There’s a garden under here somewhere… (End of the Month View, August 2011)

As I’ve already remarked, understating the point as usual and titling the post ‘Help, I’m drowing’, things are getting away from me somewhat. See what I mean?

The meadow is badly in need of its annual haircut, about three weeks before it normally is. It’s been a funny old year so far.

I went out there this morning and discovered that the autumn crocuses are coming out, and they’re also earlier than they should be. There are even more under that lot, but I daresay we won’t see them this year as they’ll either not have flowered at all or will be beheaded in the Great Strim of September. But there are a few nearer to the house, where I clear a line of sight.

Well, that’s one reason why I cut this particular bit. The other is that due to the presence of the bird feeder, I get a good wheat crop otherwise. Wheat and the, er, rest, ahem. But despite its dishevelled nature, I can’t help loving the meadow even more. For one thing, it’s branching out:

And it’s also a great foil for the new pear tree, which has coloured up magnificently. I know, it should still be summer, but it doesn’t feel like it at all, and the pear agrees.

I nearly got excited this spring, as Madam here produced her first fruits. Alas, they all fell off, so we’ve had words. We shall see. But she’s got me over a barrel, as she’s too beautiful to do anything drastic about, so perhaps I should just accept her for what she is, a floozy of a pear tree, all show and no substance:

I’m a sucker for autumn colour. I want to knit it or weave it or spin it (dur – I’m a spinner and knitter, so that’s not surprising), and this is the first real outbreak of autumn leaves apart from the Victoria plum, which just looks battered. And the rowan is beginning to drop, too.

Ho hum.

I suppose there are a lot of photographs this time because I’m daunted by the sheer amount of work that needs to be done, and the fact that some jobs are half-finished because of my hand problems, and the fact that I’ve got a horrific work deadline.

Instead of tearing myself away from the laptop for five minutes and doing a little weeding, I tear myself away from the laptop and do a little Walk of Doom – you know, the one that goes ‘this needs doing, and this needs doing, and that has to be done soon, and then we’ve got to do such and such…’ But it will all get done, in the fullness of time, task by task. When the scaffolding is located. (Task One. Big hedge. Too tall. Scaffolding is communal scaffolding, and makes a basic tower from which hedge can be molested in safety. Do not want to reduce height of hedge, hedge vital windbreak.)

That’s the bunny, in the background. The big hedge with the straight sides and the mohican.

In the middle of the lawn here is the non-fruiting greengage. I’ve been and looked at it more closely and I think it’s largely dead; I think it’s just too exposed here for it to flourish, and this is the most sheltered part of the garden. What leaves it produced this year have been very poor, and it didn’t flower at all. I’m a bit undecided as I hate disposing of things unnecessarily, though I think I’m coming down on the side of ruthlessness. Janet at Planticru Notes suggested a possible emergency treatment (ring-barking, basically), but I think it may have gone too far for that. There’s a bed going in roughly here, and I’ve already got some plants for it, whether it happens around the gage or not… hmm.

But there are some lovelies in this part of the garden. I’m a bit of fern fan, and some of my preciouses are changing their colour too:

How subtle. How beautiful, wurble, wurble. Don’t care about the hedge when this is next door, waiting to be admired. And my Acanthus mollis has presented me with a flower spike. It was on a warning, so it’s managed to get itself off the hook.

Best not look at the undergrowth from which it emerges. Hm.

Finally, I have managed, at last, to get a good picture of my constant gardening companion. It was a bit difficult, but I bribed him with slugs.

Happy September!

(And thanks to Helen, aka The Patient Gardener, for hosting the EOMV)


12 Comments Add yours

  1. patientgardener says:

    Oh I do think you are being harsh. As Karen and I said your meadow is a spring garden not a late summer one.
    I wonder if your Pear has suffered due to drought, my gooseberry which was newly planted dropped all its berries.
    Thanks for joining in again

    1. kate says:

      I think we all judge our own gardens harshly – yours, for instance, looks lovely… and I did wonder about the pear being too dry. When things were at their driest I gave it buckets from washing fleeces (very good, lots of – ahem – natural fertilizer) etc., but maybe not enough. I’ll keep an eagle eye on it next year!

  2. Christina says:

    A meadow is only supposed to be beautiful for a short time and it’s very special because of that. I ahve the same problem of having to squeeze most of the work in the garden into a very small ‘window’. Everything must be planted or divided or moved in September or October; if not it will die next year because it won’t be established. Once you have one Acanthus mollis flowering you will soon have many; it is such an interesting plant in that its growth habits are entirely different in the UK from here in Italy. Love the ferns, Christina

    1. kate says:

      You are – of course – completely right. It’s completely fabulous for one period, and then it’s interesting and different and with great individual wildflowers. The trouble is that I judge it based on its glory time, and I really shouldn’t. It will be shorn and bare soon enough!

      How interesting about the Acanthus in Italy… I must say that I finf mine quite obedient, whereas its parent plant in my last garden was a monster. Just a few miles away is another garden where it flourishes wildly – but it is a little bit further inland, and a lot more sheltered…

  3. Oh Kate! I know your Walk of Doom so well, I can barely cope with sitting out in my garden at the moment, it just taunts me with jobs, though thankfully none of them involve scaffolding. I rather like your floozy pear, and your ferns – I am a fern fan too. As for your gage – I am a big fan of getting ruthless with things that don’t work well, so I’d kick it out and plant another tree, something pretty but productive that would cope with the conditions. I cause FIL great distress at times with my ruthless streak… Oh, and my first thought on seeing that first pic of your meadow was “how lovely”, so do as I say and not as I do and be happy with your garden and don’t let the job list overwhelm you!

    1. kate says:

      Thanks for the support – much appreciated, and I’m glad someone else knows that Walk. Sigh… I’ve decided to go for micro-beauty and have been out having a quick five-minute crawl around, looking under things. And that really changes your perspective – I recommend it strongly (next post, next post, no doubt – there are a few more things I need to peer up at).

      I think you’re probably right about the gage. I’ve a hankering after another apple, though quite why, I’m not sure. I have three ancient trees and they produce far too many, but I want would like, I want never gets, a Howgate Wonder.

      1. There’s an apple called Howgate Wonder? How very Harry Potter! That sounds like a must have…

        1. kate says:

          There is indeed – it’s better in the south-east, I believe, so I may be taking a chance. There was a neglected one in the wild garden next door to my old place, and most of it was on my side, ahem. Some people think they’re ‘relatively tasteless when cooked’ but I disagree and they’re great raw / juiced anyway. More info here

  4. So much to do – so little time (I know the feeling).

    1. kate says:

      Toooo right (but I’m quite good at displacement activity…. except weeding, evidently)…

  5. Oh we have a Howgate Wonder, produces the hugest, tastiest and most long lasting apples imaginable! I also identify totally with the walk of doom. I keep doing the walk and not doing the work because there is just so much to do that I can’t get over being overwhelmed. Hi ho.

    1. kate says:

      Lucky you! I couldn’t understand the online reviews I read which said it was tasteless when cooked – mine (well, Ok, my next-door neighbour’s neglected one) wasn’t… and if your HW does well, then maybe it will be OK with me too. Ever optimistic…

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