Chapter Seven

And Lo, it is June

So much for writing more, worst plan ever – instant writers block! It’s not like there’s nowt going, there’s plenty & it’s now June. The actual month of June. The month of Midsummer, mystical mayhem & Magic. The warmth of long summer days, of even longer summer twilights & the heady prospect of halcyon days to come. Except as I write this, it’s raining. May disappeared with its delusions of high summer & June landed with a damp plop. We’ve all been duped in more ways than I care to mention & now we need to prepare for cooler days & a more temperate outlook, although that may be a good thing. Who knows, time & patience will tell. Practically speaking & from a vaguely gardener type perspective, we do need a bit of rain & maybe a little bit of time indoors. And despite the outward jollities & almost casual push to a normal life right now, I’m giving all that a distrustful miss, home is most definitely Haven.

Anyways best get on or it’ll be July – yawn & it’ll be Christmas.

I’ve joined a Grow Your Own group on Facebook, been a member for about few weeks now & a number of things have occurred to me from my slightly voyeuristic viewpoint, having not in anyway made my presence known.  Firstly, from a seasonal growing point it’s possible I’ve missed the boat. I’ve been so busy with clearing & this long weekend lock down that I forgot I could sew things & put things in pots. Oh well I shall crack on with my er ‘plan’ & ‘Be Prepare’ mode for Autumn – that’s a plan – yes?  Secondly, there’s a certain kind of intensity to the online ‘grow your own’ community which is both breath-taking & a little bit scary. Positives, I have learnt a few invaluable tricks in these first few weeks which I can’t wait to implement at the appropriate time – sort of. Let me explain. Apparently, the trick to keeping foxes weeing on your veg beds or indeed your entire garden is to be liberal with your own wee. Not just any wee though – specifically grown up male wee. It being that wee bit stronger apparently.  Now I could make all kinds of cheap jokes right about now, but I’m on a word budget to keep, so I won’t.  It’s also good to note to helps your compost heap along too.  Who knew. Top tips. More next time.

Moving on…

The chives are all little weather beaten now, sun scorched & rain trampled in equal measure.

I am, as always, able to grow the same old suspects you’ll be very pleased to know. Chives, trees, wild strawberries, & yes, the bloody bramble. All I have to do is blink & up they pop, I could use a wand for an even more dramatic effect, zippady zap! No one would be any the wiser, they’re popping up faster than I can dig them out, just like whack-a-mole I’ve heard so much about… I’ve a hearty woodland on the go as you know, goat hazel, silver birch, sycamore & rowan – a woodland in the making, not to mention a little Christmas Tree forest. But at least chives are useful & miniature strawberries are adorable & it all adds up to skilled management doesn’t it? That’s ‘grow your own’ surely?  Effortless.

The new growth & old

I must tell you about my collection of Christmas Trees. Some are little worse for wear having gotten lost in the undergrowth. I’d forgotten how many there were. I’d love nothing more than an acre or two of Christmas Trees, not for cutting down but just to wander through all year Christmas. Those who know me well will know this is a real dream, not one of those pipe dreams, a proper dream. Just so we’re clear. Getting back my 9 so far, let me introduce you. There’s the giant one, I can’t in any way take claim for this one to be fair, it came with the house. It’s enormous, about 40-50ft. It’s been topic of debate over the years, – should it be pruned (I don’t even know if you can prune Christmas trees) or it should just take it down, not necessarily me, neighbours, random people, other people, I’m all for keeping it not only to ease my plant destroyer guilt but I actually quite like it. It does cast quite the afternoon shadow & it is fairly close to the house… But it’s a Christmas Tree, surely that sacred. The rest are in pots in descending order of size. I want to plant them all together so they can chat & be a little bit of Narnia in my small little realm, well apart the big guy, he’s on his own I think. We’ll see how that all unfolds.

This is Orange Hawkweed or Fox & Cub. Some see it as a weed, whilst others don’t. You can also buy it’s seeds from certain wild stockists. I could literally make a fortune out of it. Personally I quite like, wherever it grows.

