Stourport 2010

Stourport 2010
Winning vase 5x 'Sarah Louise'

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Wait a minute Mr Postman...

This came through the letterbox last week...

Thursday, 26 July 2012

A few quick shots...

I managed to find a bit of time to take some snaps of some of my own stuff before going down to the New Forest show. Its amazing how this sudden bit of sunshine has made a difference to things...

The Pendle Improved are coming along nicley now-hoping to get a set of these on the bench at Shrewsbury

The runner beans are finally growing strongly now...
...And we have beans on now! Hallelujah

And finally, the xanths have definitely grown taller this year which i put down to all the rain. They have budded up nicely and should produce some top class blooms.

NVS Southern Branch Championships

Well we had a very long day yesterday... At 8.30am we set off bound for the New Forest to the New Forest show where the nvs southern branch championships were being held. We arrived just after 12 after getting stuck in some light traffic on the M27. The show as very good ...and bigger than we thought! The weather was great, in fact, it was almost too hot! First of all we headed straight for the veg tent to see the results. Darren (Blickys blog) did very well especially with his plate of five white potatoes. After a bit of lunch we went and watched the drug dogs display, listened to the plonkers play (that really is the bands name) and...oh yes...went and saw the queen as she passed by on the way to her helicopter. Three 4x4s with the oryal family in. That made my day.We came away about 5.30pm and headed to Lymmington to the Ship Inn situated right on the harbour front at the end of a lovely old-fashioned cobbled street. I can seriously recommend their food as i had the mussells and they were beautiful.
After a good night in there with plenty of drinks and laughs we eventually got back in the midlands for 12.30am and we were all knackered by then but a good day was had by all. I took some photos of the day and especially of Darrens achievements...

Helen V's leeks

A quick shot of the queens 4x4. You can just see Prince Phillip
The Ship Inn

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Busy busy bee!

Its been a busy week. First of all we had a wonderful guided tour of Whitlenge gardens, Hartlebury. The owner Keith Southall is the founder of Creative Landscapes and has built just under 2 acres of beautiful gardens at his home in the Worcestershire countryside. I have had dealings with Keith in the past and we have regular contact. We went with the Wollaston Gardeners Guild and had tea and cake afterwards in Keiths newly renovated restaurant situated next to his nursery sales area.
Keith is a larger than life character and his designs have won him numerous gold medals at Malvern and the like. You can se him in the photo (look for the guy who looks like Jesus!)

Keith's very own Hobit home made from artificial grass

Then all of friday morning was taken up with judging our allotment competition. I picked my mate Mick Poultney at 8.30am and we were on site for 8.45am. With four sites to judge we eventually finished at 1pm. Micks a good egg and we had a laugh but, as usual, his arse was on fire!

And finally, yesterday was our open day at Charles Rd allotments. After all the organising i had done for several months it was a huge relief when i got up at 5am and saw the sun shining for all it was worth. We had a great afternoon and raised £355 for our chosen charity Thrive. A charity helping disabled people harness the therapeutical benefits of gardenng.

Now i'm off to send my entry form off for the Nvs midland branch championships, Shrewsbury...

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Blue ar*ed fly...

I'm running round like a blue-arsed fly this week getting ready for our open day tommorrow. So, ultimately, i havent been able to do any work on the actual plot. To be quite honest, a feel like Fanny Craddock with all the baking i've been doing ready for the cake stall. The last count we'd baked 11 large cakes and 32 muffins. Today i'm fulfilling my role as Vice chairman and going round the allotments with the judge for our annual competition. Then tonight i'm going with our gardeners guild to Whitlenge gardens. A local garden owned and created by the founder of Creative Landscapes, Keith Southall. I have been before but theres always something new to see and its been a while since our last visit. Plus this trip has a cup of tea and a piece of cake thrown in!
Open day tommorrow so in the next few days i'll no doubt put some pictures on here. Until then happing gardening!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Leeks, faggots and paes...

