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May 2012

Allotment progress 8 months on, - and special visitors

Last September, - you might remember that my family were allocated a rather special allotment. I havn't written about it much, - but that doesn't mean that we havn't been (regularly) working it, and harvesting our crops, - particularly to go with our Sunday Roasts.


It's been a real family affair. - I've been down there on my own only a handful of time, - mostly it's all 3 of us.


This is our plot in all it's glory yesterday, - when we were visited by His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, and lots of other important local people including our Mayoress. We were asked lots of questions and William proudly showed them round, - including pointing out the eaten pea plants (rabbits or deer we're not sure what's evading the perimeter fence)


The rest of the volunteers at the Grace and Flavour garden (over the wall in the photo) also got to show off their acheivements and then in the best of british traditions, there was lots of tea and cake.

Well done to Su and Bob for organising the day, and all the G & F community gardeners and allotmenteers for being there to show off what we've acheived in the last couple of years.

No longer thirsty, but don't forget to feed your borders

I garden on chalk, and my front garden is very free draining and nutrient poor. - This year,however my front lawn border, is looking particularly lush, with iris's and tulips, bluebells, dicentra and brunnera, plus the summer perennials already bulking up.


But although the plants are growing, there is trouble ahead, as a lot of the nutrients that are needed to feed this lush growth have been washed out of the soil by the persistant rain, or pushed down below the root level of small plants.

Over the coming weeks, if plants aren't given extra food, the currently green growth will turn yellow and look sickly.

I'm feeding all my gardens with Worm leachate on a weekly basis, but any soluble general fertiliser, or seaweed extract, will help to get quick take up of nutrients to keep my lush plants looking healthy. - At the moment i've got full waterbutts to use, - and rain water is definetely better for the plants in our hardwater area.


3 great Clematis for early season colour

What with the huge amount of rain we've been having for the last couple of weeks, some of the flower colour has been a bit muted by the dull skies, but yesterday I was in a garden where the colour was shining out.


Admitidly some of the best colour was the foliage of the Spirea and the flowering cherry, but the Blue clematis in the middle of the picture was shining out amongst the leaf colour.


This Clematis Macropetala (probably Pauline, the label has got lost) has draped itself through the golden leaved Spirea, and the neigbouring Ceanothus, and is providing a bright colour contrast even on yesterday's dull and rainy day

Also flowering in profusion at the moment are 2 evergreen clematis.

Clematis Armandii provide all year round interest with it's pointed glossy foliage, and it can romp away into trees and up buildings to cover large areas with its Scented spring flowers.


Then there's a smaller Clematis Early Sensation that I've used very successfully for ground cover


This is excellent for its delicate cut foliage, and bright white flowers in May. Varieties Cartmanii Joe and Avalanche are very similar

All of these clematis are group 1 for pruning, meaning that you don't have to prune them except to take out any browning foliage, but i've found that the evergreen types respond well to some tidying after flowering. Don't cut them later in the year, or you'll miss out on the following season's flowers.