Thursday, 19 July 2018

PROOF OF EXISTENCE AND ALLOTMENT PHOTOS

9th July 2018
Bee on one of the ornamental onions.
(Buff tailed bumble bee?)
Other bloggers don't seem to need to do this - pop up every so often to prove they exist. Nor do they have to explain that their laptops and their cameras are forever going off to be mended. But this is me. Laptop back. Camera soon to go for the focus mechanism to be sorted.

Other bloggers don't seem to have been phased by the changes in EU laws about privacy protection which coincided with changes in how people show their IDs when leaving comments either. 


Been coming in to land on Sicilian Garlic. (Ornamental.)
This photograph was taken on 11th June 2018

But I got completely overwhelmed by it all - especially when 'Blogger' decided to test whether we are humans or not by presenting a complicated quiz about which tiny pictures had images of cars in. I didn't ask for it and got very cross when suddenly it was there. It seems to have gone again . . . so I'll stop being cross and worried and post in celebration of my allotment.


Despite losing some early on to what I thought was a badger but which other allotmenteers say would have been a fox, the ornamental garlics have been wonderful. They have covered a long flowering period and are still going strong. Many are now producing brilliant seeds heads after spectacular flowers. But I can't say my proper vegetable crops are an outstanding success. My culinary onions look like ordinary supermarket ones and there are very few of them. The time and effort taken is barely worth the result.. Growing from seed instead of sets would have been better.

Green Magnolia Pea - 2nd June 2018.
After the first (like this) went straggly, I started again by planting directly in the ground.
These later plants are doing much better.
The idea is that they produce masses of tendrils which can be eaten in salads.
The flowers are beautiful.
The peas I started off early didn't thrive. Those I planted in the ground have done better but the soil is poor and keeping up with watering when we have had about two months without rain has been a bit of a challenge. Next year the weather will be different so lessons learned this year won't necessarily apply then but at the moment I'm thinking direct sowing will be the way to go.

My radishes are brilliant but I can't show you because I've not photographed them yet and as I gave today's bundle to a neighbour on my way home I can't photograph them now.

Alicante (?) tomatoes in greenhouse.
19th July 2018
I'm putting the question mark because seed descriptions on the internet
don't compare with what I think I'm growing. I'll have to find the seed packet.
The tomatoes are ok though - and heading towards plenty. I'm growing three varieties. Alicante which I grew from seed (in the photograph) Moneymaker (also from seed and planned for open ground but still in pots) and an unknown kind given me by another allotmenteer. (We don't have a language in common so asking what variety they are didn't work.) They look good and strong and a tomato is a tomato so it doesn't matter and I'm simply grateful to him and am glad for having two greenhouses too. The Allicante should be grown with very few but very long streamers but as I guess that would mean too many would ripen at once, I'm letting them do their own thing - apart from a bit of sideshooting. I'm growing them for food, not to impress. (And am also in a muddle - I thought the packet described small tomatoes but the internet says medium. I'll look out the packet. But whatever kind they are I'll enjoy them.)



The extra half allotment I took on in addition to my first full one is brilliant. Not only did I inherit  a huge strawberry bed and two greenhouses, established flowers came with it too. Maybe someone can tell me what these deep pink flowers are?


Beyond them you can see . . . is it a ragwort 'bush'. I watered it assiduously from early on and when I asked the previous allotment holder what it is she said 'A weed'. I watered it anyway . . . and bees and butterflies love it - and so do I. Here's a Cinnabar moth caterpillar sunning itself. If this plant is a ragwort I suppose I'll need to cut the flowers off before they make seeds. In the meantime - it's sunshine on stems - and makes up for the dandelion season being past.



Here's another bush I don't know what it is. I can't say it's very much to my taste visually but when the flowers first opened the scent was heavenly. Again, it's a pretty-insect-attractor. Here's a butterfly.  Is it a Small Tortoiseshell? (Masses of bees on it too.)



I wouldn't have chosen to grow a hydrangea but since I inherited one - I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out.

29th June 2018










I'll finish with strawberries. They are all eaten now and I'm waiting to collect their runners so I can start a new bed for next year's crop. Oh joy it was to have unlimited strawberries for nearly a month! These were some of the early ones.

A lot of catch-up. Hope it's not overload!





Links:

Sunday, 3 June 2018

EMERGENCY INFORMATION

Flowers of Mountain Ash. (Rowan) I think!
Flowers on a Mountain Ash tree (Rowan) (I think!)
Taken 2nd July 2018
I'd never thought to look for the flowers before - had only noticed the berries.
I've discovered a glitch with Google's new comments arrangements which means anyone can leave any ole comment they like while pretending to be YOU. 

To protect you from this, I'm turning off the comments option for the moment. 

I hope this will be only a short term issue. Please don't go away! 

Meanwhile, if you would like to leave comments by email, I'd be delighted.


looseandleafy@googlemail.com 

I can also be contacted on Twitter. @LucyCorrander

New EU laws say I must promise you that if you email me I will not reply with a load of spam. I promise!

