Well its turning out that I'm only managing a monthly blog post at the moment! This is a bit frustrating but there are only so many hours in the day and if the weather's good I'd far rather been out doing rather than writing about it. We've been away for a long weekend in Scotland and making the most of any dry weekend days at the allotment, roll on the lighter nights. Plus I'm busy at York Gate, we are getting the garden ready for opening again at the beginning of April which this year excitingly includes a complete revamp of the white and silver garden, I've spent my last two days there planting with all new plants. What a treat. The garden is looking great at the moment the snowdrops have been fabulous, they have masses of Galanthus 'S.Arnott' which is big snowdrop. Its been flowering for weeks. The gardens open again on Thursdays and Sundays from the first of April. My training year is racing by at the speed of sound and I'm making the most of my time there and I'm learning so much. Its a real treat to see the garden through the year.
I've also been getting a bit on top of my allotment, I've almost finished my paths now, so my plot is completely divided into workable beds now. I'm just waiting on a delivery of bark chippings to fill the path, its a bit erratic our bark chipping delivery we get loads dumped and then none for ages but should be grateful that we get some for free. I want to dig up the grass path at the bottom of the plot to again fill with bark as its full of buttercups and is often slippy, but going to wait till it gets a bit drier, the structure is all there though now.
I have had a delivery of manure though, shared with a fellow allotment holder and so I spent the warmest day of the year so far barrowing muck to my plot, I know I'm late but better late than never. I've done all but one bed now. The rest, as its a big pile, will be piled up in the corner of my plot and covered over for next year.
I've fed and topdressed, with compost, the overwintered onions and garlic.
I've mulched and tidied the fruit bed. I dug the strawberries up that were in this bed as they had been looking a bit sickly the last year and I've other strawberry plants in other parts of the plot so I've got a gap and not sure what to put in, I quite fancy a small plum or cherry tree on a dwarf root stock. So will have to research that. This will join the rhubarb, gooseberry bush, redcurrant, blackcurrant and apple tree.
The rhubarb is almost ready for picking, I love rhubarb.
Its been such a mild winter that I've got some selfsown overwintered annuals including Cerinthe and even some Calendula. So cheery as an early flower.
The Globe artichokes often look a bit ragged at this time of year but the fountains of silver grey foliage are looking great.
I like to have chives dividing my two main beds (to split into 4 which I rotate round, brassicas, legumes, roots and Allium family) but these have become a bit congested so I've dug these up and split most into 4, its a bit brutal but they are much better to have space. It also means I've got many more plants to spread round the plot so most beds have got a row at each end now. I love the flowers as an early cut flower and the bees love them too. The alpine strawberries edging the fruit bed were also a bit woody and congested so they have been consigned to the compost heap but I've had self sown seedlings around that bed which I've just used to replace them.
So all in all I think I'm almost on top of things at the plot, though shed is needing a bit of TLC and needs some panels replacing and my bench needs sanding down and painting but think I'm going to get Martin on the job for that!
More excitingly we've finally got my greenhouse up and ready for action, this is after a few false starts (it was nearly finished before we had those terrible storms that wreaked havoc and blew out and broke quite a few panes of glass so we've had to replace some with perspex. Our friend Bob takes all the credit for putting it up, he's been a legend, though I think he's been cursing me for weeks but its all finished and the first plants are in there now. So just in time for the main seed sowing time, I've not got any heaters at the moment though so its not frost free so will have to be careful with some things. But I'm very excited about a good crop of tomatoes this year. I'll post a picture in my next post.
Other news is that one of the gardener's from York Gate has designed a garden for the Harrogate Flower Show in April so I'll be helping out with that too. The garden is owned by Perennial (previously the Gardener's Royal Benevolent Society) which is a national charity for those who work or have worked in horticulture and their spouses/partners when they face adversity or need. It's Perennial's 175th anniversary this year and the show garden, which is inspired by York Gate, will help promote the charity and the garden. So I'm looking forward to that experience. Will keep you posted.
Finally my heated propagator installed on my desk in my back bedroom is proving a toasty seat for my cat, Bob!