The best kind of meditation and relaxation for me is working on the allotment. I know to truly meditate I should sit still, close my eyes and empty my mind. Well, I do empty my mind when I’m working there, like today when I was  tying all my tomato plants to their support sticks. It is not just a few tomatoes, I think I have close to 80 plants there (there are a few special ones in the greenhouse at home as well). This way I get the tedious job done and sort my head out – usually when I’m bothered about something.

I’ll have a little operation on my back on Friday so this is  my way of getting ready. Nothing will  need doing there, only watering all those tomato plants and I have friends there who will step in. I will return the favour when they need some help.

I have been picking rhubarb and making a very tasty compote using just the rhubarb and a couple of oranges. It needs just a small amount of sugar and after an overnight wait it is then very gently stewed in its own juice. I put it in Kilner jars and bottled it in a water bath. Great to have that ready for the winter.

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I have also found a nice way of preserving strawberries. I decided not to make jam this year, I will  use my other fruit  for jam making, like raspberries, all the different currants, blackberries and gooseberries. The strawberries have such a delicate flavour and this way keeps it, like summer in a jar. It is very easy to bottle them, again using the Kilner jars. Fortunately I have a great supply of them.

I have got a number of rose bushes on the allotment, most of them were rescued from gardens that were being cleared or freebies from gardening magazines . They all flower beautifully and the scent is amazing. Of course I have grown some from cuttings and one lovely red peony again rescued from the front garden of Lisa’s brother as he was  moving. 

Of course there have to be a few rows of potatoes on every plot, these will keep us going in the winter. The same goes for climbing beans, I grow  them every year.

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As every year I have got a number of courgette and squash plants and the fruit they produce not only keeps well for quite a long time but can be used in a range of very tasty recipes.

I’m hoping they’ll climb up on the supports, it makes it easier to look after them, the fruit doesn’t get attacked by slugs and snails.

Thanks to the bees my fruit trees are laden, this little apple tree is a perfect example.

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This is a variety called Elstar, which produces lovely tasty apples.

20. MAY

This is another two day effort, purely for the reason that as soon as I finished planting the courgettes it started raining. I was glad, it saved me the effort of watering it all but I wasn’t able to take any photos. I knew the job needed finishing so today first thing in the morning I took the rest of the squashes and pumpkin plants to the allotment and finished the job, including the photos.

There will be two pumpkins in the small area at the very end of the plot with  my little apple tree. Even with some potatoes there they’ll have enough space and I’m hoping for a good harvest.

I have used every inch of the land, even the narrow strip around my little greenhouse, the courgettes will be fine and if they need to run, there is room on the paths.

After lunch and a little rest I went back to plant my sunflowers. They are getting quite tall so they need to go to their permanent position and be tied to a stick. The ground had a sack of horse muck forked in and I hope it’ll help them to grow well. After all, these are the competition ones so may the best sunflower win!

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The weather forecast was quite accurate last night – rain. It did rain, it was the kind of rain I quite like, gentle. I needed that on the allotment, our soil drains very well and we had a few dry and windy days.

I was working in the big greenhouse in the garden today. I have had this greenhouse for a fair number of years and I think this year it is just about the best – everything is neat and labelled. 

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As the weather is so unpredictable and I don’t want to plant my onion sets too early when the ground is cold and wet I thought I’ll start them in trays and when I’m quite sure they would be fine I’ll plant them out. By then they should have developed nice roots. 

First of all I thought my tomatoes didn’t germinate so I sowed some more and now I have got enough to plant up a small farm. I don’t mind I have so many, I know they can stay outside and produce good tomatoes – I have got a sheltered position all ready for them. Some of the more delicate will have to be in the greenhouses, same as the peppers and aubergines.

The rest of the seedlings are squashes, courgettes, a few pumpkins – one or two are the ghost ones, it’ll be interesting to see them among the others. I have both green peas and carlin peas – these will have to go inside the large net cage otherwise the pigeons would strip them.

Of course I have to allow some space for beans – no idea how I’ll manage that. Maybe this year I’ll wait till the weather is really mild and sow them directly where I want them to grow. Sweetcorn is another thing, I will  have to start it in the greenhouse but by then I’m hoping some of the pumpkins or courgettes might have moved out.

I have also started some nasturtiums inside, I’d like a good mix of colours on the allotment and also in the back garden. I’ll save my seeds for next year.

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My back garden is a nice mix of little areas. I have got a pond, a large greenhouse and quite a lot of flowers. It doesn’t need much work, just weeding occasionally and the rest of the year it looks after itself.

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This evergreen clematis is always looking great, never disappoints.

Slightly smaller is the magnolia. It was getting rather large and gangly so I pruned it last year. I thought I was a bit too severe but it looks great and has a great number of buds.

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Some smaller bushes are doing well too…

Last but not least are the smaller flowers either in pots or in the ground. Thanks to a rather cooler spring the flowers last a bit longer


One more day of maintenance work. After cutting down the blackberries yesterday I suddenly realised I have another line of them on another plot. These have been cared for better, I remember pruning them last autumn but rather slightly. All was remedied today. 

As I was taking away the branches I noticed the gorse bush beside my very old greenhouse. I have trimmed it already but it needed a bit more work done. As I did that, it suddenly occurred to  me that I can put some of the ‘cannabis’ flowerpots in the gap between the path and the greenhouse. They are a perfect fit and I have already filled them with some of the new soil I got from the composter bins. A perfect home for the sunflowers this year.


