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'Box Busters!'

25/5/19

Today we are going to see Christy Moore at the Royal Festival Hall as a late birthday treat for Patrick. I have not been as enthusiastic about this trip as I should be because I am slightly panicking about Monday, so when we leave I write a list of jobs whilst on the train to the South Bank - it's a long list and I'm not sure it helped my state of mind but the concert was lovely and I'm glad I went.

I'm outside by 7:30am trying to fit in as many hours as possible before the concert. I've persuaded Patrick to extend the trellis to fill the entire side wall of the tunnel so I can plant all of the climbers. These are mainly a combination of Thunbergia and Blue Morning Glory. I then plant 7 gloriosa lilies in front of the climbers, these spectacular plants will cling via tendrils at their leaf tips to any convenient supports. I also add 3 tropaeolum tuberosum, quite exotic looking nasturtium type blooms to grow amongst the cardinal ipomeas. Hopefully this variety of plants will give a really exciting display and it is at least better supported than last year. I then moved around the various trays of plants (waiting to be planted out) to give as much space as possible in this side bed.

Unfortunately the climbing nasturtiums, 2 trays of cosmos and a tray of Salvia's have rooted into the ground through the bottom of their trays and can't be moved until I'm ready to put them outside. Any remaining trays move up onto the bench where luckily there is enough space due to planting out the brassicas. I then plant all 40 chillis, 37 peppers and 13 aubergines into the side bed in front of the climbers. I then water the cold frames and all newly planted vegetables.

Meave has now started spraying the Box hedges with the biological spray XenTari after much agonising about how much spray to use per square metre. Meave does suffer with back ache (probably because she is so tall) so she devises an ingenious method of spraying in comfort...she sits on a skateboard and wheels herself along the hedge! With the sprayer over her shoulder she resembles something from Ghost Busters so she renames herself 'Box Buster'. We make an attempt to burn the box hedge clippings because these contain caterpillars and maybe eggs - but this is very difficult. We may be becoming obsessed, but we are all seeing box tree everywhere...Aideen spotted it in the box hedge outside St Olaves in London where she was playing in a harp recital, and I spotted it in the little box hedges outside Waitrose in Northwood and in the solitary 'box ball' outside my mechanics house! It really is a menace!

Aideen takes a break from practice to help Patrick assemble the marquee and James and his brother Rob have a go at putting the netting 'hats' on the roof of the fruit cage. Aideen has trimmed the edges of the rose border and I weed the triangular beds surrounding the fountain. I notice these beds are very dry and rock hard and I resolve to add compost to them after open day to make them more 'plant friendly'. We finally rush in to get ready for the concert and leave with wet hair. The concert is brilliant and we probably needed a break!

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