St Patrick’s Day – painted green!

The big dude got up this morning went to the allotment plot to slap another quick coat of preserver onto the wood shed platform.  It’s all coming together.

Allotment-footings-framed3This is the side view, taken from the top terrace level.  

All the lattice was free, and found on the side of the street.  We had to buy the support posts (£10 each) and also the paving slabs that comprise the steps to the set of stairs up to the upper level.  (This was a second set of stairs, as there are paving slab stairs at the far end of the bed).

I’m hoping to level-out underneath the shed  on the side (facing down the paving slab stairs) and put a few more paving stones to have some tidy hidden-away storage: we can add some lattice on hinges to the side to provide cover and easy access.. Entry to the shed will be from the front side as shown facing, above.

Allotment-fullviewnorth-1This next picture is taken from the bottom corner of our plot, looking upwards.  All levels are shown – the bottom raised bed level, edged at the side with the black metal rose arbour.

In front of the rose is a small patch of garlic chives – they get the prettiest white flowers!   You can also see the oriental greens growing in front of the rose arbour on the bottom level.  Then there’s a path and then the brick-edged raspberry patch.  There are a few kale plants that overwintered in that bed (which turned into sprouting broccoli plants by late March!  No wonder they were kind of feeble kale plants, but even so we had a few meals of the leaves….  Go figure! )  

Then there’s another path edged by sloped beds and stairs to the upper level, edged with terra cotta pots.  Our two white folding chairs are just visible behind the veil of blackberry canes that will create a privacy shield for the top level. 

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There’s nice spring bulbs that I planted in the autumn at the very base of the rose arbour.

The ones shown are grape hyacinth.   Even only a few make a cheerful addition to these in-between spaces.

The rusted garden fork-head is one of many old abandoned implements we found semi-buried in the ground as we uncovered the plot last summer.

 

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The bottom beds.  You can see the garlic bed growing well, and at the far end a winter greens bed that is still producing rocket and spinach.  The empty beds have been turned over and more manure added, as well as a sprinkling last weekend of bone meal.  We’ll grow runner and french beans here.  Last year this is where we had the tomato and peppers but they didn’t do so well.

allotment-hamper1

We have re-purposed an old wicker hamper as a raised bed.  This one we hope to grow radish, carrots and beet.

This is at the farthest corner of our plot at the bottom and sits just in front and to the side of the holly bush (which I mercilessly cut back to reduce its height).  Looking up diagonally is the farthest top point. Visible with the edge boundary lattice is Richard’s shack.

The days are warming up, some tulip in the pots are already finished, the crocus have faded, but we had a surprise guest in the new strawberry plot – a bluebell! There’s a few other spring bulbs coming up in that bed (I think they likely to be daffodil).

allotment-bluebell1We’ll let them have a spring show and then dig them up and transplant them elsewhere – somewhere we won’t need to disturb them again.  Maybe we’ll move them to the side perennial flower bed I created last year – in front of the holly hedge facing the bottom garden beds.   

That new narrow flower bed -with brick edging that works as a mini-path, now looks well-established.

There’s evidence of lots of self-seeded spurge coming up – euphorbia can be a weed!  I think some self-seeded calendula is also there, as maybe some love-in-a-mist and if we’re lucky, a self-seeded cosmos from last year’s seed heads.

allotment-sideflowerbed1

This view of the side flower bed shows the spurge (really quite vigorous!).  Some spring colour had been planted in and there’s foliage of tulip coming up but no flowers here yet.

The brick-edged path leads the eye out to the bottom corner where we have the wicker hamper planter

On the other side of the path (out of sight from the photograph) is a salad bed.  Last year dill and coriander did well here, as did also rocket and spinach.  We planted winter kale in but the plants remain dwarfed and have not thrived.  This is really a semi-shaded area as there’s the shade from the holly hedge, as well as from the fig tree in front which towers over the bottom corner once the leaves of the fig tree come out.   (All of which makes it a good spot for salad crops which easily wilt or bolt if placed in full sun, but not so good for kale and brassicas).

Untitled-1 copyallotment-bee-trellis

But there was full sun up at the top level.  Super G caught this absolutely massive bumblebee sitting on the wood lattice sunning itself.

This one might be an early emerging queen bumblebee it’s so big!  Wow!  What a beauty!  Full sun is just what bumblebees need first thing in the springtime after emerging from their long winter sleep.  Just like gooseberries – who also need intense spring sun (though gooseberries might even be said to favour light semi-shade in the full heat of summer).

allotment-gooseberry (1)Two small gooseberry slips were planted last summer and didn’t do much, but they do take time to settle in and mature…  

As this photo shows, they still have a long way to go – but are sprouting happily where they are in the raspberry bed.  

We’ve added a good amount of manure to this bed.  (I’m planning to move the gooseberries to a more permanent spot later on – but not quite sure where yet).

The final image of the day’s photo-journal is the picture below, of the damask rose which sits at the edge of our plot and Hugh’s.  The rose is showing lots of vigorous wine-coloured new growth.  We gave it generous helpings of manure in the autumn.   The pole with the flower pot top is the allotment side boundary.

allotment-damaskrose1

That whole upper level boundary is edged with attractive hexagonal terracotta pots planted with crocus, cyclamen & other spring flowers.

Hugh’s plot is heavily grassed – there’s hardly any grass left on our plot!

Visible through the branches of the damask rose are the wooden framed growing beds on Hugh’s ground level.   

And that’s all for now!

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