Signs of Nearly-Summer.
PInk Woodshed Rambler
My garden is showing signs of nearly-summer: semi-spectacular sights (roses flowering in trees), functional things (the barbecue back on the patio), and the commonplace (the foxgloves are flowering).
Some of my biggest rose performers are up and at it now - the unknown apple-blossom pink rambler rose, for example, which drapes itself so naturally over the woodshed. And the beautiful creamy white hybrid musk Moonlight, a modest climber with the lightest of touches, a rose which understands the needs of an apple tree...
But one thing is seriously missing - Wisteria leaves, which should by now be providing beautiful natural shade for my refreshments and book-reading patio. Hmm... More of that later.
Thursday 15th November
I love the growing frenzy in these nearly-summer weeks. My garden is now full of foxgloves of all colours, all self-sown. Some plants pop up in the most unexpected places, like the middle of paths, or grow strongly through the middle of shrubs. Now if I planted anything deliberately under there, do you think it would grow? No way!
But in a garden energetic new growth has to be balanced with quiet, measured deconstruction. Firstly on the small scale: I've started pulling out all the spring forget-me-nots.
+3And so my gardening clothes get covered in sticky biddibids, as does my dog's fur. Rusty hates being groomed, so nearly-summer evenings for him are quite unpleasant. Aargh! The dog brush is coming! Quick, hide!
Phyllis Bide Roses on Archway
A rather more serious deconstruction took place today. There's no gentle way to say this. My two Wisterias on the house pergola have both been declared officially dead.
Earlier in spring tiny flower buds formed, but then nothing else happened. No flowers, no hint of any green leaves - just a bare, grey tangle of branches. So I assume they both passed away peacefully when in dormancy. They wouldn't have felt a thing!
Alas. It's very sad, since they'd been adorning my house pergola for over ten years, providing beautiful fragrant spring flowers, summer greenery for shade on the patio, and golden autumn leaf colour. And now my house patio looks so bare, and there;s no shade from the harsh sun.
A soil fungus? Nothing nearby is similarly affected. A die-back situation, caused by injudicious pruning? Oops. That would probably have been me...
Seedlings Are Thriving!
But all is not lost. Both Wisterias produced huge numbers of hanging seedpods after flowering last year. Quite a few seedlings are now thriving and throwing out tendrils, searching for something to climb up. Maybe the old shrubs just abdicated quietly, after putting all their life force into the new generation?
Dear plants! Rest in peace - well, in pieces, actually, most crammed into the trailer, ready to be tipped onto the bonfire (plus a sackful of kindling wood)
Cricketers in Hedge
Friday 16th November
One of nearly-summer's most serious tasks needs to be started and finished this weekend. It's the first of the trim-the-Olearia-Hedge days, and my job has been to gather up the trimmings and burn them.
Grrr... I hate burning in the warmer weather. I get red-faced and short-tempered, and I wish there was an alternative (there isn't really).
The sides of the hedge are done - just the top to do tomorrow. I have to admire my concrete cricketers, who kept playing while pieces of greenery fluttered down all around them. Aha! The game must go on, even if the wicket-keeper is smothered in leaves and the batsmen blinded by smoke from the bonfire.
I can wistfully report that the Wisteria has been turned into kindling wood and/or bonfire ash. A decade of beauty, reduced to so little. It is no more. The Wisteria is dead. Long live the Wisteria!
The Fate of the Wisteria