Showing posts with label Away from the VegPatch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Away from the VegPatch. Show all posts

4 Sept 2011

I love Wight

I've been away again, saying goodbye to the end of the summer by way of a quick trip over the water to the Isle of Wight.  I planned it back in the winter months when I longed for blue skies with fresh salt sea air and, although it felt a bit rushed getting away, it was well worth it.

I've been many times before so I was well into my comfort zone: roads, shops, cafés and campsite were all familiar.  I usually camp but, this time, I hired a small caravan in my favourite site - a place that's been planted with many apple trees and been the worthy recipient of a conservation award several years running.

apple tree

The caravan made a great base camp and had a gas fire for chilly evenings - bliss! We ate out, bought picnics, and started each day with a swim in the campsite (indoor) pool before heading out over the island in warm breezes and sunshine. 

Stones, sun, sea
Sunny day at Freshwater Bay
Four days with minimum domestic chores was the best decision I could have made, I came back feeling totally refreshed - only to pick up a particularly virulent cold that's stopped me in my tracks over the last three days. C'est la vie - but very annoying given the amount of work to do in the garden.

The timing of my island jaunt was planned to coincide with an annual vintage fair that I discovered, quite by accident, several years ago.  At that time, I had a car full of camping gear, not a square inch to spare, and, frustratingly, came across vintage suitcases and wonderful old gardening tools, all reasonably priced. I had my fingers crossed that the fair would still be happening this year and so we ventured down to Old Winkle Street (a suitably named venue, if ever there was) in Calbourne on the Bank Holiday Monday.  Hooray! the fair was there; sadly, it had become a glorified car boot sale. Undeterred, I whizzed round while my son waited in the car - with his ipod, naturally.

This year the gardening tools were there, over- oiled and overpriced: old fork, £30! It makes you think, doesn't it?  Not what I had in mind at all and, although they had some lovely old wooden dibbers, I came away without tools.

Vintage garden tools
Vintage gardening tools
It seemed that the fair's reputation had spread over the years and, accordingly, was priced for the tourists not the locals. It was less about vintage and more like a charity shop. Gone were the Victorian lace making cushions, vintage buttons and old postcards, replaced with masses of decluttered ceramic and glass ornaments - objects I found very easy to resist. Thankfully, my visit was saved by a wonderfully retro stall with 1950s linen, painted wicker furniture and other ephemera and, yes, I did succumb to a vintage linen tablecloth which reminded me of the one my grandmother had on her kitchen table - seen below with some of the kilo of Cosse Violette beans which needed picking on my return. (The plants had produced one or two flowers before I left; I suspected I might come back to an avalanche of beans and I was right!)

20 Aug 2011

There and Back Again

~ Chamomile growing in clumps on the pebbly beach ~
Well that's this year's holiday jaunt over (and the reason it's been oddly silent here). I've been to the seaside for a lovely peaceful week which was a world away from the riots both in nearby Camden and Croydon, the route I unwittingly chose on my way there. It's a week I look forward to as 4 generations of my family gather together without putting undue strain on any one household but, as I invest more of my time in the veg garden, I can't pretend that it's not a wrench to leave the garden behind, even for a short time.

As I see it, there are two main issues in a summertime community garden:  ensuring the veg get the right amount of water and to hope that veg and flowers are harvested as appropriate - which, actually, is what we all worry about, isn't it?  I asked neighbours to help themselves to courgettes, carrots, beetroot, onions and please keep picking the sweet peas;  the beans had not yet flowered and the tomatoes were still green so those would wait for my return.  It's best to designate one person to oversee watering so that the plants aren't deluged morning and night - or forgotten entirely - but, apparently, it rained almost every day while I was away so that task was taken care of by kindly Mother Nature. (The copious plants on my Edible Balcony were taken care of by a trusty friend.)

The picking of produce was another matter entirely. It seems that my time in the garden has earmarked the space as being my own and (most) people are loathe to help themselves for fear of being seen to overstep the mark. (On reflection, this is probably good.) Despite cutting several courgettes before I left, and telling folks to help themselves, most were still there when I returned, as were a few handfuls of raspberries still hanging on the canes and other veg untouched.

