Allotment Things :)

The second allotment post 🙂 The last one I showed some of the things that don’t appear to be working quite so well. So before you all panic and think that we are completely failing I thought I should show some success’.

Elephant garlic: This was Reiss’ choice and we have overwintered it, it looks healthy and strong and hopefully better than the purple garlic that was my choice!elephant garlic

Golden Courgette: These are my beauties, the funny thing is I don’t actually like courgette! They are fairly simple to grow and seem to be doing really well in this ‘patch’.courgettre

Brightlights Chard: This is a beautiful plant and will eventually have different coloured stems, however, only the leaf may be eaten. Which is such a shame.Chard brightlights

Finally, these are my Purple Brussel Sprouts. They are still babies at the moment and are residing in the poly tunnel waiting to be planted out.brussels

Reiss purchased a new ‘toy’ recently. Part of the land is dense forest, a lot of it is dead and it desperately needs felling to allow light in and trees to grow. I find it really oppressive when I have to venture into it, Reiss doesn’t seem to mind.

Reiss Chopped

Allotment Things

I haven’t posted about the allotment before and thought that it was about time that I did. Reiss and I have a little bit of land thanks to his mum 🙂 We currently have 5 beds, a poly tunnel, a courgette patch, a bath full of strawberries, one full of herbs, some fruit trees/bushes and 4 chickens.

Last weekend we decided that we would start to document our progress and failures through photography and film.

Some weeding was desperately needed! This is a long and backbreaking job but extremely rewarding!

before and after

If anyone can identify this extremely annoying weed and a way to keep it at bay, please help! Why does it only grow in the beds and not in the grass? I have been told it is bindweed but am not entirely sure?

bindweed onions

Whilst we were weeding we pulled some of the smaller onions as they were fallen over and apparently ‘ready’. However, as you can see they are still not much bigger than the bulbs… Again any thoughts as to why this could be? They have been overwintered.

harvest

These garlics were overwintered also, as you can see nothing has developed. The evidence above ground was healthy and strong. I am very confused!

garlic

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

 

Kew Part 4 – The lilypond

This is my favourite part of Kew Gardens with the Tropics running a close second. The colours are so vibrant and fantastic, the size of the pads are amazing and the overall feel to this special place is unlike any other…

White Pink 2 Pink 1 Leaves 1 bud Leaves 2 Purple

Some fairy spirit with his wand,
I think, has hovered o’er the dell,
And spread this film upon the pond,
And touched it with this drowsy spell.

For here the musing soul is merged
In moods no other scene can bring,
And sweeter seems the air when scourged
With wandering wild-bees’ murmuring.

One ripple streaks the little lake,
Sharp purple-blue; the birches, thin
And silvery, crowd the edge, yet break
To let a straying sunbeam in.

How came we through the yielding wood,
That day, to this sweet-rustling shore?
Oh, there together while we stood,
A butterfly was wafted o’er,

In sleepy light; and even now
His glimmering beauty doth return
Upon me, when the soft winds blow,
And lilies toward the sunlight yearn.

The yielding wood? And yet ‘t was both
To yield unto our happy march;
Doubtful it seemed, at times, if both
Could pass its green, elastic arch.

Yet there, at last, upon the marge
We found ourselves, and there, behold,
In hosts the lilies, white and large,
Lay close, with hearts of downy gold!

Deep in the weedy waters spread
The rootlets of the placid bloom:
So sprung my love’s flower, that was bred
In deep, still waters of heart’s-gloom.

So sprung; and so that morn was nursed
To live in light, and on the pool
Wherein its roots were deep immersed
Burst into beauty broad and cool.

Few words were said; a moment passed;
I know not how it came–that awe
And ardor of a glance that cast
Our love in universal law!

But all at once a bird sang loud,
From dead twigs of the gleamy beech;
His notes dropped dewy, as out of a cloud,
A blessing on our married speech.

Ah, Love! how fresh and rare, even now,
That moment and that mood return
Upon me, when the soft winds blow,
And lilies toward the sunlight yearn!

George Parsons Lathrop’s poem: Lily-Pond

 

Kew Gardens Part 3 – The Tropics

The Princess Of Wales Conservatory

The Princess of Wales Conservatory was commissioned in 1982 to replace a group of 26 smaller buildings that were falling into disrepair. It was named after Princess Augusta, founder of Kew, and opened in 1987 by Diana, Princess of Wales. It is the most complex conservatory at Kew, containing ten computer-controlled climatic zones under one roof.

