The flowering quince has been out for at least a week already but I've hardly looked at it.
It needs a sunny day like today to make it stand out against the red brick wall. Perhaps I should have planted it against a different background. But once the yellow fruits have set in the autumn, wall and plant suddenly appear to have been made for each other.
The anemonies are hiding in the shade under the plum tree.They are small and delicate;
their cheerful little faces always repay a closer look. I like the modesty of the early spring arrivals;
Now we come to the reason for my happiness: All week I've been working in the garden on my own, I've been weeding and pruning, potting up and clearing leaves.Today gardener joined me and we got through three times as much work together as I did on my own.He instantly lifted the lids off the compost bins and moved in, shovelling compost from one bin into an other; removing twigs, perennial weeds, and bits of cardboard as yet uncomposted as he went along. The compost heaps are our pride and joy, nobody makes compost like we do.
Here gardener mulches a border with a load we made earlier. The stuff is even better than usual because we had to leave it untouched since last June; I made some half-hearted attempts during the winter at turning the heaps but found the work beyond my strength. Leaving it to cook for an extra six months has made all the difference. Just look at that gleaming brown compost gardener has already spread over the bed. It'll make all the difference for the plants, keeps weeds down and moisture in the soil. You may think : "what's that woman on about, why does she go into raptures over compost?" Let me tell you once again, I love the stuff. It is entirely organic, made up of garden waste, grass cuttings, prunings and green household waste, as well as newspapers and some cardboard.
Mulching is quite hard work, turning one heap and covering one border was enough for two ailing gardeners. I go in first, weeding and 'tickling' the ground with my fork; when I'm done he spreads shovel after shovel of compost.We tell each other constantly "don't overdo it, have a break or do something else." Neither of us pays much attention to the other, gardener makes fun of me when I wave my arms at him in horror, and he teases me by asking "do you reckon you could stay alive until next week? We could do the rose border." So we turned our attention to another border, which is madly overgrown with herbaceous perennials which have spread and coarsened into nasty, untidy and unproductive clumps. We were brutal, they had to come out. I am also keen, for obvious reasons, to make life easier; any perennial thugs, which believe they can dominate a border, need putting in their place, "Out with them", I say, "into the compost bin"!
We managed to free a small area and took out several wheelbarrow loads. Small pieces were replanted. Another thing is that I usually find the remnants of old favourites, like the stiff golden grass in the foreground, in the overgrown mess, which are carefully separated and replanted in a place of honour. The border will look bare and unloved for a while, but once spring is fully underway, plants have a way of colonising every bare patch they can find. Particularly if they can sink their roots into the cooling and nourishing layers of my home-made compost!
Time for a break. Beloved makes the tea at eleven in the morning and three in the afternoon. We stopped work altogether at three. I was barely able to stand up by then, but I'd have died sooner than admit to gardener that I was done in. I bet he was glad too. I suppose that, if truth be told, we both know that we must not risk going beyond our limit; it would be too sad if we were to be ill again. A wonderful day like today, out in the fresh spring air, grubbing about in honest dirt, creating something beautiful, shouldn't end in disaster.
Cheers, I'll drink to that, although my fingers and hands are almost too stiff from battling the weeds to hold my glass.