Sunday, 19 June 2011

London South Bank Festival of Britain - Eden Project garden - fruit trees

Blustery skies bring off this yellow paint bodge
You can really appreciate some of London's landmarks from the South Bank Centre terrraces.  It's an exposed site and you feel the beginning of the connection to the sea.  June is giving us lots of wind and rain. Apparently it rained as much in the first four days as in the previous three months.
Looking across the Thames to Somerset House
This kind of bedding is non-sustainable and anathema to me. It's also a horticultural no-no here, around these already starving trees.  Design-wise it's odd too, as these pots are adjacent to a wildflower area. Anyway, despite all that, I can't say no to these cheery little marguerite faces. I'm hoping the Eden Project, who put together this area, will be repatriating these trees with some TLC once the festival is over, and compost the short-lived flowers.
uninteresting to pollinators and unsustainable, but cheery

London South Bank Festival of Britain - landscape artifacts: The Morisons, Black Pig Lodge

Made of concrete, this bunker apparently is modelled on a Sami shelter. Inside is a polished coal altar that references defunct Welsh mining.  The materials are ingeniously used, and there's definitely an uncomfortable dis-used-cum-not-sure-what-rites-have-gone-on-here feel. As Ben Kelly's Enclosure, though, wrongly plonked.
damp bloom adds to feel of abandonment

coal stained Valleys concrete vs post-industrial brutalism


Polished coal - durable for outdoors?

Moorish, or farmhouse plastic kitchen flooring?

panels from a mould intsalled on a wooden frame

London South Bank Festival of Britain - landscape artifacts: Ben Kelly Enclosure

A trio of dry stone walling materials and techniques from around the UK, quite nicely made.  I am discomfited by the juxtaposition with the brutalist architecture, probably in a good way.  The artist and the curator of this exhibition have had  to put up with too many elements though: the attempt to remediate the brutalism with industrial paint and box balls, and yellow banners. Two compromises too far: chaos.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Cordon tomatoes - an experiment

I've always muddled along with tomatoes, never really focusing enough on pinching out and stopping, and ending up in August with an inadequate support for laden plants. This year I'll do better by my plants!
I saw a programme on heritage varieties growing in the Victorian glasshouses at Audley End where the kitchen garden is managed by Garden Organic. Inspired by seeing cordon tomatoes growing up strings, I've decided to try something similar at the allotment.
To make: timber offered by an allotment neighbour and a lady whose dustbins in Putney I was passing, an extra spike sleeve from the hardware shop in the high street for one of the uprights,  baler twine I've had for years, some odd nails and screws. Online I came across a video by an American woman who used a 'spousal unit' in construction. I substituted an etiolated nineteen year old for knocking in of posts and this worked fine.
I think there may be a reason why you don't see this method for out of doors. Maybe wind jars the stems.  Anyway, looking forward to lovely tall plants, allowed to grow as indeterminatley long as a London summer allows.

frame and bind-a-twine
string wound around plant

bow knot that can be adjusted

pegged to ground (pinch out side shoots!)

I have 8 varieties:
Tigrella - Mr Stripey in the US, apparently
Ryder's Midday Sun - Garden Organic Heritage Variety, seeds shared by Master Gardener Claire Benson - blog Claire's Crops
F1 Tomatoberry - heart shaped and really rather expensive seeds
Costoluto Fiorentino - bulging beefy type
Golden Sunrise - seedlings shared with the latest cohort of South London Master Gardeners at their training in April to practise pricking out
Roma - a bush, ie determinate, plum variety
Sweet Olive - a 'grape' tomato, also determinate
Gardener's Delight - classic 'ultimate cherry tomato'
Elsewhere in pots I'm growing Minibel and Tumbling Tom Red.

I have some spare plants if you're local and quick off the mark.  I will have lots of toms to give away too (fingers crossed!)