the good energy balance has been restored. The little sun we have had has encouraged some of the flowers to open, though late. But the weather has set me back and there's loads of catching up to do.
|the potato bed in April|
|and the first signs of potato growth in May|
Last year's brassica bed became this year's solanum bed, weeded and turned over during a brief spell of dryness in April. Very late for me to be planting my potatoes, but that's the way it's gone this year. Nothing happened for ages then suddenly, in the middle of May the first signs of spud life were showing.
|last year's root bed before....|
Grabbing another dry day, this time in early May, I cleared and weeded last year's root bed and set up this year’s pea and bean frames. I planted loads - purple podded beans, metre high peas, salmon flowered peas and prepared a row space for the precious last few Cherokee Trail of Tears climbing beans, saved from weevil decimation at the 11th hour. They are still in a pot at my home thankfully, for every last purple podded that I planted up the plot has been eaten by slugs and snails. PAH!!! Time to re-sow.... again.
Good news however about my cherry tree, which has been steadily improving since I planted it a few years ago. I've been religiously following the pruning advice offered by the RHS, even though it meant cutting the tree whilst it was in growth and flower. It's paid off enormously, for this year there are many little cluster bundles on all branches.
|Cherry tree and fruit bank in April. It looks like February!|
|By mid-May it is covered in tiny fruit embryos|
|Look closely. By early June it's covered in bundles of green cherries|
First there was blossom, which turned into little fruitlets, and if you look closely you can see lots and lots of green cherries. If we ever do get some proper sunshine they might just ripen and be plentiful and delicious - presuming that the birds don't get them first.
The fruit bushes look great this year as well. Absolutely tons of green embryonic fruits hanging on the blackcurrant, and there are already some nice looking gooseberries.
|blackcurrant and gooseberry bushes, and strawberry plants in April|
|mid April gooseberry|
|tons and tons of embryonic green blackcurrants at the end of May|
More good news is that my globe artichoke, a gift from fellow allotmenteer Richard, survived the harsh winter protected by some old copper tubing that I placed around it to deter the beastly molluscs. It's doing well against a backdrop of delicious lemony-sour sorrel.
Also doing well is the lovage, which has grown into a marvellous plant from a small root piece given to me at the end of last year. Onions and leeks continue to grow, slowly slowly doing their thing.
Up on the flower bank tiny yellow flowers have appeared all over an un-named sedum of some sort or another. This was another little root cutting that was given to me. I just popped it in and hoped for the best. It's been slowly growing for the last two years and now it's flowered for the first time. Does anybody know what it is?
|can anybody name me?|
I may have lost all my foxgloves seedlings when the trespassers trampled my flower bank last year, but I've planted others in the meantime. I love foxgloves; I love the way that bees go right inside their fabulous flowers and hide so that you can only hear the buzzing and see nothing until the bee decides to leave. They are definitely an all-time favourite flower.
This year I have tasked myself with an enormous project, but one that has to be done. I cannot use shears without causing myself rather a lot of pain (I have a boring old arm injury that has to be managed) and I can no longer have grass paths on my plot when I can't cut them. So I'm digging the lot up, edging all of my beds with wooden planks and re-laying the paths with the broken tiles from my old kitchen and anything else I come across that seems suitable. It's quite a lot of work for one person to do so I'm doing it slowly. Meanwhile of course there is the usual plot maintenance and gardening to be done. Where will I find the time!??
Love Magic Plot 7