26/11/23

A dry week and a sunny Saturday at last, so the plot was a good bit drier than it’s been recently. I continued clearing the front bed and pulled up most of the nigella and all the lemon balm. It’s time to make the front bed more perennial/shrub based, with small annuals like lobelia filling any gaps as needed.

I’ve gathered the gladioli bulbs I dug up, including a few that I have had in the nursery since the digging of the pond, and put them in more of a clump near the pear tree. That reduces what’s up against the fence for cover, but I’ll keep thinking about that.

The geum has moved along to the left and I’ve put the callicarpa in between the geum and the lupin. I made an attempt to reduce the advance of the helianthus a bit, getting rid of some of the roots. I discovered a small lupin near the helianthus, but put it back in the same place. With cleared soil and some attention it might do better next year.

21/11/23

A day off to make up for losing Sunday to all kinds of events. The ground was pretty wet, but I managed to clear the remainder of the left hand bed, making room for the new Russian sages I bought with birthday money. I mixed up buckets of sand and compost to add to the wet ground, to help the plants not drown.

In the afternoon I moved to the front bed and placed the big logs I had taken from the park. The idea is to build up as many nature corridors as I can all around the plot. I’m hoping to also suppress some weeds, though no doubt the grass will just go underneath. I’ve started clearing the nigella from the bed and the geum will be moving to the left to make room for the new callicarpa.

12/11/23

After more rain overnight, the ground in most of the allotment was super squelchy. However, the right hand side was fine and in two shifts I managed to weed and mostly clear the whole of the trellis bed. It was absolutely smothered in weeds and is now reduced to the perennials I want to keep. I now need to decide if there’s room for any more perennials from the nursery, or if the only additions should be small, at the front.

I’m going to keep all the ¬†plants in the nursery in their pots over winter. Then in the spring they’ll be settled enough to cope with another transplanting and warm enough to get growing again.

There was a corn cockle plant in the bed that I had left standing and with the rain we’ve had, the seeds in the seed pods had germinated and started growing. It was quite a sight, but didn’t have much of a future, so crumbled the pods and sprinkled the seeds in a big patch near Mr B’s gate.

11/11/23

The bits of bark had fallen into the pond, but I was able to get them out. The big bit of silver birch was half resting on the beach, while the big piece of oak had sunk right to the bottom, but I eventually found it with some gentle fishing about with the grabbers. The water has cleared a little bit more and I can see a fine layer of earth on the top folds of the liner. All the plants were still fine, which was pleasing.

I didn’t get a great deal done, but I guess cutting down the right hand everlasting pea for the compost, and making a whole bucket of weeds isn’t nothing. The ground’s very wet at the moment, which means I need to settle properly on a job and get something to sit on.

The mint by the elder is absolutely full of grass that I can’t get out, so I think the mint might have had its day. Clearing the patch as well as I can and starting again there with a different perennial would allow me to have some control over the fence line grass.

I noticed a small entrance hole at the bottom of the compost (displaced mouse perhaps?) so I’ve finally reloaded the bait station and put it round the back on the poles.

5/11/23

Big day for the pond. The first job was to throw the hornwort into the water, where it sunk out of sight. In the winter it’s dark green and sinks to the bottom, but in the spring it will rise back up and be a better colour. A few bits had broken off the main piece, so it’ll be interesting to see if they sprout too.

The new creeping jenny has gone into the water, with the pot on one of my bricks. I’ll see when the water clears whether that needs any adjusting, but it at least doesn’t feel precarious.

Once established on my ladder across the pond (which later turned out to have given me huge bruises on my legs), I managed to straighten the sweet flag a bit on its bricks. With Mum’s help I then set to building up the side and back banks, removing the tiles and replacing them with pieces of wood and filling in with piles of soil. As I went, I added blue iris bulbs among the white mazes, purple loosestrife, veronica and thyme. I’d planned all the positioning the night before in Photoshop and made my list of instructions, which was invaluable.

The marsh marigold is just a tiny shoot at the moment, and is among the stones near the big rock. A beautiful piece of bark foraged from the rec is covering the pole it’s planted on and some of the exposed compost/root system. Another thyme – less trailing than the other has been planted behind the rock.

In the afternoon I worked on planting two dwarf chamomiles and a pink phlox on the front edge. I hope to have given them enough soil for their roots to be happy. Fingers crossed they’ll be ok.

I foraged some lovely bits of wood from the remains of the wood chip pile outside D’s plot and tucked them into the banks here and there for shelter and liner coverage. The pebbles then went all around the edge and I added a few handfuls carefully onto the marginal shelf as accurately as I could. I’ll have to wait for the water to clear more to see what it looks like and if I want to add more. I probably have a bit under half a bag left. Thank goodness I didn’t use cobbles; they would have been far too big.

I also finally found a use for the third paddlestone. It has made a perfect toad house just beyond the big stone, with wood, leaves, pebbles and mud making a great hide hole, just as I had wanted.

With everything in place, I cut the liner back from the grass, covered the edge with soil and sprinkled a little grass seed to help the ground recover. I started the pond project on 6th October and finished (but for a couple of tiny finesses I want to make) on 5th November. 4 weeks and 2 days; 9 allotment days.