A bucket and spade in the shade

planting shade gardenThe sun shone. I was in the garden. Stunned by my good fortune. This was my first day out in among the plants for about a month.

And after a morning painting the third coat on the new bathroom door I felt released into the garden with my bucket and spade.

My first aim was to get all the shade garden plants into the ground. The soil is soft and moist after a few days of rain so they went in easily and without too much fussing and agonising. Luckily I found my planting plans in the potting shed, and could work out that two sticks in the upturned pots meant Iris Foetidissima (I’m taking a guess at the spelling there) and three sticks denoted Hemerocallis Gentle Shepherd.

garden assistantI had to nip into the potting shed to grab some secateurs at one stage and that woke up Artur. (Well snuggled down in a nest of soft fleeces). So he came out to inspect the work and generally interrupt me while I dug.

He settled down after a bit and merely supervised. And that was fine as I started racing madly about and he tired of following me.

I wanted to plant the anenome blandas that Andrew gave me.  But I couldn’t place them as the soil on the walnut bed was so denuded after the flood. hornbeam hedge

So with bucket and trowel, I moved dozens of loads from the hornbeam hedge on the other side of the path and onto the larger bed.

This soil came out of the fallen wall where all my lovely (sigh, suppressed sob, melodrama all the way) thyme plants used to live.  Good rich happy stuff mind you.  The bulbs will appreciate it.

But things take longer than you plan. I keep seeing things that need urgent attention.  And I have a master list with instructions to do things in strict order.  So today ought to have been cutting back the dying asparagus fronds and digging up the dahlias to store over winter in the potting shed.

But I only got as far as heeling in the seven Cochet trees in the potager. And raking the walnut path. And moving soil. Tomorrow I shall attempt to be better organised.

willow pruningThe one other thing I did was to cut down my willow sticks for the christmas tree.  The willow (pollarded for the past fifty years) lurks above the top vegetable bed in an area that once had an underground spring. Hence the willow tree.

I don’t want it to take off and shade the vegetables, so I took to it with a pair of secateurs. (Having waded through a thicket of brambles to reach it. grrr.)

You might wonder why I don’t go and cut down a proper fir tree for the Christmas season. There are no shortage of them in the forest. 2013 xmas tree

But I just can’t bear the thought of cutting down something that has been growing happily for a decade, just to give me festive cheer for two weeks. And then lob it onto the compost heap.

So willow sticks and baubles it is.