• Kay

In praise of heroic husbands!

Updated: Mar 3, 2019

Today is grey but dry. I started by unwrapping my obelisk which was part of my prize for coming 3rd in the Kitchen Garden magazine Passionate Plotter competition. I had planned to place it in one of our cottage type beds at the back of the house. It will serve a dual purpose, decorative and 'Collie deterrent' if I place it to block one of Bella's 'running routes' as she races to bark at dog walkers, I might save a few of my bulbs from being trampled as they emerge. I then continue with planting out shallots - Longor and Meloine and garlic, Flavor, Picardy Wight, Tuscany Wight & Solent Wight. Unfortunately, most of the Flavor bulbs have gone soft and mouldy despite having only been delivered a few days ago. I phoned the Organic Gardening Catalogue and they immediately offer to send an alternative or credit my account - very good service!

On checking around the garden, I am shocked to see my injured stepover Pear Williams 'Bon Chretien' has broken its other arm, I am at a loss. All the other stopovers are fine, was this variety particularly brittle, is there something wrong with it? I am beginning to think it might be best to cut both arms back to their 'breaks', allow them to resort and start again with new flexible growth. Poor tree... it looks a very sorry specimen at the moment. To cheer myself up I go inside to order my dwarf Walnut tree 'Karlic' as recommended by Monty Don. This tree comes from the Lubera nursery, which I think is in Germany, I tried to order it when Monty's article came out in September, but it wasn't available. When I phoned today I was delighted to hear that they've just come into stock. I spoke to a very nice young woman who said they looked lovely and explained it will only grow to about 6ft. It will be planted in one of the recycled water tanks in the middle of the fruit cage. Some time ago, I told my Junior school children, who are in classes named after trees - one of the classes is called Walnut - to remind me to order my Walnut tree. Ever since, a different child comes up to me every week and says "Mrs McHugh, don't forget to order your Walnut tree!" I will have to announce the tree's imminent arrival in the singing assembly next week!

I finish the day pruning the fruit trees, planted against our highest, warmest wall in the Kitchen Garden. I am afraid to say that despite this being their fourth year, they still have no wires to train them to... they are as undisciplined as our dog! This is a slight bone of contention between Patrick and I. Fixing the wires to the wall (which won't be easy as the wall has sections which step out) is on his long list of jobs to do, but it keeps getting put off! I am struggling to prune my collections of Cherries, Nectarine, Apricots, Peaches, Plums, Pears, Figs, an Almond and two Kiwis, trying to keep their shapes is tricky when I've only got a book to help me. However, I can't be cross with Patrick, who performs miracles particularly as he badly broke his leg two years ago falling from a ladder and his leg is still in a very poor state and causes him great pain. I know of no other man who would do what he does with a leg like that. However, he has promised me the wires will soon be in place, so I prune away optimistically and dream of abundant harvests. We did have our first Peaches and Nectarines last year and they were delicious!

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