I been away for a few weeks and when I returned I was catching up on taking cuttings, sowing seeds in the propagator, and pricking out seedlings. Then the beast from the east arrived and any thoughts of spring and the allotment seemed so very far away.

I did though on Wednesday manage to dig a trench on the plot , fill it with manure, and then rake back the soil. Surprisingly, the soil wasn’t rock hard and the recent dry weather and winds has dried the soil out considerably. The trench strip is getting ready to plant my sweet peas out. The seeds were germinated last October, pricked out into long root trainers and have been left out on the allotment all winter. They’re protected by chicken wire to avoid birds eating them but have no protection from the weather. They’re looking a bit sad for themselves at present but hopefully will recover before I plant them out, hopefully, in a couple of weeks time.

Also looking very sad for themselves are the overwintering broad beans and perpetual spinach. The minimum temperature this week has been -5.3 in the polytunnel, that’s the lowest it’s been since I’ve had a max-min thermometer for the past five years. I’ve had a couple of -5.2’s and the broad beans recovered from that, so again hopefully they’ll be back up fighting fit in a weeks time.

In the RHS The Garden magazine this month there is an interesting article by Ambra Edwards who has written a book in praise of Head Gardeners. In the article she starts by suggesting that Britain’s greatest contribution to world culture is the garden, which is an art form which we have made particularly our own and which we have been exporting to the rest of the world for at least three centuries.

I must admit I have never thought of gardening, and I think we can include allotmenteering in here, as an art form. But thinking about it, certainly the great British gardens such as Kew, Wisley, Wakehurst , or Great Dixter (all fairly close to us), could be classed just as artistic as say a Freud or a Bacon. Interesting, we’re all a bunch of artists.

The main point of the article is bemoaning the lack of recognition of the countries head gardeners.

One particular paragraph I liked was as follows:

“So why is gardening routinely dismissed as a menial occupation, fit only for the academically challenged or emotionally fragile? (Erstwhile Prime Minister David Cameron famously held it to be on a par with litter picking – not of course his only lapse in judgement.)”

An interesting article and well worth reading if you can – there is a copy of The Garden in the office & I’m sure Gillian or Louise will copy it for you if you smile nicely.

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