1. JANUARY 2023

I started the New year the right way – went to the allotment to empty my kitchen scraps and also to check that everything is in order. It was great to be back, the morning was lovely, blue skies and sunshine. It felt almost spring-like but I’m being realistic, the frost will return and I’m not looking forward to it.

All the same, I managed to do a bit of work, gathered the leaves on my path and put them in one of the composter bins and pulled out some parsnips, carrots and leeks, we’ll have lovely chunky vegetable soup. The ground is beginning to dry out so if we don’t have any rain in the next few days I’ll be able to continue weeding the fruit cage. Bad weather before Christmas stopped play.


This honeysuckle plant was in my Mum’s garden and after she died I moved it to the farm. It seems to like the new position, it is starting to climb around the post on the shed veranda.

Everything else seems fine so from now on it’ll be a bit of work every day. I’m sure I’ll get there.

It’ll be the turn of the raspberries, they need thinning and also cutting out the old fruited canes.


As I was walking to the allotment in the morning I thought – I hope this weather continues for a while yet. If I didn’t look at the fallen yellow leaves on the ground I  might have thought that it was springtime. It felt quite warm, the breeze was light and it was just perfect for gardening. Today I cleared the last greenhouse out, pulled out all the peppers and chillies but left one plant there – another physalis. I’ve got no idea how this one managed  to grow among all the peppers but on closer inspection I have found out that this is really a Cape gooseberry. I tasted one of the fruits, it was lovely and sweet. I’m sure I have got a packet of seeds of this plant so I’ll try it next year.

All this took quite a while so after this I just managed to dismantle the bean supports and go home. But the day was so nice I decided to continue in the afternoon.

Frank came with me and between the two of us we hammered in some sturdy pieces of wood to support the uprights in one of my old net cages. I have constructed this one myself and it is lasting quite well. But after the heavy rains the ground has softened and it became a bit loose. All is well now and I’m sure it will last a few more years.


The rest of my afternoon I was weeding yet again – inside the rescued net cage and on another part of one of my plots. This has a line of blackberries and loganberries and a couple of pear trees, also a damson, a gooseberry and a number of herbs. I have flowers in between, they attract the bees and it cheers the place up.

I’m not quite sure what the forecast is for tomorrow but I hope it will at least keep dry. I have got one large fruit cage and a smaller net cage to clear out. I don’t need sunshine,  just a dry day.


What a difference a day makes – it was sunny and quite mild in the morning and I felt much happier straight away. I’m a fair weather person, if I could choose I would ban snow and dark evenings. Never mind, I just have to put up with it, wait for the shortest day and after that all will gradually improve.

I went to the allotment with the idea to finish weeding a reasonable piece of land – that was the orchard. It is right at the end of one of my plots, in front of the shed. I’ve got a good selection of fruit trees – a few figs, a couple of apples, pear and two plums.

We had a very good harvest this year and as I started working there I remembered what my Granddad always said – keep an area the size of the crown of the tree clear of weeds around the trunk. I did that and also decided what I will put in between the trees. I will scatter some summer-flowering plants and beside the net tunnel I will put some wigwams with sweet peas.

The rain was very good for me, the soil was soft but not water-logged, we have very good drainage on the whole site. It also helps to be on a  slight slope.

As I was weeding I also mended the net cage, this is the very first one but it keeps going. It just needed to pull the weeds from the end  of it and fix the pegs again. I’m sure it will last another few years.

I had another surprise plant growing there – the physalis with the blue flowers. I have tried to search for it, all I found was the plants with yellow flowers but not this one. The search continues.



It was back to my usual activity on the allotment. The back garden is all sorted out, I have even found out that my favourite pond refurbishment people stock the spare part for the UV filter – we’ll have a day out on Wednesday and combine getting the new part with a lunch in the garden centre’s restaurant.I prefer to go there and get it from them, they’ll explain it for me. 

The weather is still good, I was able to have a good work-out on the allotment and finished one more piece of land, It was quite overgrown but I’m happy with the result.I have even remembered take the before photo


The soil was very crumbly after all the rain and it was quite an easy job. Because the weather is so mild everything is still growing and flowering. I had some marigolds around the apple trees and they are in full flower. They are staying.

In another place I have got a clump of red campion – that is in flower too, I didn’t know it can flower so late in the year.


One way I can tell if we’ve had frost is by my nasturtium flowers – they would wilt even after the slightest frost but there is no damage yet.


There is a mysterious plant growing in one of the net cages. I have no idea what it might be but the fruit is very similar to that of a tomatillo. The fruit is green and very hard and packed with seeds. I had it a few years ago so I presume the seeds survived in the soil somehow.

Usually tomatillo plants have yellow flowers but mine are blue, lovely large flowers. One day I might find out exactly what they are. Needless to say, I didn’t eat the fruit.


I was watching Monty Don on television last night in his usual gardening programme and one of the contributors was talking about harvesting produce from her allotment. She grew some lovely chillies and showed how she stores them. Not only does it look good but they will  dry at the same time. As it happens I grew some chillies too so I followed her example.

She was going to hang them in her kitchen but my kitchen is so small I can’t imagine hanging  them anywhere. Instead they are in the living room and look very decorative.

Monty also reminded us to sow sweat peas in readiness  for next year. When we went to visit Mike and Nicky a few weeks ago I collected quite a few seeds, they always grow beautiful sweet peas. I had everything I needed for this so so I’m ready for next year’s display.