Partners

I had a request to share the contents of our greenhouse, and thought I would extend this to the whole of the allotment. The serious end of the garden.

Stevie and I divvy up our roles and space. I am flowers. He is food.

Here is the dividing line. Flowers left, food right.

Those who read my blog regularly might recognise Thug’s Corner, so named because of the invading raspberries, which started off on the right of the dividing line and are now on both sides.

But I am very partial to an Autumn-fruiting raspberry, so they can stay.

Alongside the raspberries is rhubarb, which I adore and Stevie pretends to hate.  He makes the most delicious rhubarb and ginger jam you ever did taste. It is enough to rival his marmalade.

We also have two fruit trees on the dividing line, ‘Cambridge’ gage and ‘Farleigh’ damson.

Behind the greenhouse are the grapevines. Stevie is a certified wine-grower, so he needs a mini vineyard. He grows ‘Regent’ and ‘Bacchus’ here, and ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ and ‘Merlot’ in the greenhouse. We also have ‘Black Hamburg’ and ‘Muscat’ for eating.  There is nothing like a home-grown sun-warmed grape.  They are small, with very thick skins, and have pips.  Children spit them out in disgust.  Adults savour the deep, rich flavours in the skin and make moaning noises.

Vineyards always grow a rose at the end of a row. It is an early alarm in case of infection. So I helped Stevie choose ‘Snow Goose’ (pictured), ‘Bleu Magenta’ and ‘Veichenblau’. They are all ramblers, with great trusses of small flowers.

Rosa 'Snow Goose'
Rambling rose ‘Snow Goose’

Now into the greenhouse. I rent the greenhouse in March and April, to start my annuals and dahlias off. Then I move outside (evicted) as Stevie sows his veg and salad.

It is all neat and tidy now because it is Stevie’s shift. If it was mine, there would be compost on the floor. The grapevines are in half-barrels on the floor on the left, which are trained up to the roof.

We have a lot of tomatoes. We like tomatoes. Stevie is growing a whole rainbow of tomatoes. We like the big fat beefy ones best. There are ‘Marmande’, ‘Black Russian’, ‘Black Opal’, ‘Prudens Purple’ and ‘Zlatava’.

The tomatoes are trained up cordons, along with cucumbers and gherkins. That’s why we need a stepladder, for picking. There are also a few chillis.

It smells lovely in here, of tomato leaves, but it is a bit hot. Shall we step outside?

Here are the veg beds with just about every type of veg known to man, except kohlrabi. I stipulate lots of broad beans and lots of beetroot, and Stevie kindly obliges. He made all the raised beds, and a few more for me, for cut flowers.

I have to stop to nibble some pea shoots and admire the flowers.

IMG_5053

Ooh, hang on, are those some lovely roses I spot along the fence? I wonder who put those there?

Rosa 'Wild Edric'
Rosa ‘Wild Edric’

On to the fruit cage…

The strawberries are plumping up nicely. There are also gooseberries, redcurrants, whitecurrants, blackcurrant and raspberries. Stevie is very pleased with his mulch of moss from scarifying the lawn. It is warm and soft and lovely.

The compost bins must be admired. Stevie made the wobbly chracterful ones from old palettes. I often get confused about which one we are filling, and what can and can’t go in there. How we laugh!

I disturbed a tangle of slow-worms here earlier on.  We also see lizards sunning themselves occasionally.  Our compost heap is known as the Reptile Riviera.

Down at the bottom is the ‘orchard’ and ‘meadow’. There are four apple trees: ‘Queen Cox’, ‘Christmas Pippin’, ‘Katy’ and ‘Egremont Russet’.

I hesitate to take a photo, because my meadow is a little slow to take hold. I think we may have two rapeseed flowers and a stitchwort. Let’s call it a work-in-progress.  I have lobbed another couple of roses in here: Coral-pink ‘Morning Mist’ at the back, which is good for wild places, and the crimson-pink rambler ‘Alexandre Girault’ for the fence.  They are newly planted, so you also need your magnifying glass for them.  Come back in a year, and I’m sure we will have a softly swaying meadow of wildflowers and festoons of roses along the fence!

