Posts Tagged ‘Alys Fowler’

Despite my desire to become Alys Fowler (including the Pre-Raphaelite hair), things in the Vicarage garden didn’t go brilliantly last summer. I planted out, but didn’t really give things the attention they needed. I was too busy fire-fighting the clutter in the house.

But this year I’m hoping for more success. I now have a cleaner, who comes every couple of weeks to help me to conquer the house. I have a schedule, which means I am strangely (to me) doing a little more housework than I used to. So there may now be some time to water and weed.

And to start us off, last week we had the gardening team from Betel in to clear the beds and get us on the road to a manageable and (hopefully) edible garden this year. The team comprised four men – one was Gav Burnage, Associate minister from Aldridge Parish Church, who is living and working full time at Betel. The other guys were members of the Betel community in Birmingham, learning to live and work free from substance abuse.

God was kind to us, and the sun shone. The Vicar and Rocky joined the Betel team. I skived off the digging, but supplied regular tea and cake. They sorted out our main beds, nuked some brambles and the evil blue weeds and left everything looking tidy and ready for planting. Now we just have to keep up the weed-free look with regular forays in our wellies. The money we paid for the work helps to pay for Betel’s accommodation and keeps this amazing organisation going. If you live in the Birmingham area and need a garden blitz, why not see if they can help you out?


The Vicar with the Betel team. Note the tidy flower bed (and still-absent coping stones).

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I did some gardening at the weekend. To make sure I got it absolutely right, I tried to dress like Alys Fowler. But I only took a piccy of the skirt and wellies, as I’ve a long way to go to grow my hair and make it look all Pre-Raphaelite. I need to dye it red, too.

I’m sort of hoping that if the seeds see the look, they’ll behave as they would for Alys, but I may be being wildly optimistic.

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It’s our second spring in the Vicarage and this year I am planning vegetables. I’ve been inspired by Alys Fowler and her Edible Garden series on BBC2 (tho’ I’ve not watched as much of it as I’d like due to a lack of tv licence and running out of broadband download). I would like her hair, dresses and funny little dog. And garden, obviously.

Only a few plants were munched by the evil slugs...

So far I have planted masses of seeds in a plastic greenhouse (see pics) and fended off a some evil slugs who had a chomp when the first rain arrived after planting. I have ordered the Vicar about with a spade and he has kindly dug up small parts of a couple of our massive herbaceous borders so I have veggie space. He also planted out the sweet pea plants I succumbed to in the garden centre.

Normally he is the gardener and has managed a couple of allotments in our time in Vicar college and in curacy. Now he is generally too busy to do much gardening and has said that I have to be in charge. This is a new experience for me (in the garden, at least).

Since I’m so bad at housework, gardening has always seemed like an excessive luxury. Why tidy the garden when the house is such a mess? But I’m desperate for home-grown veggies so am attempting to do some growing this year. Hopefully with some help from my husband, who actually enjoys gardening when he’s out there. The kids love it as well, the Queen in particular. She’s in the school ‘EcoClub’ and spends almost every lunchtime gardening in the school’s new allotment.

Waiting in the ‘greenhouse’ for planting out I currently have the following:

  • Sweetcorn
  • Radishes
  • Mixed salad leaves
  • Broad beans
  • Runner beans
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Courgettes
  • Sunflowers
  • Er…I think that’s it just now

Our main veggie space for this season - starting small

Planting out is this weekend’s project. And fighting the slugs. Three little ones climbed into the greenhouse just after planting and sampled a good few of my germinating plants. Evil blighters. We moved the greenhouse out of the long grass and surrounded it with ash from the fire, which seems to have kept them off so far. The advice for planting out is used coffee grounds to keep them off. So I’m tanking myself up on caffeine for Saturday…

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