After a (blustery but dry) week away, my first thoughts after unpacking were to pop down to the garden where I found plenty of weeds, beans covered in purple flowers (hurrah!), radishes ready to eat (3 weeks after sowing), beetroot needing lifting (some about to bolt which I'll leave for seed), recently sown peas clambering half way up the netting - and a 20 inch courgette which made a nice 'baked and stuffed marrow' supper!

The sweet peas, sadly, have all but died off with just a few Cupani left.  As the weather has been chill and overcast in the last week, this somehow seems symbolic of the slow gentle slide down into autumn - although surely mid-August is too early for this?

And where did I go for my fresh sea air?  To Littlehampton, a small harbour town in West Sussex, located between Chichester and Brighton and now plying a fine, but not overwhelming, tourist trade. It's an old fashioned town where, I've since discovered, the tiny cinema is in an old windmill on the seafront. More obviously, the harbour is full of brightly coloured fishing boats and ice cream shops, fresh fish is sold on Rope Walk (the quayside) and you can sit overlooking the Blue Flag beach on the longest bench in the world. This seating continues along the seafront and was installed over the last couple of years at an eye-watering £1 million.

Beach huts at Littlehampton

A week goes so quickly so I missed seeing the Art Deco shelters in the award winning municipal gardens, but I did manage a hike along the seafront towards Rustington where the now-pebbly beach was studded with marine vegetation. What could better?

Sea cabbage
Rustington seafront

2 May 2011

Update (1) ...

Well, I went away and now I'm back and have been for a week but ... no blogging?  No. I'm currently sharing my laptop with my son who starts his GCSEs Very Soon and has realised that he really should start revising and apparently has lots of coursework that needs finishing.  I use the term 'share' very loosely here.  It translates as: if I get up early enough, or stay up late enough, I can get a few minutes on said bit of tech.  He does have a little jaunt outdoors during the day but, by that time, I'm stuck into other jobs that need doing.  I've booked a few minutes this morning to pop in and show you where I've been over Easter and I hope to be back later with a Veg Patch Roundup.  (The fox has dug up my carefully sown beetroot, more of which later.)

So, where in the world is this?

This is the bit of Wolverhampton that the public doesn't get to see.  Wolverhampton borders onto Staffordshire and this bit of common land is an easy (and very pleasant) walk from my sister's house.  (Although the city centre is only 15 minutes drive in the other direction.)  I've been rambling, dog walking, and chatting as we strolled in the sunshine across this public right of way.

As my more usual view is looking out across brick built flats, this view back across the fields and way, way into the distance made me reach for my little pocket camera.  Turning around, I was quickly walking into this bluebell wood:

Never come for a walk with me if you're in a rush.  I love to wander, and wonder.  As Tolkein said: "All who wander are not lost."  The others had to come back and find me as I kept stopping to look around and take photos.  Who knew that nettles had such pretty flowers? Certainly not me! 

The weather stayed true for us and a wonderfully relaxing break was enjoyed.  I returned  home to find that many lovely people in our community had been stopping by the Veg Patch and quietly watering the plants for me and keeping an eye on things.  Faith in humanity?  Totally restored!

3 Nov 2010

An unexpected victory…

:: Trick or Treaters from The Nightmare before Christmas (6 inch pumpkin) ::
If only I hadn't succumbed to the 'flu, last weekend would have been just marvellous! Remember the pumpkin carving at Fortnums that I wrote about? My sister, nieces, their kids, my son, me - all got together for the day and entered our respective pumpkins. My son and I swiftly carved a couple of pumpkins in the morning (mine, above) before heading off for lunch whilst the rest of the family put a bit more preparation into it, going out to select their pumpkins from a nearby farm:

… and then devoting an evening to the carving. It paid off: I'm thrilled (and very proud) to announce that my niece Kate carried off the first Golden Pumpkin Award in the shape of a bespoke Fortnum's broomstick! Here she is, collecting her prize from Fortnum's jovial judge Simon who dreamt up and organised the whole shebang.

She also won the luxury Windsor Hamper; what luck! we had a sort of pre-nup agreement that whoever won would divvy up the spoils between the family. That was a pretty solid deal for the rest of us as Kate is generally known as a luck magnet. I've got my eye on that hamper basket ;) (fat chance mate!) …although I'd happily settle for the Magnifici florentines and the caviar instead!

