Friday, 25 April 2008

May Day approaches - already?

Spring is certainly upon us at last. The trees that I can see from the house were skeletal a week ago, now their form is filled in with fresh green leaves. The Ceonothus bushes that are dotted around the main road on the estate are starting to flower, and are masses of deep violet blue. Best of all, Bluebells are at last coming into bloom. As I pass by gardens, I look to see whether they have the big, blowsy but scentless Spanish Bluebells, or the delicate perfumed native true Bluebell. I silently rejoice when I spot the latter. I rescued some from the old house. I guess that was one upside of the garden having been neglected for so long - a clump of bluebells had been allowed to self-seed, so I lifted some every year and grew them on in pots. By making sure there are no Spanish ones to cross pollinate nearby, I hope to build up a good clump here and at the new allotment.

Progress is being made at the allotment. Some more raised beds have been marked out, and hopefully posts and sides will be in place at the weekend. With any luck, the council will be delivering another load of compost soon as well. The soil is still pretty claggy and hard to dig, but if we don't get a move on it will dry out and be unworkably dry for the year. At least it's not full of stones like the old place. We have found a few pieces of china, including some fairly old looking stuff - Willow Pattern mostly, including part of a little jar. No coins so far. One of the best finds on the old plot was an early William III halfpenny I dug up when I was planting Jerusalem Artichokes. Still, looking on the map, there is the remains of a Motte & Bailey castle at the top of the hill, not far from the golf club house. Maybe something interesting was dropped when the woods that are next to the new plot were part of the royal hunting grounds (Enfield Chace).

As I mentioned last week, the instructions in the Wartime Weekend Gardener for the fourth weekend of April could refer to last week or this. That is - sow celery, plant out Summer cauliflower, sow Autumn cauliflower and sow some hardy annual flowers for cutting and for use in companion planting.

It's good that this weekend can be used to catch up. Next weekend we have another Bank Holiday and thus three day weekend, and things get even busier.

Have a good week, and for those of you in areas where there are local elections, remember to vote for someone who you won't feel embarrassed about in years to come. I don't honestly expect Sian Berry to be elected London mayor, but at least I'll know I'm stating that I want the right kind of change.

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