We sorted out the power problems only to find we had complications with the spring water supply! It turns out the system has been backing up and slowly flooding the loft. A lot of mopping up later and everything is drying out, helped by the beautiful warm weather we having been enjoying in this corner of North East Britain all week.
Despite the set backs we have found time for the garden, so in the style of the weekly meme Six on Saturday here’s my bright and optimistic list.
1- Garden Furniture
I just love this time of year when we throw open the doors and boundaries between inside and out dissolve into a wonderful breezy mix of fresh air living.
With a stumble of discarded shoes at the propped open front door we spill outside and work, cook and eat enjoying our surroundings.
This year we finally sorted out a long overdue problem – the lack of decent outside furniture. I wasn’t sure if it was entirely appropriate to include in a gardening post something we have just gone out and bought but if it makes any difference hubby built the patio himself using reclaimed natural limestone from a tumble down drystone wall. We decided against using cement and will pull out anything we don’t like as it comes through the cracks.
2- New Herb Bed
The other side of the new patio we have built a long raised bed for herbs. (Note to reader: When I use the term “we” I mean the royal we as in hubby grafted under my instruction. “I” means me and I wish to take all the credit. Thank you.)
The former herb bed has been consumed by weeds and largely overtaken by a devilish horseradish which despite being dug out many times continues to thrive. It may not be the best time of year but I will attempt to salvage the herbs from this bed and transplant them to the new one. Hidden among the weeds are chives, mint, lemon balm, sage and thyme.
3- Weeding the Fruit Cage
It’s taken the best part of a week and I’m only half way through but the soft fruit will surely benefit from this, it’s most thorough weeding in ten years. The plants: mainly blackcurrant and raspberry but also gooseberry, redcurrant and white currant all now in full flower, were here when we moved in. They thrive partly perhaps because of their location next to the old outside toilet, or ’netty’ as it’s called locally, and where the hens now roost.
Burrowing beneath the bushes in earth which has long lain undisturbed I unearthed among other things a collection of broken bits of old decorated pottery and an interesting glass bottle top. Records to our house date back two hundred years and the barns are probably older than that. I worked and mused at the lives of bygone inhabitants while the hens, who kept me company through this long task, snatched at fat worms the size of small snakes slithering away from the fork.
4- The “Lawn”
I use the term loosely as it’s more of a field than a lawn. We mow only reluctantly and always around the clumps of wildflowers which litter the grass in a random ever changing palette of vibrant colour. Currently flowering we have delicate wood-sorrel, tiny blue speedwell, bright dandelions, clutches of bluebells, water avens with nodding orange-pink flowers and clumps of cowslips with a few remaining primroses and then oxlips which are a natural hybrid of the two. The main picture at the very top of this blog post shows not our field but the large hay meadow next-door, currently awash with cowslip.
5- Dreaming of Strawberries
I’m always promising the kids that I will grow more strawberries than they can eat. I haven’t managed it in years past but early indications are that we could be in for a bumper crop. Plants in the greenhouse are flowering. There is plenty of air circulation, which should aid pollination in the absence of bees and such like under glass, but still I went to the trouble of titillating them with a paint brush just to be sure. I have only recently realised the importance of keeping a strawberry bed well watered and the ones outside are thriving now, especially since I discovered I can hold the hosepipe and use my phone at the same time.
6- Apple Trees in Blossom
The two mature apple trees have benefitted from the additional space and light created since we coppiced the hazel wood around them and are now in full bloom. There is nothing more wonderful than that sight, except perhaps the home-brew cider I will make if we get a good crop.
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