Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Chelsea Centenary Flower Show

This year was the 100th year of the prestigious Chelsea Flower show, I had not been before but my sister Kathleen had been there twice over the years. It was sunny for most of it but of course 'sods law' on the one day we were there it rained almost incessantly. it spoiled it not alone for us although we got to see nearly everything but for the shop/stall holders and all of the outside exhibitors.

There are not a lot of vegetables at Chelsea it is predominantly a flower show! This stand was gardening through the century, this part was the Big House before the world wars.
Cactus of all shapes and sizes!

Don't throw anything away, it can be reused in the garden!There were some very clever reuses of items for plants.

Irises and tulips

Gnomes have never been a welcome in Chelsea but this year they have made an entrance

Sis Kathleen getting up close and personal with a Chelsea pensioner, the show is held in the grounds of the Hospital where the Chelsea pensioners live, women queued to get their photo taken with him!


Stunning tulips!


Sculptures

The definition of optimism!These cheerful ladies brought their champagne and the rain did not deter them from enjoying their day!

Water Butt, a bit tongue in cheek perhaps?!

Books on the RHS stand

Hyacinths

The ladies favourite gardener Alan Titchmarsh had to televise indoors because of the inclement weather, so we got to see him up close instead of the raised stage outdoors.
Just some of my impressions of Chelsea, we certainly enjoyed our day but to be honest £55.00 is a bit steep for a day spent walking around what is after all a flower show.I am glad I went especially for the centenary year but I don't think I will be in a hurry to go again.
This weekend we are off once again to our own Bloom Show in Phoenix Park in Dublin, this will be our 6th year going. We look forward to it each year as it gets not just bigger but better and more in tune with the punters who pay to go in.
The difference is Bloom is run by Bord Bia our Food Board and vegetables rank as high if not higher than the flower displays. There is a huge Marquee taken over with Cookery demos by our celebrity chefs. There is a Gardeners Q&A session with various gardening gurus and quite a lot of craft and sustainable ideas to browse through plus the Artisan food marquees to sample the fine fare on offer!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Beans, Blossoms & Coffee


The Broad beans are all heavy with blossoms and the Bees are loving them, this one is deep purple. I planted Meteor Broad Beans straight from the packet?!



Crimson Flowered beans, I had kept a few seeds from last year when I sowed some beans which Matron had given to me the previous year

What I would call normal coloured blossoms, white with a purple centre



 Pale pink, maybe a cross between the others ?! The Bees as I say are loving them and their humming as they go about their business is a back drop to any time spent there lately.

 S. Bill has found a very good excuse for regular coffee breaks! These snazzy bags of used coffee grounds are free from Java Republic, complete with instructions and advice (click on photo to enlarge).One of our plotters also has access to unlimited coffee grounds and said we can have as much as we want so slugs take note!
 The new Blog header is GS Callum taking home our first harvest from the new plot ! We also had some Spinach to cut, all of these are still under the mesh cloche as the weather continues to be wet and cold most days.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Getting Down & Dirty

 Sat morning looked promising so we set off to do a bit of plotting. GS Callum came to lend his expertise and I think thoroughly enjoyed working in 'his' garden!


This is our second raised bed which is earmarked for the cucumbers which are languishing on my bedroom windowsill while waiting for the right conditions. It will be filled with horse manure from our previous allotments on  the Hydro Farm  which Zwena has very generously said we can use.It will create a 'hot bed'  for the cucumbers, then the problem will be getting Callum to dig elsewhere!
Having a look around to see where else he can lend a hand?!

Tea break is a very important part of gardening!
The sand table was on our previous plot and it has been relocated also as we have a few mini gardeners to be amused.