The two main climate zones are the ‘dry tropics’, representing the world’s warm, arid areas, and the ‘wet tropics’, housing moisture loving plants from ecosystems such as rainforests and mangrove swamps. The eight remaining microclimates include a seasonally dry zone containing desert and savanna plants, plus sections for carnivorous plants, ferns and orchids.

There is also a ‘time-capsule’ buried at the southern end of the conservatory. Sir David Attenhorough (My Hero) placed it in the foundations there in 1985 as part of the WWF’s plants campaign. It contains seeds of basic food crops and endangered species, it is not due to be exhumed until 2085. By this time, many of the plants it contains may have become rare, or extinct!

Sprinklerorange high fivehanging

 

Kew Gardens Part 2 – Rainforest

This is the second stop on my Kew Gardens tour. The rainforest conservatory.

‘Heating was an important element of the glasshouse’s design, as tropical palms need a warm, moist environment to thrive.

Originally, basement boilers sent heat into the glasshouse via water pipes running beneath iron gratings in the floor. A tunnel ran between the Palm House and the Italianate Campanile smoke stack that stands beside Victoria Gate. This 150-metres-long (490 ft) passage served the dual purpose of carrying away sooty fumes to be released from the chimney and enabling coal to be brought to the boilers by underground railway.

Today, the glasshouse is heated using gas and the tunnel houses Palm House Keeper Wesley Shaw’s office.’

Coconut Furry Palm Palm Purple palm Texture Tree

 

Kew Gardens

The weather the weekend just gone was beautiful and to celebrate this, Reiss and I went to Kew Gardens.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew was founded in 1759 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. Kew Gardens is one of London’s top visitor attractions and Wakehurst, the second garden in West Sussex, is home to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank.

Over the past 250 years Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has made innumerable contributions to increasing the understanding of plants and fungus with many benefits for mankind.

‘Our science and conservation work helps to discover and describe the world’s plant and fungal diversity, safeguards the world’s plant life for our future and promotes the sustainable use of plants.’

The area covers 300 acres and is divided into many sections, covering a diverse range of plant life. Also to be seen are many different exhibitions and wildlife such as peacocks, geese and squirrels. Due to this diverse range I will be splitting my posts into 4 areas to break up a large amount of photos taken.

I am going to start with the outdoor gardens.

The classic image of the Palm House at Kew Gardens, this is the rainforest conservatory and is the most important surviving Victorian Iron and Glass structure in the world. It was designed to accommodate the exotic palms being collected and introduced to Europe in the early Victorian times. (sorry about the people :P)

 

Conservatory

Japanese garden

The Japanese garden area is dominated by a massive structure shown above, it can be seen across the park. Although impressive, it is extremely difficult to capture! I much preferred the texture underneath 🙂

Red

Finally, outside the Lillypond House there were some beautiful flowers being pollinated by some wonderful bees! Again hard to capture but I gave it a go!

Bumblebee

 

 

Coalhouse Fort – Tilbury

Saturday 5th April

Reiss and I decided to take the dog for a family outing/photography trip to Coalhouse Fort situated in East Tilbury on The Thames’ Estuary.

524365426

Strategically placed on the Essex peninsular, Coalhouse Point, this unique site has been developed as a defensive position from 1402.  With a near 180 degree arc of fire across the bend in the River Thames at Stanford-le-Hope and back towards London this location was chosen as earthwork defences, Henrician blockhouse and the Victorian Coastal Defence fortress which stands today.”

There are many aspects to the area now, which include; a park area with a zip wire and picnic benches, marshland areas, the coastal area on the estuary including the watch tower, the Fort itself and some inlet water areas. Reiss and I didn’t venture into the Fort as it is only open on set days throughout the year, however the surrounding area is fascinating and offered fantastic photography opportunities.

Estuary Fort1 Skyward StepsIn the opposite direction, a power plant is in full view. A stark contrast to the natural beauty around you in the park area.

Handstand

Powerstation Powerstation2

The lookout tower has fallen into disrepair and has had some railings removed to stop the public getting to it.

Lookout

Lookout2 Handrail Brickwork Strut Strut2

Lastly their was the ‘beach’ area, it had so many wooden structures that have just been left to rot. They really were beautiful.

Waves Fingers in the sand Estury 1 Estuary 1 Estuary Reiss I don’t know if Reiss was aware that I was taking this picture, but he looked straight at me 🙂

 

Seaweed

 

 

Day 4 – Kynance Cove

We decided on a visit to the National Trust site of Kynance Cove on our last full day in Cornwall and then we would go further round to the more famous Lizard Point. Again, this wasn’t that far from our location and a quick car journey had us there in no time. We parked and walked passed the sign that said viewing area. We were greeted with the most stunning views I have ever witnessed in this country. The grins on both our faces must have been spectacular!

