Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Summer Sights, and the River Ver

We rushed to the allotment early this morning to beat the heat, and got loads and loads of weeding done and the patch dug for the everlasting cauliflowers, which I will plant out at the next opportunity. When the weeds are clear the plot really looks pretty good - this is definitely our best year so far.

The asparagus ferns are looking really lush now, with the petunias flowering beneath. The ferns are covered in tiny flowers and it's pretty funny watching the huge bumblebees trying to get inside them!

The swedes look like they're doing well down there.

The runner bean flowers are opening.

The leeks are weed-free again and thriving.

We were surprised to find a few raspberries appearing on our new raspberry canes! I thought we wouldn't get any fruit until next year!

And we have our first sunflower, albeit a very small one.

I can't wait to try these summer crookneck squash. You eat them like courgettes, but they are supposed to have an even better flavour. Anyone else tried them?

As you can see, the plot is looking good - even... dare I say it... tidy and organised!

We took a slightly different route home today, just out of curiosity. The river Ver runs along one side of our allotment site, and we followed it. The path runs most of the way through town, along a strip of woodland between streets and back gardens, and it was rather pleasant. I can't believe I've lived here 30 years, had my allotment for four, and I've never been along here before!

The Ver is not a big or impressive river these days - it's only a few inches deep in many places - but it's our river and we like it. I guess it must have been much more significant once upon a time, when people first settled here and the Roman city was built and so on. It still makes itself known from time to time in no uncertain terms when it reverts to its original course and floods the allotments!

Not all of the river is hidden away - here it flows under a main road and we walk past this pretty scene all the time. At the moment there are mounds and mounds of water forget-me-nots on the bank.

And look what else was hiding in the reeds right by the edge of the road!

At this point we would have rejoined our usual route home, but we decided to keep walking along the river into the park. These are more familiar scenes; I love walking in the park and am so lucky to have it on my doorstep!

The lake was man-made in the early thirties, and the Ver carefully routed along one side of it (on the right of the picture).

There are dozens of varieties of ducks and geese here - and when we come here regularly enough it's lovely to see them raising their new families each year! Last spring and summer I made a point of walking through nearly every day, and became quite familiar with each little clan and where it lived and how it was doing.

On the way out of the park is this octagonal pub, reputed to be the oldest pub in Britain, although there are other contenders. We were going to stop for lunch but decided to save our money for this evening... That's a whole nother blog...

The wording on this sign outside always makes me giggle!


Julia said...

I love St. Albans, we're from Luton and Harpenden originally and so know it quite well. It's great finding places - sort of secret ones around where you live - that you didn't know existed!

Your swedes look great, much bigger than mine.

Monica said...

I really enjoyed your photos of the Ver - reminds me I haven't been on a good long stroll in a while which is a shame given the weather! You must tell me how you end up using your swedes - it's a bit of a mystery vegetable to me, but a staple in late season's organic box. And BTW, that zucchini from a previous post was EPIC. I think you should stuff the other half with something yummy. ;-)

Jo said...

Everything's looking good on the allotment. I think this scenic route home is lovely, you must walk this way more often.

Green Lane Allotments said...

Lovely route home!

Our new raspberries have a few fruits too. They are on the old canes that were already grown when we planted them.

marigold said...

I've had that crookneck squash before. They sell them all the time alongside "zucchinis" back in my home town in South Mississippi. They are, I think, a little more "squashy" in taste than courgette but not so squashy that you can't eat it raw on a salad. I personally like them sliced and sauteed with black pepper and olive oil as a side dish.

I grew one (!) last year on my allotment on London. Yours looks great.

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