Potager incursions

There was that blissful 7pm moment last night when I ambled round the top of the potager admiring the almost explosion of roses that now clothe the potager structures.

Self-seeded sweet peas climbing in through the Gertrude Jekyll blooms.

A riot of scent. I stepped back to sniff the very first Tess of the d’Urberville rose, (a shy bloomer) and promptly fell into the trench.

There was no great damage, apart from my pride. I even kept hold of the bouquet of sweet peas in my hand. But it was one of those annoyingly apt moments when life plays out like a cheap theatrical farce.

The lost pipe. The missing connection.  The unbelievable destruction in the garden.

Some of my poor friends have been enduring shrill hourly updates on this saga by email. So the rest of you have to join in. And then we can move on.

Gardener’s worst nightmare? Apart from looking down at a landscape being churned up these beasties in the wilder reaches of the garden?

I swear they have been breeding.

It was this.

To connect all the pipes in both our farmhouses to the new septic tank we had to find the exits.  Think about your own homes for a moment. Every tap, every loo, every sink.  They all have to go somewhere. And we discovered every single exit (a tedious tap turner and then run to the pipes at the sides of the house moment). Apart from one.

The guesthouse loo flushes and disappears, then turns up in the soon to be decommissioned old tank.

The tank is in the garden. Ergo, the pipe runs through the garden. The garden that was a lot different in the 1970s when this farm was brought back from dereliction and renovated.

Have I lost you? The whiff of septic tank saga doesn’t really belong in a post about green stuff.

Well, believe me. I was losing the will to live most of Wednesday.

That was the day we had to find the damn thing or Guillaume was going to bring in the big guns.

One mini digger let loose in my beautiful potager (well, scruffy but chock full potager) with very narrow paths.

To keep the dozer out, we had to dig. Find the pipe and solve the puzzle.

Eight hours. Twenty five metres of pipe. Two feet down.

And what is that particular sub section of Murphy’s law that says the discovery will only be made in the last 10 centimetres of pipe laboriously excavated?

We started at one end. We then went to the other (that was grim). We tried the middle. Logic just didn’t come into the puzzle.

And naturally as we were starting to nibble at all the edges of the productive potager I was getting almost weepy.

I kept pausing to carefully move just-germinated Dwarf French beans, uproot the Tess of the d’Urberville rose and put it somewhere safe. Pull out bindweed roots. Try and save the soil that has been undisturbed for 12 years and carefully built up with endless mulch.

And in the end, on Thursday morning, just as we were conceding defeat, David chopped a big fat plum tree root from the path and lo – the pipe.

Glory be. We would have whooped for joy… except our bones ached so much from crouching in the trench.

And it was then that serious discussion moment around the pipes when two clients, three workers all stood and stroked chins and made up their minds.

One more trench down through the grass path and out the gate.

We could hand dig it and not have the digger. Or open the gate and crush two permaculture beds, but be done in about twenty minutes.

My hero.

And on that note, let’s close the chapter of destruction and sorry mess.

Flowers next week.