This was our first fine sunny spring weekend so we took the opportunity to do some much overdue tasks at the allotment. Saturday was clearing out the shed, planting the broad beans and some general tidying up, including clearing out the pond a bit. Sunday was clearing out the compost heaps, my least favourite and perhaps most physcially taxing job; no surprise that I’m aching today.

But these hard and somewhat thankless tasks need to be broken up by some appreciation of the new life that is appearing on the plots.

This is my favourite rose, an old fashioned rose we inherited and have nurtured back to a ‘blooming scented spectacle’:

The new growth on this rose is such a beautiful deep vibrant red and the roses it produces are yellow with a hint of orange and the most amazing scent. Other plot holders comment on it as they walk past on the path to which it’s heady aroma spreads.

I keep meaning to check out the variety on one of those websites where you post pictures and characteristics, and rose experts advise you on what it is – my attempts with the rose encyclopedia never seem to quite capture her, maybe this year I’ll get around to it.

I also planted some hazel with a view to producing nuts and these really do make it feel spring like.

I have two varieties and we’ve had them a few years but no nuts yet, so I remain optimistic and hope these catkins are a sign of nuts to come.

I’ve had more luck with the fig tree which seems counter intuitive given hazel is indigenous and we’re hardly in the best region for fig growing but I do like to experiment with things and sometimes get some lovely surprises.

The pears are a much more sure-fire producers and here they are just beginning to burst their buds. As the leaves emerge the sense of anticipation of autumnal harvest begins.

There really is nothing like something picked directly from the tree and consumed on the plot. Even taking the fruit the 100m or so home seems to change the experience.




Despite being under snow for much of the winter Paolo’s neat rows of garlic are doing well.

As these are neat rows, they’re definitiely a result of Paolo’s planting.

My rows are generally a bit more of a squiggle which drives him mad as it makes it more difficult to hoe between them. I tend to weed between rows by hand so don’t always think about hoe access at the planting stage.

The most exciting new life though is in the pond. I love the pond, I could sit and watch the tadpoles and our community of frogs for hours, and I fret about the amount of leaves that blow into it from nearby trees and, the last two years, about it being frozen over for long periods.

It’s only our old bathtub sunk into the ground but it supports such a wealth of life including last year a dragonfly which I discovered when pruning the nearby white currant.

Anyway on Saturday I cut back the yellow flag iris and fished out some of the wind blown leaves to let the light into the water and on Sunday was rewarded by this sight:

So the allotment life cycle is well on the move.

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