Making Up For Things

Marvelous May more than made amends: warming breezes with bee-buzz and late apple blossom.  It sprang; it sprung; it’s spring: it’s sparrow-chirp and blackbird songs, with frolicking new born fleeces and days stretching out to where summer belongs.

Onions, Pumpkins, Shallots & Beans

Yes, May has more than made up for things:
Lilacs hang heavy, early foxglove and Lupin spires stand proud and every bloom is bombarded by winged wonders that now seem frantic to make up for the month long delay in bud burst just a few short weeks ago.


Yes, May has more than made up for things; and with that all is forgiven. All the bare beds and drills are green again and all the seedling which had to be kept under cover for far longer than expected have been grounded at last. The polytunnel tomatoes, peppers and aubergines have set bloom and trusses at last. And softly, almost imperceptibly May morphs, and merges, and June…Glorious June, and for the first time in many decades the fulfillment of the promise of an early summer is fully realized, with thoughts drifting on waves of meadow grasses and buttercups. Tits and thrushes and warblers, and poached-eggs and heady irises, and the first roses of summer, Port Sunlight and Young Lycidias; and there is a time for all things, for constant watering and thinning-out, for hardening-off and sowing out, but there is also a time for leaving the hoe and trowel rest a while, and allowing the misplaced weeds thrive an hour or two longer, or a day or two longer; a time for prosecco and Ice Cream, and balmy nights with clammy skin and late outdoorsy activities, and long bright evenings sitting in the dappled shelter of the broad beans, gooseberries and blackcurrants and wondering what it would be like with a whole summer of early June, a thought as fluttering as the Holly Blue butterflies.

Bright & Shiny Buttercups
Bearded Iris ‘Killiney’

All looks well in the early summer sun, and the monster is no different, but the gardener’s eye still catches on the after effects of the atrocious winter and spring; the space where the peach tree used to be, and the gaps in the border where the dahlia and geraniums just didn’t make it.  But, it is still early June, only early June, and for more years than we care to remember at this time of the year we would idly content ourselves wishing for the onset of a decent run of summer, sometime soon…
So, here’s to a decent run of summer, sometime soon, a run of summer like this year’s early June.


Back To The Garden…



Hardening-off the tender shoots © janpaulkelly
Here! Here! Hartley, Spied through wind-break netting…©janpaulkelly


Perspectives shift while pulling weeds.
Pulsing “flashes”, cosmic “sizzles”
Snared in threads of Hubble’s bubbles
Dissipate in late March drizzles…JK

Come May, all of February and March’s effort on the allotment begins to pay dividend, and with the gradual greening-up of drab grey winter beds the mind often loses the run of itself and in so doing often gets ahead of itself, and spontaneously imagines harvest’s bounty.
However, the allotment’s best crop can be in the enjoyment of effort expended in cultivating a simple gardening plan and many a gardener has found that the best harvest is often in reaping the memory of those months-on-end they may have spent lost in the dirt.

The allotment garden is a series of carefully cultivated disasters set midst a few successful lettuces, the odd courgette and, if the weather holds and hares are kept in check, perhaps some tomatoes. But what a joy; to hide yourself in clear and plain sight, whiling away the hours, and fortunate indeed to realize you quite contentedly lost yourself between the herb border and May’s bright flowers, and the whole universe could have cared less!
So perhaps a garden’s greatest gift lies not in its spring or summer show, but in the dirt beneath the gardeners fingernails and in how gardening helps the gardener grow.


“We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden”
                                                       Joni Mitchell


The Monster’s Redemption…

The Monster's Herbs....
The Monster’s herbs…

Finally, the deed is done; Spring crawls through a rotten stream of 120 crappy days in a row and May comes out the other side clean. Ok so it’s not exactly Abrahamic, and it’s certainly no Lukan prodigal nor even a Saul to Paul  experience; it’s not Shakespeare’s Leontes nor Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov; and hell it sure ain’t no Andy Dufresne, but make no mistake, after weeks (if not months) of delay and retardation the early days of May have reported for duty ushering in light winds with warm pulsing rain and in the process have managed to redeem not only this year’s spring, but have also compensated for the total lack of that season from last year’s annual cycle.
The year’s attempt to trudge winter’s tale into March, April and beyond is terminated, and where till now it could reasonably have been thought that winter was being extended interminably, from here on in any inclement hiccups must simply be classified intemperate spring days.
As warden Norton may have noted; Winter, upped and disappeared like a fart in the wind…

Phacelia & Rape
Phacelia & Rape

We spent quite a few short sleeved hours this weekend spot dropping the cosmos, alyssum and marigolds onto the Monster’s face with the scent of sun-cream wafting from neighbouring plots, a noticeable increase in the volume of activity from the ladies’ hives in the corner, and the sound of children giddily making the most of stray spray form those plot holders who’ve suddenly switched from using watering-cans to cultivate their plots and have resorted instead to the use of the summer hose-reels.
The sky was bright, the air was mild and the soil finally warm enough to allow us sow our French beans, which we duly did. We also scattered a ridge of curled parsley seed together with troughs of coriander and fennel seed. With these sown we are now left with only the winter kales, courgettes and cucumbers to sow at the end of the month, and once we a pop those few pumpkin seeds in the ground at the beginning of next month there will be little else sown in the annual schedule of plot 49.
Of course the odd successional tray of lettuce, basil and beets will be needed by mid-summer, but how quickly the Monster’s schedule is fore-shortened and for all the worrisome angst through the slow cold days of late March and April we are now most certainly heading to a consideration of summer with all the latent promise of that season.
We are harvesting the rhubarb, and the radishes and lettuces will be ready soon enough. The 5 gooseberry bushes have set fruit, as have the Ben Lomond’s, we’ve thinned the parsnip and beetroot to final spacing, and as said in the Monster’s previous outing we are weeding, especially in the onion beds. And lest we forget to remind you, we are weeding in the onion beds…
And to round off with an ol’ Redism of sorts, this time of year there are basically two options on The Monster in the Corner, you either get busy weeding, or you get busy weeding!!!

Broad Beans
Broad Beans