30 MAY 2020
Everything gets off to a later start today, well it is Saturday and I do all the watering that I want to do before going to the Annexe. This gives Diane and Meave a longer sleep (although Meave never appears and Diane and I ‘go it alone’). Jean is also very sleepy when we go in so it is good that we started later, but then a district nurse arrives to drop off more creams and a ‘slip sheet’ to help move Jean onto the bed. After I finish my various duties I go outside. We have a visit from a physiotherapist which was very helpful giving us advice on how to build up Jean’s strength in her bad arm and legs.
I then go back outside to go back in the pond with an old pool skimmer net to see if I can for a better job of removing the blanket weed, whilst I am standing in the middle of the pond, a movement catches my eye and I notice a large dragonfly in the water. I then realise the dragonfly is emerging from the water and I am witnessing the transformation from rather scary dragon nymph to beautiful new green dragonfly. I am astonished at the coincidence that I just happened to be in the pond at this precise moment. The dragonfly then just remains holding onto the side of the pond, occasionally flickering it wings whilst it dries in the sun. The second miracle (in my opinion) of the day was, whilst I was watering in the morning, I noticed two unexpected new flower spikes in the central border and realised that they are foxtail lily blooms (not yet open). This is very exciting, I planted foxtail lilies in four locations in this border several years ago and they only produced a few leaves and then seemed to disappear… now they have emerged in two of the locations, I am delighted.
I then return to the tunnel, it is still ridiculously hot, and I start by transferring my baby leeks from a tray to root trainers. I’ve never done this before, but presently I have not got room to plant them in the bean/onion quarter of the vegetable garden, I will have to wait for the broad beans and peas to finish. Moving them into root trainers will give me breathing space. I also plant out sunflowers (which were looking droopy) in between my cucumbers. I love having sunflowers in the polytunnel and so do the bees! Outside in the orchard everyone is still hard at work on ‘project tree’. Cutting down nut trees and processing the wood into logs, poles, woodchip and burning scrappy branches on the bonfire to make ash, all very useful products. By the end of the day the wall running from the bees to the small steps is completely clear, which starts to give a much clearer sense of how the garden would have been originally.
As it gets later and a little less hot, I start the long job of sorting out the dahlias into different colours, prior to planting, to come up with this year’s colour combinations (also weeding the pots as I go). I then went inside to prepare dinner and came back outside to dig two large holes at the start of the central border to plant the biggest, dark red leaved cannas. This takes me and Diane to remove them from their pots (they are very big and heavy) and place them in the holes, they also shower me in earth! James does his watering and I decide to thoroughly water the fruit tree border before coming in. This bed is looking and smelling beautiful, most of the roses are in full bloom as are the peonies (magenta, pale pink and white) and the bottle brush bush (red) is also beginning to flower. The plants that are especially suffering from lack of rain, are the rudbeckias and the astilbes which get extra water. It is actually very enjoyable to concentrate on watering one border carefully and it gives me the opportunity to take time to appreciate all of the beautiful roses.