Friday, 8 June 2012

A wet week

It makes me laugh when Monty Don or Carol Klein blithely say "every garden has a problem corner" and dispense sage advice on how to deal with the problem in less than an hour.  Actually, it doesn't make me laugh at all, it makes me mutter anatomically impossible profanities under my breath as I curse, again, about the front corner of the side garden. 

My 'problem corner' is larger than most back gardens and despite our best intentions, every time I turn my back on it, triffids move in.  This corner of garden faces onto open countryside which, in theory, is everyone's dream.  With fields and billowy, unmown verges on two sides coupled with regular wind and exposure, every displaced weed seed in the area blows in and takes root on our lovely fertile soil.
 
When La La and Tipsy-Dipsy did such a fine job excavating the ponds last autumn we had a Grand Plan to rake the entire area and throw grass seed over all of it.  Unfortunately a major de-railing of plans occurred when LP had an accident and the heavens opened rendering the ground unworkable for the next six months.   The heavens have re-opened this week and chucked at least an inch of rain on us which has topped up the water-butts very nicely, filled the ponds completely, and put the soil in great condition to pull dock, dandelions, rosebay willowherb, thistles and goodness-knows-what else straight out of the ground.



Working on the metre strip nearest the fence is easy - LP has already dug that over and it's just a case of weeding it thoroughly, adding some compost and topping the lot off with 4" or so of bark chips.  The blackbirds think this is a wonderful adventure playground and are busy turning everything upside down and making a mess everywhere. The larch slab edge is temporary until our Essential Labourer is back and puts it in properly for me.  In logic Hobbit style, I've started at both ends and eventually will meet in the middle.



The amount left to do is somewhat daunting but when did that ever stop me?



Two long sessions sorted both the ends of this huge bed, interspersed with moving the pile of waste turf (and whatever other rubbish happens to be laying around) into the big pond hole.  I've made a mistake with the profile of this pond and want to add shallow shelves at least a metre wide around the edge.  Poor Geoff - we paid him to make it one shape last Autumn and when he comes back in a few weeks to do some more work for us we'll be paying him again to change it.  Hey ho, such is life ☺   Hell of a lot easier to alter it now than when it's got a liner and water!



During frequent showers I got to play in the greenhouse.  Much pricking out of seedlings which are growing on well.  Most of these are hardy perennials which are not due to be outside until next year.  There are some chilli plants and tomatoes growing slowly on the other bench and this year I'm not making the mistake of forgetting to plant marigolds to attract hover-fly into the greenhouse.












12 comments:

  1. Oh to have that rain! Dry as bones, here. Deep cracks (chasms, actually) in the arbor bed already. A complete 180 on weather from last year.

    That bed you're weeding would have sent me whimpering, but you battle on, Bilbo! At least the soil is moist enough for weeds to pull. Here it's a major excavation to dig out a weed root from ground baked like concrete.

    Your seedlings in the shade house are SO TIDY and ORGANIZED. You take me to task, there. My deck plants cry to be planted out, yet it's near 90s again with desiccating winds. My poor bees are jumping up and down for annuals to forage on.

    You'll be so happy when you get all that bark mulch down and the bed is tidy. And you'll thank yourself for the extra work on the pond now - a 'shallow end' of the pool is almost essential for certain plants and water creatures. *glub*

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    1. Hi Kris, how do you know that huge area hasn't had me whimpering? Even LP finds it daunting so I figured I needed to make a start and break the back of it (before it breaks me). Thanks for such a lovely comment, sorry I am so **** at emailing at present :{

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  2. I am staggered at the amount you have achieved. Have you seen those marvellous wild flower strips that you can buy and put down? Somebody near us did this with a problem patch last year and it stopped the traffic - I am now waiting to see if they have done it again this year.
    I think we all have a problem patch - we need to remind ourselves that the Monty Dons and Carol Kleins of this world have plenty of help if they so wish. Congratulations on a tremendous garden. I think you have had even more rain than we have had over this side of the country - although the five inches in Aberystwyth must leave us both speechless.

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    1. Thanks Pat, comment appreciated as always :} I've seen the wildflower mat you talk about but you really need to remove perennial weeds first, and that's "all" I am doing. Water situation good here at present, after what Cockermouth went through in 2009 I felt for Aberystwyth.

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  3. Bilbo, you just keep trudging along! An inch of rain, you say. Just talked to the neighbors and we had 5 inches at our house yesterday. Just 25 miles west of us they had 13 inches plus. Flooding everywhere, and more rain expected in the coming days. I suspect our drought conditions will be greatly reduced by the time this is all over. Your gardens are taking great shape. You won't know what to do with yourself next summer.

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    1. Howdy FFG, thanks for dropping by. Seen any more wild saracennia recently? I am still ~so~ envious! Rainfall patterns seem to be crazy everywhere this year.

      As for next year, I know exactly what I will be doing with myself - all those fells to walk (that's mountains and hiking to you :} )

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  4. Very tidy greenhouse - though I shouldn't be surprised knowing you! I keep meaning to ask if you had any joy with those metal anchor things? Did LP's super human strength get them sorted?
    If you leave those weeds till we come over, Breeze will have them out in no time, she's good at gardening 8-)

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  5. Thanks CB, haven't used the metal-anchor-thingies yet because we changed our minds about where the obelisks are going to go. Right now, they're laying on their sides next to the log store :} Send Breeze post haste ... have you taught her to dig yet?

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  6. Your greenhouse views are splendid - er - in fact, worthy of a nursery. I know that Bag End is of more of an industrial scale than most of us are used to dealing with, but could I ask just how many tomatoes you have on the go...? {*grin}

    (and apologies if my botanic recognition is awry!)

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    1. Well Missy, your recognition is pretty damn good if you can pick out the tomatoes from all the other small greenery on the bench :} In my defence, I only have four different tomato varieties and at least two of them are in 9cm pots on the opposite bench out of shot! Will probably keep three of each for me, there are friends queuing up for spare plants and with the current cold and miserable weather nothing is growing very fast. Most of what you can see are hardy perennials which will be around the greenhouse/nursery for some months to come before they're large enough to brave the Big Outdoors on their own.

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  7. Wow that is going to be one big pond when it finally gets done! I just wanted to mention that I've just noticed a link to your blog on Mr Tomato King's blog so maybe that is how you found me. I'm glad that you did as I'm interested in what you are up to there with your overly large projects!

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    1. Hello MMM, it might be a big 'garden pond' but is nothing compared to yours :} It is about 10m diameter and 1m deep.

      Still no idea how I found you :}, but it would not have been through Tomato King. I rarely look at Steve's blog although I know he links to me.

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So there I am, chuntering on to myself, but it would be lovely to hear from you. Thanks to all who take the time to comment - it makes my day :)

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