So that’s the allotment. A place for practicalities and problem-solving. And provisions.

And here is Stevie! Cursing and blinding because the strimmer is jammed.

Bless. I love sharing a garden with Stevie. There is no place I would rather be.

Stevie is in India this week. But I’ve picked some flowers for his return. He puts food on the table. I put flowers on the table.  Their combined scent is blissful and perfumes the whole room.

Do you share a garden? How do you divide up the tasks? Do you have incursions into one another’s territory?

38 Comments Add yours

  1. Nat says:

    Oh I am so jealous right now 😊 what a beautiful greenhouse. I love how you share and divide the working space. The flowers in their little vases at the end makes the post complete. So lovely. Little Miss 3 was peering over my shoulder and ooohed and ahhed too.

    1. Ali says:

      Ah, that’s so sweet!

  2. Me and my husband have a similar division of responsibilities, I grow the flowers, he grows the fruit and veg and it works pretty well, though this year I’ve taken on squashes, courgettes, chilli peppers and cucumbers.

    1. Ali says:

      The exciting ones!

  3. Wow, such a lovely garden and greenhouse!

    We try to have different areas in the garden. My area is the rock garden, frames and greenhouse. Susan is generally in charge of shrubs and perennials. I have almost given up planting things in ‘her’ areas as she just digs out anything she doesn’t recognise. If Susan announces she is going to tidy up one of the flower beds I try to get out there first to rescue anything that I planted 🙂

    I am interested that you grow grapevines in tubs – I did not know this was feasible. Presumably they are fed heavily?

    1. Ali says:

      No, they need really poor soil. If you grow in the ground you have to add rubble, or they produce foliage and no fruit.

      1. Ali says:

        Correction! They get tomato food when they are fruiting, and a bit of chicken poo in winter!! (Stevie just got back).

      2. Thank you and to Stevie for his reply too!

    2. Stevie says:

      Hi. A bit more detail. They were whisky barrels, which may not be relevant, but boy, did they stink the greenhouse out! I filled them with a mixture of builders’ aggregate, sand, soil, and compost. I was trying to simulate a more Mediterranean soil, sandy and rocky. I usually top up with spent compost from grow-bags in the winter, and some chicken poo. Then I feed them like tomatoes when they’re fruiting.

      1. Thank you Stevie – that is very useful info😊. Much appreciated. Our garden soil is already very Mediterranean but the greenhouse floor is concrete so my plan was originally to plant outside and train in through a vent. I like your idea more. I am guessing that a very juvenile vine would need more feed to get it to flowering size?

      2. Stevie says:

        Well, there are different types of feed, for fruit or growth, etc. I didn’t feed mine until I let them have fruit, and they say you shouldn’t crop until year five! More realistically, I’d punch out the flowers in the first year, and perhaps until you get vigorous growth. The idea is to develop the roots. After that, it’s all about pruning, and that is a subject in itself!

      3. Thank you Stevie😄.

  4. sgeoil says:

    My husband built my raised beds, he mixes the soil and compost. He is interested in the growing of the plants, particularly his hops. He does the “rounds” with me but mostly I do the work, which is a labour of love.

    1. Ali says:

      It’s useful to have complementary skills, isn’t it?

      1. sgeoil says:

        Most certainly!

    2. Stevie says:

      Hops? Very interested. I am a keen brewer. Any more info?

      1. sgeoil says:

        We started with Golden Hops and this year we are trying Cascade and Wilmet. These are supposed to be 2 good brewing varieties. We grow it along our back fence with trellises. They seem to like a mix of sun/shade. We get 2 to 3 pounds of hops flowers off of the Golden Hops. The other ones are new, so we will have to see what they produce this year. Being the first year we aren’t expecting too much. My husband made some Prairie Porter with the Golden Hops. Yum!

