Two good photos from ‘Wildlife photographer of the year’ 2008

ferns growing vibrantly in a derelict room

I’ve built a raised bed that’s in quite a lot of shade. Not the best place to put it, but it does mark the boundary of my plot. I can’t put lavander in there, nor rosemary, so I was considering some wild flowers or something for the bees. Ferns would probably work too but the blurb says they’re quite weedy and therefore would get me into trouble with the neighbours.

Also: a stunning photo of a polar bear at sunrise.

silhouette of a polar bear, imposing


the back room is a nursery/sonic youth

The flat has been quiet over the last few days, and I’ve had some time to change things round. Worked ’til midnight last night moving the back room round. Eventually it’ll be the daughter’s bedroom but it’s been a clothes drying room and general junk room for over a year now, so I’ve created an interim configuration and cleared some trash. With the cabinet by the window, I can propagate seeds:



On the left are 28 broad bean seeds (Bunyards Exhibition) to go where the first lot of Aqualdulce Claudia failed to germinate (outdoors sowing is more tricky). I’ve fashioned a bubblewrap cover and use a bent coathanger to keep it off the modules. On the right is a tray of parsley (plain leaved 2) and a tray of leek (bandit). Still got lots of seed left: 27 broad beans; 2/3 of the parsley; 1/2 the leeks.

Enjoyed myself thoroughly this evening sowing the seeds, playing Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth on the hifi. It’s probably my all time favourite album…

Everybody’s talking about the stormy weather, what’s a man to do but work out whether it’s true?

Shame I couldn’t find a decent video of Hey Joni on youtube:

In this broken town, can you still jack in and know what to do?

Replacing the fence …

The fence by the rhubarb is a horrible affair: made from pallets and chipboard, it’s painted an uninspiring brown. It is right by a busy pathway and since I’ve been warned a couple of times, I feel the need to make a good effort on the side that’s most visible.

Currently got a 10′ x 3′ area under mulch. Chopped down all the fireweed, grass and brambles and then put leafmould on the top.


  • non-toxic
  • preferably not thorny
  • offers some screening but not too dense … I want to add a bit of mystery but not block the already-diminished light.
  • not too thirsty
  • not going to fire seed into my neighbours’ plots
  • nice to help out pollinators
  • shade-tolerant
  • perennial

Could be a decorative grass; could be something productive.

Rainwater catchment systems for domestic supply, John Gould and Erik Nissen-Petersen

Two seconds of thumbing through this book were enough to tell me it’s comprehensive, practical and way more detailed than I need. I’m concerned with water on the allotment and want to rebuild my sheds and include some water management system, preferably more than a water butt although that may well be fit for purpose!

The book was published in 1999 by Intermediate Technology Publishers, who have since turned into Practical Action Publishing. It’s a reference book, a book of tank construction procedures, best practice ideas, case studies etc. Are few diagrams are of use on the allotment scale in a temperate climate, and will prove invaluable when I’m designing a new shed + water management system.