Friday, 19 April 2013

Back To The Allotment

Shhhhhhhhhhh! Don't tell anyone, but I've escaped! 

For a short while I have left behind the building work and returned to my enchanted land. 
That magical place;

The plot of land that is my retreat; my sanctuary; my guilty pleasure -

I know you have been wondering why there has been no mention lately of the allotment, so I will confess to you that following the unpleasant incident of the looters at the end of last summer and then the relentless long winter months, I had been feeling slightly disenchanted with allotmenting.

However, at long last the weather has offered us a brief and definitely overdue reprieve from the cold; with a glimmer of sunshine and a hint of warmer temperatures. I felt a stirring inside me and a longing to be back on that sloping plot. To hear the birds singing in the hawthorn hedge; to see the robin flying down

- first to the handle of the spade and then to the newly dug earth - his head turned to the side and one eye watching me as he deftly plucks a fat pink juicy worm from the turned soil.

There is much digging to be done. The Autumn raspberries are now cut back 

and strawberry runners planted. 

The allotment looks bare and brown, but the rhubarb is vigorous and tempting 

- soon there will be rhubarb crumble to bake and taste.

Low down and almost unnoticed, beside the brick path leading to the shed, I found to my amazement the Heartsease Violas

displaying their delicate blooms, 

whilst the bare stems of the fruit bushes are adorned with tightly furled green buds, slowly opening - just waiting for the first opportunity to burst forth.

My herb beds have suffered this winter. 

The Rosemary did not survive the hatchet attack from the looters and both bushes are dead. 

The Lavender, despite being cut back after flowering is looking the worse for wear 

and the beautifully scented Chamomile is now a brown dead stringy mess.

With the raised beds prepared and manured, I have sown seeds; (flowers first of course) Calendula and Poppies. Pots of sweet-pea and runner beans fill the greenhouse.  Seed packets of peas and leeks; onion sets all still to be planted.

Seedlings that have self-sown on the plot from foxgloves and teasels, (why do so many seed onto the pathways?)  are carefully lifted and repositioned around the plot in more appropriate locations. I cannot bear to pull them up and discard them like weeds.

At the bottom of the plot, behind the picket fence young nettle shoots are evident. This pleases me - I shall collect the young nettle tops and a pot of Nettle soup will soon be simmering on the hob.

As I close the gate after a wonderful day of being back with nature, and gaze around at the brown earth (okay there are still some weeds to be dealt with), the allotment has once more performed its magic and I have fallen under its spell again. I know that this year due to the renovation of La Petite Maison I may not have much time for allotmenting, but oh how I treasure every minute spent here.


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