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A MORE PRODUCTIVE DAY

7 APRIL 2020

It is another beautifully warm day today so when I get outside I begin with a lot of watering. This takes ages as I’m still using watering cans rather than a hose pipe but I find this job quite therapeutic, as today I am particularly upset and worried because of poor Boris’ health situation.

The watering encourages me to walk all round the garden and the warm weather is bringing the tulips into bloom everywhere and they are lovely. The vine mount looks more and more colourful every day and James comments that the effect of the terraces, each full of flowers is really lovely. The first magnolia is beginning to bloom outside and makes a beautiful picture surrounded by primulas, tulips, grape hyacinths and daffodils. My plan today is to fill the propagators with newly sown seed trays.

I sow 6 outdoor melon, 3 cucamelon (cross between a cucumber and a melon) and 6 varieties of cucumber (18 in total). My new propagator will take 7 trays and I use the 84 cell trays and sow a tray of Tagetes (4 varieties), 2 trays of Zinnias (6 varieties), 2 trays of cosmos (8 varieties), 1 tray of marigold (6 varieties) and a mixed tray of summer annuals and perennials.

Sowing this much seed takes a long time and I stay out in my tunnel until after 21:00 but at least I managed to finish what I set out to do. One of the reasons why my sowing took so long is because of other things going on some good, some bad…

One bad thing was that yesterday I found my first box tree moth caterpillar of the season! I have been scrutinising the main hedge regularly for several weeks. The hedge looks fantastic at the moment with lots of new growth, but yesterday I discovered some tell-tale webbing and inside a tiny caterpillar which I removed and then took solemnly around to show all the family. So today when Meave finished work she started spraying with Xen Tari. This is a product that we used very successfully last year and it is supposed to be organic and will only kill box tree moth caterpillars when they eat the leaves that have been sprayed. The company that makes this compound sent out a very useful leaflet with a timetable for potential infestations and when to treat last week, so they partly warned me to be on the lookout. The moth traps are useful to indicate the stage of the life-cycle that has been reached rather than preventing infestation.

One good thing that happened today is that we took granddad out for a walk in the garden and he was able to sit in the sun and have an ice cream and a cup of tea with the family which was lovely. He really enjoyed getting out, and was very impressed at how much progress we’ve made since he was last in the garden.

Later in the day when the girls and James went for their run they discovered a big pile of fly-tipping on the track that runs past our house. This really knocks your faith in humanity. Someone had obviously been using this difficult time to have a massive “clear out” at home, and because council dumps are presently closed they have dumped it on our track! Normally we would remove fly tipping ourselves, but we have no where to take it either, and poor Patrick isn’t even allowed out of the house because he is supposed to be shielding, and we are all self isolating for 12 weeks with him and our two elderly, unwell family members… well I hope someone dumps rubbish outside their house!




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