The standard of entries was quite overwhelming; the competition was opened up to double the numbers - I think there were over 150 entries, some of whom obviously took the whole thing very seriously:

This King of the Wild Things was carved into an Atlantic Giant, with extra stalks added. Impressive! But it didn't win because it failed in one of the categories - luminosity;  the carver hadn't hollowed it out.  So there you are, hot tip to remember for next year. 

Other pumpkins were very well carved (top right: ma boy's carving of Oogly Boogly, top left: Cheshire Cat by my niece, Jen):

(Sorry, had to get those two in!)  Here's a couple more that totally appealed to me, they were so quirky - and of course included plenty of veg and flowers!

 Every table in the Ground Floor Gallery restaurant was covered in lit pumpkins as the evening got darker (wolfman, catwoman, haunted houses) and contestants with their families feasted on complimentary snacks and drinks: mulled wine or soft fruit coolers, pumpkin risotto (they've promised me the recipe, it was mega-tasty), sausage pumpkin puff pastry slices, chocolate chilli cream mousse - really, there was no need to make supper when I got home!  But I expect what you all really want to know is…  what did the winning pumpkin look like?

Trick or Treat, dearie?
(And, clever girl, she made the giant sweets on top and filled the inside with sweets and fairy lights!)  What?  Me, biased?  Surely not!!  Ha, ha.  Well done Kate!!

P.S. I hope that next year I'll see a few London based veg gardeners there with home-grown carved pumpkins?  And yes, I'm getting over the 'flu although I suspect it's all downhill towards a filthy cold.  So annoying! So much to do in the garden!

1 Oct 2010

Sunshine and soft fruits…

 ~ Carrots, leeks, courgettes, tagetes, cabbage, runner beans, tomatoes ~
:: The Regent's Park Allotment::

Being of a very curious nature, I do love a good nosey around other gardens and allotments. I find inspiration everywhere: the planting, the colours, the layout, clever use of discarded items… So, it was with a carefree heart that I pedalled off last Saturday to a half-day training in the Regent's Park allotment run by Capital Growth and Capel Manor College. The sun was shining as I cycled through the park, a highly enjoyable but somewhat rebellious act due to it being Not Allowed. (Why is that, I wonder? Children who won't walk any distance will often cycle happily, thereby allowing families to embrace the Great Outdoors together.)

But I digress…   my hopes and expectations for the day were fully met:  an excellent and comprehensive training in Growing and Preserving Soft Fruits was provided by Tom from City Leaf (with handouts, which was lucky as I would never have remembered it all).  In three short hours we covered the four Ps (Planting, Pruning, Propagation and Preserving) in relation to a range of soft fruits: gooseberries, red/white currants vs blackcurrants, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.  Whew - feeling hungry yet?  As if that wasn't enough, we also briefly looked at ways of training fruit, veering off into the realms of cordoned and espaliered apples.

~ Garden of Eden? ~
I must admit my motivation for going was to get access to an Idiot's Guide to Growing Raspberries as our canes didn't do well this year.  Poor little things. I now know that this is due to a combination of not planting soon enough (nor heeling in), not preparing the site well beforehand (it was nearly Christmas and we were desperate), not giving them enough space and also the poor plants being choked by weeds from a neighbouring patch. We'd literally plonked them into the soil in a spare corner of Leigh's allotment as the Veg Patch was not ready for them.  See?  Loads of info.  I'm going to replace the canes and, this time, lavish care and attention on them. 

We also looked at successfully growing grapes in an urban environment (apparently London is now warm enough for this, which is great  news).  Their grapes looked luscious:

And in anticipation of the wonderful harvest we'll all have next  year, and in case any of it actually reaches our kitchens (mine will all be eaten as it ripens by the children), our group was introduced to preserving your soft fruit harvest by a local guest speaker; a wonderful woman who brought along some of her produce and made it sound so easy.  She scotched several myths:  no, she doesn't use special preserving sugar (juice of a lemon will serve instead, if needed), blackberries do not set well on their own (throw in a Bramley) and the original jam jar lids are just as good as the cellophane/rubber band option, if properly cleaned. Mantra: Cleanliness is all when preserving!

I spotted this wonderful 1970s cookbook (Readers Digest, I think) on the table at the end.  It caught my eye, set against the jars of chutney and melons grown in the allotment.  Yes! Melons are possible in the UK - we had some of these fruits during the break. (Delish.) The allotment has an open aspect, sheltered by fencing on the North and East sides, with the melon vines planted at the southern end.

