In the morning I go out with Aideen to choose some presents for her birthday - the twins are 21 tomorrow! (Diane is organising most of her things online). It doesn't seem possible that we moved into Church Gardens when the twins were four weeks old! A lot has happened in that time and it's heartwarming to see how involved all the girls are in the garden. We also visit the collectables shop in the village and we bought the vintage plaster frieze of cherubs and dolphins to hang on the wall by the Auricula theatre. I started work by deadheading the sweet peas and tying in all the fruit and dahlias that looked insecure - it is quite windy again.
Patrick manages to finish the six windows and fit them in the polytunnel wall, but they will still require some final adjustments. Diane decided to sort out the ugly area at the end of the coldframes where we have the collection of old green house boilers. She moves them out onto the path - with help, they weigh a tonne! She then digs out and levels the area, lines it with membrane and covers it in gravel. The area behind the boilers, next to the horseradish is cleaned out and the hole filled in with concrete, to give a level standing area for the hoses. Then Patrick and Diane re-lay the big York stone slab at the start of the path. This is the sort of job that would not even be on my radar, but it looks so much better when she has finished. Meave has been working from home, but in her short breaks Aideen has been teaching her to 'dead head'. Meave seems to have taken to this job (have we finally found her forte?) She proudly shows me a plant in the alpine bed that she has spent 40 minutes deadheading and with a note of disapproval in her voice (she obviously thinks I'm letting my standards slip) says "doesn't that look much better now mum?". Well I'm not going to disagree, I've been looking for a full time 'dead-header'! She then (when she has finished work) does some spraying of the Box hedge. Shockingly, I notice bites have been taken out of some of my succulents in one of the sinks - a rogue slug?