There have been several ‘Whew!’ moments in recent weeks, as the garden is prepared for its opening days, now less than 4 weeks away. The weather, over which I have no control, played its part as planting out of seedlings was delayed to avoid the heat – but I am thrilled as the cutting beds are now fully planted, seedlings making rapid growth with the warmth, regular watering, and FINALLY a good dose of rain on Friday. Last night and today’s thunderstorms brought the excitement of rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightning but not a great deal of precipitation, leaving us with a very warm and humid evening. No doubt the slugs and snails will be popping round for supper soon but in the meantime the cutting beds hold great promise.

Our neighbour at the back has been intending to replace the fence between our gardens for at least a couple of years and at the end of April mentioned to the Golfer when he saw him that the fence would be going up at the weekend. It didn’t, and as the weeks passed we wondered how we could discretely enquire, without appearing pushy, when it might appear. Fortunately, one day last week it DID appear, with the scalloped top appearing a couple of days later – all except for one very worse-for-wear panel. The reason for that soon became clear – there was a blackbird nesting in the shrub behind it – but apart from that our boundary will look a little better for our visitors and an explanatory sign on the old panel can explain the incongruity. With the scalloped top it becomes a very TALL fence – but if they want to screen themselves completely from us then who are we to object to the added privacy it gives us?

I took advantage of the forecast of a dry interlude between Friday and today’s thunderstorm to get the pink paint out again – a task that some of you may think was not worth spending time on n the run up to the openings. I repainted the outside of most of the house early last year as it desperately needed it, although sadly the front gable still remains outstanding as it is such a daunting prospect being so high; also left unpainted were walls tucked in at the back of the house beyond the chicken’s enclosure because even we rarely saw them. Revamping this area and opening it up changed this and repainting became more of a priority, especially the one wall which was still YELLOW (and a grubby yellow at that) from when we first painted it around 20 years ago, it somehow having been forgotten about when we painted the house pink about five or six years later. It now clearly defines which property is which as the boundaries here are quite bizarre, and it is definitely a ‘whew!’ to get that done!

On the paved area behind the house that is always the first photo in every EOMV are 4 cubic lead effect pots in graduated sizes which for the last 3 years have filled in summer with bedding plants, bought as planted-up pots from Aldi and transplanted into our own containers. This year they were due into Aldi last Sunday and as their special offers are sometimes in early we popped down last Saturday night just in case – and at least once every day until they finally arrived on Thursday! I almost felt I was becoming obsessed with them, making all these journeys (sometimes in passing on my way elsewhere though), but they are an integral part of planting in this area and make a huge impact; their absence would have meant a complete re-think and a costly purchase of alternatives from elsewhere. There was a very big WHEW! when four of them were tucked safely in the boot of the car, at that moment more precious even than the granddaughter on her first enforced car trip with us (she slept through it)…

They are now planted up in their new homes, along with all the other pots and baskets around the garden, so this is big progress. There remain only a few more seedlings in the greenhouse that need to find a home in the already stuffed borders – perhaps tomorrow…

Each day sees a new list of tasks to crack on with, tomorrow’s being ‘paint trellis/clear ivy/put up posters’ but there are several administration tasks still to be sorted which should probably have been done earlier, but weren’t. And I am awaiting a visit from our Aga man to replace the Aga’s fan, which I hope can be achieved before my cake baking blitz begins. Fortunately, I like a challenge or two…

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22 Responses to Whew!

  1. bcparkison says:

    Well now you have really done it. As if the beautiful garden wasn’t enough now I find out you have AGA! (I’m thinking this is your oven since you talk about cakes). Oh my goodness. This is my dream of a stove but now that I’m not doing much cooking I’ll just have to be proud for you. there was a time when I would have given anything for an AGA.

    • Cathy says:

      It was a big ‘investment’ when we bought it 20 years ago but it is such and integral part of the kitchen and really feels like the heart of the house. I love it, and it really suits my style of cooking and baking. The Golfer likes it too as he doesn’t need to bother switching an oven on or setting a temperature!

  2. tonytomeo says:

    Yellow and pink . . . how Californian.

  3. Pauline says:

    You certainly do like a challenge! Well done with getting it all done.

  4. I do admire you, you seem to have unlimited energy! The garden looks wonderful, and will be much admired by all your visitors.

    • Cathy says:

      Aw thanks Jackie; I am fortunate to have what may seem like unlimited energy (and regular exercising is part of my routine), although I was drained by my first day looking after the nearly 10 month old grandchild! Hopefully all will be well for the openings – and dry!!

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Getting a household chore (painting outside) finished before a big garden tour is outstanding. I love the neighbors new fence. I think the top is charming with it’s swooping lattice top. Your tourists will certainly notice the difference from the old fence. Well done.

    • Cathy says:

      If it wasn’t for the wall that was still yellow, the painting could have waited, Lisa. but our recent project has opened up that part of the garden so it will now be seen… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Whew, indeed.The beds look wonderful, waiting for your flowers!

    • Cathy says:

      I am thrilled to watch the rapid progress in the cutting beds now things are planted out. The first cosmos is beginning to flower but in a month or so there should be lots of things blooming there

  7. Chloris says:

    Well done, you are well ahead. It is lovely to grow lots from seed but so time consuming.
    And you have even found time to paint the house, I am in awe.

    • Cathy says:

      Only a three walls of the house, Chloris, and two of them were single storey… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Oh, and I think I overdid the number of different varieties of seed this year as the borders are now absolutely stuffed and seedlings may well be lost in the undergrowth. Perhaps it has taught me a lesson…

  8. Cathy your whole garden is wonderful. I have entered the link “opening days” and its website is fantastic, with many sites to navigate. If I lived in the UK I would go to see his garden even if I lived on the other side. He has an unstoppable energy painting, with the sherds, the cutting beds. And he will still have it with the things he has to do until he opens his garden. I love your garden. Have a nice week. Take care. Greetings from Margarita.

  9. Your garden is looking ship shape Cathy. You missed some of the rain fortunately as weโ€™ve had flash floods and hailstones
    How many cakes will you be baking once the aga is fixed?

    • Cathy says:

      We have certainly missed out on a lot of the rain others have had – I would willingly have had some of yours but perhaps not the hail! Of course it is impossible to know how many visitors we can expect, but i gauged my estimate on a garden I knew in a similar village location – she had approx 150 visitors so I planned for about 200 cake slices so around 20 cakes depending on the slices. I have about 10 different types and almost all were frozen in advance, with duplicates coming out of the freezer just before opening. Any unused can be refrozen. I was surprised at what proved to be more popular but that can depend on lots of different things ps I enjoy baking and turned down offers of help with cakes ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Ok, now I feel I need to call Mary berry! 20 cakes!

        • Cathy says:

          I only had to bake a few extras for the second day and it meant that any leftovers went back in the freezer and I didn’t need to bake again for a month – AND the Golfer and I had a choice of cakes with our afternoon cup of tea ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Brian Skeys says:

    It doesnโ€™t seem to make any difference the more you tick off a list of jobs to do before opening other jobs get added to the list. ( itโ€™s a kind of magic! ) as someone once sang.

    • Cathy says:

      I think you are quite right Brian! And your village opening is this coming w/e – hope everything goes well, although of course you are an old pro at garden opening ๐Ÿ˜‰

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