And another garden

And just when you have packed away the tools for one large garden it’s on with the next.

My little allotment garden. A half hour walk from the house. An old walled garden from the grounds of the house that belonged to the famous pioneering woman doctor and suffragette Elizabeth Garrett Anderson.

I never manage to photograph the plot properly as you get distracted by the built landscape all around. I need a drone!

I’m pleased with the permaculture beds that make up two thirds of the plot.

The ballota hirsuta shrubs are romping. As are the purple sage and the sedums.

I put them in as I haven’t quite worked out what I’m going to do with this garden. Cut flowers naturally. But I want to get it ready to grow kale this autumn. And have a go at sowing broad beans in November. (I can hear the slugs getting all quivery with excitement at the very thought.)

Mind you I have had my first harvest of red onions and the leeks won’t be far behind. It’s surreal to have crops that haven’t been watered or fussed over.

You might have seen the progress of this huge project over the past year. Yes it is already a year. Time flies when you are digging out brambles and getting to grips with the borage family of weeds.

Can you see that blue flowered beastie in this shot? That was the state of the allotment when I took over the site.

And while much has changed. These pernicious weeds are still with me. Despite my best efforts. I have dug them out three times and they keep coming back.

It’s commonly called alkanet (pentaglottis sempervirens) which doesn’t sound right. I keep thinking of alcoholics wearing hair nets.

But apparently as it’s like borage but nastier, as no one is extolling the virtues of its leaves as a tonic. Well, that’s not accurate. It’s just that its cousin, borage, is so much better.

And as these tap roots are so deep in rich soil, why would anyone plant it? And once it flowers it self seeds like mad. Easy to dig out when small. Almost impossible once it gets to teenage size.

So this past week of enforced London life has been all about digging out taproots of terror.

Once I post this, I’ll be donning the grubby clothes and plodding down to the plot.

I have one third of the allotment to dig over for a third time. I hate the sight of all that bare earth. But until I can get my hands on more chippings, it will have to look this bare. The stockpile of weeds that I have already dug out is growing and desiccating. And I have filled this giant black wheelie bin with the alkanet.

I don’t want the taproots to go into the next permaculture bed. But I hope I can wilt them down a bit and make use of the leaves. (I didn’t make time to sit down and cut away the roots from the leaves as I dug. It was a bit of a frenzied attack.)

And speaking of attack. I need to go at this corner where the bergenia and kniphofia are thugging it out.

Actually the bindweed is also wading in. So I need to decide what to do. And not fall in the little pond where the toads live. They are under the ugly tiles you can see it the shot further up. In a kitchen sink. Sunk into the ground. Another aesthetic improvement for this winter.

Oh and keep on digging up another voracious beastie – the bluebells. They swamped three of my caryopteris plants this spring. I just didn’t know they were lurking underneath.

That’s the thrill of taking over someone else’s patch. What lies beneath? Who knows until they come up and bite you.

No, that’s all the brown ant nests I disturb as I work.

I can foresee more achillea being brought over from the farm to plant this autumn and lift the spirits (and give height). More sunken logs to scavenge from the landscape gardeners cutting down trees.

Still, mustn’t bore you with my lists. It’s rather thrilling to have a garden in a mild climate for a change.