Sunday, 27 May 2018

AN OUTDATED STREET PLANT POST (Should have been posted at the end of April.)


I'm horribly disorganised. When I first wrote this post at the end of April, we were well launched into the first dandelion season of the year. It was freezing cold but there were dandelions everywhere. I need not have worried that I'd miss them when I left Dorset. Not only were they unmissable but in some places nature had arranged them so beautifully it was as if they had been flower-arranged.



There's a surprising amount of countryside in this very built-up Halifax. Even outside the wooded ravines which cut into the town there are reminders of what happens when a tree falls. This fungus is growing on a the remains of a lopped trunk in a car park.




And earlier in the day I'd came across violets on a small patch of earth outside an abandoned house.

Then there are walls. Non-stop walls. Dry stone walls around almost everything: gardens, fields, industrial premises. These are wonderful places for plants to dig their roots into - and I've been surprised how little the walls seem to crumble under such invasion. Of course, I should have put a photographic illustration of this here but I didn't. All a bit of a rush! And since then I've been busy doing the usual excuse type things like digging acres of mare's tail out of my allotment. But the point I was heading to at the time was that not even the flat fronts of buildings can deter a determined fern.



And drains. In Dorset I grew a habit of looking down drains to see what's growing there. Drains rarely disappoint. They are a bit like the shells hermit crabs grab. They look pretty similar on the outside but you never know who or what's lurking inside till you look.





And trees. No urban garden would be complete without trees. I think this is the most spectacular I've come across. Can it be a silver birch?









Sorry for the delay. Someone found my glasses for me. They are gold rimmed which makes them extra difficult to find unless I am already wearing them. But anyone else can lift them up and say 'These?' But other things have been getting between me and Loose and Leafy posts too. Like a plasterer putting up an acoustic wall, local elections in Halifax and civil unrest in Armenia.

We all have backstories!

P.S. I really do recommend that you read about Hermit Crabs.

Friday, 20 April 2018

IN THEORY IT'S A STREET PLANT POST

Large green leaves with prickles in car park.
Messed up again! If it's not one thing it's another. I could give you a list but just at this moment it's that I've lost my glasses. As you know, I'm sharing a house with fellow blogger Esther Montgomery. And one of her sons decided to clean out under the floorboards of his room. The house was built in 1885 and a lot of dust has drifted down there since so when I was offered the honour of lifting a board and it pinged up all of a sudden, a lot of that dust pinged up with it. Then, when I went to wash it off my face I took my glasses off and now, er, I don't know where they are.

So, nose to screen, here's a picture of a plant I photographed earlier today. I don't know what it is. Could it be in the teasle family? More will follow when I can see!

Then, when it's a proper street plant post, I'll put a box here in case you want to add your link to a street plant post too.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

IT'S AS MUCH ABOUT THE RAILINGS - TREE FOLLOWING IN APRIL

Catkins of an alder in front of a stone building in the golden light of evening.
Evening is unpredictable. One moment it's sunny, then it's gold, then it's dull, then it gives gold another innings, then it's duller and duller till it's dark. And I, it seems, never manage to get to the tree I'm following during its sunny moments. Dull is standard. Gold a bonus.

Here is a view towards the building where, one day, when it isn't after hours, or dull, or raining, I'll see if anyone will let me up to look down on the tree.

Alder with catkins, with plastic in branches, in front of a fancy street light.



Much depends on which direction one faces. Two minutes apart, looking another way, noticing the plastic which has been there since the beginning.

An ant on the bark of an alder tree.



No leaves, loads of catkins - and a moderate flow of ants. Ants are hard to capture crisply in fading light but there is one there if you peer.

Bent railings on the guard around an alder tree.



I am captivated by the railings around the tree. I'm as much railings watching as tree following for they seem to contain as much life as the tree itself.

Someone has bent them so two prongs lean towards each other.

(A friend said 'here, I'll take a photo - so he did - and this is it.)

Glasses hanging on the railings of the guard around an alder tree in Halifax.



The 'Lost and Found' function continues with a pair of glasses.

(I'm beginning to think this tree is pivotal.)

Small green plant at the foot of an alder tree with fallen catkins around.



In November there were little leaves at the base of the tree. They've gone. If we hadn't had snow, maybe they would have still been there. I don't know. But instead, at its foot - here come the plants! Green-ness! Flowers ahead! (As long as the council leaves them.)




P.S. While I was photographing the tree, people were arriving from two directions, hurrying happily into the theatre opposite. What was on? Clearly a big event. So I peered between the posters of future events stuck to the window of the box office . . . but they turned out not to be stuck on the window itself but to clear stands within . .  which meant I smashed my eyebrows, nose and forehead wham against the glass. Not good.

Having failed to find the answer written up I asked a woman waiting for a friend on the steps. But she couldn't remember what she'd come to see. Evening does funny things to people.



For more about Tree Following go to Squirrelbasket and you can become a Tree Follower too.