Today started with constant rain and there was a big down pour in the night. I am very happy about this because finally I feel the soil is receiving moisture to a decent depth. It will need this because the forecast is hot and dry for the next two weeks. When I get outside I start by working in the polytunnel, it is very wet and I feel quite chilly, particularly my feet. I am wearing customised crocs…I inherited some crocs which were not quite big enough for me so I decided to cut a section out at the top to give my toes enough space. I am delighted with the result, they are very comfortable, suitable for digging and unaffected by water. The girls, needless to say, were horrified by my actions and presumably my resulting appearance, but I am not bothered about how I look; I just require practical comfort. The only drawback with my personalised footwear is that my feet are often damp. This is fine in the sunshine but not in this cool wet weather. I decide to bring a pair of snug bootie slippers and a small towel into the polytunnel. My plan is to only wear the crocs in the rain and whist I’m working in the tunnel to dry my feet and put on the slippers…bliss!!! It is possible that I am beginning to ‘lose the plot’, my polytunnel already has a comfortable chair, a cushion and a pile of books…I will be able to move in soon!
The weather looks ‘set in’ and I anticipate being in the tunnel all day, which is fine as I have lots to do. I decided to start by deadheading the sweet peas (how often do I say that!). Recently, flowering has slowed down in the tunnel because I had not kept up with dead heading, I then had a massive dead heading binge and now there are more blooms. However, I’ve noticed a lot of dead heads in the last few days – it takes over an hour to clear them, but I keep myself going snacking on strawberries that grow at the base of the sweet peas and shouting at radio 4 when I feel the reporting is being unfair…it does sound as if I’m beginning to go slightly crazy, especially when you picture me in this situation wearing slippers!
After lunch, the rain stops and I go outside to the Autumn onion bed which I finish weeding and tidying up the existing companion planting of Californian poppies, Nigella and Stock (mainly finished). I notice another plant (no flowers) which luckily I hesitate before removing as a weed, it turns out to be Summer savoury which has self-seeded or re-grown from when I planted it out last year. It smells lovely, like thyme.
I then plant out the two root trainers of dwarf French beans amongst the remaining onions and finally plant some very tall cosmos around the edge. This cosmos is too tall to be stable, so I cut them off at a leaf joint and hopefully they will bush out. I finish the day by taking dahlias out of the cold frame, removing all the weeds on the compost surface and writing them on my list according to their colours.
Aideen comes outside to look at the beautiful Foxtail Lilies which are beginning to open from their bases – a very slow process but worth the wait. We pop into the fruit cage and eat a few raspberries and then ceremoniously eat the only two cherries on the dwarf cherry tree… one each! They were very nice, pity there aren’t more!
Patrick then arrives with Diane to collect some strawberries and gives me some worrying news. The ‘bee-man’ has visited to check our bees for a very serious disease. It is difficult to spot, so an inspector will come next week to check them. If the bees are infected, they will be destroyed and everything burnt! This is devastating news as the bees are doing fantastically well. Please God that they are OK.