May 262014
 
Bath

Bath

This little seating area is at the back of a garden, on the edge of some allotments. I’m not sure whether it’s part of the allotments, or part of the garden. Either way, it’s charming. I like the wildness of it.

It made me think of my own garden. A couple of weeks ago, it was home to some spectacular apple blossom, and a lawn that had become almost meadow-like, filled with daisies, dandelions and herb robert. Rubbish weather, too much work and a shoulder injury meant that I hadn’t been able to mow it. I kind of liked it like that, although I did feel that it was teetering on the edge of chaos.

My boyfriend mowed the lawn, trying to avoid the black and white bees* that were buzzing over it, and order was restored once more. But I’m not sure which version of the garden I preferred. As the garden develops, I’m going to keep some areas of long grass and create a proper mini meadow.

*I’ve subsequently discovered that the bees are Ashy mining bees, Andrena cineraria, which nest in lawns at this time of year. They pollinate fruit trees and nest in lawns. Another reason not to mow.

Nov 032011
 

St Albans

I’ve never noticed this shed before, even though it’s on the way to my allotment. I’m not sure what the roof terrace bit is for – is it a sunbathing area, or a lookout point? It might have come in handy after the terrible chicken massacre earlier this year.

I’m loving the yellow and brown colour combo, anyway. And the huge windows. And the fact that it’s a bit higgledy-piggledy. I’d love to have a go at building something like this one day, but seeing as I struggle to put up an ironing board, let alone something more complicated, it’s probably unlikely…

Jul 052011
 


South Bank

I’d heard that there was a new roof garden on the top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, but not having read anything about it I was expecting a few cursory bamboos in pots. How wrong I was. It’s been created in partnership with the Eden Project, and they don’t do things by halves.

There are lush lawns, wildlife meadows, fruit trees in brightly coloured pots, a long scented pergola, abundant raised beds of veg and a scarecrow. On a fine summer’s evening, people were making full use of it – lounging on the lawns, chatting on benches and having a drink – but it wasn’t overrun, and I can’t help thinking that a lot of people don’t know about it. Which is a shame, because I can’t think of a nicer place to meet up this summer.

Sadly, the garden is only temporary. I might have to throw myself down on the lawn and refuse to budge when they dismantle it in September.

PS Have just found a lovely account of how the gardens were created – read it here.

Mar 312011
 

St Albans

There are not many things that I covet in life but a greenhouse or potting shed is definitely one of them. So when I heard that Jackie and Pete were building a shed-stroke-greenhouse on their allotment I was a tad envious. They’ve been working on it all winter and when I went recently it was finished.

Jackie gave my co-allotmenteer Huw and I a guided tour. The greenhouse half is home to lots of seedlings and a giant datura overwintering in a pot, and the shed half has a seed cupboard made by Jackie and Pete’s daughter. There’s also a water butt, barbecue, deckchairs, weather vane and dreamcatcher. Pretty much all the materials were salvaged and lots of components were donated by other plotholders.

In the greenhouse Jackie has a sign that says: ‘Born to garden, obliged to work’. Jackie is now actually retired and spends most days at the allotment. Maybe the sign is there to remind her how lucky she is.

Mar 282011
 

St Albans

I went to pick up my nephew Joe from school the other day. He goes to the same school that I went to in the 1970s and almost everything about it is exactly the same, right down to the smell in the classrooms. But where once there was a concrete paddling pool (used a handful of times a year when the weather was hot enough) there is now a small garden. The pupils also have an allotment and there are plots for parents to rent, too.

When Joe came to my allotment last year, he expertly harvested a courgette, twisting it off at its base. He said he’d learnt how to do it at nursery. I wouldn’t have known what a courgette was at the age of four.

Any article about growing food with kids always says that children are more likely to eat food they’ve grown themselves, but that’s not the case with Joe. He’s not likely to eat a courgette anytime soon – or any other green vegetable for that matter. Although when it comes to the strawberries that his Dad grows in pots, no one else gets a look-in.