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 ♉ What you are growing

The idea behind this page is to show what you have been growing in window boxes, gardens, allotments in fact anywhere.

When I had my ♉   allotment, I used to do three standard pics taken from the same place each month. So send in your pics and keep on sending them in so we can see how the season unfolds where you are.

  Rosemary's coldframe at 'The Grove'

From Roland:a tale about a rhododendron        11 May

HAPPY 90th BIRTHDAY to-day Roland! 11 May

Roland's company, Wyatts used to dig wells and boreholes for water supplies across Cheshire, Shropshire and the borders.

Roland tells us:

Driving near Stone, Staffs, I was thirsty and I had a customer nearby who always offered me a cup of tea. Turning into his garden centre, he was surprised to see me as he had rung to my office some 15 minutes earlier asking me to call as he had bought some more land and wanted ro put a water supply on the land.
I was happy to look at the project and, as usual, he wanted it done quickly. We had agreed on the way it should be done and the cost and I was preparing to go on my way when I noticed Rhodedendron shrub thrown on his rubbish heap. I asked him what was wrong and he told there was squitch in the root ball.
He said so long as you do not complain if your garden is infested with coarse grass you can have it, it has a pink flower.
I took it home checked it over and planted it near the boundary of my garden.
Over the years it had become over shadowed by a holly and had dead branches and half pink and half purple flowers. Last year the holly went and I was able to examine the bush and found it had developed a sucker from the root which was a wild rhodedendron which was a purple flower. It is now thriving.
So here is the pink flower looking out across the fields, benefitting from the early day sun.
The purple flowers will appear in about four weeks and I will send a photo of those when they appear.

  So here is the pink flower looking out across the fields, benefitting from the early day sun.

This is one of my ♉   father's caligraphies, about the scourge of gardens and allotments, squitch.


It grew well in Cheshire where I come from and the saying there was     If its long enough to have two ends, it will grow    I rather think that the sort we encountered in our North Wales garden was even more virulent than the Cheshire sort.

From Eliza, her garden in New Hampshire       9 May
What a difference a day makes she says.

  May 8…my daffodils

  May 9th …my tulips…

  May 9th …my deck

  An unexpected guest but well isolated.

From Rosemary, a look around her garden in Banbury        7 May




From Katy, her garden in Cannock Chase        2 May

Here are some pics of what Ant and I have been up to over lock down, although Ant is still working.


  Ant has been busy building steps around the garden so that guests dont slip flat on their backs, as indeed I almost have several times. I have requested zip lines but that might be a more long term project 🙂

  Our garden.


  the blank soil pic is the soon to be wildlife garden. i collected seeds of flowers i like off dads allotment in the autumn and iv scattered them..we will see what happens, could be a disaster!




  The strawberry bed is an experiment. I've spread last years dead connifer branches, from a job we did last year, which have gone all crispy all around the strawberries. 1. They are sharp so will deter slugs, 2. all the usual mulch benefits 3. acidic which strawberries like (i think).

excavating greenhouse.jpg
  I excavated the greenhouse before lock down but its in full swing now.

   The greenhouse, in fact whole garden is taking on a very natural Heath Robinson style....inevitable!


  We have been selling eggs successfully and I've been doing bedding plants which we hope to sell when the risk of frost has passed.

wood store.jpg
  I've also been preparing 2 seasons worth of wood. I'm particularly enoying making kindling. i find it very theraputic sitting in the pig pen in the shade with the new hand axe that Ant bought me. its so theraputic that ive inadvertently made enough to possibly sell (on the black market?!) next winter. its air drying beautifully.

From Liz, her allotment in Oxford        28 April

This is my new allotment! It is totally overgrown and has a probable badger nest inside the old shed down the end. I shall try and send a pic a week and this will challenge me to get something visible done!




From Pete        18 April

Hi Chris,
Inspired by you (years back) and by having slept amongst your courgettes after too much party juice...I've been attending my allotment. See the attached pics.
It's a very lazy allotment which reflects the owner in that its mulched in woodchip and cardboard (i.e no dig), has raised beds and a rainwater catchment irrigation system which just requires me to turn a tap on.
Hope you enjoy the pics,
Stay safesafe.

In a follow-up email Pete also sent me links to details of his horticultural experiments:

The interesting thing to me is whether this approach works. Some say that wood chip causes nitrogen deficiency in the soil whilst others rave about it. Most notably the Americans (God Bless): i.e

Although, due to my laziness I also follow this english guy, who kinda reminds me of Tom:

It'll be interesting to see if the two methods work. I think it will as I using the american method around fruit bushes in heavy clay soil and the english method on the beds.

We shall see if it works!

  I have always been impressed that at your allotment, you can drive right up to it.

  I'm also very envious of the shed although I know your friends all thought that most of your allotment time was spent sitting in it

  well mulched




From Pat

Hi Chris et al,
Have spent almost every hour of every day this last week in the garden, the weather has been so phenomenally beautiful, how could you stay in doors, all that loveliness plus masses of hard work out there to catch up with. You have asked for some outdoor pictures Chris, nothing so dramatic as Alex’s fighting pigeons but just a rather persistent blackbird who is haunting me, really on the cadge for titbits, he has a nest behind the oil tank in the back garden. This morning said bird came into the kitchen, I having left the door open and was sitting on top of the sink tap, how I wish I had been able to grab my phone and take his picture there. Second picture is of a special bird ‘Claude Cockrell’ he is one of the Lesser Rusted Tin breed and now stands proudly in the new ‘small forest zone’ I have created at the top of the garden. Third picture is of three of the Koi Carp coming to me to to get their food, think they have designs on eating me!!!

  a rather persistent blackbird who is haunting me

  ‘Claude Cockrell’ one of the Lesser Rusted Tin breed

  think they have designs on eating me!!

Thanks for these Pat, I have to say that your Koi carp frighten me too ... I have always regarded the netting as a barrier to keep them IN and not one to save them from a heron. I think the heron might find with them that it had taken on more than it could chew.
As you mention ♉Alex's fighting pigeons that gives me a good opportunity to link to them.

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