Flowers and berries

I’m always surprised by how quickly things start growing once summer’s finally underway, even if I do complain about how late flowers bloom up here. This is how quickly things have grown in the last eight weeks:


ZOOM. I did away with the remaining leeks and planted pumpkins there instead. This picture doesn’t show the happy state of the eight obelisks, just visible in the left-hand picture, because the raspberry patch has gone crazy as usual. Thankfully, I have photographed certain elements thereof:

My original plan was to grow one particular type of sweet pea per obelisk, resulting in a kind of monocolour scheme. That’s not going to happen because I didn’t grow enough surviving seedlings and had to supplement the ones that did survive with seedlings from Homebase. I bought some successful seeds of the Mollie Rilstone variety from Matthewman’s Sweetpeas, and I’m hoping they’ll bloom soon too. All in all it’ll probably be nicer to have a variety of colours, nice to have a bit of diversity on the old allotment.


This week also saw the reappearance of an old friend, the borage! It’s not growing entirely where I predicted, but I don’t mind because it’s great and useful. I’d never even heard of it before getting an allotment and I think it’s a bit of a typical flower among allotmenteers, but honestly it’s one of my favourite things to grow. Not just because bees love it, but also because I like casually nibbling on flowers.

The tayberries have started to appear too. There have never been enough to do more than eat then individually, but one day I’ve decided I’m having tayberry pie.


Mid-week dig

There’s so much that needs to be done on the allotment that I’m going to try and put in a few hours during the week, at least while it’s still light in the evenings. I went down yesterday to plant garlic.

It took longer than I expected to get just one of the raised beds properly ready. I’d dug them over at the weekend but really preparing them took a good while, although I bought a cultivator recently, which has done the job pretty well. Hopefully I’ll have ample garlic come May, although my main reason for planting it is to deter pests.

I had a bit of a dig round what will hopefully be the fruit patch, towards the far end (will also serve to mark off the border between my allotment and the next one along). I thought it was going to be pretty tough to dig up there, but soon after I started, I discovered there were wooden slats quite far along, which had been hidden by the weeds. Pulled them up, and not only was the soil good – it contained more potatoes!

Like the other batch, I’m not entirely sure how they got there if it’s true the plot hasn’t been used for 15-20 years. It’s possible the plot was used in part, but slightly neglected overall. I dug out a bagful anyway, just before it started going dark, and I’m having them for my tea now.


I know I’m biased, but they are delicious. I’ve had a lot of potatoes in my time, and these are up there with the very best. I’m thinking of putting some of the rest in a pie with leek over the weekend.

I headed over to the allotment this evening, too, as I’ve started the process of moving some of the balcony plants over. I plan for most of them to stay, but some of the fruit bushes – the thornless blackberry in particular – would just be far happier on an allotment. I was just thinking today that I’d cleared a nice amount of space on my overcrowded balcony, but then, of course, I went to Homebase on my lunchbreak, and reappeared in the office with a tayberry bush.


I’m a bit fascinated by loganberries and tayberries and suchlike. Because they’re not widely grown commercially, I’ve not really had them before, so I’m interested to know what they taste like. I also made friends with my allotment neighbour, who’s busy preparing a place for his chickens to live, and bumped into another allotmenteer I met at the weekend, who gave me a tour of his own, extremely impressive allotment, and this:


They’re such friendly people. I know you don’t really expect people who spend all day among raspberry canes to be awful, mean people, but there’s just such a willingness on their part to help me out, both in terms of advice and in practical things like lending me stuff.

The plan for the weekend’s work is to plant the little colony of container plants I’ve got waiting on the allotment, and then just to DIG as much of the right-hand side as I can without falling into a heap. I may go blackberry picking in the general area if I can still walk afterwards, as I’ve decided that I burn enough calories gardening to justify the odd bit of blackberry pie.