Today is supposed to be the last day of glorious weather. I have mixed feelings about the weather, I really enjoy the sunshine and I’ve been in shorts and t-shirt for days but it only only takes a few days of no rain for certain parts of the garden to dry up drastically. This makes life very tricky for the new seedling vegetables I’ve just planted, and I have to watch everything like a hawk. This morning it was the brassica corner looking very forlorn… the new cabbages, Brussel sprouts and swedes all needed immediate watering. No one could be a keener gardener than me and I love every moment in the garden, but this is a stark reminder that you cannot be away from a garden like this (especially at this time of year) even for a day without problems and potential fatalities. Either lack of water or caterpillar/aphid/slug infestations, you have to be constantly alert (and now apparently we have to be constantly alert for Covid-19!)!
Today I will carry on planting out the brassica corner – first two varieties of Chinese cabbage, one green, one red. Then all the ornamental kale, more than a hundred plants, arranged in a pattern to show off their colours.
Whilst I am busy planting everyone else busies themselves with the new recreation area. Tidying, weeding and infilling where the compost bins were with reclaimed paving. They then decide we should check out the pool before we go any further – if it has perished or been chewed, there is no point trying to create a large level area for it to sit on. I have now joined the pool team, partly because I’m the one who knows where the pool has been stashed. We rummage at the back of the basement and keep passing out legs, framework etc. but the important thing to check is the actual pool liner, so we carefully lift it out, and spread it on the grass and to our delight it looks pristine. I’m also pleased to see we have a new (although not recently bought) filtration pump. Everyone then carries on preparing the site, and then the puzzle of putting the framework together begins, made trickier by the fact that a slug has eaten a hole through the middle of the instruction booklet and its pages are stuck together!
I then return to my gardening duties, I walk along the narrow path at the back of the fruit tree border and I tie up any falling stems of achillea and delphinium. Generally, the fruit trees are looking good, the plums and kiwi in particular are crowded with tiny fruitlets. Only two trees look miserable – the nectarine and one of the peach trees, who both have dreadful ‘peach tree leaf curl’, I fear the peach tree will not survive this attack, but we will have to see. I return to the orchard and I am completely stunned to see the pool up – it is absolutely enormous – 16ft diameter and 4ft deep – it looks like an alien space ship has landed. However, although it is not a beautiful item, it is only a temporary pool (and it is occupying a presently derelict part of the garden) and the fun it will give the family is immeasurable, I feel very excited, I love water!
The whole compost area is looking much tidier and I can always disguise the pool with a trellis fence and some flowers! Anyway, it is only us who will see it because goodness knows when we will be allowed to reopen to the public!
As usual we were outside until darkness fell and I found myself picking the first broad beans which I decided would be lovely to boil briefly and add to tonight’s salad… they were delicious. I thank God again for everything that this garden provides. It is our sanctuary, it gives us a constant source of employment and entertainment and also it gives us hope for the future.