Archive for February, 2010

Greetings from Morocco

Jardin Majorelle in MarrakechOK, time to ‘fess up: I’ve been in Marrakech, Morocco. A very special treat in February for a SAD sufferer, and a huge boost to my flagging morale.

The sun shone every day, and it was glorious. Interesting from a gardener’s point of view, too; this is a shot of Yves St Laurent’s garden, the Jardin Majorelle (which contains a rather dignified and touching memorial to the man).

The yellow and blue theme runs throughout, with cacti and limpid pools making a rather special visual experience. Bizarrely, there seemed to be only French tourists there… which seemed a waste. If you’re ever in Marrakech, don’t miss it.

Posted on 28th February 2010
Under: Flowers | 9 Comments »

Guess where?

flowerNot exactly a typical garden scene for the UK in February. Here’s a clue: it’s not the UK (although it IS February).

Here’s another pic to help you figure it out…

Posted on 25th February 2010
Under: Flowers | 11 Comments »

Celeriac is go

celeriac seedlings

It’s here. Only eight months until it’s ready. Er…

Sorry I’ve not posted a picture of my shed (you guys must be SO gutted). Not had time. Busy week.

I’ll hopefully be posting some unusual garden pictures over the next few days…

Posted on 24th February 2010
Under: Roots | 4 Comments »

Fed up with winter

I so am. Almost nine weeks after the shortest day, and it’s still dark, dank and freezing.


There was a bit of feeble, watery sunshine yesterday. Not warm, exactly, but a distinct improvement on conditions over the last two months.

Instead of cheering me up, it’s depressed me further; like Tantalus reaching for his grapes (is it just me, or does that phrase sound like it should be in the Viz Profanisaurus?), I thrilled to the prospect of Spring… then remembered it was still Feb 17.

Utterly gutted.

Posted on 18th February 2010
Under: Winter | 12 Comments »

Celeriac: Better late than never

Celeriac seedsI’ve started a bit late this year. Celeriac usually gets sown end of January, because it needs a long, long growing season to achieve any size (and even then it sometimes fails to deliver much of a bulb).

The good news about a wet summer is that you get monster celeriac. In SE Britain, it was horribly dry last year so I got rubbish. I don’t want a pissing summer, God knows, but there is an upside.

Posted on 13th February 2010
Under: Roots, Winter | 8 Comments »

The compost heap from Hell

Compost heap horrorLooks like a shanty town, huh? Welcome to “Slumdog Allotmenteer”.

I’m not proud of myself. A compost heap should look a bit ragged around the edges… but this is beyond unhygienic. The bags are full of chicken shit from my mother’s farm, and the pong is really minging. Makes your eyes water.

The rest is… well, junk. Let’s call a spade a spade: I’m a filthy bugger, and I need a clean up.

Mental note: Tidy up plot soonest.

Posted on 9th February 2010
Under: Compost, Winter | 11 Comments »

Earth has not anything to show more fair

Manure dug into the earth

“Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty”

Call me a dreamer. Call me a sadster. Tell me I need to get out more.

But hey, really. Is there anything more gorgeous than a neatly trimmed, manured, freshly dug vegetable plot?

Posted on 6th February 2010
Under: Winter | 15 Comments »

Showering in the dark

Huge thrill this morning. Managed to take my morning shower without the bathroom light on.

“Pray, why?” you may ask. “Is this some new eroto-luminance perversion popular with the allotmenteering classes?”

Not exactly. It’s one of my personal winter foibles. You see, the day I can shower at 7am without artificial light is the day I know the sun is rising significantly earlier.

I’ve tried a few times over the last three weeks. Mostly with cartoon results – stubbed toes, histrionic slips with wild, flailing arms. I almost gave up last Tuesday when I spent 5 mins in pitch blackness trying to work up a lather with the soapdish.

But today, I managed it. Only shaving was a serious challenge: I look like Sweeney Todd’s practice dummy.

Still, the point is made: Spring’s bloody close.

Posted on 5th February 2010
Under: Uncategorized, Winter | 5 Comments »

Dawn of Spring

Hammersmith at dawnFor any SADsters out there who track these things (like me), today is a momentous day: the end of the darkest period of winter.

I’ve never been diagnosed with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), but a diagnosis feels superfluous. My symptoms tally perfectly with the medical dictionary.

Plus everyone says I’m a sad bastard. Ergo etc.

Anyway, the point is that mid-November to the end of January is the grimmest, darkest time. From now on, the days lengthen fast.

This does wonders for my mood. I get out of bed with a spring in my step. Even when I’m regularly visiting the gym*.

*The author wishes to make clear that this statement in no way implies any recommendation or endorsement, specific or general, of regular gym-going. On the contrary. As heretofore indicated from time to time, he fucking hates it.

Posted on 1st February 2010
Under: Winter | 10 Comments »