The rain is giving me extra time (off watering) so I utilise this time for a major dead heading operation on sweet peas, also tying them in - they've grown so much and they look lovely - much commented on by Chalfont U3A. Diane carried on inside with her major 'tidy-up' and Patrick and Aideen spent all day trying to finish the netting on the fruit cage. This is a very fiddly job which requires Aideen to lie on a board on the roof while she tries to attach the netting to the frame. She is the ideal person for this job, because she is the smallest and has nimble fingers...I don't know what her harp teacher would say! We have now seen the birds in the fruit cage stealing the fruit, black birds seem to particularly like strawberries and all the gooseberries have disappeared! I can now really see the point of having a netted area, it will be brilliant, now the only thing left to do is netting the doors. I am quite relaxed about losing the fruit this year, as officially, we should have removed it on the first season to give the plants an opportunity to put their strength into growth and establishing themselves. I then decided to tie up the vine growing next to the pumpkins onto the new trellis by the cold frames. The two vines (the other one grows inside the polytunnel) are the only original plants in the garden. They are ridiculously vigorous and produce, inedible grapes, maybe they are suitable for wine. I take a brief look at the back of the vine, where it is engulfing the polytunnel and filling the path beside the rhubarb and I decide to leave that job for now - it will require brutal pruning!
I spent the majority of the day planting out plants into the central border - mainly salvias - that have been waiting patiently in the polytunnel for months - I am now close to having planted everything which is quite an achievement. This planting session is a good opportunity to do some weeding and tidying in these areas. I also take the opportunity to deadhead the verbena Euroscape - I have been very pleased with these plants, much better than the usual verbena I use with bigger, longer lasting flowers. When James arrived he did some digging in the mushroom house hole, - we are trying to remove and save all of the top soil.