Monday, 17 September 2012

Slugs ate my trowel

I'm not sure about the choisyas.  They're too big - they're blocking out the light.  They should really come out.  But not now they're about to flower - I'll just cut them back a bit.
But I'll take the hazel out because we never get any nuts.  Because F cuts them back in summer, because they overhang, and the nuts only grow on the new wood.  A few nuts survive, sometimes.  But a squirrel eats those.  
I'm not sure about the apple tree.  Since the other one died there are no apples, because the other one must have been the pollinator.  I suppose I could buy another...  It looks alright and I don't like taking things out.
But that primula.  It's red.  It doesn't go with the rest of the border, with all the yellow primroses.  I don't like taking things out so I'll stick it in a pot and take it inside - it'll brighten up the living room.  It's all because of Vita Sackville-West and her famous White Garden, making everything else look overdone.  Now mine's nearly colourless.  Just green, really.  So those geraniums don't go at all.  I'd give them away to somebody who likes magenta, if I could think of anybody.
And the pear tree.  It looks nice, but last year we only got the one pear.  And that was hard.  No one really wanted it. 
I'm going in, it's all too depressing.  I'll just get that primula.

....It doesn't go with the wallpaper.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Slugs ate my trowel 2

Baby carrots, beetroots and beans. The seeds are in a cool dark place, as recommended on the packet, though I imagine they'd prefer to be out of the packet in a cool damp place, as it's May already.

Tulips are flowering in the cool damp place - four beds of voluptuous white tulips where the carrots should be. Parrot tulips in full flower, except for the front right-hand bed, where they have already died. Except for a solitary petal fluttering in the May gales.

I've been looking forward to these tulips all winter, so do I dig them up to make room for salads and cabbage? There'd be beds of bare soil right in the centre of the garden. Of course they should stay there, wide flamboyant leaves flapping in the breeze, yellowing and withering until they have died back - maybe by July - to swell the bulbs for next Spring, when I could have the same problem again.

Or I could pull them up and store them in the shed so they can go mouldy and be eaten by mice.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Slugs ate my trowel 3

If you seem to be in charge of the garden, it's great to have a man who does the lawn.  There is after all so much else to do. 

Designing the garden.  Digging it, weeding it.  Pulling out big roots and dividing them up and replanting them in places around the borders where they can disrupt other things.  Building a compost heap; turning the compost heap, watering it and after months and months of this distributing it in heavy bucketloads around the garden. 

Heaving tubs about.  Cutting things, especially things that are out of reach; shaping things; encouraging something to grow and then pruning it.  Digging out large cobblestones and bricks that have somehow got in amongst the soil.  The tormenting logistics of sowing and growing on and planting out.  The Garden Centre.

So I am grateful to have a man who does the lawn, wearing goggles as he first  slices at the edges with his strimmer as protection from the flying chips off the brick edging; slicing at the long grass and peonies and roses, hacking into geraniums and decapitating delphiniums and foxgloves.  'They shouldn't hang over the edge.'

And he doesn't rest on laurels but hurriedly stashes away the strimmer and roars about with the mower, up and down, up and down very fast so as to arrive at the object of his exercise: the smug cold lager downed while admiring his lawn.

Although he always does the lawn there are things he doesn't do.

Levelling it.  Pulling out coarse grasses and big dandelions.  Weeding it generally.  Sowing bare patches.  But when I do them he brings me out a beer. 


Friday, 14 September 2012

Slugs ate my trowel: Only one carrot

Only one carrot has come up.

growing carrots, one carrot, how to grow carrots,

I was pleased about the lack of summer because up to now I've been able to blame the rain.  You should never plant carrots just before it rains hard, apparently.  So when has anyone planted them?     

Still, it's growing well now the sun is out.  And it's not just a home-grown organic carrot.  It's a home-grown organic Chantenay carrot, deserving fast buttery cooking with mint and honey; or roasting in olive oil.

The bad news is Chantenay carrots are small.  Very small.

It's a lot of work for one carrot and I expect someone else will eat it.    

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Slugs ate my trowel 5 Snails chillax

Slugs and snails, fed up with jet stream July, are sliding inside the house.

A loopy silver trail over the black socks drying on the bottom rail in the conservatory.  (Men's socks, luckily.)  The sort of pattern Next might like to try for a change.

Another meandering up the wall and over the door to where a fat snail must be holing up in the ceiling slat.  One chillaxing behind the dog basket, like David Cameron.

giant snail, rid of snails, slugs
Milanese snail
Sometimes when we come back at night the headlights reveal an Olympic challenge of huge slugs racing up the house wall to the bathroom window.  If one makes it inside it is my job to evict it.  (I am also I/C spiders; in fact I/C everything except caterpillars.)

Outside the snails have eaten all the pak choi and are copulating openly.  And the stupid birds, who have eaten all the redcurrants, are leaving them to enjoy themselves in peace. 

snail, slug, slugs and snails
Giant African land snail  (Could be worse)

Monday, 10 September 2012

Slugs ate my trowel 4

I was quite proud of my delphiniums.   And you would think they would attract good comment, especially after the tulips.  'Aren't they gorgeous!'  Even, 'Aren't they blue!'  But no, all anyone says is, 'Aren't they tall!'

At first I was quite proud that they were tall, though I'd prefer to say well grown.  They are growing in a tub, quite a shallow tub, and I started wondering whether they had enough soil.  But they seemed happy, spreading about and growing taller, until the storm came. 

The ones on the right bent sideways, so I tied them to stakes and supports and they carried on blooming, blowsy ladies on sticks and zimmer frames.  Some of them fell off in the second storm, but that was OK because I stuck them in a vase in the window for the Queen.  (They complemented the England flag I'd hung in the other window after being told off by the village for having no bunting.)  

Now they are all leaning right, like a row of mature ladies after the extra sherry.  In the autumn I'm going to have to take them out and plant them in the borders.  Until then they'll be straggling and turning yellow, right in front of the window.  A focal point. 

Most of the bunting is straggling too, pulled down and washed away, but the England flag's still out.