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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.

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Some Last Minute Jobs Of Summer.

Some weeks ago I trimmed my Bay Trees and cut them back quite hard, but they grew back very quickly. In fact they grew back too fast and too much, so I decided to ďbite the bullet,Ē and cut them down to just bare trunks, in effect Pollard them. The ďHedge,Ē is really only 3 Bay Trees, but they are multi stemmed so look more, although they only run for some 6, or 7 feet in length. They had grown to over 6 feet in height though, which is the limit for trees on our Allotments. Consequently, at the beginning of September, after the Wildlife Nesting Date Rule, I cut them down to about 18 inches. It was a good job that I obeyed the rules about not cutting hedges during the nesting period of birds, because I did find an empty Birds nest in the growth that I cut off.


Hopefully, the Bay trees will put on some growth before Winter settles in and they go dormant, although being evergreen, I guess they donít ever truly stop growing. Like with the Eucalyptus in my Garden that I cut down a little while ago, the roots will be well developed and will have lots of energy that will cause them to re-grow very fast, so I may well have to remove them altogether in a couple of years.

On the subject of the slightly exotic, while I was in pruning mode, I attacked an overgrown Fig Tree on my Allotment. It is Fan Trained, or I should say Espalier trained, and needed tidying up with many branches shooting from here there and everywhere. Figs are untidy growers at the best of times and need to be constantly trimmed to keep them in shape. This one was spreading itself outwards, all over the path, so I picked away at the edge of the stone path and dug up some partly rooted shoots that made good cuttings. It is really the wrong time to dig them up while they are in leaf, but I wanted to tidy up my path, so I did. They were potted and put in the shade on my yard at home to settle down and hopefully they will put on some proper roots over winter.
It is my hope that by the Spring they will be ready to be sold on our Sales Day Fundraiser Day, that we are planning for the Allotments, along with some Strawberry Runners that I have also recently potted up. In a week or two I am going to cut most of the tops off the old Strawberry plants in my plot to tidy them up and I will give them a feed of ďChicken Manure Pellets,Ē as well to rejuvenate them before winter sets in.


Back at the beginning of September the Passion Flower fruited on my Brothers Vine in his back garden. Several times in past years I have cut one or two of the fruit open to remove some seeds and have sown them which always resulted in numerous, healthy young plants. These have been taken to work where they have grown them on for sale. The Fruit of the hardy Passion flower is not really any good to eat as it doesnít have a tasty centre to it, but the fruits are bright orange and colourful, and the vine looks good anyway. Actually, the Vine isnít totally hardy and can be cut back by, or even die altogether in, a very hard winter, but most years they survive well. They are pretty tolerant of most conditions as well and donít mind a bit of shade or full sun and grow quite fast easily covering sheds in a few years. Indeed, I always had a big Passion Flower at my Mothers house, but havenít got one of my own at the moment so I intend to plant one to grow up and over the shed on my Allotment. There is no point planting one of the edible varieties that you sometimes see on sale as they definitely arenít hardy and the flowers of the common, hardy type are very pretty and quite exotic anyway. Indeed the flower even has religious significance going back hundreds of years. The reason for this is that when the Spanish and Portuguese Catholic missionaries went to the new Americas in the 1500ís, they used the native Passion Flower to teach about the story of Jesus Christ.
The 10 petals of the flower were said to represent the number of Jesusí Faithful Apostles.
The five anthers of the flower represented the five Sacred Wounds of Jesus.

The Crown of Thorns was represented by the circle of filaments in the center of the flower and the three purple stigma represented the 3 nails holding Jesus on to the cross.
It seems that the wonders of the passion Flower didnít end there because healing and soothing infusions were made from the leaves and roots of the vine. These days its use is strictly ornamental apart from for one edible variety, but it is widely cultivated and there are now hundreds of varieties available to grow with a range of differently coloured flowers.

Elsewhere on my Allotment I decided that as Autumn was upon us I ought to prepare for the large quantity of rubbish that I will have to compost by emptying my compost bin again. It wasnít that long since I last emptied it, but after turning it a few times in recent weeks it looked a bit rough, but just about ready to use as a mulch. The last time I emptied it I hadnít quite had enough to mulch all round my Asparagus, so I put another couple of barrows on that bed to even up the layer that had been started. Several more barrows of the rough Compost were piled up on a little space where my Potatoes were coming out so that it would be ready to dig in later. With the bin then empty I forked in a pile of fresh weeds that had been temporarily piled up on the slabbed area next to the bin, but there was still plenty of room for a lot more waste still to come from all of the foliage on things dying down for the winter. Indeed, it wonít be long before the dwarf French, heritage climber and Runner beans along with the Jerusalem Artichoke stalks will all need clearing up. The last few years I have also been putting in bags and bags full of the dead top growth from the herbaceous plants in my back garden at home. However, this year I have decided that I will chop up the waste from my flowers and use it directly as a mulch around the plants as they die down in my garden instead of composting it. The only problem with doing that, that I can see, is that some of the seeds on the dead flower heads will germinate. But of course they can be dealt with in the same way as any other unwanted weed, because after all ďA Weed is only a Plant that you donít want!Ē

 

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