Sunday, August 27, 2006

My oasis in a huge field of weeds.

I had been feeling rather despondent about the way the bottom end of my plot was looking lately. Purely because of the rapid growth of the weeds in my flower beds and ‘resting’ beds. (Resting because I had not been well enough this year to accomplish all that I had hoped for- due to the silly shingles.

Because of the heavy rain falls we have been having too, the paths and lawn and meadow had not been cut for about four weeks. An all time first for me. Whilst the paths made it look quite tidy, I hated having the weeds in the beds as it looked scruffy – even though I am surround by plots full of thistles, docks, Fat Hen, and all sorts so of nasty things scattering seeds to the winds!

I had a mind to leave it as it was, after all, come winter they all die down anyway, but pride got the better of me. Especially as my vegetable end is tidy.

This is the 'before' photo.

Two hours later when I had weeded it - this is the after! There is even a sunflower in the foreground.

Cordalines, crocosmias, hostas, and zebra grass and a big rhubarb at the end. I think that whilst it is bare and not planted up in the middle, I shall buy a big sack of mixed daffodil bulbs and plant them, before I put any more plants in. I will really need to pack them in to keep the weeds out. The sowing of annuals was not a success after all. The drought saw to that! I shall do some propogating by division from my garden and add more to this bed.

I went on to weed these two beds too next - and then mowed the paths again and the top end of the plot where we park the car and where the squash bed is next to the compost bin and pig hut. That had to be done three times too.

I was on my hands and knees most of the time weeding - but I still need to dig the beds over, the girls were jumping all over me to get at the insects and worms, and then would rush back to where Pat was working digging out the resting bed, to see what was on offer there.

Yesterday you read how we made a start on that end – and the difference inspired us to finish if off today.

Luckily it was a dry day, with rain forecast, so we got stuck in to do as much as we could whilst we could.

What a difference a few hours make – well 14 hours of hard work actually over two days.

Weeds removed from around the covered 'resting' bed, and beyond, unfortunately, an over zealous Pat weeded the new lawn path that I had sowne - admittedly it was dotted with weeds and bird scarers, but never mind - I can re-sow. Pat pulled out a weed, and was surprised that it had some potatoes on its roots - yes that area was the potato bed last year!

I mowed all the paths and meadow three times over, but it was hard going, the grass was wet, and I was left with a rather ‘hippy’ type haircut on some of the paths and meadow. I didn’t trim the edges – prioritising was the order of the day, and a job like that can wait!

We worked for four hours each today and three each yesterday, and this is what we achieved. Do bear in mind that this part of the allotment is about 150 feet long!

I feel that I have got it all under control again. It was so rewarding for both of us seeing the difference that removing those weeds made.

Despite the 'tweaking' left to do, it now looks like a nice garden.

At one point I was so worn out that I lay on my back on the damp newly mown grass and just looked up at the blue sky - to rest my aching back.

The chooks were 'bok bok bokking' around me, pecking seeds off my green wellies, the grass smelt wonderful and there was the scent from the mint next to where I was lying.

I lay there for a few minutes - and marvelled at my little oasis in the middle of a field full of weeds - and if I could bottle that feeling and sell it, I would have more money than anyone else in the whole world.

But who needs it - I have my very own feel good factor for £8 pounds a year - soon to be £10 pounds. And despite the rabbits, deer, mice, moles,parasites, bugs, neglected plots, failed crops, stony ground, and 'challenging' weather - I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world.



  1. Hi! Lovely garden! Love the mints and the chickens.
    I was wondering about your rudbeckias. Do you know the variety name? They are magnificent! So tall! My ones only begin blooming in late summer, and are not very tall at all. Still one of my favorite autumn flowers though. But I'd like to try growing the large ones like yours next year.

  2. I had to look up "fat hen weed" to see if that's something we have in the US, only by another name. We do, it's called "goosefoot", and I did discovered some very interesting facts about it:
    "Fat-hen was eaten as a vegetable from Neolithic times until the 16th century when it was replaced in the diet by spinach and cabbage. It is rich in vitamin C. The seeds were ground into flour. In Canada, it was grown as food for pigs and sheep. Although it can contain potentially harmful levels of nitrates cases of poisoning are rare. It is very efficient at extracting nutrients from the soil. Fat-hen is an important constituent in the diet of farmland birds."

  3. Leonie10:26 pm

    AL that looks so much better, I couldn't believe it was the same bed at first! It's very satisfying seeing a patch of ground transform from weed infested patch to complete neatness.

  4. Hi Lottie,
    Guess what I got tonight when I came home? No not a bath run for me by some gorgeous hunk offering to scrub my back for me('tho would have been nice LOL!)...............
    Your parcel! I had put a note on the front doorstep with a pebble on it to weight it down, saying please deliver parcel next door, and postie did! But Angus who lives next door, didn't catch me before I went to bed, but was waiting for me tonight, bless him!

    Now it's my turn to feel ever so, so, I can't think of the word(s)!
    Blessed!happy! I can't stop smelling the St.Clements soap and will put some of your moisturising cream on my hands with cotton gloves over it and pamper my hands tonight! (did you like the lavender soap from Carol McMillan?)
    That was a bit like 'coals to Newcastle' wasn't it!LOL!
    I'm so excited at reveiving all of these goodies! the cards are marvellous, everything you sent me is absolutely wonderful and I'm so humbled that you sent me so much, don't go thinking "It wasn't much", it is so gratefully recieved! THANK YOU!

    Now I've got to try and get some sleep, after checking my mail!

    Sleep well too and dream of all the produce you'll get from your allotment!
    I envy you lying on the new mown grass and mint around you! It must have been so uplifting!

    Nite nite!

  5. rudbeckias.

    hmmmmmmmmmmmm think I have some of those in my flower seed stash!

    exhausted after a lovely blast to Ullswater!

  6. So much work at times and so wonderful the rewards! Your piece of the world is looking beautiful. While working between rows, I've sat (more like fallen over) and just enjoyed the towing flowers and veggies all around, the smells, the bees and the birds singing. It really is a different experience close to the ground.

    Do you have any advice on ripening a early pumpkin? I have a mostly grean one, with a little orange around the top & bottom, that broke off (the 3rd pict on my post today is similar). Will it go on & ripen, and if so, do you have any suggestions on where to keep it while it ripens? On the counter (room temp), cooler or warmer?

  7. petunias garden - thankyou for you lovely comment. It really was the best feeing lying on the damp lawn - I could have stayed there for hours!

    Pumpkins. I am picking mine small and putting them on the window ledge to dry. They do need a stalk on them though or they tend to rot - but that is mainly in the winter, this time of year they should be fine.

    That is what I have been using to make all my veggie burger with and of course pumpkin mash - delish.

  8. becki9:16 am

    You did that in 2 hours!

  9. Yes it took me two hours to do that one bed - distracted and hampered by the chooks or course - and I mowed the paths either side three times - still go to do them a couple more times to get them to the 'crop' haircut I like - but it keeps raining - lots of rain overnight so can't do it today

  10. AL, you are truly amazing, I wish I had half your stamina! My friend and I went to see the allotment site we have put our names down for...we're both *so* excited, hopefully it won't be too long to wait. I know it will be hard work as my father had an allotment, but I can't wait!

  11. You will love every single minute of it. I am looking forward to hearing all about it and 'seeing' it too. Do let me know when you get it won't you.

  12. We have just got the keys to our allottment in Norwich (£40 a year!)and I have to say your blog is such an inspiration to us.

    We have a lot of clearing ahead of us, I want to get it done so the frosts can break up the ground a little, but I am looking forward to all the winter planning!

    warm regards


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