Elsewhere, other vegetables were all still flourishing and ripening (the carrots! the rhubarb! the beans! giant tomatoes!). You'll recognise the asparagus in the above photo - a huge bed of it, with ripening berries.  The volunteer gardeners try to nip them off when they turn red and before they burst and scatter the seeds.  Bare patches in the beds were explained by the recent harvesting of the butternut squash which was set to one side in baskets - there was an open day 'Harvest Cook Off' the following day (at least I hope so as the weather had turned wet by then).

The entire allotment was full of inspiration, if excessively tidy (but then they are on permanent view to the public).  Companion planting abounded:  Basil and cabbages, crimson nasturtiums under the runner beans and around the rhubarb,  and bright orange tagetes were planted (and interplanted) everywhere - around tomatoes, apples, beans, herbs - and doing a fantastic job of bringing in the bees.

But I especially l-o-v-e-d the use of recycling:  peppers, tomatoes and herbs grew in large empty white Italian tomato cans, an old Royal Parks watering can had been planted with herbs, and … the best bit for me …  the fibreglass poles from a defunct tent used to hold up netting.  I'm SO pinching that idea!

There, I think I've rambled on long enough.  It's worth a visit if you find yourself near Regents Park and also very handy the Cow and Coffee Bean Café. (Here's the Google map link). I took far too many photographs and am now making a Flickr page so, once the link is up, pop over there if you want to see more!

16 Sept 2010

From Soil to Sail:

Hello again, time's zipping by, we're nearly into Autumn and I'm still catching up with myself… There seems to be so much to pack into each day (not least of which is to get my potatoes dug up!).  As a result, I seem to have fallen out of the habit of popping in here to say hello which feels odd because, in my head, I've got lots to tell:  trips to the seaside, apple scrumping, a street fair, hedgerow-jam making, allotment-soup making, books to review (three!), autumn progress in the Veg Patch and new bedtime reading: seed catalogues for 2011…mmm, lovely!  So, whew. 

The thing that has taken a goodly chunk of time is the street fair which we had in our little corner of London.  I'd had a fancy to make fresh apple juice on the day (using a traditional press) and put my hand up to help in order to ensure that the event was actually going to happen. Doing the pressing was quite a learning curve so deserves a later post all to itself!   In among all of this frenzied activity, what with the end of the summer hols looming, I also decided to make a dash for the seaside to spend a few days on the south Hampshire coast with my parents. (Another reason for the silence here … I was beachcombing elsewhere!)

Lovely, isn't it?  I never tire of this view of the Solent (taken from the little cross-harbour ferry): Old Portsmouth on the left and, just out of view, sailing boats making their way in or out of harbour.  Look in the other direction and you see Portsmouth Harbour, ferries waiting to sail for the Isle of Wight and, in the historic dockyard, the masts of Nelson's HMS Victory and modern ships of the Royal Navy. All very busy and nautical.

For me, though, the highlights of a shore-side break-away are the long walks on the beach, picking up driftwood and shells (pebbly beaches are so interesting).

…and, at this time of year, collecting hedgerow blackberries (loads of them on the seafront common land). Turning the corner from my parents' house, a short walk leads to the common …

… with the Isle of  Wight clearly seen on a good day.  Wow, looks likes there's no sea at all between the mainland and island! (Although, I think there's probably a good couple of miles of Solent to swim before you get over to the Island, here reaching Ryde.)

Normally we walk along the shoreline towards the sailing club and the ice-cream café - yes, what bliss! New Forest ice-cream, yum yum, served with a sea breeze - or a cup of tea if the weather is chillier.  This time, we walked towards the scrubbier part of the common, for a change, where there were plentiful berries to be picked and, presumably from a discarded apple core, a heavily laden apple tree, ripe for the scrumping!  A big trugful of nature's harvest - and just in good time for my apple pressing venture!

11 Jun 2010

West End (gardening) Girl

Teenagers and tourists alike love the West End of London.  I don't.  I find it crushed, rushed and expensive.  In my garden and home, I'm in my comfort zone.  But, combine a free gardening event with a classic bookstore and I'm chucking aside my prejudices;  yesterday evening, I sallied forth from the Veg Patch towards Foyles (biggest bookstore in Britain) for the chance to pick up some good gardening tips.  (Despite everything you read here, I really am a novice at this.  Oh?  You knew that already.  Damn.)