Not alot happening this week apart from the regular mundane tasks such as removing any cracked and weak sticks from the celery and leeks. On the subject of leeks my mate John the baptist has a friend who owns a market garden at Evesham and he went to see him the other day. With him he brought several bundles of leeks trimmed and ready to plant out. John the baptist gave me three bunches and i planted these in my brassica cage to see if the debris netting cover will help to keep the leek moth at bay- it has proved to keep the carrots carrotfly-free! All i did to plant them was to dib a hole, drop the leek in and fill the hole with water.
Everything else seems ok albeit slow with the way the weathers been. My runner beans are just coming into flower, broad beans are flowering but very few are setting due to the lack of bees about. Potatoes are suffering with blight and constant wet with some cases of blackleg. And i now have three lots of sweetcorn planted! The first lot i sowed didnt come up so i went to local garden centre and bought the plants which, unfortunately, were sold in pots with about 5 or 6 plants to a pot. I reluctantly seperated the roots knowing these plants would do well to survive such a check. Meanwhile, i sowed a second batch which, being bloody akward, germinated 100% so i planted these out although they have alot of catching up to do. Then the third batch came along when a fellow plotholder,Barry, went to a local auction and brought back some plants which were fairly substantial so hey presto! Three lots.
Next saturday is my open day at the allotment. For the past two years i have organised this event which consists of a grand raffle with prizes donated from local businesses, a tombola, 50/50 bucket and plant stall. We usually get a good turn out and we provide tea and cakes which always go down well. So next week i'm going to be like a blue-arsed fly running around making final preparations for the open day. I will try and posts some photos of the day on here next week though.
To finish the week i have relaxed with a traditional black country tea- Faggots and Paes!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Neil on the NVS is rather good at putting together these cryptic quizzes and he has compiled yet another. So Ive pinched it to put on here. So it's 10 cryptic varieties of veg for you to work out. The answers can all be found within catalogues that exhibitors often use, but they're not all recognised exhibition varieties. 1. Cauli - Johnson or Becker 2. Cabbage - Murder a heavy weight 3. Lettuce - Small ruby 4. Lettuce - Huron, Erie, Michigan, Ontario and Superior 5. Cauli - Release Joly 6. Cabbage - Small Ashley 7. Sprouts - Gives you wings 8. Parsnip - Choose an entrance 9. Capsicum - Medical condition perhaps after really hot curry 10. Capsicum - Sounds like Teletubby not seen from above Good luck!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

That's determination for ya...

Come across this joke, just had to share it. Very funny.

Three guys enter a disabled swimming contest. The first has no arms. The second no legs and the third has no body, just a head. They all line up, the whistle blows and "splash" they're all in the pool

The guy with no arms takes the lead instantly but the guy with no legs is closing fast. The head of course sank straight to the bottom.

Ten lengths later and the guy with no legs finishes first. He can still see bubbles coming from the bottom of the pool,so he decides he had better dive down to rescue him.

He picks up the head, swims back up to the surface and places the head at the side of the pool, where-upon the head starts coughing and spluttering.

Eventually the head catches his breath and shouts: "Three years I've spent learning to swim with my f***ing ears, then two minutes before the whistle, some arsehole puts a swimming cap on me!"

Your collared!

Not alot happeninhg today, still raining. I did want to spray the access road down the allotments but the weather the way it is there was no point. So instead i got the petrol strimmer out and cut i all down ready to spray whenwe do have some sun. Ha!
Anyone growing celery this year you want to ignore the advice of getting the collars on a few weeks before the show, instead get them on now, working from a small cloose collar to a larger one. I have several batches of celery at slightly different stages so i currently have some plants with small collar and some with larger collars. For a bit of added extra i've applied a top dressing of vitax q4 and sprayed with sb plant invigorator which will give a boost in growth and help to control leaf miner and aphids. Having added soot to the celery bed in the winter, there doesn't seem to be any slug activity around the celery at all. I am still putting down pellets though and, when we get a dry spell, i shall start with slugclear aswell watered around and over each individual plant. If your celery seems to be slow to move don't forget that they are a  bog plant and therefore require ALOT of water (even when its piddling down!) but also give a high nitrogen feed such as vitax 301 or dried blood/sulphate of ammonia. Dont overdo it though as too much will promote soft growth which is more susceptible to heart rot.
Doing the rounds at the allotment i noticed my first lot of courgettes ready to cut.
Today i've given my exhibition broad beans a spray with a fungicide to try and prevent an attack of chocolate spot which broad beans are notorious for getting and especially in a wet summer like this. Touch wood no signs of blackfly yet but the insecticide is ready and waiting for when they do decide to attack!
Hoping to take some measurements of the onions and leeks tommorrow so, i'll keep you informed.