A misty, drizzly, morning
I feel never happier than when I’ve done a day’s hard labour in the garden. Gardener insists that I work with him when he comes; we work for seven hours, with only a short break for lunch and two breaks for a cup of tea.
I love it.
It was cold and damp and windy in the morning; I was more than half hoping gardener would decide to stay away, so when I looked out of the window and saw him walking round the back garden while I was lingering over my second cup of breakfast tea, I was almost disappointed at not getting a lazy Saturday to myself; especially as we had been out to dinner with friends the night before and not got home until midnight.
Once out in the garden, woolly hat and fleecy jacket on, trowel and secateurs at the ready, wheelbarrow, spade, fork and rake in position, there was no stopping me.
I started with the pelargoniums (indoor geraniums to most people), which needed potting on. I counted about fifty. Normally, they’d go out into pots and borders now, but the weather being as capricious as April this May, I can’t risk it. Gardener shoveled muck, and trimmed and redefined border and lawn edges. Neat and tidy edging makes a big difference to the look of a garden.
Some of the pelargoniums waiting to be potted on.
We then turned our attention to a particular bed which has suffered a lot of frost damage. We took out an ancient hebe, which had seen better days, trimmed back a choisya – at the wrong time of year, because we cut off a lot of the summer flowering branches, but nasty, slimy, brown frost bitten leaves do not look good – and finally turned to the bay tree. Last autumn it was still a magnificent specimen, mature and dense, actually a bit too large, beginning to outgrow its space.
The fernery/shrubbery was next. For once, the harsh winter has done some good; all my native ferns seem to have benefited; the tree fern ‘Dicksonia’ is dead, of course, but then that was to be expected. No Australian would be up to last winter’s temperatures, no matter how well wrapped, wusses that they are. I’ve waited until now to attack my private enemy Number One, the lesser celandine, which loves the fernery and hides among the fronds. Now that I can see the first croziers unfurling, I can deal with them.
My garden is bordered by English Heritage land along one side; some tree surgeons had operated on trees in the castle ground and chipped the wood there and then, leaving vast piles just spread over the bank. Very useful stuff for covering paths, wood chippings. So gardener and I clambered up and filled four large sacks. The path along the fernery looks splendid now, the chippings came in very handy!
Saturday morning I thought I might manage a couple of hours’ work, two hours turned into seven and I was still loath to come in. The experts who say that outdoor exercise is the best medicine for a gloomy outlook are right, happiness is a sore back, rough hands and muddy knees, provided a hot shower and a glass of sherry are available when the work is done.
All of the photos were taken this morning when the sun was out.