Foyles have recently received the London's Green Corners award from the Conservation Foundation for their Urban Gardening window, and asked Neil from Seed Pantry to put together a little 'round robin' of info for keen beginners to start them off growing veg, salads and herbs.  The result was a brilliant evening of top tips served up by Neil,  Issy (Fennel & Fern) and Deb (Carrots and Kids).  It was well attended and, for me at least, it was a treat to meet Issy and Deb whose blogs I read.  (They said they knew of this blog but I think perhaps they made that up, y'know, just to console me.)  Meeting them made me think how lovely it would be to get together with other bloggers and have a chat over a decent cup of coffee … but, hey ho, we all have busy lives.

Now, I know you'll be interested to hear some of the Good Ideas which were shared yesterday - I forgot to take a pen as I left the house in a mad, scatterbrained dash, so this is a bit of what lodged in my head.

Coffee grounds: gritty texture disliked by slugs - use as a mulch around beans, cabbages, etc; it will not harm the plants and is good for the soil.  Also, add to your compost heap to speed things up.

Eggshells:  crushed eggshells are also a slug deterrent. (Wash them first though or you might attract vermin.)

Tomatoes:  Soak tomato seeds overnight before sowing as this helps germination. Pot on when roots can be seen coming through drainage holes.  When about 12 inches high, pinch out the side shoots to keep the growing energy in the central stem and repot shoots straight into compost.  Water twice a day for a week (tomatoes grow new roots from their stems, who knew?) and give new tomato plants to less green-fingered friends.

Tomato Blight:  Ah, yes.  The Big One.  Issy recommends spacing them well apart, leaving a corridor of air between plants.  Blight is an airborne fungus that loves a bit of humidity so keep things fresh and dry.   Don't get your tomato leaves wet when watering (rainfall is okay as it can't be helped). Cut off the lower leaves when the plant has set fruit - this also helps deter blight.

Pea Shoots:  Had a few of these to nibble.  V. Good.  Don't buy seeds, look in supermarket aisle for boxed dried peas.  (I think they're with the pot noodles, not with the dried beans, etc, which is where you'd expect them to be.  Apparently Asda sell the same variety -- Leo -- as Alys Fowler uses.)

Basil:  is an annual herb, need to resow every year. Will happily grow from seed.  Sow seed into pots every few weeks to have a continuous supply on your windowsill.  Likes an open window for fresh air. (I never knew this before but, I guess, you know it makes sense.)  Water when top soil is dry.

Chives:  Those big pom-pom flowers not only visually pretty up a salad but can be eaten, which sounds … um… interesting.  Chives sown from seed this year will be big enough to eat next year.  May keep going year on year if you shear off the top in the Autumn.  Can keep using even after flowering.

Rosemary (and other woody herbs):  Benefit from a cut back in Autumn or Spring to keep them going.  Cut back leaving a small amount of that season's growth to spring back to life next season.  (Can be grown tall rather than bushy, so I'm going to give this a go on my balcony, using lots of drainage crocks under the compost.)

Storing herbs:    1) Freeze into ice-cubes; surprisingly, this includes basil.  2) Pick leaves and dry in microwave.  Experiment with timing - a minute or two should be enough.  Not Sage though, it may catch fire!  3) Pick a bunch, tie with string, hang upside down to dry.

:: This is Sage in flower; rather beautiful and a magnet for bees ::

Not enough space?  Grow herbs in a hanging basket:  line basket with moss, then a plastic liner (poked through with holes) then compost.  Plant in rosemary, oregano, thyme, lemon balm, etc.  Mint should have it's own basket because of invasive roots.  Deb recommends Roman Chamomile for it's heavenly scent, also good for tea.  Hang it by the front or back door for a welcoming smell on coming home.  Keep baskets well watered.  (Learn more about Chamomile here from Jekka McVicar.)

Newspaper plant pots:  Make with a rectangle of newspaper wrapped firmly around a drinking yogurt bottle:  fold long side over by 1 inch, wrap round container, fold base in firmly, remove pot.  Fill with compost and seeds and firm down. Done. Put into a base container until ready to plant out and, as with toilet rolls, plant out whole thing.  (Sweet shops are usually glad to get rid of the plastic boxes that 'penny' sweets come in.  Cut lid off and wash before use.)

