It seemed a good thing to do – to offer to do some weeding and tending at a friend’s allotment plot, given that she’s locked in during coronavirus. But wow! What a lot of extra work. Given a chance weeds do run riot – and as this patch has been left to itself all winter, it’s really rather overgrown.
M’s plot faces directly onto the railway path. The bed closest to the main path has a selection of fragrant roses in all colours – white, yellow, peach, pink… The side of the patch also has magnificent old roses, as shown in the photo to the side.
Her shed is rather rickety and the big guy may have a go at shoring it up and reinforcing once we’ve got a handle on the growing areas. She also has a small pond immediately in front of the shed which is overgrown and needs some tending – but we’ve not got that far yet! Two of the plots will be reserved for M’s beloved squashes, which she is starting from seed on her balcony.
The other plots can be used by us. We got started and dug over, weeded and mulched with rotted manure two plots.
There are two or three other open plots (half covered in plastic at the moment) which we will have to likewise weed, dig, turn over and add manure to in order for us to grow a bit this summer.
Given the state of the ground I’m inclined to add more squashes of our own.
I had thought I could grow pak choi and other greens in the beds, but perhaps not. It may be that the vegetable growing beds in the back patch would be better suited to those kind of crops (though if I do that I’ll have to get into the habit of watering in the back patch way more regularly than at present!)
Oh my! We’re stretched in all directions these days – always catching up somewhere. It’s been a busy few days in which a highlight was completing my at-home coronavirus test, which required me sitting in for most of the day on Friday awaiting collection of my swab sample.
That imposed on a us a mandatory rest from all the outdoor work, but once the sample was collected we were full on stir-crazy and went out late afternoon, with drinks, to our own plot, for a light session of watering, tending and simply enjoying the space.
Our allotment goes from wonderful to exquisite in daily increments, and we tend, preen, weed, prune…. Constantly improving and tweaking everything – plots, growing spaces, garden beds, shed seedlings, shed organisation – the lot!
But everywhere else we’re running behind – the back patch vegetable bed has been left to run riot for most of the spring, with our efforts limited to watering and the occasional tug of a weed.
The back patch flower beds suffer the same fate – though I did spend a full morning a week or so ago doing a basic weed (with garden fork to tease out roots!), and pulled out the finished forget-me-not which self-seeds almost as a weed but creates wonderful drifts of soft blue flowers in early spring. Forget-me-not – like lungwort – is susceptible to mildew after the first flush of flowering.
And in the woods, we’re playing catch-up on trimming and tending given that the group had to cancel all group work parties for a month and a half during the worst of the coronavirus lockdown in London.
Lately the woods group has started to go back out and work together (or at least those of us not fully locked-down and sheltering indoors), and have done 3 sessions – usually now on a weekday morning as opposed to Sundays as previously, because the weekends are higher-risk with more children and young families out and about in the woods and circus area.
The local community continues to donate plants to the woods which they dug out or divided from their own gardens. Yesterday the Malink and I planted into the back patch a donated rhododendron into the ericaceous area under the cherry tree, along with an interesting looking variegated white and dark green coloured euphorbia. (We have too much euphorbia which self-seeds wildly, but don’t have a variegated one, so I thought I’d stick it in). We were also gifted a magnificent wild grass, which still awaits a final decision on location.
Earlier this week the council’s lawn cutting team re-introduced the ‘wildflower’ wild patch in the middle of the expanse of lawn in the back patch, so we may start to cultivate in there. It had been mowed fully earlier this spring, so I’d given up that it would re-appear, but maybe last year’s groundsman is back on the scene and remembered the big wild patch in the middle of the lawn.
So there you go – we have yet again more expanded growing space opening up. Expansion just seems natural and inevitable.