No it wasnt funny the first time said Ian. A grown man standing in the garden. Squeaking. Weed. Weed. I guess he’s too young to remember watch with mother. Bill and Ben the flowerpot men. With Weed . Behind the potting shed. Which looks nothing like the lovely potting shed of Karen Gimson. She knows I have potting shed envy. That I’m going to move into hers.
Anyway. As usual I thought it was funny. Obviously not. But I was here to weed.
Having bought our new Spanish house and having a new garden to manage and with spending more time there the garden in Somerset has been a bit neglected. Ooh. A lot of ands there.
It hasn’t helped that we have had sun. Rain. Sun. Sun. Rain. So the garden has grown. You can watch it grow. From the dryness of inside the kitchen window. Plants are taller. The weeds stronger. I maintain I have the national collection of bindweed. Hideous weed. The plant. Not the Bill and Ben character.
I’ve tried for weeks to get to the cottage. But every time I have a day or two it rains. It pours. Horizontal rain. Wind.Great British Summer. I’m a wimp. I’m a fair weather gardener. Don’t judge me. You know who I mean!
It’s sad to see that the garden isn’t as pristine as I usually have it. Pristine is the wrong word. It’s not a show garden. I’m not a gardener. I garden for me. I grow what I like. Where I like. But I usually have more time. The grass had been cut but there was work to be done. But yes. There were some lovely plants in bud. In flower. Seedheads. New beginnings.
The roses I pruned with Sara Venn earlier in the year were budding like crazy. The second flush of flowers coming through now. I had a great day with Sara and she taught me a lot about pruning fruit trees. Maybe I can persuade her to come to spain!
The apple tree we pruned is loaded with fruit. The best I’ve seen in years. We were a bit ( I say we – Sara ) worried about the tree with the red apples. But it’s done amazingly well. Some have been picked and brought home. The tree was supposed to be a Laxton superb. My mothers favourite apple. You can’t beat a laxtons she used to say. Well someone has beaten me. This ain’t laxtons superb.
Everyone knows I like a dahlia or two and I planted a couple of new ones this year – well more than a couple to be fair.
Bought and planted. Before I knew we would hopefully be on the move. Two have flowered beautifully. But. Hello. Cafe au lait where are you hiding? Not under the bindweed. Surely not. I first saw cafe au lait at Georgie Newberry’s Common Farm Flowers And fell in love with it. I have had so many suggestions over the last year for new dahlias I can’t keep up.
The dahlia bed was doing ok. The tubers I had left in had come through. Beaten off the slugs – and a couple were blooming lovely. Black Jack. Rip city. A couple of bishops.
There’s a couple of things I’m rubbish at. – gardening things. Staking is one. Always on my list. Rarely crossed off. Remembering when the plants get straggly. Or there is wind. The other. Labelling. I have had the intention of a plan. Labelling the plants. Putting them down on paper. A proper plan. So I don’t forget the names. It was a plan. But 23 years later it’s still a plan. I’m trying not to make the same mistake in Spain. I’ll tell you how I get on. In 23 years time
But thankfully I have the invoice still from Withypitts so have identified Peach Delight and Shooting Star.
The weeds are bad. So bad that I have a helper. Quite how Ian has decided to help I don’t know. Obviously there is no tennis on the TV But he has. I might have to turn a blind eye at his technique and the odd pull of a plant that is not a weed. Today he’s keen. Carry on regardless.
It’s amazing. Often there are plants which run away with themselves. This is one. I swear that this year it’s two foot taller than usual. I like them. Great for cutting but boy are they invasive or what!
The monbretia. Yes I know it’s all crocisima now. But my parents called it Monbretia and old habits die hard. This clump has never previously flowered. I mentioned it last year and moaned about it. Someone said that they always flower. This year the clump is flowering. Like crazy. Have indeed me anything different. No. Not that I can think of.
I planted an Emily McKenzie and it’s in bud. I’ll miss the flowers this year as I am away again.
The garden photographs well. Looks good. Even if I say so myself. But please don’t look too closely. Bindweed and groundelder are everywhere.
We have a grape vine at the back of the house. It catches the sun. But I thought that this year we had no grapes. They aren’t sweet and last year for the first year I picked them. Ate one. Even sourer than me. So I made grape and Rosemary jelly. Went down a bomb. So I started to hack the growth back – full of horticultural technique me – and lo and behold hiding under the growth were bunch after bunch of grapes. Larger than last year and hopefully with some Aug sun ( please ) they will get fatter and juicier. Chateau Pitcombe if wont be. But good old grape and Rosemary jelly again. And again.
Rhubarb. Not picked for ages. So I have. No need to force this rhubarb. Looks like I’d need to force it to stop. There will be rhubarb gin and rhubarb and star anise cordial. Some for next door for a crumble. The gin to add to the sloe gin supply gently brewing in the kitchen cupboard.
So now I ache. My back. My arms. I’m weeded out. But do you know what. Give it another three weeks and on my next trip and I’ll be doing it all over again. Whether I want to or not.