• Kay

Sea of leaves


Today is the hottest August day since 2003. The temperature reached 35 degrees+, yesterday’s visitor, with his chateau in France, regularly has to contend with temperatures of 40 degrees+. I cannot think of anything worse, no wonder that he is having trouble getting his leeks to grow! I made a decision when watering last night (for at least 2 hours) that apart from watering, the garden would be left in peace today. This morning I watered other areas not covered last night for nearly a further two hours. We are now up to peak watering, 3 to 4 hours a day…you do not want to water at this level for too long, it is not sustainable on many levels, thank goodness my caring duties have reduced otherwise I would be watering or looking after elderlies 24/7! I’m intending to spend the day sorting through files in the music room.

Aideen is continuing with her dried flower experiments. She picked a variety of blooms and tied them in bunches and hung them upside down from the ceiling in the corner of the extension.

I am taking the opportunity today, as less is going on in the garden, to wax lyrical about the pumpkin patch. Growing squash and pumpkins is one of the most valuable things you can do in a veg garden. The fruit can be used in so many ways and can be stored so brilliantly. This is why they are such a staple crop in countries like Canada which suffer from severe winters, lots of houses in countries like this have a basement root cellar.

The squash/pumpkin patch is now filled with leaves…it is now clear why I need the canes to help me water. There are already some magnificent butternut squash and plenty of pumpkins, the biggest is an off-white Polar Bear pumpkin which is fabulous. The leaves are swirling around the new sculpture which is very effective. I talk to the plants without a second thought and the pumpkins, in particular, require a lot of guidance. I can often be seen gently lifting a long tendril/branch and placing it in the right direction saying something like ‘No…not this way, that way, there’s a good butternut!’. This is because however big your pumpkin patch is, it is never big enough. The arms of the plant sneak under the fence, down the path and into the tunnel! If I ever sat in my chair for longer than 5 minutes they would entwine my legs.

I am back outside before 6pm watering and then collecting things for tonight’s dinner…borlotti beans, runner beans, broccoli and two bright red chilies. I am making a type of cassoulet with sausages, bacon and beans which will also contain chillies, pepper and mushrooms. Served with baked potatoes and runner beans and broccoli. As will be noted, the heat does not affect appetite in the McHugh house!

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