I’m a bad blogger. Sorry…
Yes, I have been quiet – very uncharacteristic – but I’ve been dealing with horribly painful hands and, much more excitingly, a new laptop. Yummy. (Either Mac fans are madder than PC owners, or I am, but I can’t remember feeling like this about a new machine when I was still on the dark side of computing.) It has been a bit of a leap, and I’m just getting my act together. Phew.
And now I’m a day early, but I’ve a heavy day at work tomorrow. Plus the weather is appalling.
Fortunately there hasn’t been a lot to do in the garden – er, there has been, but I’ve not really been up for it. One brief spell of weeding and I have to rest and massage my hands to stop the fingers triggering (surgery awaits). That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it. Nonetheless, and thanks to P, I do have a new bed to play with:
It’s actually bigger than it looks, but it’s difficult to photograph. I had lots of exciting thoughts about what to put in the middle, but in the end reality intruded: it can’t be anything which will get too big and block the view of the bed behind, so no Cotinus coggygria. I think – and I’m still in the happy planning stage – that I might have some form of grass. Maybe a Stipa gigantea, though I’d have to watch invasiveness (is that a word?). I’ve been very impressed with grasses in other people’s gardens this autumn, and I want to use this bed to add to seasonal interest, but I’ve not played with grasses before so I’m learning. One thing about the new bed is certain: it is NOT to be taken over by veg.
Not even globe artichokes.
I must remember this pledge in the early spring, when I’m trying to find somewhere to just slip in those extra seedlings…
Everywhere else, the garden is settling down for the winter, in a process that reminds me of the National Trust’s ‘Putting the House to Bed’ rituals. The windbreak has been removed from around the veg plot, leaving the kale and leeks to battle it out in the winds.
It’s not usually a problem for them; they are tough – but this could be a mistake, as there was a sign on the BBC weather map last night reading ’70 mph’ obscuring exactly my part of Wales. On the other hand, if I had left the windbreak up it would probably be in England by now. Or Norway. I am still trying to find an acceptable form of permanent hedging / protection for this area without it taking up too much room and encroaching on the meadow. I keep coming back to a living willow barrier, and people keep telling me I don’t want one. But I think I do. Everything else is too wide, and willow can be quite dense when you weave the ends in all the time. Hmm.
The giant jasmine by the side of the house has been cut back savagely, a task which revealed that it was on its way under the slates. Every few years it gets cut back, and it always recovers and goes bonkers, so I don’t expect I’ve damaged it beyond recovery. Damaged it beyond lifting the roof, mind. Hopefully.
It’s a very useful jasmine, masking the water butt completely most of the time. But it cannot be allowed to interfere with the house (or bring down the drainpipes either, its other ambition). Hacking it back involves a certain amount of roof climbing, but time – and experimentation – has taught me that this is what men are for. It is also a splendid opportunity to clear out the gutters using an exciting several-bamboos-and-washing-up-brush contraption. We’re in trouble if any of the string gives way, but it works.
We’ve even put the benches to bed, and now the middle garden has an strange addition:
Hm. Not very decorative, but the large picnic bench is so big and heavy that it isn’t going anywhere. It was a bit sad doing this, as the lovely Midge is no longer around to help (well, when I say ‘help’ I mean ‘play find-the-demented-doggie under the tarpaulin and hover just behind people until they trip over you’). There must be a better solution than this, but I’ve not been able to come up with one.
There are some much more beautiful things to see, though. The ivy – of which I have shedloads, and am likely to have more if I don’t get to grips (ouch) with all the weeding – is beautiful, especially when the sun shines full on it.
And now that most of the leaves have gone from the trees, their bark really comes into its own:
Very pretty, too. Give it a little longer and I’ll have a whole load of bark shots – now there’s an idea. Garden Bloggers’ Bark Day instead of Garden Bloggers’ Bloom day.
Everyone I know has something unlikely in flower. Next door have a camellia; some friends have a rhododendron, and Karen of the Artist’s Garden has a – no, I’ll let her reveal her surprise. Mine are a Leucojum, normally not seen until February, several primroses and my flowering cherry, which usually does this
at Christmas, rather like a west-Wales version of the Glastonbury Thorn (photographed a day or so ago, and probably just as well; this blossom is on its way eastwards now). I suppose there’s one thing about this weather: at least it’s more seasonal, and it’s beginning to feel more like winter is on the way. I even found myself considering dead-heading some plants and thinking ‘No, they looked so wonderful in the snow, I’ll just leave them a little while longer’.
(But I’d rather not have a repeat of last year, honestly…)