Monthly Archives: March 2011

Winning Photos

Here’s my photo selection from the Spring Show were I won a trophy for most points. The theme was “Home and Garden”.

Top left was in the class “Playtime in the Garden” and features my daughter, Chloe, having fun with the bubble machine. It got first prize and some nice comments from the judge.

Top Centre is a photo of my dog Polo; the only photo that qualified for “Animal/Birds in the Home or Garden”. Not surprisingly unplaced.

Top Right was stretching the category as it’s not my garden but Mottisfont Abbey near Romsey and in my eyes qualified as a photo of a “Garden Feature”. No points for this one either.

Bottom left won second prize for a “photo of a plant in a container” – Snake’s Head Fritillary which is now planted in the garden among the daffs.

Bottom centre was a toungue-in-cheek entry into the “photo of a wheelbarrow and garden tools” class. I entered this with the caption “sometimes gardening is a messy business!” The judge agreed saying gardening was “organised chaos” at the best of times and gave me a first.

Bottom right is a picture of Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, Mumbai, India. Entered into the class “Washing Day” with the caption “And not a packet of Daz in sight!”. Although this was my best picture it was stretching the theme somewhat so didn’t score.

So two 1sts and one 2nd prize was enough to win the section and pick up the trophy. I’ll try again next year!

Spring Show Results

It was my local Horticultural Society’s Annual Spring Show on Saturday which provided lots of colour on a lovely afternoon at the Village Hall.

I picked up a couple of 3rd places in the five Daffodil classes I entered. And received the Arthur Symns Trophy for most points in the Photography section. Chloe won the Children’s Cup for her Easter plate and drawing of a princess – she ended up with more prize money than I did with £7, and there was no buying raffle tickets, it all went straight in her money box – very wise indeed!

Click here to see a selection of photos from the show.

And what fantastic weather we’ve been having recently. Back on the plot I’ve been making the most of it. I’m pleased to report the long parsnips are up – Stage 1 complete! And they were Linford Christie parsnips in the germination stakes – sowed on February 20th they took around 30 days to come up (I’m not sad enough to be checking daily, yet!). Just waiting for the long and stump carrots to emerge now. I also sowed a few rows of parsnips direct in the bed.

Then I re-assembled my two plastic cold frames to cover some lettuce seedlings and carried on with some more digging and sowing. All the brassica seedlings are coming on well in the cold greenhouse and the chillies and tomatoes are doing OK on the bathroom windowsill. I’m going to sow a second batch of tomotoes this week to see how they compare. Then next month I’ll move onto the tender veg, cucumbers, squash, courgettes etc. A very busy time!

Hope you had a good weekend and are making the most of the extra hour in the evenings. Doesn’t it make a big difference?

Update – I managed to win Craig’s competition over at Dyke’s Edge Allotments. Thanks Craig! I must remember to get that Euromillions ticket, they say things come in three’s!!

Little Helpers

Spring had definitely arrived today with some glorious afternoon sunshine which made it a pleasure to be out in the garden. And I had two little helpers with me to make sure I was doing all the jobs properly!

The daffodils are out in full bloom and the tulips are coming through nicely both in the flower bed and in the pots. Around the garden there’s forsythia, primroses, hellebores, pansies, lungwort and heather all flowering. In the veg plot there is no sign of the parnsips germinating yet. I’ve also sown long carrots in pipes and stump carrots in a couple of old dustbins. Fingers crossed I’ll get some decent specimens in the summer.

The broad beans are doing well, as are the onions that were overwintered. I’m still digging up parsnips from last year but there’s no sign of the PSB yet, hopefully it will start to sprout in the next couple of weeks, it’s one of the great treats at this time of year.

Under cover all the brassicas are at pricking out stage – cauliflowers, cabbage, brussel sprouts, PSB, and calabrese. There’s a tray of Red Orache, mangetout and sunflowers germinated and I’ve just sown some Burpee’s Golden Beetroot in modules this afternoon. So much to do now for the next few weeks to keep up with everything.

And I’ll be even busier this year after meeting a chap in the next village who is happy to share his garden veg patch with me. I’ll be able to do the heavy digging work and we’ll share the crops so I should be self-sufficient in veg through the summer and autumn months this year.

It’s the Winterslow & District Horticultural Society’s Spring Show on Saturda 26th March. If you’re in the area pop into the Village Hall from 2pm to take a look at the exhibits. I may even enter a few myself this time!

Back from Bombay

Last week I’ve been in Bombay, or Mumbai as it is now known, gateway to India although in 4 trips I’ve not managed to get out of the city yet!

We did the usual Sunday afternoon tour of a few of the sights, the most famous of which is the Gateway of India, built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911. It was teeming with locals and tourists and really good place to get a feel for the vibrant Indian way of life.

Just behind the Gateway is the Taj Mahal hotel, one of the centres of the horrific 2008 terrorist attacks. The main difference since my last visit is the increase in security presence. Barriers around the gateway filter visitors through a scanned entrance and sandbag security posts can be seen throughout the key parts of the city and outside of hotels. We stayed in the ITC Maratha Sheraton & Towers which now has baggage scanners and visibly more personnel out front of the building. Peace of mind on the one hand and a constant reminder of the attacks on the other.

The view across the south of the city and Chowpatty Beach are best seen from the Hanging Gardens. Some of the most expensive real estate in the world is crammed onto the pennisular of South Mumbai.

And lastly a very English attraction apparently is Mahalaxmi Dobhi Ghat, a massive open air laundry servicing the whole of Mumbai. Amazing the whiteness of the linen that comes out of the grey water and not a box of Daz in sight! Just sheer hard work.

We spent most of the time between the hotel and the office in the suburb of Andheri. Good to see the Metro line is coming on, a hole in the road three years ago it’s now starting to take shape although a completion date of this October is wildly optimistic. I managed to satisfy my appetite for curry a little too much as always and it will take me a few days to get back in sync with the English diet. All in all a great trip.

Back at home the spring flowers are starting to come out and I caught up with a couple of jobs. The long carrots are now sown, the shallots are planted out and all manner of seedlings are coming on. Thanks to Rachel for keeping everything alive in my absence. Looking forward to the clocks going forward in a couple of weeks, it will really feel like Spring has arrived then!