  5. bcparkison says:

    Oh my….This is truly beautiful. Love the greenhouse…a real greenhouse. Mine is a pretend greenhouse aka hoophouse with plastic cover. It works but at my age I’m not sure I could pull off what you and Stevie have done.

    1. Ali says:

      I guess we are in our gardening prime!

  6. I just love reading your posts! This is just what I needed to get myself motivated to head outdoors this morning. Going to get very hot today and I tend to wilt when that happens and lose all motivation.
    I love your arrangement with Stevie! You sound like the perfect couple.

    1. Ali says:

      That’s really lovely of you to say, thank you. I’m not good in the heat either. I might snip a few things but then need to sit in the shade.

  7. Heyjude says:

    You two seem to have the perfect relationship! And oh, how I envy you your wondrous garden. Still it would be too much for me now, but 30 years ago… I am the only gardener in the family. My OH is the musician. So whilst I am getting my nails mucky outside he is in his studio plucking guitar strings. We usually meet for dinner. I did teach him how to water the tomatoes last year though…

    1. Ali says:

      That’s a good combination too! It’s important to have a passion, no matter what it is.

  8. Island Time says:

    Beautiful gardens altogether. You seem to have worked things out very nicely with S. Around here I would say we are still in the process of working things out, after nearly 30 years! He looks after the raspberries, mends the fencing, composes the compost, we take turns trimming the grass, the orchard, the garden paths; but sometimes there is a problem with his hearing, and he mows over the odd newly seeded or baby flowery bit, which is rather discouraging, but fairly normal for us….on the verge of “retirement” after a lifetime of fishing for a living, I think C. has decided that he would rather be messing about in boats than pottering about in the garden, so we shall see how things unfurl from now on….loved your post, your photographs and your garden. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Ali says:

      Ah, it is a special thing to share a garden, misunderstandings, minor disasters, and all! Fishing very useful too!

      1. Stevie says:

        And dumping all her unwanted rubble and stuff at my end!

      2. Ali says:

        For the vines! 😉😙

  9. Eliza Waters says:

    This looks so idyllic! It looks wonderful and so tidy! It’s great you have a garden partner. Sadly, I am chief gardener, and only into flowers, so though I did grow veggies in my younger days, we now buy a farm share instead of doing our own. My spouse does help when I ask, usually with the heavier work like cutting sod or spreading mulch.

    1. Ali says:

      That’s a good way to buy veg. We supplement what we grow with a farm box of fruit and veg every week. I love waking up to a box of surprises on Friday, and no plastic packaging! Stevie is very tidy in the greenhouse. Not so much in the actual house! 😂

  10. Beautiful post! I do, however, notice, that some of the food (aka raspberries) are sneaking their way past the fence and onto the flower’s territory 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      They are! Good job I like raspberries! I was pulling them out last year, but decided to leave them this year, and quite like the lush growth!

  11. Sam says:

    I’m slightly envious of you having a veg-growing partner, Ali. I’d love to have someone producing delicious food! Here, David is responsible for the lawn. If it was up to me, I’d let it grow and just mow a path through it, or dig the whole lot up, but D enjoys the lawn maintenance – I think it’s a form of therapy! He also turns the compost heap, does any hard landscaping and cuts the hedges. I do the vast majority of planning, planting, pruning, weeding, etc. We don’t grow much food, just raspberries and tomatoes, because we don’t have time and I’d rather grow flowers. Your garden is quite magnificent. PS Do you always have blue skies..?!

    1. Ali says:

      I tend to take photos when we have blue skies! We do get good weather in Kent though. I grew up in Yorkshire, and I really appreciate the warmth we get here. We could sometimes do with more rain!!

    2. Ali says:

      I’m with you with lawns! Would love to turn ours wild!

  12. Your gardens and life are so beautiful. Thank you for the beauty they bring into my life.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you, Shelly, I have a lot to be thankful for, and find your outlook, writing and wisdom to be just as enriching. X

  13. Oooh I have greenhouse envy! Such wonderful pictures … husband was shown and now he has tomato envy! Bliss … Katie xx

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