Blistering progress

Started the day by making my first strawberry and rose petal jam batch. The Gertie Jekyll roses are so abundant and going over so fast that I am trying to keep up. The dead heading involves plucking off the blooms and putting them in the wicker basket for Andrew’s pot pourri gift. And then first thing this morning I took six plump roses and decided they could do for jam. You have to wash carefully, give them a mighty spin in the salad spinner and then laboriously trim each petal. Apparently the very white part of the petal is bitter, so it must be removed. After a half hour or so of this I decided to eat a petal and see if it was true. And I found the entire petal bitter, so what do I know? I continued to do as I was told, and ended up with very trimmed petals indeed.

Hope the jam tastes good, it’s the most labour intensive batch yet. And don’t they look grim in close up? Much darker than I expected.

Did I ever get out of the kitchen? Well, there was a long interlude of opening the pool and vacuuming. But really the only gardening of note was cutting back verdant growth beside the new steps down from the pool to the pump shed. Luckily there are plenty of ripe cherries at head height here, so it wasn’t as laborious as I make out.

I should have done this earlier when the sun wasn’t so hot, but I had to make a start on weeding the path down to pool in between the banks. It will eventually be sown with grass seeds. But first I had to pluck out the endless little stones and then yank out the unwelcome nature-abhors-a-vacuum-or-in-this-case-bare-soil guests. Took ages.

And all the while I had to look up and see the mighty growth of even more weeds on the Pennisetum bank. It is so steep that I had been in denial about the sprouting annuals that have crowded the little ornamental grasses. But start I did. And even had the happy distraction of helping to move 34 sheets of plaster board over at Jeff and Lynn’s before getting back and getting stuck in.

You can’t see how steep it is. Or how perilous it is to perch and hope I didn’t start a landslide while I pulled out the unwanted greenery. It was even too steep to keep my secateurs in my pocket (they fell out twice and then I gave up as I grew tired of scuttling back down the bank to retrieve them). So you can see that I need to go back and remove the little brambles that have sprouted up at the base of the bank. I was amazed there weren’t more. This was a bramble thicket once. It isn’t entirely finished. But I am happy with the day’s progress.

Finished the gardening day by cutting back the grasses that have grown up right on the edges of pool. There are some places where the mower just won’t reach. And up popped a blister on my thumb from so much secateur use as punishment. But it looks spankingly neat and that’s all one can ask for. Now where’s that bandaid and where’s my beer?