Sunday, November 29

I may lie low for a while

I don't usually post about personal problems but this post is an exception. 

For the next few weeks you may notice that online presence fluctuates quite a lot. I may post less regularly - maybe not at all - on my own blog and not be able to comment on the blogs that I visit.

Something that you don't know about me is that I have very poor eyesight. I am exceptionally shortsighted. Without  glasses or contact lenses my world looks like this.

I was prescribed glasses at primary school after somehow managing to cheat my way through early eye tests for several years. I hid my poor eyesight well and developed effective strategies for concealing the problem. I just did not want to wear glasses.

Then in my late teens I started to wear contact lenses which I have used since and which gave me natural vision.

Recently after a while the lenses have been uncomfortable as my eyes have become dry meaning that I can't wear my lenses 'full time' 

The glasses that I have as back-up are very thick lenses and really don't give a very good vision as well as being very heavy to wear. 
I explored possible alternatives and am now being assessed for possible corrective surgery. 

As a first step I have to wear glasses full time so they can diagnose an accurate prescription. This means that I have some difficulty reading and using the computer.

I don't know how long it will take to make the decision about whether surgery will go ahead and in the event that it does, how long it will be before I am allowed back at the computer. I am trying to schedule one or two posts just to keep you interested so you don't dessert me.

If I suddenly go quiet you will know why and I hope you will hang about until normal blogging is resumed.

Friday, November 27

Winter pots

We decided to plant up a couple of pots for winter/early spring display. If nothing else it was a good excuse to browse at the garden centre and buy more plants.

For the first pot we bought skimmia - Finchy as the centrepiece. The evergreen leaves and white buds add immediate interest and then in spring the clusters of small, white, perfumed flowers will open.
We added three heathers - Marleen , some violas - Morpho and an unnamed ivy to trail down the front. All this was underplanted with white narcissi - Tresamble and purple tulips - Cum Laude.
I did wonder whether I should have bought yellow narcissi to compliment the violas but this didn't occur to me until we were home. Never mind white will pick up the skimmia flowers.

In the other tub we planted two erythronimum - Pagoda, three allium - Ivory Queen and one larger allium - Everest.
The pot was topped off with more of the violas.
Other than a bit of dead-heading that's our part played and now it's up to them.

Wednesday, November 25

Budding performers

Friday, November 20

A pleasant surprise

On 27 September I planted our autumn onion sets and garlic.

After a while it looked as though something had dug up all the sets and cloves and after deciding against replanting we resigned ourselves to a crop failure.

We haven't been visiting the plot as much recently and in out absence unexpected things had been happening.
 The garlic and onions haven't been dug up after all.

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett

Wednesday, November 18

Watching flowers in the rain

Monday, November 16

Mums the word this week

We managed a plot visit this week but only in order to harvest some fresh vegetables.

We have been watching War on Waste presented by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and I am afraid that neither our parsnips nor our carrots would pass muster and would be consigned to the rubbish dump. The supermarkets would consider them too small and ugly.

In fact most of what we grow would be too large, too small, too wonky or the wrong colour. Have you ever looked at an apple and thought "Oh dear that is too red, it will have to be composted" ? No neither have I but the supermarkets do!

Is this fussiness confined to UK supermarkets or are other parts of the world just as wasteful?
Well our vegetables may not suit the supermarkets but what they lack in commercially accepted beauty they make up for in taste. Amazingly taste doesn't seem to feature on the supermarket check list.

We harvested out first beetroots of the season. They were sown rather late but have produced reasonable sized roots.

Last year I wrote a post about keeping pot mums after they had finished flowering and then planting on the plot.
Last year during autumn we transferred them to the garden greenhouse and they provided a few cut flowers. In spring they were replanted in the plot where they made fairly large plants. This year, once the plot greenhouse was emptied of tomatoes, the plants were again planted in large boxes and taken inside.

I haven't disbudded them - which would have produced large flowers - so now they are producing lots of spray chrysanthemums.

I was lacking a white and a bronze variety and so when I spotted a white pot mum at the supermarket, it made its way into my trolley. So far my search for a bronze flowered plant has been fruitless.

Wednesday, November 11

Autumn medlar

 Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett

Sunday, November 8

Reddish and yellowish

We haven't really been satisfied with the bed alongside the garage for a while now. It's the bed marked R/Y on the plan below. The R/Y designation will come clear later.

The bed had never really been thought out and viewed from the window disappeared behind the large bamboo and camellia.
The banana was in direct line of fire of any strong winds that ripped the leaves to shreds and the bed was filled with crocosmia and heuchera that had resulted from plants being split and there being nowhere else to plant them.

We decided that late summer/early autumn colour in the garden and decided that this bed would address that failing. We also decided on a red and yellow colour scheme (R/Y)

The first task was deciding what to keep. We moved the pieris and kept a poppy, some day lilies and some crocosmia Lucifer and Solfaterre.The camellia was pruned hard and although it has pale pink flowers as it flowers early it wouldn't interfere with the red and yellow autumn theme. Everything else was moved out
We had already bought some perennials last year in readiness and these had overwintered in the greenhouse. By the time we started planting in early June some of those plants were large enough to split into two.
We didn't have enough plants to fill the bed and so gradually bought more until the bed was more or less full.
I wanted some variety of flower and leaf shape and so bought what I thought were a yellow and a red lupin. Unfortunately they turned out to be cream and pink. The cream one may have to move but the pink may just be allowed to stay.
The plants grew really quickly, some much larger than expected in their first year.
Eventually I decided to remove the poppy as once it had flowered and been cut back it left a large 'hole' in the planting. A couple more plants were bought to fill the space.
One disappointment was that I couldn't find helenium Ruby Tuesday and so bought Chelsey instead which according to the label was also red. It turned out to be a bicolour which, especially as the red astrantias didn't flower this year, is a bit overwhelmed by yellow.
The persicaria in the above photos was sent to me by Angie and has grown at an incredible rate. It is only one of the four plants that I grew from the piece that she sent me so thank you Angie.

Although the aim was for late summer/autumn colour I have also planted some miniature daffodils and some tulips to provide some early interest.
So why reddish and yellowish? It is extremely difficult to find perennials that are truly red and so some pinks and oranges have sneaked into what is now more of a warm border.

I gathered together photos of some of the flowers planted in the bed - the geums and astrantia haven't flowered this year.
I must admit that I was surprised by how many there were. Have you a favourite red or yellow perennial that I ought to try to sneak in?

The bed is still providing colour in November so even though some tweaking is needed I'd say that was a result.

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett