Friday, 15 August 2014

Saturday on plot 24a

Exhaustion as truly hit home this week; every couple of hours of each day I have had to take a nap, just in order to keep going. These periods come every now and then and though I do get frustrated and maybe a little scared, I know it won't last much longer. Giving in and feeling lazy are not my style but it's what my body needs.

Now any remarks on my birthday coming up and that this is all down to age and ...I shall look for you, I shall find you, and I shall slap your face with a wet lettuce leaf!

This is maybe part of the reason why I am so very tired this week - the hard work we pushed into a few hours at the allotment on Saturday last.

My work -
* Cut grass with push mower

* Weed leek bed, general bad spots on plot and the back bed (scary)

* tie back flowers and try to deadhead whilst being sniffed by bees


Andrew's work -
* rip out the second batch of broad beans now they are finished and get all last remaining beans off those plants, including seeds for next year :)

* plant out more broccoli under netting moved across from older settled in broccoli plants :)

* deal with bolted lettuces and spinach (which was a non-bolting variety!) It's my personal opinion that lettuces need to be in the back garden = easier access and used all the time.

Please do enjoy the other beauties in that bed (and further up plot). Everything has done well in 24a so far.. Only bad thing about it is us! We arent harvesting as we should and eating/sharing/storing! Ooops
Sweetcorn tassels; Kohl rabi; courgettes and flower; Autumn raspberry; Rudbeckia.

Love and Hugs
Carrie

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

WW1 How we dug for Victory - infographic

The lovely Kate Southgate (from Crafted), designer of this incredible infographic poster wrote to me a couple of days ago and offered to let me use it on my blog. I was honoured.

Kate is a very talented graphic designer indeed and the poster is a great quick historical and sociological look at the Dig for Victory campaign. I love having such arty friends :) I'm sure you shall all enjoy it.

  Victory Garden Infographic

I am in no way promoting Notcutts here, I have no idea who they are, though they sound nice in their write up.

Love and hugs
Carrie xx

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Carpe Diem (nothing to do with gardening)

I've been having some really bad bouts of depression for a few days in a row now. I haven't had the energy to change out of my PJ's or even think about washing my hair. The postman coming to the door terrifies me. Its just one of those periods; I'd rather live on the sofa under my blanket....

I did not know the actor Robin Williams, though I grew up with him on TV and  in movies. A few of my favourite films have him as a supporting character; funny, its his serious work I like ( The Dead Poets' Society, Insomnia and Good Will Hunting) I'm not fussed on his comedies. I always think funny people seem to have such depth and such resources of pain to tap into - making others feel happy gives you a sense of purpose.

Williams won an Oscar for Good Will Hunting, where in he plays a therapist better than any I've had. People laud the 'Boston Park Bench Scene' as the most powerful piece of his in the movie and yes, deservedly so. However, for me there is another scene which no matter how many times I've seen it, always makes me cry. I'm not a crier, but this, this has me ugly crying - heaving shoulders, runny nose, eyes so puffy....



Its simple but so effective -"its not your fault". It's something we all need to hear sometimes, and our lives are not notes contained in files either!.

So thank you 'oh Captain, my Captain'  for the phrase 'Carpe Diem' - I try to; for the ability to cry and to remember everything isn't my fault; and for the acknowledgement that beauty is important; the novels, the music, the poetry, love - that's what we live for, though sometimes we forget I guess....

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Happy 6th Anniversary

Wow, so it's come to this....6 years of our lives we have been allotmenteers; I feel as though we deserve a badge or something, a medal. I know I'll have to make my own.....
Today is horrendous with heavy rain and general misery so it's a little sad that I can't take photos and I don't feel all giddy and summery on this occasion.
We were there yesterday though and met new plot owners and saw some old ones leave for good. That was funny - they hadn't been there in forever and one of the ex-owners loudly exclaimed that it was 'an absolute mess!'. What? like it was meant to look after itself?! I look forward to someone taking it on - it's the 'a' half of our 14b.

So here are some fun photos from a scrap book I tried to keep early on in the adventure. I am a terrible scrapbooker and in the end I simply took loads of photos and saved them on a hard drive. Well, that was until I discovered the magical world of the blog :)
the advert in the town magazine - our confirmation letter - the plan for the first year :)

looking so much younger and me lounging on the turf sofa , just getting stuck in de-turfing, the field as it was

Look here for my wee post on the how the story got started. It was written 6 years ago and I think I sound scared :) Back them I didn't know other people read your blog - wow, I knew nothing about blogging.

Oh and here is my first blog header, I think the title was below this  picture. We found this horse shoe whilst digging our plot = good luck :)

So that's or for now. As I said, all is depression and misery outside and in my noggin', sorry.

Much love and thank you for making my little journal come alive by your reading and commenting. I feel so much less alone with my lovely gardening online friends - you make life easier and fun and I can't thank you enough xxx

Carrie

Friday, 8 August 2014

the winner takes it all...

Well the flower pot never lies and I am delighted to announce that our winner is.....


YES! I shall be in touch Mr Flighty and your prize shall be on it's way to you (with best wishes) tomorrow morning. Though it is Royal Mail so goodness knows when you'll receive it, haha.

My blog's birthday is on the 10th which is Sunday but I promise to do a wee retrospective either on that day or Monday :) I hope you shall all be standing by a freshly baked cake on Sunday though, at around 2pm, the time I hit 'publish' for the very first time.

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Apart from that joy with Flighty as our winner I just have a few photos of the back garden I would love to put here for prosperity. It is really taking shape with all this sun and heavy showers and feels a little like all this growing won't know when to stop and one day we won't be able to get the patio windows :)

I have a thing for the colours and textures of new growth on already established plants, please indulge me...

I just love these bronzes, lime greens and reds

And here is a wee quick overview, I just love the time of year when the stained glass window is covered in the creeper, love all the bright red top growth on the maple and oohhh, Andrew pruned the bamboo in the tea garden into the traditional Japanese shape :)


Love and hugs my friends
Carrie x

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Last few hours

Hello!
I haven't been particularly well but I am very aware that I have a wee giveaway to complete ;) My dear, lovely readers, here is what you are being tempted with....

A nice wartime growing book, 3 book plates I made myself and 3 instagram greetings cards with photos from the lottie on them xx


The flower is just for decoration...

And all you have to do is leave a comment and a way of contacting you and at midnight tonight a name will be drawn out of a pot! I shall reveal all tomorrow alongside my new photos of the garden - new growth :)

Hugs friends
Carrie

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Another great reason to garden

I hope by now that all of my fabulous my readers are aware of my support for ecotherapy as a way to reduce stress and bring about feelings of achievement and hope. Okay so it didn't work out that well for me yesterday but on the whole I do find it extremely therapeutic.

If you don't understand what I am on about read the page above entitled 'Allotmentherapy ~ the wisdom of plants'.

I've always known it can be a tremendous workout too as evidenced by many a sweaty t-shirt and long afternoon nap. But yesterday I learnt about this side in more detail: the amounts of calories we burn off doing different gardening tasks.

I know we all wear crappy clothes when we're knee deep in the mud and compost, I know that secretly (like me, you too dream of a pair of funky dungarees to work in), you maybe don't even wash your hair some days and make up seems like such a joke but...what about those date nights out? We want to feel good then too, don't we? Well our plots/gardens want that for us too - to burn calories, to get fitter, to look sexier!!!

These eye opening statistics are brought to you by the Gardening Express website and I for one love reading them :)


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'Weight watching Brits can burn almost 1,500 calories simply by spending a few hours doing the garden. That's according to a new study by online garden centre GardeningExpress.co.uk who asked a group of amateur gardeners to keep a record of their gardening chores over a week.'


'Among the weight busting activities were hedge cutting and clearing, mowing, edging and raking the lawn, digging over flowerbeds and watering.  Others which happen less frequently but were noted by the group included painting the fence and shed and trimming trees and big shrubs.' 
I for one am the mowing, digging over and painting type of person so but I fear I may need to more of the other stuff....let's see

'Chris Bonnett from GardeningExpress.co.uk said: “The group of gardeners we followed were fitting their gardening activities around jobs and other household chores so while this gives a good indication of how much you can burn, you can certainly burn even more calories than this.
“Gardening is great exercise for lots of reasons – clearly you can burn calories, it’s great for toning and you’re out in the fresh air enjoying all that nature has to offer.” '
So get out there, do something good for your soul and that tummy - then you get to eat an extra biscuit with your tea. That's what research like this is all about, right?! :)
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Oh and don't forget my giveaway - there is slowly, more being added to the package - now some seed packets are happening too with some fave seeds for you :) So that's a book,  a book plate (like in school prize days), my photographic greetings cards and seeds!
Just gotta leave a comment below and a way to contact you!
Much love
Carrie

Monday, 4 August 2014

So much news

First may I say to you all...
Happy National Allotments Week!

http://www.nsalg.org.uk/news-events-campaigns/national-allotments-week/
The society only covers England and Wales but I am not about to let that stop me from celebrating my Plots! Okay so there are lots of events lined up for those who do live in those countries but it doesn't mean we can't all love our little patch even more and maybe allow ourselves a bit of cake so something ;)

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In fact, though it was in hindsight a really daft thing to do, I visited my plots this very morning. I got a great haul of broad beans and some flowers for posies in the house. Was it worth the horrendous panic and now the exhaustion?? The jury is out. But in Maggie's case Yes, yes it was worth it, so much to sniff :)

selection of some of the flowers on the plots today - 'growourown.blosgspot.com' ~ an allotment blog

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It's this very blog's 6th anniversary on Friday and I am hosting my very own giveaway. My giveaway isn't too fancy, I'm really not great a approaching companies for freebies. So this is a much more personal affair. I shall be giving a lovely book 'How to Grow Food - A wartime guide' with a personal book plate to glue into it, also a few of my own little greetings cards (from my online shop).

Giveaway prize to celebrate 6yrs of blogging - 'growourown.blogspot.com' ~an allotment blog


 The entry for it starts today and the winner will be announced on Thursday. The competition is open to  all - simply leave a comment and an address of some sort to help me contact you should you be victorious.

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This humble blog has also been nominated for blog award alongside some fabulous people. I am not one who goes all into for these things but just once in a while it feels nice to feel you're good at something. Everyone chosen is good in their own right and no matter who wins I shall be happy that easysheds.co.uk has done this for us.

If you do feel the love however... Here is where you can vote for my work.



*blush*

Love and hugs
Carrie xx

Friday, 1 August 2014

Why, hello August!

August, the month of my birth, the month of this, my blog's birth. One of us is 6 the other, well honestly you dare ask a lady!? haha. It's also National Allotment Week next week (the first in August every year) and on the 10th I shall be doing a little personal giveaway to celebrate the blog birthday. It's a busy time in the old Grow Our Own camp :)

I hope we all have a fab new month and treat ourselves well! Less stress - more fun, less naughty foods - more healthy nourishment, less sitting about - more days out and gardening, etc. Take chances, say yes to life :)


Hugs and love
Carrie

Thursday, 31 July 2014

100 happy days 2

It's bloomin miserable out there, all grey and drizzly and yet muggy at the same time. I woke up early and now I can't get back to sleep though I have tried most desperately - of course Maggie snoring away here beside me isn't helping. In fact it's just not cricket at all, I may poke her (I didn't, she's too adorable).

To give me some fun and allow a break to remember the good times over the past 20 days I've only gone and done one of my 'happy days collages'. I know I finished that challenge once before, but a photo of something good every day really did lift my spirits last time so this is 100 Happy Days take 2, I do hope you enjoy...

Day 1 - The back garden this evening is just beautiful with the sunset.. Day 2Bumble bees are so fabulous! 
Day 3Wild meadow next plot over... Day 4Red gooseberry jam :)
Day 5Ohhh naughty, a lemon and poppy cupcake...;)

Day 6 - Pinky-peach rose on the bush  Day 7Just a little bit of the garlic harvest on the plot 
Day 8Guess what I'm doing.....red gooseberry jam! ;) Day 9A stunning trough with 2 mini rose plants in it! What a way to end the week :) Thanks to serenataflowers.com Day 10  - A pen pal letter arrived today!!! = :)

Day 11Maggie takes a selfie Day 12 On the hammock reading a little and writing a blog post :) 
Day 13Mr Grumpy Cat, Whitehead :) Day 14Our stunning little window boxes are doing us proud ;) Day 15 Wow! That's a dahlia in full blossom! Firework!

