Tuesday, 31 March 2009

migraine and fire

Ferns at end of garden -love the way they look when they unfurl.

Today started off a bit strangely. Bad nights sleep then trying to get right cereals in right coloured bowls. I know I shouldn't give in to the kids demands but I am not a morning person-I try and stay away from people as much as possible as I am liable to give in to anything till I wake up. I saw sparkly bits in my eyes. I am very queasy about my eyes- shortsighted since 9 years of age. I hoped I was imagining it but then I looked properly and C shapes curled round the edges of each eye and danced with the spangles of many stars. I phoned my husband on his mobile 7 times but he did not pick up. Managed to keep breakfasts rolling though i wanted to crawl off into a corner. Then they vanished. Just got back from doctor and he said it was a kind of migraine with visual aura but no headache. He asked if i'd ever had one before. I had one ten years ago which consisted of round orange circles with a sledgehammer headache on one side of my head. Hopefully it'll be another ten years before you get another. Circle then a C shape - maybe a message is being spelled to me .............hope it's not a long word.

In afternoon went to allotment and along with friend we had an appraisals and bindweed bonfire. Very satisfying all round. She got rid of her old unwanted work stuff and I my weeds.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

A new post on a new laptop

Finally I have made the transition to the new laptop and it's been pretty painless. It's so much faster than the old one. OOps spoke too soon - can't seem to add photos. Oh dear will try and describe them. Well in my garden now the forsythia is looking splendid. I can't believe I'm saying that as I don't really like it - I must be going soft. It's filled with yellow flowers which come before the leaves. You actually feel like you are covered in sunshine even on a grey day when you stand under it - it is that gloriously yellow. It warms. More daffodils are budding. I picked some from my allotment and there are at least four varieties there. My favourite has pale petals and a yellow heart deeping out to orange. It has gorgeous scent that greets me everytime I come back in the house. I'll really miss it when they fade. My parsley now has four leaves which means it's time to prick it out. Basically each seedling needs more room so it can grow. I put two seedlings in a cup filled with compost I got for mothers day whose ear got broken off even before I got it home. I put some broken crockery in the bottom of it to provide drainage. Need to pay my rent at allotment tomorrow and will get some more potatoes(Charlotte ones coz we love them). Have let kids stay up as they have made up a brilliant game and it doesn't seem right to stop them. Got a poem accepted by EveryDay Poets will let you know when it comes up. It will be my first ever payment for writing. It's only $1 but that'll be the best money I've ever earnt.
I got the go ahead from physio to start digging. Have to take it easy at first. Weather permitting hopefully can get started soon. Need to sort out when I'm going to write and when dig. Think it's all going to get a bit busy soon.

Sunday, 22 March 2009


Before I went away we had a bonfire at the allotment to try and get rid of the bindweed we'd pulled out of the ground. It took a while to get the fire going - I'm not so good at building them though I love feeding them. We burnt a fair bit but it was all a bit slow for my son. We got rid of quite a lot of the bindweed but still have some left. Can't compost it as it has amazing ability to shoot back into life from any tiny knobbly bit of root. Could try drowning it or another fire .....

Friday, 20 March 2009


Hello sorry haven't posted for so long. Sadly my uncle in the Ukraine died and me and my sister went to the funeral. Feeling quite weird as went from sunny weather in England to sticky wet mud and then snow in the Ukraine. Here's the church next to my cousin's house. Our grandfather donated the land for the church.
Came back very relieved to see husband and his brother had looked after kids and my seedlings very well. Here are my tomato seedlings I took them out for some sun today. Friends and kids came over this afternoon. Kids watered themselves and patio.

One of my camellias has flowered and is covered in these blooms. I love it.

My Clematis armandii has finally flowered - what a lovely sight to be greeted by.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

seed sowing

Yesterday I washed loads of pots and sterilised them in dishwasher ready for some serious seed sowing. Then I sowed some tumbling tomatoes in a modular tray. The try comes with a plastic roof which keeps the seeds warm and helps them germinate. I then filled some 3 inch pots with multipurpose compost and sowed one cucumber seed in each pot. They say to do two seeds in each and after they grow into seedlings pull out the weedier looking one but I find it really hard to do that. So I am just gonna try one in each. I did two types of cucumber - the first one is called Crystal Apple and they are lovely - my friend introduced me to them years ago and I keep growing them. They are weird looking as they are yellow and round. You have to harvest them when they are the size of duck eggs(yeah I didn't know how big that was but evidently they are a bit bigger than hen eggs) and before they turn orange coz they taste horrid then. The Crystal Apple cucumber is so nice that my friend who hates cucumbers loved it - almost like melon it tastes. I also sowed cucumber Pasandra (more like your regular cucumber)as they are never bitter my friend said. Last year I grew Cucumber masterpiece and was not impressed with the taste as bitter - someone said it's coz of the sex of the flowers but unfortunately I can't remember what they said to do to avoid them being bitter so i have just avoided that particular cucumber instead. I labelled the pots - unusual for me to be that organised but i did get a load of labels and pen for my birthday so decided to be good. Parsley seedlings still alive!!!! Hoorah - am managing to keep them moist not drowned. Through the post I got a five pound thompson and morgan seeds voucher - very pleased with that so I ordered some mixed lettuces and green dwarf beans as only seem to have purple ones and some chocolate coloured cornflowers. I seem to have a slight obsession with chocolate flowers. It started with some chocolate cosmos flowers i bought a few years back. They smell like chocolate and are a gorgeous dark dark crimson in sunlight and chocolate colour when it's cloudy. They are so beautiful but are not hardy. I never have the heart to dig them up while they are still flowering so the frost ends up killing them, so I end up buying new ones each year. I should put them in a pot really so that I can easily move them out of the cold.

