Strange to be working a plot without my whippet Lottie keeping a watchful eye and guard and napping through my every move. Dogs and even whippets are not allowed at Canary Wharf let alone within the Crossrail Rooftop garden and our small allotment plot there.
To work on our plot, you need an individual license for the day, high viz jackets, proper garden gloves and to be a member of our allotments or on our long waiting list. The equipment, jackets, gloves are all stored in our own locker on site and the extras provided by the Canary Wharf Group gardeners on request.
I arrive to find the Cape Gooseberries have spread their branches and need a serious haircut. Their little orange fruit are hidden within their thin jackets and one cannot help but eat one of these sweet and refreshing fruits before the secateurs reshape the plants and bring them under control.
Next, it is the strawberries whose runners seemed to have spread all over and taken root. Some are left to transplant and maybe take back to the allotments others just need thinning out and with it a huge collective thank you is received from the neighbouring plants.
Rhubarb is tied up, herbs cut back, tomatoes tidied up and chillies admired but left. The squash seems to like the patch to explore but not to produce so has the be encouraged and given one more chance to turn the flowers into crops.
With half the industrial bins full and the plot tidied I move into the main garden and the jobs I like best.
We are helping the gardeners keep on top of the gardens during these difficult times and today its time to cut back the ground ferns, cut down the dead fronds of the huge tree ferns and as well as tidy up the ground plants and cut back any branches that are over hanging onto the paths. You can only do a small section of the gardens at a time and its amazing just how much attention is required.
Today the main task is to reshape three 3-metre-high holly tress, or are they bushes? They are shaped like giant mushrooms. We all know that if you give Holly the right conditions it takes off and these looked like they were trying to compete with the 70s punks hairstyles with new branches breaking free of their shape and reaching out in all direction,
The shears soon dealt with the lower branches and the loppers painfully selected individuals out and cut them back into shape.
Its nice to get the compliments from the garden's many visitors. Whether they are office workers taking a break, shoppers looking to rest their credit cards or just a visitor looking for peace they all appreciate this oasis in the heart of the modern and thriving Canary Wharf.
Three hours after arriving I put away the tools looked at the bin now over brimming with cuttings and headed home. It strange that you feel you haven’t done much but your body tells you differently but that is often the case with gardening.