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Weekend Blogs

24/7/2020

Hosepipe wars!

Today is a day for research, Patrick is preparing a Planning Application for Church Gardens which will require a planning statement, which is where I come in. One of the frustrations of living in a listed property, especially one with a host of additional restrictions attached to it, is you have to submit a planning application for almost everything. This application concerns rebuilding sections of walls (rather than purely repairs), putting a pond in the orchard, and building an outbuilding that could be used for visitors to the garden to serve refreshments and/or hold meetings and small events. I spend most of the day trawling through Emails, letters, reports and reading up about Renaissance/Tudor gardens to find information to support our application. We want to encourage visitors to the garden because we think it is worth visiting and the new building will enable this plan. Then, hopefully we will be able to raise at least some money towards the garden’s restoration and upkeep. It should be clear to the authorities by now that we would never do anything that could be detrimental to the garden, however, we know from past experience that any such applications are not always met with the enthusiasm and support that you might like. This can be very depressing and tends to slow down progress. Considering the perilous state of the built structures of the garden and the horrendous condition of the land when we moved in, you would think that the council would be pleased with the progress made and encourage us with the project…did they want Church Gardens to disintegrate totally?

As a result of this work, little gardening is achieved today apart from dead heading sweet peas and watering. There has been little rain recently and parts of the garden are struggling. In order to reach the furthest corners of the kitchen garden, I have to use three hosepipes fixed together and my history with hosepipes is turbulent! I am convinced that the hosepipe has a stroppy mind of its own. If it can find anything to get caught on, it will, if it can kink and stop the water flow, it will and best of all, if it can become disconnected at any point and drench me with freezing water, it will!

Today the hosepipe is on great ‘obstructive’ form…anyone walking a dog in the field would have been treated to a tirade from me especially when I tried to reconnect the wrong sections of hose and caused a massive fountain of water soaking myself from head to foot! We need to pray for rain!

25/7/2020

Garlic Harvest

Today rain is forecasted – thank goodness! I try to get a bit done outside before getting dad up and I make a start on removing the clumps of delphiniums from the fruit tree border, also dead heading the peonies whilst I’m there.

Getting dad ready for the day is hard work because the health problem (still undiagnosed) he is suffering from is bowel related and it affects him in waves. This last 24 hours has been difficult and he has needed my attention repeatedly. This is not easy for either of us, but eventually I get him settled and comfortable with his breakfast. After finishing clearing the last delphiniums which is difficult because this bed is full of self seeded verbena bonariensis. This looks beautiful, but if you push past the stems, they scratch and graze your skin. At some point, I will have a major ‘sort out’ in this border and tie the verbena back to make the service path at the back more accessible. However, this is not a priority at present, so I will have to suffer some wounds for now!

My priority today is to salvage my garlic. I planted loads of garlic in the Autumn and the Spring and used a lot of it, particularly elephant garlic, early in the season as ‘wet garlic’ which was delicious. However, there is still a lot in the ground which should probably have been harvested in June. The garlic beds have become over run, they have not been weeded for months and I can barely see the dried garlic stalks amongst the foliage of companion planting and weeds. I need to get the garlic out and onto the polytunnel bench before it rains heavily. This is not particularly easy and surprise surprise, there are lots of voluminous bee filled borage plants to navigate! I manage to excavate a reasonable haul of garlic. Some of it has rotted which is annoying but there is still quite a lot intact. As usual, some bulbs are irritatingly small, it is difficult to grow uniformly large bulbs, but some are a good size. I bring it inside as the rain sets in and lay it out on the propagator trays (not switched on) to dry, although its probably already dry enough.