Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Hope shoots eternal

Ah, the best laid plans...

My plan to get on top of the allotment in January and February hit a little wall what with me being incapacitated for much of that time. Then it was a gradual build to regular activity levels, getting back to work, slaying the laundry pile monster. Finally, this week, we made it to the allotment. With the help of a good but (usefully) weird friend who actually likes the backbreaking work of digging over other people's allotments, we started work. At first it was a case of turning up, dropping to the weedy stony ground and weeping for a few minutes, before clearing the weeds, moving the bed edges to their new positions and trying to work out where things will go.  A flask of sweet tea helped, as did a lot of layers. And now? Now things are looking promising.

The design is also changing a little. The original plan, like the one before it, was a little too...formal. I am not a particularly orderly person and yet I insist on creating these straight edged, rigid plot designs that very rarely work for us.  I certainly don't need to waste time laying marked paths when we can just walk over the grass. here will also be lots more flowers, herbs and pretty things than previously, because life is too short not to grow dahlias. I swear my hope for this garden can never be fully extinguished, which amazes me - I am not an optimist at heart. Every year my hopes for this plot (and for my horticultural skills) spring up from the rotting stump of last year's failures and I think that this, this is the year I will get it right.

Somewhere under the surface are oca and jerusalem artichokes ready to be harvested.  The rhubarb crowns we planted last year have survived. The two gooseberries that have run riot over the last two years have been opened up a little, the thicket of oddly spurred tangled branches cut back to leaf buds that I hope will grow in the intended direction. A bulb of last year's failed garlic crop that we inadvertently left behind sprouted and the baby plants are now planted out with a fresh layer of compost. And the compost - the two hot bins that we built last year have rotted down to a quarter of their original volume - a rich, dark, earthy compost. All good things on which to build.

So then - this is most definitely the year.

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