Friday, 19 March 2010

Community Bartering

This is my neighbour Maria's front 'garden'. Maria's rents one of the ground floor flats but neither she nor Kako, who's has the other ground floor flat have cars, so B asked if we could pay to use one of their car parking spaces. Maria wasn't that bothered about payment but said if I could do something with the front flower beds (the landlord has someone in to look after the back garden), that would be payment enough, which is really sweet of her.
As you can see there isn't much to work with in the way of space and the existing planting consists of some ferns, naturalised bluebells and a couple of tired lavender bushes, which I've left in. I've transplanted some of our perennial sunflowers (just pulled them out of the ground and replanted them) and am propagating some dwarf hollyhock and lupin seeds at the moment, so will pop some of those in when they're ready to give it some additional colour and volume. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

It's a Spade, Not an Earth Relocation Implement

It's 09:30 and I'm on the train from Paddington to Swindon after an unpleasant trip hefting my overnight bag on the tube. I really begrudge any journey that can't be done on my lovely bicycle Marjorie. I'm tired and thirsty and sitting in my wellies in a carriage full of 'ladies wot lunch' feeling completely lost. I really need to make a go of this gardening lark and don't really have any idea how. The only thing stopping me feeling completely sorry for myself is the sunshine.
I've always been an autumn girl but today for the first time I got the whole spring thing. I could feel the anticipation in the air this morning as I left the house. The garden's been weeded and mulched and the muscari are popping their beautiful purple flower heads above the manure. I feel truly blessed with my life - the only weak link in the chain is me. . . Anyway let's convert all that negative energy into pruning power. Nat & Ben have hired me to prune their garden back ready for the summer as it hasn't had a thorough going over for a couple of years. Two days of serious snipping and hacking should put me right. If you're green and have leaves beware the secateur wielding red head in the Hunters!
Two things I discovered this morning. One, the above heading, which was taken from a poster I saw at the station (think it was for insurance?) which made me laugh, but also serves as a reminder not to complicate matters. Two, don't cross your legs in a confined space (i.e. under the table on the train) whilst wearing wellies with buckles on the sides - owwww!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Land Girls - Cinderellas of the Soil

Was in Holt for the weekend recently with our mates Curtis & Goggin who encouraged me to buy a rather expensive magazine entitled Selvedge as it had a piece on land girl uniforms. I'm glad they did becuase if I hadn't I wouldn't have found out about the Cinderellas of the Soil exhibition at the Brighton Pavillion.
Today was the last day and it was a really great little exhibition. It told the story of the Women's Land Army in the first and second world wars through diaries and personal accounts of the women involved. I got the opportunity to speak to an actual bona fide WW2 land girl. It was interesting because her experience as a lone land girl billeted on a farm working with three men was entirely different to the popular image of all girls together. Her story was a rather romantic one though as she married the son of the people she was billeted with and they are still together today. How cool is that?
The exhibition guide by Amy de la Hay is great (ISBN: 978 0 948723 72 8) as it tells the story of the land girl uniform. Oh how I covet a pair of those breeches!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Finding Time

OK, I might not be the most technical person, but there is absolutely no reason in the world why my diary pages have decided to upload sideways. Humph!
Anyway, sitting on the front step in the spring sunshine with all my tasks for the day done and a sparkly clean house, I can't quite recapture the sense of frustration at not having enough time for all the things I want to do or have promised to do for other people. My business plan for instance. I have an idea, quite a good one I think and I was obviously full of vim and vigour when I first gave up work- it was the business or bust. Obviously reality has set in since then and I now realise that it's one day at a time. and that although the lovely B is supporting us both I'll need to concentrate on my RHS course and try and build up some more gardening work. I'll just have to plug away at the business plan as I go along. I've given myself until the end of the summer, so knowing me I'll think about it again in September!
The crazy illustration is the first draft for my door drop leaflet, based on my leaving card (thanks Sue) and yes, that's generally what I look like.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Ministry of Food Exhibition @The IWM

It's my birthday today and B took me to see the Ministry of Food exhibition at the Imperial War Museum as a birthday treat. It was a really well thought out exhibition that focused on the 'Kitchen Front' and the efforts of housewives to provide interesting and nutritious meals during rationing. The bonus was we were allowed to take photos, which we did with a vengeance - all good research for the business. Bought a copy of the exhibition guide/recipe book by Jane Fearnley-Whittingsall, which apart from updated versions of original recipes, contains some lovely illustrations and original artwork (ISBN 978 1 444 70035 0). It really reinforced my belief that growing your own food is the way to go and that teaching and encouraging people to do this (in whatever form they can) is what I ultimately want to do.
The IWM is probably the only place I don't look out of place in my 40's land girl inspired outfits. When we had afternoon tea and cake in the cafe (very English) we saw a guy dressed in a navy blue boiler suite carrying a tin hat and gas mask. We assumed he was staff, but maybe he was just a kindred spirit. Hmmm. . .

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Retrospective Blogging

You'll have to bear with me for a while as I'm trying to catch up on my diaries, so my blogs are post-dated and the dates may be a bit off as I have to remember back - anyone who knows me has an idea of what a miracle of brain power that will involve!
Today I got my first paid gardening job for my sister and brother-in-law in Wiltshire. Two days work and an excuse to go and see my lovely nephew Tommy-Toes. Hopefully the first of many jobs to come. Yay!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Hello from Lisa's Grow Bag

Hello, my name's Lisa and this blog is my attempt to rationalise the growing number of notebooks cluttering up the coffee table in my spare room. The one on the left is my general, all purpose drivel notebook, the one on the right my growing and planting notes. I've also got several piles of paper & books on the 1940's, the whole Dig for Victory, Make Do and Mend thing. Hopefully it'll all make sense in due course, fingers crossed anyway!