Tuesday Plotlines

This week sees us fresh back from a family holiday in Cornwall. In the normal scheme of things I visit the plot most days and do a few ‘jobs’, little and often being the thing in my mind, and it seems like not much changes. Clearly I achieve more than I think because although gone for just ten days we returned to a bit of a jungle.  Any plans I had for days out on Sunday were put aside in a bid to get things back on track

Southbourne Gardens

Derek was keen to mow the paths, one of his favourite jobs, on the basis that it would ‘make everything look better’ and this is true, it does, but to me it’s a superficial job and the real nitty gritty is dealing with the beds.  Clearing, weeding and tidying.

Southbourne Gardens

Southbourne Gardens

The tomatoes in particular had put on a whole new growth spurt and some of the plants with the heavier fruits, marmande and pink ruffle had fallen over completely.  Luckily no blight but in the warm, damp conditions with a very juicy, sweet food supply on tap the slugs were having a party.  We’ve now removed as much foliage as possible, added extra canes for support and taken off any tomatoes that have been eaten or are starting to rot.

Southbourne Gardens

You may remember we planted a whole load of seedlings a while back, beetroot, turnips, coriander etc.  Well these have also been providing a ready food supply for the mice with only the carrots and the beetroot doing well.  So back to the drawing board with how we protect crops sown directly until they become established.  All tips welcome.

Southbourne Gardens

So five hours of hard work and we’ve reclaimed the plot, the weather here is gorgeous and it’s on with the planning for autumn winter planting. More of which soon.

All these photographs were taken yesterday morning and the central path looks super trim due to Site Chairman John’s mowing efforts.

As ever thank you for reading and let me know in the comments what’s going on in your garden.


Gardening Days Out

Aside the harvesting and preserving this time of year often gives us a break from the more onerous tasks in the garden or on the plot. We’re also looking at some country wide good weather for the weekend so perhaps it’s an opportunity to escape to another horticultural space and maybe soften the back to school blow for the kids at the same time.  A quick look around the internet reveals that there’s still plenty to get out and do; here are some ideas:

Roses at Wisley

National Gardens Scheme

There are over eighty gardens all over the UK opening this weekend for the NGS, with all entrance money going towards good causes.  Enter a postcode, how far you want to travel and you’re good to go.

All information here

Horticultural Shows

The next couple of weeks should see a whole raft of local horticultural shows. So if the Big Allotment Challenge whetted your appetite for the show bench this could be just the thing or alternatively there will often be craft and baking categories.  I’ve included the link to ours here to give and idea and they will often welcome late entries if you fancy the competition.  A quick ‘google’ of your local area and you should find one close to home.

Plant Fairs

I’m a big fan of these as you’ll know if you read regularly.  Access to independent nurseries, excellent quality plants and good advice, often in a garden setting.  There’s a list here and this weekend sees an excellent looking event at Ness Botanic Gardens close to Ellesmere Port.

All information here

The National Trust

Of course we love the National Trust and their 50 things to do before your 11 3/4  programme makes this a family day out. Specifically I’m thinking about Waddesdon Manor which is hosting it’s annual Chilli Festival this weekend with forty exhibitors and artisan producers.  There will also be talks, demonstrations and a full entertainment programme.

All information here

Flower Shows

I’ve already written this week about the National Dahlia Society Show and details of the RHS Wisley Flower Show can be found here. Alternatively next weekend sees The Harrogate Autumn Flower Show, with over four hundred exhibitors it looks like a corker.

All the information here


Enjoy your weekend!

And if you have any events your attending or would like to publicise let me know in the comments.

The National Dahlia Society Show

As with most things, trends come and go with flowers, both in borders and for cutting.  Victim to our capricious nature, the poor old dahlia seems to have been nowhere in the fashion stakes for decades now, it’s time rooted firmly back in the seventies. Absolutely no room for those big, blousy blooms in a modern prairie planting scheme or ‘tasteful’ orchid flower arrangement


There is however one place that is the exception to the rule; the allotment.  Here they reign, on occasion whole plots dedicated to their charms.  And charmed me they have, especially since I’ve started to take more of an interest in improving my camera skills.  They are, I think the Kate Moss of the flower world, fabulously photogenic and shooting them close up allows a different view of the elaborate shapes, colours and petal formation that sometimes escapes the passing glance.



I’ve taken many shots over the course of the summer on our allotment site, whilst visiting gardens and at shows and in the next few months will share some of my favourites varieties here.


If you want to skip ahead though, today sees the start of the National Dahlia Society Annual Show at RHS Wisley. There will be more than a hundred growers and nurseries from around the country competing for prizes with their exhibits.  At the weekend these will be replaced by pot grown varieties from the National Dahlia Society and two walk around displays from the National Dahlia Collection and Pheasant Acre Plants. During this time members of the NDS and the RHS Dahlia Trials Forum will be available for questions and advice.




Many of the dahlia blooms will be sold  on Tuesday and Friday and Sunday afternoon with proceeds going to the National Gardens Scheme.  Varieties from the current RHS Wisley dahlia trial will also be on show, and  you can visit Portsmouth Field and vote for your favourite or perhaps seek out some inspiration for next season’s planting.


All photographs shown here were taken on Bob and Alan’s plots over the course of this summer.


The National Dahlia Society Show is part of the RHS Wisley Flower Show and runs from the second to the seventh of September.

It is open between 9.00am and 6pm Tuesday to Saturday and 9.00am to 5.00pm on Sunday.

Entrance is free for RHS members and one family guest.  For non members the show entrance is included in the normal garden admission price.

All further details here

The National Dahlia Society here.

The National Dahlia Collection here.

Pheasant Acre Plants here.