9.MAY

My tomato plants in the three greenhouses on the allotment needed some attention today, putting canes beside them and tying them – all 41 of them. They look very healthy and some of them are almost ready to flower. There is a plan behind this large number of plants, I like to bottle them either as passata or just oven roasted ones, they are much better than any tinned tomatoes from a shop.

I still have some more tomato plants in the greenhouse in the back garden, nine of them in smaller pots, they will be planted later on the allotment in one of the net cages, and four plants in big pots. With those I’m just waiting for settled warm weather so I can stand them outside on the patio.

There was a change of activities on Saturday. I was given some vouchers by our son Tom for my birthday and it was just the right time to go to the Perfect ponds to get some more fish and plants for our pond. Two guys from this place came in December last year to sort our pond, the result is an amazingly clear water and happy five old fish. We got four more Koi and loads of food for them and some plants. These are now on a low ledge in the water and hopefully they’ll get bigger and will prevent the heron from fishing in the pond. We have also rigged up a system of CDs on strings, they flicker and again act as a scare. Time will tell but I’m hopeful.

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DECEMBER 31st 2021

I am quite glad to see this year out. I’m hoping the next one is going to be an improvement on the last one but I’m not very sure. But I’m positive, as long my health is ok and I can walk to the allotment, do my daily Guardian crossword and have my best mate – Frank – by my side, I’m happy.

Today was another spring day, I don’t even think it is December, just enjoy the moment. Of course I went to the allotment, harvested some chard and cleared some ivy from the shed – amazing how quickly it grows! I took my eye off it and there it was, half way around the door. The winter honeysuckle that I transplanted from my Mum’s garden after she died is doing very well, it flowers and the scent is fantastic.

The back garden is finished as well, put down another bag of the compost so it looks much better and it’ll get the feed it needed. The pond needed a new fountain and a general clean and that is done as well. It looks like a brand new pond.

FLOWERS IN MAY

One of the reasons why I can spend so much time on the allotment is the fact that my back garden looks after itself – well, almost! It took a long time to get it to this state but it was worth the wait.

The pond and the greenhouse take up quite a bit of the space and the rest is planted with perennial plants or bushes, shrub and climbing roses, clematis and where there might be a space that gets filled with bulbs. There are plants and bulbs in pots too.

IN THE MEANTIME

…there is also some activity in my back garden.

One of the reasons I wanted to get an allotment was the fact that I couldn’t possibly grow any veg in my back garden.

We came to Coventry in 1973 and I started working in the garden, in a small way. It was quite different then, a path in the middle, one side was a lawn the other some beds and a big dilapidated shed in the back.

Again, it was a gradual change – when the boys were small I was only too glad to have a bit of a lawn but once they were in their teens, it changed much faster.

Mike offered to dig a pond, that replaced the lawn, I demolished the shed (asbestos – what would health and safety say today?) and we erected my first little greenhouse. The beds went, the straight path changed into a squiggly one and then disappeared altogether and the end result is my idea of heaven.

There is nothing better than to sit in front of the greenhouse of an evening with a glass of chilled white wine and listen to the sound of the fountain in the pond.

Most of the plants are hardy perennial but even the annuals seem to survive from one year to another – I think the garden has its own micro-climate because it is surrounded with fences and a hedge on three sides and the house on the fourth.

Whatever it is, it seems to work and all I have to do in the spring is to tidy it up, put some annuals in and in the autumn trim things and put the garden to bed for the winter.

I couldn’t manage to have a demanding back garden, I need all my time to ‘grow stuff’ on the allotment.