27 MARCH 2020
I am determined to get more done in the garden today, whilst the weather is still good. However, there are also a lot of things to do before I can go outside…it takes at least 1.5 hours to get the elderlies ready for the day - Pecky the chicken requires feeding and cleaning out, the polytunnel needs opening and plants to be uncovered….. and I also need to have some breakfast.
I start the day by watering any pots or baskets that might be drying out in this lovely weather. I decide to dead head the dainty violas that fill the hanging baskets outside Dad’s annexe. I stand on a wooden chair to reach the basket and I snap the central slat of wood with my weight – oops!... I quickly transfer to a metal chair.
I then decide to pot the plug plant Antirrhinums and Begonias that arrived from Parkers yesterday, 66 of each. I decide to do this sitting at my outside bench in the sun… lovely… until I hear that both Boris Johnson and the Matt Hancock have tested positive for the Coronavirus! We are living in very disturbing times – just when you start to feel a bit happier and more relaxed, something happens to jolt you back to reality with a bang.
I busy myself with my tiny plants and try not to think too much about what is going on beyond our ancient walls. These walls and gardens have been here through all sorts of different times from plagues to wars and will survive this crisis. I go on to plant some lovely shrubs that I bought at Nicks’ Nursery before the lockdown, they have been waiting patiently for my attention. I actually went to Nik’s a few weeks ago to stock up on my favourite garden string, but went home with a car full of plants! So today, in the Organ Pipe bed, I planted a Rhododendron – Tortoiseshell Orange and an Azalea Japonica, Roza and a Kalmia Latifolia which is a new addition to Nik’s stock with unusual pink and white flowers. I plant two baby Skimmias to add to the two I already have in this bed and I replaced the Azalea that had died in the pot by the front door with a new Minature Azalea.
The Organ Pipe bed which is partially shaded is home to plants that enjoy these conditions, such as Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Camelias, Magnolias and Kalmias. It is now looking really beautiful (see photo), full of large multicoloured Polyanthas and a variety of bulbs. Some rather exotic double flowered Daffodils weave in and out of the organ pipes and a large selection of different varieties fill the rest of the beds. Grape Hyacinths are popping up amongst the Polyanthas and the first Tulips are showing their colours. Two of the young Camelias have flowered and one of the Magnolias is about to burst its buds. The original Kalmia has been blooming for some time along with the Skimmias, both of which smell wonderful.
I then return to the Kitchen Garden two plant to climbing Roses – “New Dawn” and “Climbing Iceberg”, beside the central path arch, nearest to the fountain. We already have roses on this arch but for some reason they seem to be far more slow growing than the other climbing Roses which is I have decided to supplement them. I finish the day by making a start on planting the bulbs into the Mount beds. I manage to do one quarter of the lowest level – 100 bulbs – only 900 to go.
Elsewhere, Patrick, James and Diane are out in the Orchard, levelling out the compost yard area, working on the Fire pit and shed base and they also have plans to make some seats…we are planning to have an evening bonfire tomorrow, if all goes well.