Work, plant, plan...
Late spring/early summer is the time to enjoy the garden, not plan and plant things, or do any work. According to the garden journalist in the newspaper. Really? She must have an under-gardener weeding daily, and a wiry old man doing lawns and edges once a week. And not like flowering annuals. You see, I don't agree with her.
Trying to Fit Everything In
Part of the fun of late spring/early summer is trying to fit everything in, from the mundane to the amazing. Acknowledging the boring on-going work that needs to be done, as well as watching out for new shrubs flowering, nodding quietly at the hostas, smiling indulgently at the rude scratchiness of the huge Gunnera leaves. Garden fulfilment requires balancing the dreary head-down chores with the sitting and gazing around in wonder. And I have trays and trays of flowering annuals to plant, and NOW is the time to do this!
Thursday 5th November
I have my own under-gardener arriving soon this morning. It's such a good deal. I boss her and we do weeding in her garden. Then I boss her and we weed mine. Hmm... This morning we will clean up unwelcome grasses from the Welcome Garden. My text made things pretty clear : 'Bring your ladies spade'. Her dog Jenny is coming too, so we will have a four piece dog pack, plus a cat or two.
Fluff-Fluff and the Driveway Garden
All the weeds are thrown next door, but that's OK. Next door's paddock is a messy tip, with piles of rubble interspersed with dirt fill. Winnie my black and white Border Collie loves doing acrobatic leaps to catch the weeds mid-air. She brings some of them back. That's not OK!
All done! So easy when one has human weeding company, not to mention four dogs - plus Tiddles the tabby and big Fluff-Fluff, fearless felines, honorary members of the dog pack. Now it's just me on my own for the rest of the gardening day. I've already filled the trailer with bonfire rubbish.
The Orchard Roses
My next plan is to check the orchard roses, armed with camera and puffy spray bottles (one for fungus, one for aphids). The dogs can come, though Escher will have to behave (we are nose-near the neighbour's offal pit). Hopefully lying in the sun and filling the tummy with munched hazelnuts will keep him out of trouble. The big brown dog loves doing this.
Now guess what I'm having for lunch? Think retro New Zealand, quite a long way back in the day, when some of us (me) thought this was THE most amazing gourmet treat. Yes! A shrimp cocktail, with Thousand Island dressing slurped liberally over bland shrimps on lettuce. Hee hee. Memories...
While the dogs happily crunched hazelnuts, shells and all, I tidied up the archway roses and tied in canes. Except for Parkdirektor Riggers - he is not, not, not an archway rose. His stiff, straight canes criss-cross each other, and then poke up into the sky. I will return with the step-ladder for the rambler Chevy Chase - another rose who does not suit an archway, even a chunky, robust one, but that's another story. I've sprayed Madame Caroline Testout, Teasing Georgia, and Celine Forrestier with the so-called 'fungus gun'. I don't trust them, particularly Madame, who often ends up leafless. Bald is not a good look for such a pretty pink rose.
And now, a quick peep at the latest photographs - have been remembering to take pictures of foliage (see above, click on each thumbnail to enlarge, and be amazed, hee hee). Then a fruity cider (blackberry and elderflower), with the first cricket test (New Zealand playing Australia) on the TV. Summer! The summer of cricket has started, and already David Warner has hit his first century of the season. Aargh!
Friday 6th November
First thing this morning we spent ages at the dog park with our friends. I can heartily recommend a supplementary diet of hazelnuts, including shells, for active dogs. It firms up - ahem - 'things', and makes - ahem - 'things' so much easier to scoop up into the doggy-poo bag.
Self-sown Purple Violas
Back home I burnt the latest trailer load of rubbish - mainly old canes from the rambler roses. I had to twirl them up into bundles with the rake and fling them on top of the flames - an aggressive, physical session. So I had another shrimp cocktail for lunch as a reward. Then I ignored that journalist and planted out some penstemons and some hollyhocks in the house garden. I planted more lettuce seedlings in pots, and added them to my salad vegetable collection on the patio.
I've made some plans, too. I was watering the nearby roses, too, hand-holding the hose, thinking. The house garden doesn't have very good soil, and I suspect a lot of building rubble was dumped underneath when the house was extended, shortly before we arrived. The roses (a mixture of David Austins and Noack Flower Carpets) don't really thrive, but neither do they die.
So one day, when I remember, and the season is appropriate, I'm going to dig out and replace the soil alongside the house. I'd also like low stone retaining walls, the elements of which might have to be stuck (cemented?) together.
I'd like to confirm that it's totally possible to work, plant, plan, and still enjoy the early summer garden. But any one with any gardening sense knew that already. Yes?