What a dry time, even here. One water butt is empty; the other is producing sludge and overnight we had a burst pipe in the village which meant no mains water either. I should be able to water this evening, though. Which is just as well; tomorrow is going to be the first big planting day.
And the big clearing-out-the-greenhouse-yet-again day:
I gave in and painted on the greenhouse shading yesterday, after I had to stop potting up the tomatoes because I was beginning to develop heatstroke. Today it’s the turn of howlinggalestroke; it looks beautiful, but there’s a mean and savage wind. We’ve all been lulled into a false sense of security, and some of my beans are looking battered. This often happens – I’m always over-optimistic – and they generally bounce back.
Now for more over-optimism, or perhaps not… I bought a Victoria plum three years ago. Year one, I had four plums. Last year, two. This year (fingers welded together, please, please, please survive the June drop), it is covered.
And the spuds are looking good too; the garlic, onions, shallots and broad beans could do with rain. Or, at the very least, the restitution of our mains water. Hrumpf.
Some things are managing just fine, however. I was in the bottom garden yesterday (oh, there’s a new page with a garden tour – see the tab at the top or click the link – so the reality of my throwaway ‘bottom garden’ description can be explored), when I realised the ramsons must be flowering. Very, very garlicky.
Much to my delight, they are beginning to spread from beneath the magnolia. I adore wild garlic – ramsons, stinking onions, whatever – and they adore living round here; there are even places named after the plant, it’s so prevalent (‘Crafnant’ – further into Snowdonia – means garlic valley, for instance).
The foxgloves are beginning to announce their presence in ways that cannot be ignored any longer. I always mean to move them about when they are smaller and then suddenly they do this:
which ensures they stay exactly where they are. For the moment, sunshine, for the moment.
I’ve got some odd aquilegias this year, but they’re proving impossible to photograph well, so they can wait for a later post. A friend gave me some seed of her dark reds, but they’ve turned baby-girl pink and frilly double chez moi. I think the marker tie must have been put on the wrong plant, and now I’ve got an outbreak of cutesy pink flowers everywhere. Fortunately there are still some purples.
They fascinate me; so improbable and so delicate. I’m not as much in love with the wilder bi-colours or the more exotic types; the classic, simple ones are fine by me. I can spend ages looking at the shapes of the buds, the elegant flowers…
And they are just about to be joined by the purple and brown irises which dominate the iris bed. They’re so splendidly heraldic and mediaeval – even though they’re modern bearded hybrids. I don’t care, and I get excited every year.
And the meadow?
Well, the meadow is a bit embarrassing at the moment; it’s not thrilling. The grasses are beginning to grow up, so the patches of longer growth are starting to be defined by the paths I’m mowing through it, and it is beginning to fill with buttercups and giant speedwells, but it’s also full of dying-back daffodil leaves – final score, 1256 – and primulas which are going to seed.
And it is, unfortunately, also edged with fluffy baby-pink aquilegias… rats.