Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Allotment, F13

Allotment (UK)- a small piece of ground in or just outside a town that a person rents for growing vegetables, fruits or flowers.
(One annoying thing about people from London-you know who you are-is their sniffy PBS manner of speaking about ordinary things as if The Language belonged to them.  However, occasionally, they do get it right.  For example, what do you call that space out back of your house where you put a grill, a swingset, a path to the garage and stash the trash cans...the back yard, right?  The English call that area the back garden; no matter what sort of UK hillbilly landfill they've actually got, it's still the back garden.  The word "yard" refers to places where they mess around with ships and shipping.   Back garden is a much nicer phrase leading one to expect a pleasant, bucolic retreat of the sort that the English think they do better than anyone in the colonies.  "Yard" sounds like...well, look out back-there's your yard.)

So I have rented an allotment, not in the English sense where I might put up a colorful garden shed with a window and have an expectation of longevity as if it was a seat in Lambeau Field, but an American plot of used dirt.  Whoever used it before me grew Brussels sprouts and lancinato kale and didn't harvest them.

There are some drainage issues on the allotment.

Some people have gotten very serious about the drainage issues.  (I am going to secretly put some little boats in this fellow's  canal)  I have a calla lily waiting  for a break in the weather to plant in my canal.  The scary fencing around so many gardens had me worried about rodents, but I'm told the problem is Human thieves and runamuck children.  Oh.  Okay then.  Just so long as it's not rabbits.  

machine meets quack grass

The roto tiller threw a crucial bolt right after this picture was taken.  No point in tilling the quack grass anyway...that hydra-headed villain thrives on evisceration.

Inelegant, but functional, weather station in place, needing only a wind-o-meter. (I have a cool Citizen- Science-rain-gauge currently measuring the precipitation in storage. sigh)   There's the beginning of cippolini onions in the background, and the paper cups are temporary shelter for Romanesco cauliflower and Diplomat broccoli.

A gift of violas and imaginary potatoes on the right.  The allotment was laid out in 5 parallel raised beds and a 20 foot perpendicular border when I inherited it.  I sort of won the Used Allotment Lottery in that the gardener here before me didn't leave many weeds and had composted heavily last year.  Once in awhile, things work out. 

Here is the best thing about this location.....this amazing burr oak tree whose base disappears into general landscaping junk, but briefly poses for a photograph from the top of the hill.  This tree humbles the gardener....I can never grow anything like this; I can only pause on along my road to observe what time really means.  In a perfect world, I would only grow trees and never think about time.

  A week later, about the middle of May.  I ponder a treehouse.....but, back to the chores:

My allotment neighbor hasn't claimed his space yet, and so the bad boys thrive with no supervision.  Next week, the weed whacker and boundary courtesy be damned.

Recall those ginkgo seeds that we talked about?  Here are the treelets beginning their second summer.  Need to think about roomier quarters soon. (Those are baby camomile plants hitching along.)

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