plot 10 over the years – and a happy find

I came across this photo taken on the first day I acquired Plot 10, in April 2007. Amazing to contrast it with how it is now; a lot of my blood, sweat and tears shed during that time!

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… here is the view now, photographed from the same spot:

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And here is the “shabby chic” garden seat (French??) I was delighted to uncover in an unlikely corner of the wonderful Stamford antique centre, and destined now to live under my quince tree 🙂

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spring cleaning

There’s nothing like a bit of sunshine to spark a frenzy of spring cleaning/clearing. This weekend I finally managed to finish the new structure, doing away with the last of the horizontal grass paths. Just a bit more work to be done, spreading compost on top and the plot will be ready to start planting. Other exertions included cleaning the greenhouse and tidying out the shed; the “before” photos below show just how crowded it was – now happily restored, at least temporarily, to cleanliness and order. (Special thanks to Clara, whose Mother’s Day help was very much appreciated by her mummy!)

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hope deferred

makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Fed up with perpetual cold wind and rain, I’ve just ordered (yet another!) David Austin rose, a new variety with the wonderful name Eustacia Vye. She is destined for the rather crowded rose/flower bed where I trust she will establish her space and be happy. I certainly will!

Meanwhile, to remind ourselves that warm days will come again, here’s a moment of hope realised last summer when the divine R. Boscobel first flowered:

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structural work

It’s hard going, but worth it; I’m now consolidating the second row of individual raised beds into larger areas, working around the fruit cage and flower bed which remain enclosed. The advantages are more space for planting and quite a lot less grass to mow in the summer. The removal of the old rotting wooden sides will also make it harder for slugs and snails to hide 🙂

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I’m disobeying the rules of ‘no-dig’, lifting the turf, removing perennial weeds and stones. The ground beneath the paths is heavy compacted clay, full of flint stones, so all this clearing work will create a good foundation for future no-dig cultivation. I am bagging all the weedy turf which will eventually break down into nice loam.

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And I’m pleased to have now aligned the flower/herb beds where the width of the outer path permits. Much smarter (for now at least) than the higgledy squiggles of yore.

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snowdrop walk

The snowdrops transplanted from my mother’s garden are thriving at the foot of the fruit trees along the path leading from the five-bar gate to the 12 ‘secret’ plots beyond. The bare root gage I planted last year to replace the stricken Victoria plum tree seems to have taken, attended by its own little clump of snowdrops.

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peace at dusk

The past two days have been busy clearing and mulching the allotment. The dear man who has the adjacent plot to mine is bearing the sadness of losing his wife and comes to find some solace in nature. We work alongside each other in quiet endeavour. Tender times.

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christmas cabbage

A cheery newly harvested cabbage to add to the christmas dinner table tomorrow…

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With all best wishes for a happy festive break and a fruitful year to come in 2019…

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final flourish

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first hint of autumn

“It is a sad moment when the first phlox appears.  It is the amber light indicating the end of the great burst of early summer and suggesting that we must now start looking forward to autumn.  Not that I have any objection to autumn as a season, full of its own beauty; but I just cannot bear to see another summer go, and I recoil from what the first hint of autumn means.”  Vita Sackville-West

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today

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