• Kay

Planting organ pipes

2 JUNE 2020

This morning (another glorious day) I went outside to do my regular watering which now includes sweet peas around the fruit cage, new planting in the central border and containers, the dahlias and cannas sitting on the path in pots awaiting planting, the cold frames, and polytunnel. Other things like the field border, fruit tree border and fruit cage get watered on rotation. The vegetables and mount are mostly watered by James in the evening, unless he is busy (then its me) and Patrick has taken responsibility for the organ pipe bed and front of the house, also watered in the evening. It seems to be the ‘new normal’ to have prolonged periods of hot weather with no rain, and this makes watering a time consuming necessity.

I notice when I was watering, that the sweet peas in the polytunnel had decreased in flowers, this is because I needed to dead head them and this turned out to be a massive job taking well over an hour. I also got slightly distracted because I remembered my new yew plants, kindly delivered by Pat from Brambles Nursery yesterday, may need watering. I had left them next to my ‘ivy nursery’ next to the new compost yard. When I watered them, I decided I should attempt to water the Yew that was already planted, not easy as the hosepipe wasn’t really long enough!

Whilst we were eating lunch we were visited by Micky, who needed to pick up drawings from Patrick. Micky has worked on our walls in the past, and he is by far our favourite restoration bricklayer, so I broach the subject of him coming to work for us again on our next section of wall. He seemed quite keen and we went with Patrick to look at the wall and discuss what needs doing. Micky starting work will require lots of preparation from us, and scaffolding put in place and we also offered the girls services as labourers… what better way to spend your furloughed time than mixing lime mortar! If Micky is able to fit us into his schedule it will be absolutely brilliant, and we will be able to make some proper progress.

After this very encouraging visit, Patrick and Diane decide to start on the latest organ pipe installation in the middle of the pumpkin bed. It soon becomes apparent that I will not be planting out my quinoa as I had planned as I am required as an extra pair of hands supporting organ pipes. They are all being pressed into a bed of concrete – nine tall/large pipes arranged into a spiral and then dozens of smaller pipes pushed into the concrete base surrounding the spiral like grass. I sit on the black polythene (the pumpkin bed is covered in a black polythene and the pumpkins are planted in cut out squares) with Diane, planting organ pipes. The resulting structure is then held in place with ropes and props until the concrete sets. We then all sit in the pumpkin patch with Grandad for the tea/ice cream break… I’m not sure what he thinks of our sculpture but he approves of us using up the organ pipes!

I then make another attempt to plant my quinoa and John the plumber arrives to look at the rain water harvesting system which is not working properly. After he leaves, it is late, but I have removed the tray of quinoa from the polytunnel bench where it had rooted through the bottom of the tray into the capillary mat that sits on the bench to aid water retention. That means that the root systems of the quinoa plants were disturbed and the plants were wilting, so although it is after 9pm I decide to go ahead with planting them although it will be touch and go whether they will survive especially if the weather continues to be hot and dry. At 9:40pm I realise James hasn’t come out to water, so I water the vegetables and the mount. It has been another long day but some positive things have been achieved.

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