24 March 2011

NOW it's Spring

Woke up to clear blue skies and a totally different "feel" to the air. Like a corner had been turned out into the sunlight and the shadow and chill had been left behind.

Spring, now, is here.

To celebrate, D took me to the Allotment and left me there to weed contentedly for a couple of hours, before coming to get me (in case you're wondering, yes, I drive and yes, I'm capable of driving short distances (concentration is a bit of an issue for longer drives though), but he's keen to make sure I don't overdo it, so by dropping me off and picking me up, he can ensure that I don't work for too long and tire myself out).

So I spent a very happy couple of hours weeding and now the allotment is looking pretty darned good and ready for planting. For some reason though, known only to the allotment owner, the water supply is still off, which had been becoming a bit of an issue, given that I and some o the other allotmenteers had been putting in some plants and the ground was cracking with dryness. Jack, one of our allotment friends, asked the garden centre staff when the water would be coming back on. Next week! Which seems a bit bizarre given that, even up here, gardening does start in March in a good year. The garden centre staff, being obliging souls, switched the water on for us today, so I was able to give the new raspberry and blackberry, and relocated cranberry, a much desired drink.

We also paid our fees for the plot for the year: £140. I know it's probably a LOT more expensive than council allotments, but since the latter are like hens' teeth round here and our plot is only 2 miles from our house, not to mention the fact that the owner is very accommodating (and gives out freebies from time to time) we really don't grudge it. So that's us paid up for another year.

Back at the house, I have taken a chair and set it up on the patio. Our garden faces south and is an absolute sun trap. It's one of the reasons we chose this house (a new build when we got it), purely for the direction the garden faces. It's not a huge garden, it's really tiny in fact, but we have a patio with lots of tubs; a bed down the length of the garden in which sit our (espaliered-but-not-really (laziness)) apple trees and flowers; 4 of those 1m x 1m veg bed kits set up on a square of gravel; and at the end of the garden, and up the side opposite the apple trees, is the hen coop and run. Bijou and compact I think you could call it.

But it's pretty productive too, what with the apples (we have a pear tree in our front garden), and the veg beds. This year I've decided that we should use them to grow stuff that enjoys a bit of heat and space on its own, and so I've put bare root asparagus in one bed, strawberries in another, salads in the third, and the 4th I'm going to see if butternut squash will fare well with a bit of cossetting.

So I'm sitting, enjoying the warmth of the sun, the crooning and gentle clucking of the hens as they dust-bathe, and the faint scent of freshly watered soil. I can almost *hear* the plants growing. Or I could if it weren't for the incessant lawnmower symphony that starts now and ends in October...

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