Thursday, 13 June 2013

Sunshine; Freedom and a Little Flower

"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly.
"One must have sunshine, freedom,
and a little flower."

The past week has brought bright cornflower blue, cloudless skies, warm sunshine and with it for me a renewed burst of vitality and energy. I applied myself vigorously to my task of painting fascias and soffits at La Petite Maison - a priority that cannot be shied away from. However once complete and before I could become embroiled with another task at the house, I took advantage of my freedom and the glorious weather to spend some time at the allotment.

Oh yes - believe me the thought of a day by the Sea was very appealing, but time at the plot has been scant; the cold, late Spring means there is still planting and much work to be done, and after all a summers day spent at the allotment is far from a chore.

My pleasure at the prospect of the day ahead was marred only when upon my arrival I discovered that yet again the Council had blatantly ignored the desperate pleas of the Allotment Committee to

"Please Leave the Edges of the Plots Alone!"

Initially the boundaries received a thorough dosing of chemicals (turning Sweet Pea Lane into Chemical Alley!) but after our repeated requests to stop this practice had fallen on deaf ears - the Council eventually agreed to stop the spraying on the basis of reducing costs.

So now I find they have massacred my carefully tended boundary instead!

Teasels, Montbretia, Nasturtiums and Sweet Pea all chopped mercilessly to ground level. How absolutely infuriating! But on such a beautiful day I was not going to let it be spoiled by negative thoughts about the Council and so with great fortitude I temporarily dismissed it from my mind as I opened the gate and entered the plot.

Despite the recent cold weather the rhubarb has been magnificent;

The huge leaves glossy and green and stalks long, red and plentiful.
Rhubarb crumble has featured frequently on the menu lately.

The first crop of peas that I sowed in gutters failed dismally, turning brown and shrivelled up overnight. Happily my second attempt of sowing the peas directly into the ground was successful and I spent the first part of the morning creating a twiggy framework for the young shoots to scramble up making use of last year's raspberry canes.

The runner beans too had a bad start in the greenhouse; one batch of seeds did not germinate and turned to mush; out of the second batch only two came to fruition, but the third lot sown in May flourished and now planted are eagerly twisting their way up the bamboo canes.

There is not yet a lot of colour - beneath the white flowers of the hawthorn hedge and aside from the duck egg blue of the shed, the plot is predominantly cloaked in green with splodges of brown. However look closely and there are splashes of purple dotted throughout;  

the purple / pink of chives beneath the apple tree, 

and Lupins beside the gate at the entrance;

Columbines or Granny's Bonnet
(I think those names are so much more evocative than Aquilegias)

sway beside the brick path leading to the shed -

above the prolifically flowering Heartsease Violas.

I sowed the Violas last year from a Sarah Raven seed packet - the first flowers appeared cream and yellow, 

but after a few weeks the flowers that followed were a dark purple and yellow. Ideal - not just for livening up a green salad, or crystallizing to decorate cakes, but perfect also for pressing and using to decorate my handmade soap.

Handmade Herbal Soap

As the sultry summers day drew to a close, the evening sun bathed the plot, and I turned my attention to watering - when suddenly I noticed - beside the peas and the broad beans..........

A Sign!

The Rainbow's End!

I though how apt it was - 

My little piece of Paradise at the End of the Rainbow!



--Leanan-- said...

Hello! I've been reading lots of blogs about allotments and I just have to ask whats with councils obsessions with weeds? I really can't understand why are they so crazy about cutting and spraying. I'm so sorry about your Sweet pea. :( Btw looove all the flowers, especially bicolor columbines.

Charlotte Garden said...

Hi Leanan
The council are so environmentally unfriendly it is unbelievable and only agreed to stop spraying when they realised it would save money. I didn't anticipate that they would still attack the boundaries with a strimmer though! They just don't understand allotmenting!

(So glad you like the flowers - an allotment just isn't the same without flowers).

Anonymous said...

Don't talk to me about Local Council morons! Last year I decided to forage for blackberries,sloes and rosehips along the towpath where I had seen them growing in abundance a few days before. Got there armed with my baskets and hooked walking stick only to find that the Council workmen had cut the hedgerows to smitherines! Why, why, why in the autumn when they should be allowed to provide such bounty?
This spring I noticed a few patches of purple orchids along the towpath hedgerows--such a rare sight. Next day the council workers had trampled them to mush when laying stones. Philistines! ---Janedoe