Day 16First ever name hoop done today - for a family member Rylee, in case you can't read it. 
Day 17Last nights doddle colouring. Day 18Maggie wishes her cousin a very Happy 2nd Birthday!
Day 19Beautiful dahlia in the back garden ;) Day 20More posies ;)

A little peek into what has been making me happy. I urge you to try this exercise out - all you need is a camera phone and everyday just appreciate something beautiful. It is certainly helping me to forget all the anxiety attacks and depression that goes on each day as well.

Hugs and Love
Carrie x

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Allotment plot frittata

This is the time on the plot where there is so much glorious goodness to be eaten and one could almost become overwhelmed. I know, we've been there... Sometimes you can store it, pickle it, freeze it, give it away, let the birds nibble it or make jams and chutneys until you fear you'll go mad!!

Well this year, we planted successionally and only what we needed, for example 2 courgette plants and that's still plenty! But still there has come a time now when we have lots and lots of food and must use it up for fear of feeling ashamed and wasteful.

This is where Andrew's new culinary masterpiece will come in handy. The Allotment Plot Frittata :)

This is all the stuff that goes into a 2 person version and the starred ingredients are those we grew ourselves, just to show you:
* Chard stems and leaves
* Broad beans
* Courgette
* Dwarf french beans
* Garlic
* Potatoes
 3 eggs
chorizo
oil and seasoning

It's one of those recipes where you just have to see what you have and work with it, (there is a recipe in the River Cafe cookbook that's just for a lemon and sorrell one!). All you do is constantly stir, lightly season throughout the process and just have a relaxing time (maybe sipping a glass of wine would help the whole thing move along).
The best way to explain is to show you....

* the first thing is to parboil the potatoes (chopped and sliced here)

* then get the chorizo cooking and add a little olive oil

add in chopped up greens

* courgette goes in last; stir and flip extra fancy like...

* Add in your leafy chard tops, it shrinks down to nothing. Then the potato goes in too. Looking good!!

* Egg time and you have 3 large ones to break and whisk - no shell please, that all goes in the compost!

* After allowing it to cook enough to fill the gaps and have some solidity it all goes in the grill - at this point it's good to have a guard dog to watch for burning :)
  

It's ready !!  :)

* And tah dah!!! Yummy

Love and hugs 
(munch, munch, yummm)
Carrie

Monday, 28 July 2014

How to grow Miniature Roses

Cherie 28 (our winner of the serenata flower competition) was in touch this morning. She got her prize in the post, well, she's so sweet that it turns out it was her mother's prize. Yep, unlike me Cherie used the opportunity to share her gift of flowers and also added a cute teddy and her mum was thrilled.

So I was thinking that as Cherie's Mum and I both have miniature rose plants in our lives that it would be a good time to do my research and find out how best to care for these babies. Goodness, open any book on Roses and you'll be overwhelmed by the various types and their needs so we are simply focusing on miniatures....there are many great websites out there to help you.

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An introduction to Miniature Rose Growing
'Miniature roses are perfectly scaled, smaller versions of larger roses, with all the colours, forms, substance, and often, fragrance of full-sized roses' (the Dummies' Guide). Also like all other types of rose, they have flowers and leaves completely in proportion (though they may be only half an inch to 2 inches in size) and can be any of the forms we are used to hearing about; climbing, bushy, ground cover etc. 
I may be biased here but I do sometimes feel that smaller can be better, cuter and easier to manage (they only get up to approx 4 feet). I love a rose in a big pot where it can have exactly what it needs and get turned regularly for even sunshine, the thorns are easier to avoid whilst weeding and they only need minimal pruning in the winter. I'm obviously not alone in loving them as many new ones are introduced every year by the big names in cultivation.
Miniature Rose Pink - www.growourown.blogspot.com
Miniatures like mine must only be kept in their gift pot and inside for a short time - they are meant to be outside - free range if you will. Many people plant theirs at the front of their borders but for me I prefer a pot as I said. They are super hardy little things but as with any plant, if it gets ridiculously cold you ought to mulch the roots and if in a pot it is easier to fleece too.
But whilst indoors please follow these rules:
*  Water Regularly and Thoroughly -  It's wise to make sure the topsoil ( the top inch or so) has dried out between your waterings. Check every day during flowering season as the plant is using up a lot of energy (water) and will be thirsty. Plus as they are mini plants, so are their roots, delicate and not getting far down into the soil.
In the winter it's best to keep the soil barely wet and always avoid getting water on the leaves as that is a cause of blackspot. Blackspot can be treated, but avoiding damp leaves, over watering or a stuffy atmosphere will certainly be a  preferable prevention.
*  Keep in good sunlight - as much as you can give it, especially in Summer. But get planning as to where your plants are going to move to soon, outside :)
*  Deadhead - if you want those blooms to keep coming (and they will) you must cut off the dead or dying flowers. Don't rip them off or simply pull them as you will damage the stem, please use sharp scissors if not rose pruners.
*  Fertilise - for the best results, feed your plant more than just water. There are plenty of rose food supplements out there and your rose will thank you for giving it some once every few weeks.
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So that is just the basics, I hope you will feel more confident if you are lucky enough to receive some as a gift now. Remember the most important point - they are ultimately for the outdoors with sunshine and lots of lovely water.

