Monday, 15 June 2015

Losing The Plot

As the year slips by and my time is rapidly consumed with the finishing touches at La Petite Maison and also now the more recent project of tackling the garden,

where already roses (Gertrude Jekyll) are blooming gloriously outside the back door,

I have been sadly neglectful of my much loved allotment. So it was with trepidation that I ventured along Sweet Pea Lane towards the plot. 

 Sweet Pea Lane (in a previous year)

My fears were justified and what only a few months ago was a carefully tended and productive patch of earth now appears unkempt and uncared for, with knee-high weeds crowding around gooseberry and blackcurrant bushes, mocking me and showing off their irresolute determination for plot domination.

Folks (including a grumpy and negative Mr Long Suffering) have said I should give the allotment up and concentrate on the garden and living, but for me the allotment is part of living. It is a special place; another world; one that cannot be found in a back garden, no matter how lovely the garden. A place alive with the sound of birdsong, where nature envelops and draws you in; and hitherto unnoticed wildlife is all around - in the evening I saw a badger lumber up the embankment at the bottom of the plot, through the froth of Cow Parsley and over the railway line, his claws clattering noisily against the stones.

Cow Parsley along the Railway embankment

I am horrified at how quickly I have lost control of the allotment and the speed at which nature is reclaiming the land as her own; casually and effortlessly overthrowing my feeble attempts at maintaining an upper hand against the vociferous weeds.

Steeling myself for some back breaking digging, I began on the bed below the Cox's apple tree.

A young robin flew to the low branches of the tree and watched me with his head on one side, as the weeds were pulled up and I began exposing more and more of the bare earth.
He followed me as I moved next to the gooseberry bushes at the lower end of the plot. The weeds were choking them to such an extent that if I hadn't known they were there I would have been oblivious to their existence.

Although a lot more work is needed, some of the produce, especially the rhubarb, has flourished in spite of the neglect.

The Heartsease Violas that last year I crystallised and used to embellish mini fairy cakes, have self-seeded freely among the paths.

I cannot bring myself to disturb them by uprooting them and repositioning them, regardless of Mr Long-Sufferings grumbles that they make the paths look untidy.

Columbines have self-seeded too,

nodding their dainty bonnet shaped blooms gently as the breeze catches them.

There is much to do, and so little time to do it. I am tired! Oh so tired! Life and the work on La Petite Maison over the past few years have taken their toll and depleted my energy and reserves, but my day at the plot has rekindled my enthusiasm for allotmenting - already I am making plans; a new raspberry bed to be established; young blackcurrant bushes need to be moved. Sunflower seeds only lately sown due to the inclement weather are ready to be planted and surely it is not too late to sow that packet of wildflower seeds?

Admittedly the garden is a priority this year, so the plot may not look at its best or fulfil its productive potential, but I am darned sure that I am not going to lose it and I am certainly NOT going to voluntarily give it up!


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