Thursday, 26 January 2012

Tip -Toe Time!

As you've probably all heard Daffodils are blooming all over the shop at the moment due to the ridiculously mild winter, but it's not only the Dafs that've woken up - all the other spring bulbs are following suit too. I've got Snowdrops (planted 2 years ago as bulbs and only just showing!?), Muscari and Crocus popping their heads out to see what's what, which makes it incredibly difficult knowing where to put my feet at the mo'.
Weeding has become a bit of a ballet in walking boots - my hand trowel is now my new best friend, although my back may beg to differ! For example, I spent the morning yesterday standing on tip-toe in a flower bed full of unwanted Wild Garlic (bulb and leaf pics above) trying to remove the garlic and not the spring bulbs - tricky!
The Wild Garlic was originally introduced into the garden as a companion plant to deal with the black fly but it's an invasive little bugger that's spread throughout the back garden and is now happily entrenched in the front too. The only way to keep it under control is to dig out the bulbs and hope for the best. The owner of said gardens is rather fond of it provided it's kept under control and I really enjoy working surrounded by the subtle smell of garlic. It's one of those fragrances like Rosemary or Mint that have a nostalgic quality to them - well for me at least.
On the home front the allotment's looking rather bare but is all prepped for the coming growing season. Our garden has an air of anticipation - everything is ready and waiting. It should be a good year as I've spent a lot of time trying to improve the soil structure with home-made leaf mulch and compost and I'm armed and ready with a humungous bag of organic chicken manure for feeding. The water butts are full to overflowing, the soil nicely moist and during any dry period we'll be saving our shower water. All good in theory. . .

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Where Did The Rest of The Year Go?

Wow, Christmas and New Year are done already? Not sure how that happened! Anyhoo, I was very kindly reminded by my mate Dave last week (great B-day bash by the way matey) that I'd been very remiss as far as the old blogging was concerned and after protesting that I'd posted recently I realised that Dave (who, bless his heart still reads the blog regularly) is correct and I haven't posted since October. Apologies, but in my defence I've been extremely busy with the old gardening lark due to the return of the mild weather - my daffodils are starting to sprout which is a little extreme in December to say the least! Snow stopped play in November 2010 so I've had an extended working year this year and will be starting early in 2012 too if the weather holds!
On the home front we potted up a 'Rubinette' apple tree into a half barrel (the tree is grafted onto M27 root stock so is ideal for a pot in our front garden) and spent Boxing Day down on the allotment spreading steaming muck onto our beds ready for next years' planting - very satisfying despite some bugger having broken into our shed on Christmas Day!
It's been a bit of a strange end to the year - the gardening's been fab, but my dad was poorly and in hospital the week before Christmas (nothing life-threatening thankfully) so the run-up to Christmas was a bit stressful. On the upside I got another essay posted off for marking and we saw the year out healthy and happy. Today's plan is to go out for a lovely long walk across Wanstead Flats to work off the excess of chocolate and cake - excellent!
Hope you all have a healthy, wealthy and happy New Year!
Speak soon (I promise).