I’ve been digging out flower beds. You wouldn’t notice it’s they’re flower beds other than they’re between the grass & the walls, & they don’t get mowed. They’re fully overgrown, with brambles, couch grass (I loathe couch grass), Orange Hawkweed or Fox & Cub flower to give it’s other name (another prolific plant I grow with effortless ease but ever so pretty) & what turned out to be a huge root ball from something I don’t remember. Took ages to de-weed, especially couch grass, there’s no way that I know other than to literally weed out each root. Oh my goodness, it’s so mind numbingly time consuming, goes on forever but worth it in the end. As is digging the roots of the blinkin brambles out. I honestly don’t know where I’m getting the patience from. There was one right against the wall, not to be beaten I thought right I’ll do a proper job with this one & take it all out. Few towels worth down I comes across of lovely large pebble. Now there’s a story about me & pebbles. I loves a pebble, I’ve been collecting pebbles forever, could open my own bijoux & slightly uncomfortable beach if I’ve a mind. Special pebbles snuggle amongst the books. Some are actual fossils. I love them. The enormous ones are known as dinosaur eggs for the simple reason they look like dinosaur eggs. Apt as I’ve just been made to watch Jurassic – what is now – 13? They’ve been dug from the garden in the old house & came with us of course but – I digress. Again. So, I carried on digging, more pebbles, some really large pebbles now. I’m getting the bottom of the bed now, there’s at least 20, it’s like digging spuds, & I’m finding spaces between & just as I lean back on my heels & think ah, I know why someone buried all these lovely pebbles away in this bit of the flower bed, my other half shouted through the patio doors – “it’s for drainage”… Sigh…. It really annoys me when he says my thoughts, it’s so bloody rude.

I found this in the back garden of the P-types when I was a nipper. Some think it’s a lump of resin, it’s not, it’s a proper fossil

Soooooo, this has all been quite gardeny. Quite alarming! And then it started raining. I’ve been out with the all the garden buckets collecting as much water as I can to fill my rain bin. it literally is a bin. I’d been saving the washing machine water too to help water my plants in pots & my apple & pear trees, but my grey water capture tub (technical term & not to be confused with the water bin – do keep up) cracked with frosts over winter so I’m having to use a different one. Not gauging the size disparity accurately, I’m having to run out half-way through the wash to empty it to prevent flooding. It’s not the best plan. I need a better system, I really need diagrams & lots of clever pipes with levers, something that only Caractacus Potts could devise, well maybe not him, I want it to work… Maybe Dick Strawbridge from Escape to the Chateaux, yep he’ll do, & while he’s doing that, I could chat to Angel about cake plates & vintage china & I could show her my collection, &  I would also have a pretty cool grey water/rainwater capture system, robust & fully engineered to withstand anything. Failing that & back down to earth I’ll just keep running out half way through the spin cycle. All a pipe dream.

A little bit of cake on a lovely cake plate

But it does leads me nicely on to cake plates, now there’s something else I love, adore, cherish, maybe even more than chocolate, maybe & only because you can have cake & chocolate on them. One day I’ll photograph all my beloved sparkles & I’ll bored you all like people use to with holiday slides. It’ll be a wonderful day; I’ll bribe you all with cake beforehand of course. Make it worth your while. You’ll all thoroughly enjoy it especially with the dedicated educational talk I will also provide about each one – you will be enthralled!

In the depths of the Hostas, where the slugs & the snails haven’t yet had the pleasure.

So many ideas!! I’ve still got aspirations of veg beds & they’re ever nearer in construction as I clear back yet more couch grass & brambles.  I’ve still not tackled the hostas & I’m unsure whether to bother.  They’re looking quite lush at the moment, now fully grown into they’re summer splendour, seems a shame to shift them. I could just build a bed around them I suppose, sort of wonky like. I need to consult the books or Monty or when lock down allows my dear Popa.   He’s growing lots of veg in his garden at the moment. I don’t mind admitting I have a bit garden envy. The P-types taught me quite a lot garden-wise – well except the fox pee advice.  When I was a nipper it would be a treat to stay up & watch Percy Thrower’s Gardeners World, snuggled up next to him – my Dad, not Percy Thrower. I had my very own patch in the garden marked out with bricks & I grew sweet corn & peas amongst other things & I regularly won prizes for my sunflowers. Green fingers you see, it’s all there.

So that’s that, much gardenness, much communing, much centredness. I can’t tell how much more important it’s become. I go out every day to inspect my realm – dead head the roses. I like nothing more than looking out on the mess, even though it feels like I’m losing the battle. The wildlife are wonderful, so very distracting & entertaining. Our latest visitors have been two long tailed tits & some goldfinch, just lovely. I am going to plant up some herbs, in proper pots not in randoms places like where my chives like to live in the patio. And having just watched Monty Don on Gardeners World, there’s some hope into planting some veg in time for winter. No pressure then.

Chives popping up everywhere

So toodle pips my Chums, have a good continued endless month long weekend lock down or whatever it is these days. Whatever this ‘normal’ we’re currently experiencing. Keep well, talk lots, walk lots, hug loads where you can – never tire of that, be kind ALWAYS. Watch the birdies. See you next time round.

The Climbing Roses. No name & currently no where to climb, just flails about all wafty in the breeze..

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