Dry weather makes work in the garden much easier. All those times when work had to be done whatever the weather recede into the folk memory of country boys like me. It was Billy Connolly who said there was no such thing as bad weather, only wrong clothes. He was right of course, but its such a palava to strip off your wet weather gear knowing that in the morning it will still be wet. After a few years at Rosemoor we did get a drying cupboard for the gardeners clothing. No such luxuries though when you're self employed.
Dry weather this spring has provided some well deserved respite from the concerns and pressures of what our societies are enduring. Even at a local level the seed we sow on our window sills or greenhouse germinates and heralds natures growth and energy. Our local Foodbank has increased demand on its services now. Our volunteers working well together. My neighbour John has spare Tomato seedlings, I have other things. We will share out some potted plants to the volunteers next week, and the simple pleasure of even that little thing can remind us of the grander scheme of things.
The fields in the valley below us are busy with muck spreading, sheep move from one field to the other, cows being fed and milked. The air is busy with bird song, bees are starting to find the pollen in many of the early flowerers, the newts in my pond slide backwards when I lift out a tray that had a dry plant soaking in it
This is the busiest time of the year for people like me. Normally, even though I am technically retired I would be involved with several garden projects. This year I can only devote my time to our garden here, but the garden is 2/3 rds. of an acre so has plenty to deal with. I did manage to get to a large branch at the top of an oak tree in one corner of the garden. I have an extendable pole chainsaw and was able to devise a way of reaching the base of the one large branch that needed to come down. Because my wife might read this I ought not to describe how I actually did it, suffice to say it took 2 hours to plan, assess and prepare and 2 minutes to do the job. The result is a nice pile of oak logs to season for next winter.
This week has been unusually dry and sunny for this time of year. After the chill of early mornings by lunchtime I was working in shorts without a shirt or vest. It is so good to feel sun on my body, to feel that therapeutic glow from the first real exposure of skin to the weather outdoors. Soil turns easily in these conditions. The old compost that is now nice and crumbly gets taken over to the raised bed I have just rebuilt. Fortuitously I bought almost sufficient concrete blocks before the lock down and have been able to build the retaining wall for the raised bed that now awaits its first seed sowing.
Photo of new raised bed
Veg and flower seed have been sown, both indoors inside the heated propagator, and in pots in the unheated greenhouse. All apart from the parsley seed have germinated, parsley seed always slow on the uptake. The courgettes have now got their first set of true leaves ( the first leaves are the cotyledons ), and I have potted up half a dozen which now sit indoors in the conservatory. Outside I have done a couple of air layers, one on a Peach and the other on a golden leaved Catalpa. Friend Chloe did a couple and I thought I could have a go. This isn't the kind of propagation I have experience of so it will be interesting to monitor progress
The first shoots of the early potatoes I planted in the polytunnel are emerging. The outdoor ones are still under the ground and waiting for some extra warmth. Shoots of the Dahlias lined out in the greenhouse are also emerging. I leave them outdoors normally but these are extras and will be put in a different location this year. Asparagus are showing their plump noses and we may have the first small crop this weekend. Weeds are romping away and my long handled how does good work when it's dry like this. Below is a picture of some of the pots on the patio. The tulips especially look superb. Thanks to Parkers Bulbs who supplied them.
Landscape Designer, Sculptor & Artist.
Today was the first and last session of our new group. Now that the seriousness of the spread of the corona virus is worryingly loud and clear we cannot continue. To physically meet as a group, even outdoors and at a 2 m. social distance would be too risky. So from now on we will continue our work and keep in touch on-line, sharing guidance and information when needed.
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