I felt like a cork about to come out of a bottle this afternoon, knowing the weather was dry and there was nothing to stop me getting outside and catching up on gardening jobs – excepting for cleaning out the chickens, that is, which was dispensed with first. It would have been easy to flit from job to job as the thoughts arose but I did try to retain a modicum of discipline. A quick cut of the grass by the stream was first, tidying up the hacking-about it suffered last week, and it would have been silly not to have mown the Tai Chi grass at the same time. The latter has greened up considerably since the winter but there will always be an issue with the partial shade, although it would help if I got into a routine of feeding. Next up was deadheading roses – mostly ‘Danse du Feu’ – as I tried to balance the degree of blousiness with the point at which the petals begin to drop on a whim, and it didn’t take long to fill a bucket. Working with my head in the fragrance was a pleasure in itself and the fusion of fragrance and texture makes the concept of rose petal confetti extremely appealing, if ever such a recommendation was required.
There is a lot more deadheading required, particularly of the geraniums in the woodland edge border (more like a ‘Chelsea chop’ in fact), but as I rambled towards the greenhouse I thought I caught sight of a bird within the fruit cage – there is nothing ripe enough to tempt the birds yet, but if they have found an entrance we need to find it too and block it up before there is something worth devastating. Fighting past the fresh growth on the loganberries and raspberries was hard, and tying it in is a job I must tackle as soon as possible, but I think I spotted the likely gap and it was easily rectified. I also spotted the ripening berries (top left) on the raspberry canes, mostly ‘Autumn Bliss’, which are working up to their first summer of double cropping, and beyond those hundreds of flowers and embryo berries on the blackberries which were new recruits last year. Also laden are the blackcurrants (top right), some just starting to turn and so laden in fact that the canes struggle to support themselves. They have only ever produced a small crop before so barring unforeseen circumstances it looks like all systems go in a few weeks time!
As I only grow token vegetables I am also feeling pretty chuffed at the swelling pods of the peas (bottom left) and broad beans (bottom right), both protected by a low netting ‘cage’. I used to dally with mangetout but I don’t think I have grown podded peas before – they were started in the greenhouse in March in some guttering, with a second crop sown about a month later, but only two very short rows. Same with the broad beans, which I used to feel a little ‘guilty’ about as they were a staple crop grown by an ex colleague but I never had any success with them when I tried – no sign of any black fly infestation this year though! Plodding along near them are climbing French beans, courgette and winter squash, the latter growing after an enthusiastic post from another blogger last year. Things are definitely cropping up!