Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The Best Laid Plans

Met the client to discuss requirements + presented 3 plans, approved 1 + found a builder willing to take said plans seriously + builder priced up job = £3k over budget and postponed until next year.
This is both a disappointment and a relief as I was really quite nervous about the prospect of spending so much of someone else's money - what if they didn't like the finished article? What if I didn't like the result of my hours of planning?  Anyhoo, I've resigned myself to saying goodbye the the raised patio and sunken fire pit for what is hopefully only the time being.  I think most people would be surprised at my cowardice over this but it's a huge thing.  I really want to get into garden design (my body won't take endless years of lifting and digging) but would be much more comfortable if I could design and build a garden for myself first (never gonna happen).  That way I could make sure I knew what I was doing and to learn more about pricing jobs and materials as well as being able to oversee the fine details (control freak that I am).  Having said all that I was determined to see it through despite my doubts and fears, after all the first time you do anything is always the scariest isn't it?  The bonus is that the builder - the lovely Frank Hodder - said the plans were "spot on" and any minor issues could be worked out easily enough on the job.  One less thing to worry about next time around!
Meanwhile life goes on as usual, which involves me running around like the proverbial headless chicken toting various bits of kit back and forth along the streets of Forest Gate.  With the better weather every garden I work on is green and lush having had a wet summer and winter to nourish it - all we need now is a prolonged bout of warm, sunny days to get those blooms a' burstin'!
The allotment has been slow to say the least - we only started planting about 2 weeks ago and again everything needs a good dose of sunshine to get it going.  We plan to plant field beans (an older version of broad beans), cima de rapa (a form of broccoli less susceptible to white fly), crookneck squash, courgettes, bi-colour sweetcorn, cucumbers, pak choi and onions - all sourced from the Real Seed Company.  The globe artichokes are doing well as are the raspberries, strawberries and blueberries.  The apple and remaining cherry cordons are also full of fruit so we'll get some kind of harvest come autumn.  The asparagus is in it's third year but was disappointing. We've only managed to harvest a few spears but we've put in lots of the old reliable runner beans and the wild flower patch is looking really good - so are the ornamentals that I've put it at the end of the beds and under the apple cordons.  Just waiting for the French marigolds and nasturtiums to come up to give the place a good dose of colour.  The other good allotment news is that we now have 2 operational water harvesting units on the go, which is a big bonus as our site doesn't have any mains water supply.  The first water harvester was installed last year and the two huge drums are full and, despite the second only being completed last week, the dip tank is full so that's a good start for the folk at the other end of the site.  

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