Dark thoughts

I’m up and it’s still dark. Well, almost 730am pre clocks going back. But it feels heroic nonetheless. Just wait until I have imbibed this entire pot of tea and I might even be able to keep my eyes open.

Bark chipsYesterday was a big day outdoors. All morning in the forest finishing off the tree cutting and clearing away the branches (my job). And then down to the lower terrace to do the same to the two dead trees that were cut down in the summer. I managed to snag a barrel load of lovely bark chips for the potager path. They are slabs of bark more than chips right now. But once I get a hammer to them they will crumble beautifully.

Naturally this has meant I want to redesign the lower vegetable bed incorporating more paths. But that is going to have to wait until the dead of winter: the cosmos cannot be disturbed now they are so magnificent. And besides, I have more work in the area around the potting shed.

Oh yes, after hauling branches and carrying loads of sticks and logs what does one want to do? Dig out compost and mulch from the secret store and get it onto the plants.

Wish I had taken a photo of the action; but I was loathe to carry my camera yesterday as I have already donated my pedometer to the forest floor somewhere. And finding it will be worse than looking for a needle in a haystack, so I decided to leave all toys behind.

From whence the compost cameThe horse manure that I collected from Jean Daniel’s riding stables a year ago was well ready. Dark and soft and perfect. So out it came in buckets and onto the shade garden plants, the terrace beds and the rest of the garden down to the calabert. I fed the anemanthele and euphorbias, the grasses and cornflowers and gaura along the new calabert bed. And as a final encore I tossed bucket loads onto the pennisetum plants on the steep slope. It will probably end up down the bottom of the slope and feed the wildflower bed. But I need to get some nourishment onto that area.

The pennisetums are growing, but not romping. That soil is so poor after  two decades of just brambles. And I had fallen for that ruse that grasses don’t need much love. They do in this dry climate. And I wished I had enough compost to plant around them back in March. But I am trying to catch up with compost and fertiliser now. But naturally it won’t be perfect. I shall have to nurse them better next year.

The grasses in the new calabert bed look better. Richer soil and a bit more attention. And naturally, the bed is on the flat. Rare around here and it will hopefully get better and better. I have broadcast sown lots of poppies and cornflowers here. And they are germinating. As are the weeds. But things can run riot a bit more this year.

For October it was a warm and sunny day. Down to the t-shirt in the late afternoon. But this week’s forecast looks cooler. But sunny thank goodness, so I can keep on with the list.

Right. Tea is drunk. Dawn colours are appearing on the horizon. Time to seize the day.