Monday, 9 March 2009

hellebores, sprouting seeds

Pictures of hellebores in my garden. The second photo is how they really look as they are very shy. Propped one up so you could see what the flowers look like.

I peeped through the polythene bag I had placed over the pot I'd sown my parsley seeds in and I could see GREEN. So I took the bag off and was very happy to see the parsley had sprouted. Parsley seeds are notoriously hard to germinate so was very pleased. Just have to wait till each seedling has four leaves then can prick each one out into its own pot.

My friend gave me some Physalis franchetii (Chinese lantern plants)- the flowers are gorgeous orange lanterns. The leaves are a bit nettle-looking but will excuse them that. I split and moved some arum plants -think i was meant to do that in autumn but they seem ti have survived.
Forgot to thank my friend Tina (see followers) for inspiring me to take the crocus photos last week. She took a brilliant photo of a crocus -you can find it under the post titled blue skies.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

one handed digging

Was feeling a bit sorry for myself yesterday as over did it using newly liberated hand. Also was suffering from sleep deprivation(poor daughter had temperature) so just could not motivate myself to do anything. Today kids were happy playing indoors so left them with hubby and went to allotment to have a look at plot and try and get my head round which plants were going where according to crop rotation scheme. I was quite reluctant to go as felt it would make me feel worse going there and not doing much. Slouched to my plot said hi to people on plot behind me then J called me over. Hadn't seen him in ages. He told be how he'd been doing up his shed at home and fallen into his pond- fortunately he managed to throw the electric drill he was holding onto solid ground before he reached the water. Then he showed me his new heater in his shed - all mod cons and asked what I was up to. Explained about my wrist and he said just say the word and i'll run the rotovator over your plot. What a lovely man! So with one hand and an extremely light fork I dug out the brussel sprouts and then cleared away bricks and bits of branches that had dropped off the magnificent oak next to my plot. I felt so much better after doing that - wished that I'd got there earlier and done more of it. Saw L on way out - he'd injured his leg so was good to see him up and about. I love chatting to him.

My broad beans (aquadulce)sown in November.

Daffodils on my recently acquired second plot. One of my predessors planted a thousand bulbs. It's going to look gorgeous -can't wait. The lovely shed isn't mine unfortunately. Mind you I already have a lovely shed on original plot so can't complain.

Thursday, 5 March 2009


I went up the hospital today sat in various queues- plaster off with circular saw while technician chatted happily and I wonder how many people get sliced. My friend told me it stops on contact with skin but how do I know that's not just an urban myth. Queue for X-ray and then was happily queuing again - for no reason it turns out coz I should have gone straight to nurse ('DIDN'T YOU READ THE SIGNS?') there were lots of signs but obviously I didn't read the important one. And they said it was fine though they pointed to fracture healing that I hadn't known was there as the last time they pointed to a different fracture. Never mind - it was my arm and the 'after' shots definately looked better than 'before' x rays. They sent me to physio and I cut to the important stuff and asked when I could dig and she reackons 8-12 weeks. I wasn't expecting that long but luckily have volunteers lined up. I usually use digging to offset PMT so I guess I will just have to shout instead or write. We have a new laptop and I am still using old delapidated one and feel unsure whether to transfer to new or keep using this rickerty one. The sensible thing would be to let go of this on. Can I do it- go on girl let go.....
I am the girl who at college sewed her shoes up to get more wear out of them coz hate wasting anything. Will post some photos soon - hellebores in garden beautiful deep pink almost plum colour. Before I can do that have to decide which laptop to download to. It's sunny here - have a lovely day.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

seeds etc

A fellow allotmenteer has recommended the following sites so I thought I'd share them.

http://www.hiddeneden.com/free-seeds.aspx - free seeds(have registered for mine already)
http://www.kingsseeds.com – cheapest seeds and good.
http://www.allotments4all.co.uk/ - this site has a forum and loads of tips
http://www.thompson-morgan.com/plants1/gwm.html cheap offers from t and m

Sunday, 1 March 2009

allotment fix

Our allotments run a small shop open on Sundays between 10am and 11.30am. I usually remember that I want to buy something from there after it has shut but today I made it! I bought half kilo of red onions called Red Baron and half kilo white onions(Must look up name). Along with your purchases you can get free advice from the retailer (allotmenteer volunteers). He told me that the onions I bought will store well and should last me till spring next year. The japanese varieties I planted in autumn can be used as soon as they grow to a reasonable size as they will not store. The general feeling of spring in the air galvanised me to sort out the potaoes I had harvested last year. We harvested them in July - Mid August and are still eating them. However quite a lot of them have sprouted and gone rubbery. So I dragged the sacks out and chucked the ones that were too far gone into the recycling(no point putting them on my compost heap as will start growing there) and took the sprouts off the ones still relatively firm and kept them. If the potatoes have turned green beware -never eat green potatoes as the green is poisonous. Sometimes I just cut out the green but not sure if that's what you are meant to do so can't advise you to do that. After the shop I popped into the allotments - dug up three leeks for tea, chatted a bit and felt dejected that I couldn't dig yet like everyone else is doing. Still it was lovely to be there in the fresh air. Going to hospital on Wednesday to have plaster off and to check bone has healed so fingers crossed....