Recycled Propagators:  Use supermarket plastic fruit trays -- the sort you get, say, as a punnet of strawberries or cherries -- fill with compost, sow seeds, water and put the lid back on.  Keeps all moist and warm until germination.  (And fits on kitchen windowsill.)

So there we have it. I'll add more if anything else bubbles up through the fog of my thinking.

I'll leave you with a Fabulous Friday pic of a herb that didn't get mentioned yesterday but of which I'm inordinately proud because it seems to be doing so well: my horseradish (dig up in autumn, leaving bit of root in ground and will grow again next year).  I'd love to know if you have a plant that makes you smile when you see it!

Have a lovely weekend -- wishing everyone good gardening weather!

14 May 2010

South to Kensington…

At last I have a day free, the weather is fine and dry, slightly breezy but not too chilly - and I haven't posted for a few days so forgive this quick pictorial catch up because I had such a lovely day yesterday… but I must get into the Patch and do some digging!

I had to go to Kensington and I treated myself to a leisurely walk back through the park (rather than rushing home on the underground).  So, up Kensington Church Street I went, passing the topiary in York Way:

Round past the palace… (er, yes, that is me in the 'Enchanted Palace' mirror, couldn't resist)

Kensington Palace is currently garbed up for the 'Enchanted' exhibition but my destination was not the buildings but the sunken garden, which is always a joy… (and free to look!)

Despite the overcast skies, the first glimpse of the garden was a riot of vibrant colour - squeeze your eyes together and you could almost believe you were in a Monet painting:

Moving over towards the South East corner, we have the purple/orange border:

Some cut ironwork art from illustrator-du-jour, Rob Ryan (hmm, coffee pots and keys?):

And we come to the Pepperpot Walk, leading to the palace café:

At York Rise, we are visited about once a month by a team of maintenance gardeners who insist on trimming the hedges and shrubs into cuboid shapes…  an action which meets with scorn and resistance every time.  Now if we could get them to grow into pepper pots

I'd planned to go on next to recce the Diana Memorial Playground (a short walk to the north, and still en route for home) but it was temporarily closed for maintenance (reopening Saturday).  Still, there was the very magical Elfin Oak to revisit, which I show here for the benefit of my little nieces who I hope will come to see this one day soon…

(Can you see the bunny?)
(The sleeping gate keeper with his giant key.)
Just in case anyone doesn't know about this tree, Ivor Innes was an illustrator, commissioned in 1928 to carve and paint fairies and elves into the tree stump.  The venerable stump is thought to be around 900 years old and was relocated from Richmond Park for this purpose.  Sadly, the Elfin Oak is now caged for its own preservation, which is a shame as it prevents the children getting in close to see the detail.  So here's just one more fairy photo:

(All photos can be seen larger size if you click on the image.)
I managed to get a few 'Peter-Pan-Playground' photos while circumnavigating the perimeter fence of the Princess Di playground but I'll leave you with just one - a tantalising glimpse of a Totem Tree Ent (I'll save the wigwams, crocodiles and pirate ships for my other blog):

Have a good weekend everyone.  I hope the weather stays good for us all!

Edited to add: if you want to find the Elfin Oak, or the Princess Di playground, the nearest tube station is Queensway on the Central Line. Exit the station and turn right down Queensway (street). Black Lion Gate is more or less opposite and, coming into the park from that direction, the playground entrance (just beyond the café) is about 100 metres on your right. For more information, with a link to a map, click here.

15 Apr 2010

The Im-Patient Gardener…

"I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty." - Georgia O'Keeffe

I've been eyeing up the seemingly empty pots of soil on my balcony for weeks wondering if the tulips and squills planted to herald the Spring season would ever flower.  The bulbs were bought from Morrison's for a quid (£1) so I didn't entirely trust their provenance.  More than once in my haste, I've considered repotting the bulbs (yes, even at this late stage) into the ground below and getting my balcony salads into the vacant pots. At last, yesterday, I was rewarded with the flowering of the first of my white tulips, the sun was shining and so,  you'll have to excuse me, but I did have a tiny Georgia O'Keeffe moment.

I'm off to the Hampshire coast for a nice long weekend, enjoying the last few (hopefully, sunny) days of the school holidays and meandering through the little public garden which is maintained by the community in my parents' village.  Hoping the weather stays good for us all!
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