Enjoy, and hugs to all
Carrie xx

Friday, 25 July 2014

Giveaway Winner and the front garden

Hello everyone, I'm in a good mood today as I get to cheer up another fellow lady by announcing that she has just won herself  £30 worth of loveliness from serenataflowers.com.

Just after midnight last night all the entrants names were placed a terracotta pot and jumbled up. Andrew was out walking Maggie (her wee back leg is healing!) and so when he came in I got him to randomly pick out a name without even looking.


Our winner is thus ~

Hoorah and congrats to Cherie!!
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For all my other dear readers I thought I would show you something a little special ~ our front garden. It's somewhere I wouldn't usually go out and take photos off as I am a little self conscious, but for you guys, anything....




 The main body of the garden is the hydrangeas (yes they glow pink! - not a photoshop trick) and the box balls. We're so glad they're growing and flourishing now as eventually they should all meet up and the balls will be pruned into beautiful flowing shapes. It's bold but we think it suits a small front garden. We also have a tree in the corner but it's difficult to photograph it without looking like you're spying on the apartments behind, haha.

The big black pot was initially there to stop the postman from using that part of the garden as a shortcut - he has changed his ways and it may stay or go - not sure, but I love that lavender. Every year for goodness knows how long, we have had red geraniums on our window stills, even way back in our old home. Yes it clashes but I still love it.

So there you are and you can even see a little of me in the last photo - bonus! hahaa

Love and Hugs
Carrie

Thursday, 24 July 2014

My Fave Flowers and that £30 giveaway

I'm just making sure everyone has a chance to enter the fabulous giveaway I have on offer. So, yes, the vast majority of this post is copy and pasted from the previous one but I'm only thinking of you dear reader!

I thought it would be nice to share my favourite plants from the garden at the moment though I have just stuck with flowering ones to be fair. And as I'm not restricted I have three :)
Classic red geranium window boxes; my gorgeous 'serenantaflowers.com' pink mini roses; the star jasmine that smells so good and makes hammock time truly feel like being on holiday.

Plus I have these, brought home from the allotment last night - cornflowers and dahlias - lovely!

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YES! Serenata flowers is giving away £30 for one lucky winner to spend in their website shop. If you were that winner you would simply have to choose what you'd like to send to a loved one/ receive for yourself. That includes the gorgeous flower bouquets and the plants - what would you pick? Look at all the loveliness here -  http://www.serenataflowers.com/

The only restriction is that the delivery address for the item must be within the Mainland of the UK. Sorry if that throws a spanner the works for you but that's the rule. Though don't fear as I have more giveaways to do for my blog anniversary that can be shipped anywhere, but that's all still a secret.

In order to win dear reader all you have to do is simply leave a comment on this question.

What's your favourite plant in your garden?

Make sure there is a way to contact you too as I will need that to pass on to the lovely Alexander who is holding this giveaway just for my blog readers. All names so far have been going into a terracotta pot (it's only right) and tonight (Thursday evening) that pot will close. The winner shall be announced on tomorrow :)

Example of comment entry - 
Jasmine
email - borntowin@fakemail.com

Good Luck!!
Love and Hugs
Carrie
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