Monday, 30 April 2012

Where did April go?

Where did April go and what happened to my attempts at keeping a record of what happens in the garden?  I think, although I wouldn't swear to it, the problem has been that although I've been outside most days, working hard, it's all been itty-bitty.  I've gone inside each evening knackered as usual but without being able to see the end of any particular job.  The OCD bit of me probably didn't feel like blogging about another task that was still half complete.  Or maybe I was just too tired to do more than eat and collapse in front of the telly for a couple of hours before bed! 

The rest of the country is either under hosepipe ban or a deluge (or both), but in the Promised Land which is West Cumbria we've had pretty reasonable weather.  Well, reasonable for April which means sun, rain, clouds, bitterly cold easterly winds and glorious days when it felt like June.  Clear skies mean cold nights and on more than one occasion the ground has looked frosty in the morning. 

LP did not  work here at all during April, a combination of his own Easter holiday and house renovation.  Whilst this meant I made no progress on big jobs which I cannot manage alone, it did mean I could pootle about at my own pace, stopping and starting when I felt like it and having three or four different jobs on the go at the same time.  It's been bliss and there have been occasions when I've had to stop and have a "pinch me" moment because I am really gardening, not undertaking the latest in a mad series of construction projects.

The warm days and sunshine mean that trees are breaking bud and perennials starting to grow strongly.  I think my favourite sights at present are the crab apple trees and the Honesty (Lunaria annua).

   Malus 'Evereste' in the Cottage Garden

Small bunny seems to have disappeared. I blocked up a fence section where I knew he was coming through but thought it would be of more inconvenience to the pheasant than to bunnikins, maybe he is so stupid he hasn't realised he can get in at one hundred and eleventy-seven other points.  Or perhaps, as we occasionally see stoat or weasel, nature has dealt with him for me?  Just in case he comes back all new trees now have guards in place.

  Malus 'John Downie'

I've finished planting up the top pond although nothing is growing much - it's too cold.  Management and I have made some more "design decisions" about how to deal with (some) of the ground around it.  Lessons learnt whilst planting have led to a decision to re-profile the Big Pond before it gets a liner.  Geoff and the Big Digging Machine are coming back in a month or two to remove the escallonia stumps and the work can happen then.

The birds seem quite impressed with my 'underwater growbags'.  A pair of thrush have spent many happy hours busily picking away at the hessian in order to gather numerous mouthfuls of muddy thread.  This is dirty work and has been followed by numerous baths, a lovely sight but not one I managed to photograph successfully.

I've put the rest of the ties on the willow fedge and managed to trim the uprights.  It all looks very smart and fingers are crossed that the rods take root, the blackbirds certainly approve and throw the compost mulch around on a daily basis.  Two clematis,  Etoile Voilette, needed a new home and now live at the base of the fedge.  At Harlow Carr they use a huge fedge as a living Sweet Pea support so I'm going to try a similar thing here.  Not sure whether one of them will survive or not - it wasn't happy in the Potager and relocation might just be the end of it.

In the Coppice there's been massive progress ... which is probably where the rest of the last fortnight has gone, but that can have a post all to itself.

And that's quite enough for now :}

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