I picked a handful of hellebore flowers to float in a shallow dish and then decided a small pot of N. Tete a Tete and Iris Edward was needed for my desk.
And then I took a pot of lovely long-stemmed anemones up to the bedroom to try to decide on a colour for the walls. I love the purple-blue tones but guess it would be far too dark. It has confirmed that a mid-grey is probably best and then colour can be added with flowers or pictures.
After all that pleasurable mucking about I made myself go to the allotment where I had a lovely two-hour session lightly forking over the bed ready to plant potatoes at the end of March. It was the bed I had divided into eight squares for salad, herbs and cut flowers last summer. This project was fairly succesful except I sowed dill in the middle which grew very tall and spoiled the planned red and green patchwork effect and made it difficult to photograph. The bed was quick to clear and I threw on my favourite 6x fertiliser and covered it over with a plastic sheet.
Last year I decided to take all remnants of couch grass off the allotment rather than composting it since it takes too long to destroy in the compost bin. I work with two buckets (one for weeds and one for couch) and it’s a good habit to get into and one I will try not to break. I’ll report back if/when I see a reduction in couch over the coming months.
This is it below and it’s easily identified with its long white roots quite near the soil surface and it’s very satisfying to remove. Most other perennial weeds break down readily in the compost bin and many weed roots are a rich source of minerals but couch lacks much goodness and the smallest fragment comes back to life when the compost is spread.
Plants such as comfrey and nettles are growing in clumps on the edge of many allotments and these can be chopped up every six weeks or so throughout spring and summer and spread in layers in the compost bins. Both these plants speed up the decomposition and add nutrients.
I cut back the hop plant ( Humulus ) that clambers over part of the arbour outside the kitchen door for late summer. It needs the same treatment as the late-flowering clematis that I pruned last week so I took all the stems down to 20cms and gave it a good feed. It always feels a bit ruthless cutting down 2 metre lengths of sturdy stems but pruning ensures a much more robust root base which in turn encourages strong new growth to support the lovely flowers throughout the summer.