It was 0ºC when I headed out this morning. Come the afternoon shift, it had climbed to a grand 1ºC. The pond was frozen, but had thawed a bit around the edges, so there was room to get in and out should anyone wish.

The robin’s back to haunt me, arriving on the fencepost as soon as I’d opened the shed door. I’ve hung the first coconut of the season, which I’m sure the rooks will find too.

The mustard was still standing after all the recent frosts, but a few leaves here and there were starting to look damaged. Since the ground was frozen here and there, I decided to just get on and chop it down. I did that for the tall plants while Mum covered most of the beds before I joined her. Some of the plastic sheets need to be re-done, which is probably a job I set myself last winter. It’s going to have to wait for a still spring day though … or next winter.

In the afternoon I made a start on weeding the ledge. Lots of weeds are now gone and I’ve also tidied up the sea thrift and fleabane a bit as they suddenly seemed huge. I came across one of the annoying shoots of everlasting pea and started digging only to find that it was coming from a huge root that was quite a job to get out.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


A day off among the rain to make progress on the pond. I dug more poles out of the pile and rearranged the far side’s structure, putting a larger pole more towards the front to act as the pond edge. It’s sat on an edging piece stolen from the bug hotel to keep it up and straight. I’m trying to avoid tiles being used or visible.

I’ve filled in the left and back with more soil, putting tiles against the back fence for support. One white mazus has gone in at the left front corner and the creeping jenny has gone in near the poles, with the aim of covering the liner that I don’t want to cut down any further. Along the front I’ve pinned hessian under the pole, so that soil along the front edge has something to hold onto. I’m thinking along the lines of a mixture of grass and other low-lying creeping plant. Quite possibly another creeping Jenny because I’ve read it barely needs soil.

The green slate looks good and is grey enough to merge well with the pebbles. The smaller stone has gone onto the left corner with stones, earth and plants around it. I’ve built up the back edge with more sand under the liner, so it’s high enough to not be flooded any more. I’ve put the big stone over there and used its flat side as a support for building up soil.

I’ve put bricks under the sweet flag to bring it up, but I’ll need to straighten it a bit when the water clears and I can see what I’m doing. The iris can go down to 60cm, so it’s just sat on the ledge and will hopefully show itself more in the spring.

Two purple loosestrife are on their way, to go in the far corner and halfway along the back ledge. A marsh marigold will go into earth I’ve built up by the big stone. That leaves me with another white mazus and a blue veronica. The white mazus could go in front of the middle back tile, and the veronica could go in the mound just by the big rock. I’m expecting the loosestrife to spread well, but I may do a very light sprinkle of poppy seeds on the banks too. I also have a beautiful piece of bark from the rec, which I want to place as a hidey hole – perhaps over the earth in the back corner.


Absolutely torrential rain last night, but the pond was all in place still and hadn’t collapsed, hippoed or been washed away. In fact the water had cleared nicely, to show that not too much Mum and I took the two bags of Scottish pebbles down to the plot and I opened one of them to let them be washed by the forthcoming rain.

I’ve put the sweet flag into the corner. It was a little floaty, so it could do with a pebble or two on it. Getting it into the corner was a little tricky, so doing the two far edges is going to be as big a challenge as I think. the two diagonal fenceposts are great for hanging on to though.

We took the boundary pole out of the ground and settled it back in on top of the plastic, with some hefty stamping.

In the afternoon there was another window of dry weather and so I went back to make a start on building berms. I dug the fencepost offcuts out from beside the shed and pulled out a couple of longer natural poles too. I cut a couple to size and used them all to make a basis for the berms, pinning down the liner as well as I could. A few staples have been used to both pin the liner and keep logs from rolling. I shovelled a mix of wet clay and soil onto the logs as a kind of mortar and planting basis.

The water level is very high due to the rain but it shows that the right end of the far side is a little low and water is coming up on there. I may well plant a creeping jenny there as a marginal / bog plant, but perhaps not in its pot, in a hessian holder.

I put a few pebbles on the beach to see how they looked and one immediately rolled into the depths. It’s a deep beach, at least at the moment, but I’ve got lots of pebbles, so I don’t think it’s a problem.


I’ve been watching the weather like a hawk as it’s so changeable at the minute. Today was my window to get the pond completely shaped, lined with sand and lined with plastic before the rain comes overnight.

I carved a little more off to make marginal shelves and better shape the beach. The water that had gathered in the bottom of the hole wasn’t too difficult to get rid off, mostly through digging a bit more clay out and using some of it as plaster.

Covering everything with a thick layer of sand was pretty easy, although it was difficult to know how even a layer I was making. I only used two and a half of my four bags, but  I think enough protection has been given.

We lined it with one layer of plastic. Two would have been too difficult due to all the folds in the plastic in such a little hole. I bought three paddlestones, two of which are helping to weigh the liner down. The other one is temporarily on the beach as an escape route.

The pond is now filled with water from the butts – and there’s more rain due tonight. How I’m going to deal with two banks I now can’t reach is going to be a challenge. I’ll also have to adapt my plans for planting and earthing up a little, but I haven’t worked out any of that yet. It won’t be as plant-heavy as I’d hoped as the edges are quite shallow, sloped and shiny now.

I picked the last few apples from the tree. We’ve had seven or so in total.


Renovations day!

Of course it turned out that the polycarbonate I’d had waiting for month wasn’t the right size at all, so the trip to Wickes included getting a big sheet of 2mm acrylic. Taking out the old one revealed a bee nest each end and a couple of dead bees.

John redesigned the window a bit and it’s now one sheet across, supported by the middle bar. Hopefully good and strong against stormy winds. The old windows were completely opaque, so having brand new acrylic makes it look like there’s no window there at all.

The water butts are now sorted. Of course they were all completely full from all the rain, so we had to do some strategic emptying and moving of water. The lid is back on the left hand butt and we have swapped the 3-part stand of the one on the right with the one that was under the single butt. That means that a bucket or watering can now fits under it properly.

The leak from the leaning single butt has made a bit of a dent in the shed wall, which could do with a lick of paint. It’s now standing straight on a bed of bricks on the 3-part stand.

The new door has a hasp and staple lock with a padlock as before, but it also has a new built-in lock. The key is stupidly big, so until I do something about that, it’s a matter of making sure I remember to take it with me.

I was able to do some gardening while John worked. I cleared weeds from this section behind the physostegia. Since it no longer grows up to the fence-line, I transplanted the waiting verbenas into the gap. Let’s see what new problem I’ve made for myself with them. They’d been waiting in a bucket of water since being dug up, but hadn’t suffered at all. In fact, they’d grown lots of new white roots.