Happy Bank Holiday Monday to everyone in the UK... it's probably raining but we must talk gardening today.
So in this new scheme of things...life with no work... I have more time...right.
Well yes, very true, but where does it all go.
Never mind, I am getting used to it all and having reclaimed the Kitchen Aid and some baking through the Winter months, I have now turned my attentions to the Garden and growing things...
We have a lovely garden, almost an acre around the house in the corner of a field, but it reverts to field at the first opportunity, so over the years we have adopted a relaxed, laissez faire approach. This only after spending a fortune on the wrong plants and shrubs which then drowned in nettles, grass, and every other weed known to mankind, whilst sown seeds would come to naught because we just didn't have time to tend it all.
Then there would be another building project and Bookhound would have a digger for a week...
and the garden would look like an architectural dig for a year and the top soil ended up all over the place.
So Bookhound now mows a path through the grass, whilst the daisies and wild geraniums proliferate alongside the wild flowers and the weeds, the little orchard looks after itself and we turn a blind eye to the rest saying it's good for butterflies.
Forget vegetables for now, I am planning flowers for cutting, and since discovering Higgledy Gardens I am hoping for plenty. I had been totally enamoured with Ben Ranyard's blog... full of clear advice and smiles which is my sort of gardening because I want to enjoy this, not win a medal at Chelsea...
Either direct sow your Cosmos ‘Purity’ seeds direct into the soil after all threats of frost have disappeared….or sow six weeks earlier in pots…in a greenhouse or on your windowsill. Best just not be in too much of a rush to get them started…one bit of frost and our Cosmos chums will keel over…and you will be all sad…guilty….and be in the shallows of despair….well…maybe. I sow mine from April (undercover)…outside after 15th May…and this year I will be sowing the last batch on the 22nd June as an experiment.
I just couldn't resist ordering some seeds...and then some more... and then Ben included some more for me to try, and now it's crazy here, seed trays and pots and propagators everywhere, and the Tinker and I are having a Morning Glory race to see whose seeds sprout first... he will be talking to his I just know it. But we also have Sunflowers, Calendula, Cosmos, Aster, Nigella, Cornflower, Corncockles, Scabiosa, Ammi Majus, Climbing Nasturtiums, Gypsophila... all flowers that will blend perfectly here...oh yes and Echinops and Eschscholzia and heaven knows what else.
In the absence of a greenhouse (last one flew off to Plymouth one windy night, the one before that last seen off Land's End) it's still late to be sowing seed but it has been incredibly cold through May, even ground frost yesterday morning, so I doubt we would have gained much by sowing earlier. We'll probably still be picking flowers in November that's all, but I bought two pots of sweet peas in the market just to have something that looked like real plants, and which have yielded those forty spindly things, tops now pinched out, but all sweet pea advice gratefully received, I have always wanted to grow them.
Everything is a month behind. We are heading into June with all the apple trees still in full blossom and some not there yet...
The Tinker is busy pottering about in the garden that we created around Tinker's Cott whilst we are busy pottering around in the rest. Start simple and manageable I decided, bearing in mind two boisterous dogs and three cats, so two small beds dug in front of the summer house (which has had its annual clear out) before turning my spade to the bed in front of the veranda. Geraniums are our forte at this time of year and they look delightful, but at least ten foot of bed had been colonised by ground elder and the geraniums were losing the battle, next year it would be fifteen, soon we would lose the lot. Bookhound kept threatening to bring in a digger (it's a long bed) but while he was off campus last week the Tinker and I set to.
A Twist Cultivator, amazing things, how have we lived so long without one. The Tinker reckoned that, should the need arise, it could also double as half a Zimmer frame with added weaponry capability.
'I'll just try this on a bit of that ground elder,' said the Tinker, eighty-eight and a double pacemaker in situ...honestly what are they like.
There was no stopping us, three hours later we had cleared the lot and after a great deal more digging and sieving, along with some clever use of the left-over ends of the rafters from the recent roof-building, (thank you Bookhound who produced them from a secret stash in the corner of the wood shed) we now have our third manageable flower bed (approx 10ft x 4ft) ready for sowing and planting...
...and right outside the front door so immediate and grateful thanks from three cats too for such a finely tilthed litter tray in such close proximity.
But we have a cunning plan. There will be some mesh going over the top any minute now, hinged at the back so we can get to the bed for a while, and then the idea is that we will leave it there as support for the plants to grow through, because we will no doubt have some fearsome South Westerlies to contend with up the Tamar Valley before Summer is over ...what do you think...will it all work??
And of course I have yet to wage war on the slugs and snails.
So how are your gardens growing??
Have you planted...
What have you planted..
Anything else to recommend..
Shall we try a postal seed swap come the Autumn...