We could have the best watered plot on the site!The site is fairly sheltered on most sides but the incessant wind we have been having dries out the ground faster than we can water it.
 it wasn't all fun and games, the potatoes were earthed up as frost is still a threat, windbreaker was secured along the remaining side so the plot is now enclosed .Billy weeded the onions and dug a trench outside the fence where the marauding mint is invading our plot.
Mint grows from lateral shoots so our thinking is to stop anymore of it spreading in and try to weed out the ones that have made it through. We are going to pot up a few shoots too of course.
I put in some flowers , just marigolds and Snapdragons for the moment to attract some bees to help with pollination.They are around the pea bed, the one with yogurt cartons swinging on the peas stick branches.
The Sweetcorn is at home under fleece to try and protect them from the wind and cold for the next couple of weeks.
 This is record posting on this very neglected Blog but,  I will be missing again as I am going to London with my sister to the Centenary Chelsea Flower Show for the weekend , lots of photos will be taken if the weather is kind to us.It is my first visit and I am really looking forward to it!
Fellow blogger matron is attending on Press Dat (today) and you can read matron's unique take on the show  on her blog  Down on the Allotment

Friday, May 17, 2013

Some growth in the Cold!

 Lettuce of varying colours and stages of growth under the plastic cloche. Spinach at the very far end is coming on slowly.
 Blossoms are coming out on the broad beans, these have really taken everything the very unseasonable weather has thrown at them.They are not quite as tall as I would expect but hopefully they will continue growing while producing blossoms and pods.
Semi permanent brassica cage in place today, not a very pretty sight but hopefully (a word we seem to be using a lot of this year) a useful one!
 More rain with some sunshine today, other parts of the country  have thunder & lightening so we shouldn't complain down here!
I have worked out an easy method of uploading photos and text, just do one photo at a time, Simples!
Networked Blogs have been sharing my blog onto FB almost as soon as I hit the publish button. I found with the last post it took nearly 24 hours to do it?! I think it is now one of the services on FB payment plan!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Plot taking shape slowly


The plot is taking shape but the weather is not helping, which is everybody's complaint on this windswept isle.In view on the left side are onion beds, 1 red baron and 2 white then potato beds.Across the back fence are raspberry canes ,rhubarb and globe artichoke ,all moved from the previous plot at the Hydro Farm.
White fleece, back left side is covering one of Billy's raised beds. I sowed carrots, Pak Choi and beetroot in the bed today and covered with enviromesh, even the carrot fly may be deterred with the cold weather, but covered the bed 'just in case' !
The second raised bed is empty awaiting top soil and manure to sow courgettes which are on the bedroom windowsill as I speak hoping the weather will improve before June to put them outdoors.
There is a space left beside that bed to take the Sweetcorn which are struggling in the back garden at the moment. I had moved them outdoors at home to harden off but had to cover them today with fleece to protect them from the wind.
I intend to empty the compost bin at home and take the compost to the plot and dig it in to this bed for the sweetcorn, they will not be moving for a couple of weeks at least.
The potatoes coming through again, I have earthed them as soon as they appear to protect from frost because that danger is still very much present.There are 2 rows of Home Guard, 2 x Lady Christl and 2x  Premiere all first earlies.
The brassica bed, cabbage and  cauliflowers growing strongly.Brussel Sprouts & Calabrese only went in today.They are all formal in their cabbage collars to deter the cabbage root fly. The dark line to the right is a row of beetroot seed sown today. I didn't leave the bed unprotected, it was covered with netting before I left!
Lettuce and Spinach under the tunnel, the broad beans in the centre under netting. The Broad beans are growing OK under the netting to protect from rabbits which I'm told are here also! Its hard to see but there is a row of Spring onions to the right and Peas which are also struggling in the cold and wind.
The Spring onions were sown 5/6 seeds to a module and transplanted into their  growing position  like that. They grow and can be pulled in bunches!
The peas are in a row and the Sugar snap peas are on a wigwam shape of pea sticks, they are growing but slowly.
You might well wonder what this is?! It is turning out to be a major problem for us !It is mint growing wild on a disused plot next to us and is growing up through our onions and paths.It is growing vigorously in all directions and if anyone walks on it you can smell mint wafting around., maybe a Mojito party might help?!
Some of our near neighbours checking us out!
We are experiencing an extremely cold Spring/early summer which is affecting not only our plot, which in the greater scheme of things is nothing ,our farmers are in serious trouble for feed for animals which are starving in some parts of the country where grass is not growing and the land is too wet for the animals to go onto. Fodder is being brought in from France and being distributed to the worst affected areas.