28 MARCH 2020
After a rather disturbed night (I sleep in the Annexe with the “elderlies” until about 5.30 – 6.00am), Meave comes to help with the “getting up” process which does cut down on the time it takes, and I get outside slightly earlier than usual.
My first job is watering. Starting with the Polytunnel, seedlings have to be watered very carefully – sometimes only some sections of a modular tray are dry and have to be watered individually – quite a fiddly process. There are crops growing in the side bed, Lettuces, Spinach, Cabbage, Broccoli and Pak Choi – but the latter have decided to bolt and flower. This is fine because now they attract pollinators. There are Sweet Peas growing up the side of the Polytunnel and quite a few strawberries that live at the end of the bed. The Succulents are stored on shelves in the corner of the Tunnel where they are overwintering with three Bananas and two Mimosas, all of which are given extra cover at night. In the central bed there are two hundred Dahlias and about fifty Cannas potted up and waiting to come to life and now there is an increasing array of plants from Parkers arriving and being potted up and parked in this bed also – all in all, it is very busy Polytunnel.
I then check on the Auriculas who have now moved back to their own Theatre from the Tunnel. Many of these have been divided and quite a few are flowering. It is important to keep an eye on them as they can easily dry out in their clay pots. These are very historic flowers, and are often seen in paintings of the Tudor period. James commented that they look old fashioned with their often muted colours. Whichever one looks best is moved to take pride of place in the display frame.
I spend the day planting bulbs – I finish planting all the Peacock Tigers and Gladioli in the bottom level beds of the Mount, about 300 bulbs and I plant about 100 Ixias bulbs in one section of the middle tier.
It is quite cold today – there is a bitter breeze about- and tonight we are planning a bonfire in our new fire pit. During the day Patrick, James, Diane and Aideen (when she finishes practising) construct a long bench seat with metal mesh cages filled with flint. We have amassed a huge pile of flint over the many years of various excavations here and there and it is good to find a use for it. They also make a start on building a “small” shed for the Compost Yard to store the shredder and paper, cardboard, etc. which are all collected to add a valuable ingredient to the compost mix.
In the evening, we get the fire going and we all sit on the new bench and it is really lovely, if rather cold and very smoky. However, it does help to take our mind off things which makes it all especially worthwhile.