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August 2011
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October 2011

September 2011

Quick Gardening tip - End of season Daylilies

Daylilies (Hemerocallis) are fantastic summer bloomers, and look great on Mass.

In shades of Red and Orange, they brighten up many a border during the months of June and July.

But by September they are looking a bit tired and messy, like this clump where i've been working today.

i've found that the best solution to tidy them up, is with a metal garden rake. - A spring tyne rake or one like this border rake. The trick is to hold the rake upside down, and lift the dead leaves out of the clump, rather than raking the debris towards you, which often breaks the live leaves as well.

t-dah, - one tidy clump of daylilies and a whole tub trug full of compostable waste.


Garden Bloggers Bloom Day September 2011

The mornings are getting cooler, the trees are starting to loose their leaves, but I love the colours of autumn, so i'm enjoying what's flowering in my garden this month.

This Sedum Autumn Joy obviously loves it's spot, and the Aster behind it (variety unknown, donated from a client garden) is just starting to pop into flower.

This Aster - Frikatii Monch has been flowering since July, but still appears to have plenty of buds left on it.

I'm a bit of a Dahlia novice, but i'm rather pleased with these two.

This one was also liberated from a client garden. This was part of a Huge clump that we dug up 4 years ago when a landscaping project was happening. The client had been told it was Bishop of Llanduff, but that usually has dark foliage, whereas this is green. Unfortunately the tubers we replanted in the clients garden didn't come through the winter 2 years ago, but this one is going from strength to strength, so I need to learn how to propagate it to give some back.

(any lessons, or thoughts on if the foliage could change over the years appreciated)

Now for years i've looked through Sarah Raven's catalogue and been amazed at the range of Dahlias. Last year we planted several borders that included them, and this one - Karma choc was left over, so I had to have it, and I think this colour is stunning.

I've also got


Rudbeckia and another Aster

and the cyclamen hederifolium are still brightening up my shady border, along with some Colchicum Water lily.


Thanks as ever to Carol at May Dream Gardens for hosting this monthly whizz round the world into blooming gardens


Allotment gardening here I come...

Yes, At last, the Brown family have an allotment, and I can tell you about it. You see I was having to keep it a bit of a secret and we weren't allowed to start until we had the official go ahead because.

It's the National Trust's 1000th Allotment.

For anyone that doesn't know, a couple of years ago in 2009, the NT, pledged to create 1000 new allotments on their land so that individuals, community groups and schools could grow their own. They joined up with the Landshare website to get the word out about the land that was to be shared, and they've surpassed their own expectation of getting to their target by 2012

I was aware that the wonderful Grace and Flavour community garden and allotments were National Trust associated, but it was only last month when we were told we were next on the list and that the plots were going to be available from the beginning of September, that we realised that they were part of the new allotment pledge.

So we are very pleased and honoured to take on the 1000th plot, - here it is.


It hadn't been allocated with the rest of the allotments in April, as it had a great big water trench dug through it to supply the community garden, so the far end is rather clay where the diggers had gone down deep and brought up subsoil in laying the pipe. The near end at the front had been the site of the massive bonfire last year when the site was being cleared. so there is plenty of potash in that area, and it was easy to dig.

I've got a large plot of land to call my own, and this morning i've been planting my first crops - Blackcurrants, Spring Cabbages and Leeks. We've even been featured on the National Trust's website

So ideas and feedback welcomed, - what do you suggest should be top of my list to go in next?

(photo credit Professional Images )

Update -

Yes we have got a completely dug plot, to start with, - that's the thing about a community garden, lots of helpers, even in the rain, - so yes this plot was dug in a morning, if you'd like to watch a Benny Hill Stylie Timelapse of our morning of digging, - download the video here Download timelapse.flv (7435.0K)  

Eggs for Breakfast - Rescue chickens to the rescue


8 weeks ago at the beginning of July, we got 3 new rescue chickens. At that point they had been out of the battery cages about 1 weeks, and came to us looking rather bald, - I wrote about them here.

Now after 8 weeks of attention from us, and friends while we were on holiday, (thanks chicken foster parents :) they are fully feathered, and all giving us eggs every day, - which is just in time for the beginning of a new school term so that I can make boiled eggs, and eggy bread for breakfast each day.

They are also now willing to take slugs from me to feed on, but i've still got to get them liking ground elder, - the patch under my apple tree now needs some serious attention.

More space to grow in

When we moved to our current house 3 1/2 years ago, one of the reasons was because we wanted a bigger garden. Now, i've filled all the space i'm allowed (apparently my 7 yr old does need to have a climbing frame and some football/ cricket space) i've been looking at other areas to cultivate.

Luckily, I do have client gardens to "play" in, and there's school gardening club, and the grace and flavour community garden, so i'm not short of practise room, but i've had to say no, to requests from hubby for Brussel sprouts, and asparagus, and cabbages, and no to pleas from my son for pumpkin growing, as our back garden raised plots are being kept for salads, and beans and tomatoes and, - well I grow lots, but there isn't room for big things.


Earlier in the year Allotments were created right by the Grace and Flavour community garden and we've been watching with admiration and envy as they've gone from a bare piece of land to productive beauty. (the picture above was taken there, there are lots of wonderful plots, but I love these Sunflowers). My parents have also finally got to the top of their local allotment society waiting list, and have taken on a plot with fantastically productive fruit bushes, As we took yet another jar of jam from them last week (Mara de Bois Strawberry), and admired their onions and Kale and Butternut squash. I was mentally trying to search for extra space to grow more.

We had an allotment when we were in our first flat, (ooh about 18 years ago) and for 2 years we fought marestail and couch grass to grow far too many courgettes, plus some other crops that i've forgotton about now in the mists of time. We know how much work an allotment can be, we know they'll be digging to start with and lots of weeding, and probably disappointment as crops fail the minute you turn your back and don't manage to visit, but yes our name has been on the waiting list for the last few months, and hopefully we should hear this week, as more land is being allocated.

Since our last foray with an allotment, i've read lots of books, blogs and tweets about allotment growing, hopefully learned a huge amount about both growing crops, and about managing them so they take the least amount of work. With an eager family to help me dig and plant and water, and a desire to eat vegetables and fruits i've grown without added chemicals, (plus maybe grow a few flowers, ) i'm hoping more space to grow in will be great for us all, - although i'm going to leave the Jam making to my mum.