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Glorious sweet peas

Updated: Jun 10

1 JUNE 2020

It is incredible the difference a good night’s sleep makes. I wake up to another brilliantly sunny day, and I do the essential watering before going over to dad. He is quite dozy but decided he will get up. It is very peaceful in the Annexe and because I am only having to get dad up I am finished in half an hour. I am feeling much better today, especially when I have spoken to the hospital. During the day I speak to the ward sister, a doctor and a physiotherapist. Jean is comfortable and is having everything checked and assessed, which is very reassuring. I am given the opportunity to explain everything that has happened in the last few months and asked what I think I will require to help us look after Jean more safely, for her and for us. I feel huge relief that somebody else is taking responsibility for her welfare and that hopefully we will get more help.

Before I go outside, Aideen asks me to listen to the latest recording of her final recital. She has to submit two pre-recital performance recordings before the final one. It was beautiful, and very professionally recorded by James, I am so proud of her and she deserves to do well. Grandad always says about Aideen, “Nobody could work harder”, and this is certainly true. Today I have decided to tidy up the ‘bee friendly’ stumpery around the viewing platform and bee hives. Because of all the work on the trees that grew along the wall adjacent to this area, it has become quite messy where my planting begins. This is quite a naturalistic area so some weeds are allowed to mingle amongst my pollinator friendly plant selection. However, there is a difference between mingling and swamping and I had to remove a lot of nettles and some brambles - originally, before creating the bee area this corner was a mass of both. I gave everything a good soaking (using our new tap which is so helpful). I also fought my way through to the two lilacs, trained as trees, to remove some growth that was sprouting from the rootstock they were grafted onto. The bees looked very busy, all four hives now have thriving colonies, although one bee kept dive-bombing my sun hat, obviously telling me to keep my distance!

After a quick dip in the pool to cool down and a teatime ice cream with Grandad, I turn my attention to the fruit cage sweet peas. These sweet peas are really getting into their stride and are blooming beautifully. Sweet peas require lots of attention but are worth the effort. They need regular watering, dead heading and tying in to keep up a good display. This year’s varieties are providing some lovely colours and the flowers look particularly big, some even have frilly petals. I do feel a pang that we do not have visitors this year to see them, because I think they have performed better than last year. It is such a shame that the garden is closed because there is so much to see, the roses are gorgeous and the delphiniums are also getting going. I think I am noticing the increased maturity of the borders because they seem more full than before, it is easy to forget that they were only created relatively recently (Field Border – 2015, Fruit Tree Border – 2016 and Central Border – 2017) and now they are becoming properly established. I also use the time to continue training the ‘stepover’ apples and pears, by tying in the ends of their main branch arms and trimming down side shoots – there are six apples trees and two pear trees. It is good to see the little ‘stepover’ pear that lost both its arms after planting, now has shoots I can form into its new arms. I stay outside until 10pm by which time I can barely see to dead head, so its clearly time to finish. Tree clearing continues, and today Patrick cuts down the final nut tree growing through the terrace. The vista this reveals is stunning. Although it is sad that we are unlikely to have visitors this year, it will be very exciting to reveal these dramatic developments next year.



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