Kynance Cove 2

Cove 1

Cove 3

Cove 2

Kynance Cove 3

Cove 4

After literally dragging ourselves away from the cliff edge, we started to walk down to the cove itself. It has been left with natural walk ways rather than paths and very steep steps cut into the rocks, so it was quite precarious.

Kynance stream

Part way down into the cove we found this stream that fed into a lagoon which was also fed by the sea. It was quite strange but beautiful.

Stream

Stones

The beach was very pebbly and I came across this, which made me smile.

Waves 1

The current was very strong here and the waves were crashing loudly!

Waves 2

After Reiss had got himself very wet (by not anticipating a large wave) we decided to go back to the car and eat our sandwiches, then drive the 2 mins further round to Lizard point. We parked and paid in the appointed car park to walk 5 mins further and find a FREE car park! What we then found can only be described as a run down, disheveled dump! The pier itself has been covered by fallen cliff face. The old lifeboat buildings have been abandoned and weather eroded. There was a gift shop that stated it was ‘the most southern gift shop’. The Lighthouse was closed. The views were no where near as amazing as Kynance Cove. It was very disappointing, the only upside was seeing a Hawk perched on a crevice and watching it take flight!

Due to this disappointment we went back to Pentire and decided to climb the hill in front of where we were staying. We took a flask of tea and some cookies. This redeemed the afternoon as the views were much better than The Lizard.

View 1~

View 2~

Day 3 – Gweek Seal Sanctuary

For day 3 we had arranged tickets for the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. It is based in a little village called Gweek, which was about 20 minutes away and after some more precariously narrow roads we arrived.

The seals that are kept here are either being nursed back to rehabilitation, or are long term residents due to injuries that have left them unable to fend for themselves. Some are retired seals from zoos across the country.

Seal 1

Seals

These two were both partially sighted and very old. Never the less they were still gorgeous and with a lot of personality.

Sealion 3

One of the enclosures allowed you to see into the water through a concave window. The sea lions in here were very energetic and loved showing off. This particular one kept deliberately swimming across the window.

Sealion 2

Reiss and Sealion

Sealion 1

Penguin 1

As well as the seals there were 4 resident penguins, they also had a window through the water but they were a lot less co operative!

Penguin 2

Otters 1

These two are Asian otters and are the smallest of their kind. Other breeds can grow to up to 150cm which is as tall as me! 😦 Their names are Starsky and Hutch and they were very playful and loving. One of them kept juggling and catching a stone in his mouth. Very clever animals.

Otters 2

After we had finished at the sanctuary we decided to have our lunch in Gweek. Only sandwiches, but it was a fairly warm day and it was a really pretty village.

Reiss found a rope swing. It really really hurt, but was still good fun 🙂

Gweek 1

Gweek 2

We wanted to go into the harbor but you needed to gain a permit. This was a shame because we both felt there would be some good photos to be had.

When we were on our way into Helston we noticed a lot of farmland had some unusual architecture, so on the way back from Gweek we stopped to take a look.

Chimney 1

Chimney 2

Back where we were staying along our unmade track were a lot of farmers fields. At least three of them were dedicated to the growing of daffodils. Absolutely stunning were the views of these vast fields of yellow.

Daffodils

When we got back to the cottage I decided that the sky was looking rather fabulous and took these two photos of our wonderful view.

View 1

View 2

Day 2 – Pentire Barn

Day 2 of our trip we decided to explore the picturesque surroundings of where we were staying. The night before we had precariously driven down an unmade single track in trepidation. As soon as we caught sight of where we would be staying it didn’t matter anymore. It was beautiful. The surroundings and the accommodation.

We stayed at The Lower Pentire Barn. This was situated on the Carminowe Creek which is joined to the river Loe and The Loe Bar. We rambled around this area for 4 hours walking a distance of about 14km there and back.

Cottage 3

This is the view of our cottage from across the creek.

Carminowe Creek

Cottage 2

Showing where the river joins the creek.

River Loe 2

Looking from the beach of Loe Bar back towards the river.

Loe Bar

We climbed to the cliff top to continue our walk round to the woods. Reiss looking out to sea…

Loe Bar 2

The woods on the other side of the river were very dense with some unusual trees.

Woods 2

Woods

River Loe

Our cottage was equipped with a log burner which we made use of every night. It is surprising at how efficient they are. Considering the cottage had stone floors and walls the fire kept us nice and toastie and replaced the t.v. Instead of watching a film we watched the fire and played cards or Monopoly.

Fire 5

Fire 4

Fire 3

Fire 1

I have fallen in love with The Lower Pentire Barn and cannot wait to return.