the allotment with the best view in the world

May 1, 2010

Standing on West Hill looking at East Hill and the country park. The sea is there too, even, if not obvious in this photo. How on earth, do I do any work here? More time is spent standing and staring than being industrious with eyes firmly fixed to the soil, thank you William Henry Davies. . .

. . . looking to the west, the buildings on High Wickham look like dolls houses; in the past, these have been occupied by writers and artists – Harry Furniss, George Mogridge aka Old Humphrey, Mark Rutherford, Matilda Betham – Edwards, Lucien Pissarro . .

. .  B., my allotment neighbour and also a very old friend, has a jolly good euphorbia and he’s always had a good eye . . .

. . he collects and saves everything and presents his collections perfectly. His neighbour on the allotment, J.,seems to have caught the bug on never throwing anything away.

Wandering around the allotments, I took a shine to this shed . . . and also these  Anenmone coronaria . .

. . . some tulips flowering in a compost heap . .

. . . these are my discards from last year’s bulb show at home,  just popped into the perennial bed here. Tulip’ Flaming Spring Green’, ‘Rococco’ and ‘White Parrot’, all mixed up . .

. . love this slash of red too . .

. . and good to see and smell the alexanders ( Smyrnium olustratum) meadow rue . .

. . and happy to be really sure that the growing season has started . .

The artichoke
With a tender heart
Dressed up like a warrior,
Standing at attention, it built
A small helmet
Under its scales
It remained
Unshakeable,
By its side
The crazy vegetables
Uncurled
Their tendrills and leaf-crowns,
Throbbing bulbs,
In the sub-soil
The carrot
With its red mustaches
Was sleeping,
The grapevine
Hung out to dry its branches
Through which the wine will rise,
The cabbage
Dedicated itself
To trying on skirts,
The oregano
To perfuming the world,
And the sweet
Artichoke
There in the garden,
Dressed like a warrior,
Burnished
Like a proud
Pomegrante.
And one day
Side by side
In big wicker baskets
Walking through the market
To realize their dream
The artichoke army
In formation.
Never was it so military
Like on parade.
The men
In their white shirts
Among the vegetables
Were
The Marshals
Of the artichokes
Lines in close order
Command voices,
And the bang
Of a falling box.

But
Then
Maria
Comes
With her basket
She chooses
An artichoke,
She’s not afraid of it.
She examines it, she observes it
Up against the light like it was an egg,
She buys it,
She mixes it up
In her handbag
With a pair of shoes
With a cabbage head and a
Bottle
Of vinegar
Until
She enters the kitchen
And submerges it in a pot.

Thus ends
In peace
This career
Of the armed vegetable
Which is called an artichoke,
Then
Scale by scale,
We strip off
The delicacy
And eat
The peaceful mush
Of its green heart.                 Ode to The Artichoke. Pablo Neruda

7 Responses to “the allotment with the best view in the world”

  1. Cloudier Says:

    Neruda! WH Davies! Ahh.

  2. j Says:

    yes, you remember this poem i think – quite emotional even now.

  3. Jean Says:

    Julia its gorgeous, thank-you. And I’m delighted with our water – thanks for all your help. Enjoy the Hastings festivities. Love Jean


  4. Love B’s euphorbia… a plantsman’s plant if ever there was one… and his weathered hut is beautiful too. I think the ghost of Derek Jarman would be very happy walking amongst such things!

  5. Gay Says:

    Julia….it looks wonderful. Do hope Denise and I can see for ourselves in October. Also, just love the poetry you have chosen with the various images.
    Love Gay and Denise (Aussie girls!)

  6. julia fogg Says:

    Hello both, comments welcome and also great to hear you’ll be over soon.Lots to catch up on.


  7. […] . a little bench faces east to provide this view of High Wickham rising up across the valley; the sky is clearer now . . […]


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