after the rain…


Flies doing the two-headed beast on the rose (19 April 2020)

After a slight rain on Saturday, life on the allotment exploded into life.  The first signs of the broad beans I planted way back in March showed themselves, shyly but present nonetheless.


Damask Rose ‘Deep Secret’ cuttings taken out of season mid-spring 2020.  (Cuttings recommended to be taken in late autumn)

Other developments included – in the back patch – included the very first peony blossoms to appear (not yet open though the bud I cut for inside has now opened up in a vase – yaah!)

I absolutely adore peonies and have done since growing up in Canada, where many of the older houses which had traditionally planted with hardy fern and peony. Otherwise fairly boring front lawns exploded into lush growth every spring with a profusion of magnificently exuberant peony blossom. In all likelihood there is probably less of that annual explosion of colour and gorgeous fern leaf now – being dug up and replaced by more modern planting schemes (as happened to the old family house my parents sold, which broke my heart when I heard the news).


First lilac of the year. (20 April 2020)

The peony in the back patch gardens here in London has deep crimson, almost black blooms, and was donated by a nearby neighbour, Brenda, who is now up in heaven, bless her. It’s lovely to have something tangible and beautiful to remember her by.


Big slug doing his job in the compost heap.  Put slugs & snails in your compost heap rather than destroying them as their actions can be beneficial – in the right place!

Another first showing of spring bloom included the first showing of the back patch lilac bush, which will soon be an explosion of fragrance and colour.   It’s wonderful to enter into the season of the lilac – which always makes me think of Chagall’s flying lovers.

Just like peonies, lilac also abounded in gardens all through Ontario.  Me and the big guy did a road trip for pleasure and slow speeds one year in May through quiet country roads which were awash with lilac in bloom to such profusion that the perfume made it into the car as we rolled by.

This weekend took some cuttings of the Damask Rose and met the below allotmenteer Mary, who confessed she originally planted it when she had the side patch (and before she moved down one tier to the plot on the level below us).  The rose’s name is ‘Deep Mystery’ and was planted in the late 1980s.

She also shared that it was she who had originally planted the plum tree on H’s side at the same time (ie about 30 years ago).  It’s a type of greengage, which is similar to a yellow fleshed plum.  Mary let us know that it’s never produced good crops of fruit, despite being a very pretty tree.   It’s really very overgrown and at the end of this growing season we’ll have to ask permission to give it a good trim, as it may be that the cropping improves if we give it a renovation cutting.

We told Mary that we’d successfully created a stem cutting that flowered last summer, and will share with her one of the new cuttings if they take – green fingers & toes crossed!


Self-seeded Jersey blueberry (19 April 2020).

Another Sunday bonus was the discovery of a self-seeded Jersey blueberry that had started to grow in the main blueberry pot.  We transplanted it into its own pot with lots of ericaceous soil and some side protection of pea netting to discourage curious birds.  With luck we’ll have two great blueberry bushes by next year.

Finally, some good news on the water wars.  The replacement parts for the repair on the allotment water system arrived in the post.  Progress is promised soon.

And just in time!  The weather forecast for the coming week is nothing but sun with temperatures going up to 20s by the end of the week, making water essential…




About smallPaws

A tumbleweed from Canada who's been living in London for twenty or so years.
This entry was posted in allotment journal, back patch, diary, perennials, wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

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