This weekend is the start of this terms/seasons stupidly busy week. This happens before Christmas, before Easter and at the end of the Summer Term. It is the time where everyone decides to have their concerts. Therefore, from 23/03/19 to 31/03/19 I am playing in 4 orchestral concerts, directing two infant school Spring assembly performances and fitting in 2 extra evening orchestral rehearsals alongside my normal teaching and conducting commitments. This will definitely impact on gardening time, which is not good! I decided yesterday, driving home from playing in a concert, that although I enjoy playing my bassoon, I would prefer to do so when it is dark and reserve daylight hours (particularly at the weekend) for the garden. My ideal day would probably be to be outside all day, play some nice music in the evening and then go to the pub!
Probably one of the questions that people ask me most is "Do you have any help in the garden?". Well obviously my wonderful husband is outside as much as his work allows, but he is involved in whatever is the current construction project. Recently this has been repairing derelict sheds and tidying up wood and building materials and laying paving. He also mows the grass (a big job, especially putting away the grass clippings to compost properly, this often involves me) and he cuts hedges (another big job) however everything 'gardening orientated' is my department. This includes watering (can be very time consuming and last summer, nocturnal!) sowing, planting, propagating, potting up, pruning, weeding constantly, spreading compost, harvesting, dead-heading etc. I sometimes get a bit of help with dead-heading and weeding from the family just before an open day, but mainly they are helping their Dad with projects. The next question I am asked, "How do you fit in time for the garden with your work?", my working hours are about 35hours per week (not including travel and preparation) this does not include concerts, extra rehearsals, student exams, playing in church services, which can occur throughout the term. My answer to the question is, firstly, I am very lucky, by being a self employed musician I do have some control over when I work. So the days that I teach (privately) I start at 3:00/3:30pm, and the days I conduct groups and attend rehearsals start from about 6:00pm. Effectively I start late and finish late, 9:00/10:00pm, I also work Saturday morning and all day Wednesday. This gives me quite a few hours earlier in the day to work outside. The other brilliant thing about being a freelance teacher/musician is that generally school holidays are free! The other important thing to appreciate is that I am obsessed by my garden, it fills my mind to the point where I am planning which seeds to sow, whilst I am counting 'bars rest' in a Beethoven symphony! The garden is like a much loved but very demanding child. I am either outside, trying to keep up with everything that it requires to keep flourishing, or inside planning, researching, organising or dreaming about it!
Today was a beautiful day (weather) but frustratingly short of time. Aideen and I played in church and then came home and went outside. I started by watering all recently planted things. Patrick then helped me to turn an old set of greenhouse shelves into a space for me to move my tender new seedlings of tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and chilli's (that need protection from cold nighttime temperatures) from the propagators. This is to give me space to start off new seeds in the propagators. We covered it in polytunnel polythene taped and clipped into place and we used a very old piece of polycarbonate sheet as a top and a base. I had planned to put a small electric radiator in the bottom, but this plan fails later as the electricity load is too high for the extension lead. Hopefully the tiny plants will still be protected in their new home.
We were visited in the afternoon by the parents of Aideen's boyfriend James. James' Mum, Janet, is the wonderful person who coordinated the refreshments, with our dear friend Ping, at our first open day last year. She was visiting, bearing scones, to discuss catering arrangements for out next open day. This was incredibly helpful and important as we must try to have enough cake for our next opening!
I decided to continue in the polytunnel after dark (I do have lights in there - I told you I was obsessed!) and I sow 2 trays of Zinnias, 40 ‘Dalhia Flowered', 18 'Queen Red Lime' and 22 'Giant Double'. I also fill a large tray of Cosmos, 34 'Lemonade', 38 'Sonata Mix' and 12 'Bippnatus Cupcakes'.
I then reluctantly come inside.