Mangetout many

Elevenses. And never have they been so healthy. Instead of rummaging in the cupboards for a snack, it’s into the fridge for a large plate full of cherries. Scrumptious now they are chilled. But they don’t exactly taste best with tea, and you certainly can’t dunk ’em. But they restore after a morning’s planting.

I have promised to get every single potted plant and veg into the ground by the end of the day. But it may ooze over to tomorrow. It’s a monumental task. Every time I turn around I seem to have sprouted another tray of rudbeckias or hollyhocks. And my runner beans have grown even more overnight.

First up in the planting stakes was the wisteria bed. Right now it has just a nasturtium milkmaid plant which will take off eventually, and lots of cut down and mulched bulbs. Something a bit more permanent is what it needs and I haven’t decided what. I would love a daphne. But as I have managed to kill one expensive little plant already (is our soil too acidic?) I am going for perennials instead.

Not a white garden as I had first envisaged and to follow the theme of the previous owners. But green. Well, hey, it’s safe but fun. So in went the kniphofia green jade (and that is the final spelling after all my attempts in recent weeks). And Rudbeckia green wizard which I grew from seed.

Next up was to planted eight runner beans. Three with the rest of the beans in the bean poles, and seven in among the corn. I suspect they will take over the corn instead of scrambling up them, but it’s an experiment. And if all else fails I can always put up a pole.

Next up I planted out a dozen basil seedlings along the path and a few in the gaps in the salad. And in the middle of all this there were those -oh look√É- moments when I launched into weeding the onions and the corn as I couldn’t get to the spot where I need the beans to be.

And I also had a go at the edges of the potager. It’s the bit the lawn mower does not dare to reach in case I shear off three months of growth in the bean bed. This morning I couldn’t see where to plant the runner beans for the lush grass creeping over the edge. Sorry this sounds a bit like a list of achievements, but I was racing to get things in.

What I didn’t mention was the fabulous planting weather. Rain. Well, showers. Grey sky and intermittent bits of dampness that meant the waterproof jacket went on, came off, and then was ignored as I raced from chore to chore.

In went the mint that has been sitting in pots. And most especially I did my Beth Chatto bit. I copied some of her designs from her scree garden. I planted the pulsatilla, the libertia and the irises (raspberry flavour) in front of the stipa gigantia and other grasses in the courtyard. The libertia is a cruel experiment. I am not sure if it is hardy, so I am trying one to see if it makes it through an Ardeche winter. I hate the idea of killing plants wantonly, but they are such stunning plants, and would look so good alongside the anemanthele lessonias up in the shade garden. Good uprights and good colour. And it should detract from the rose.

It’s a none too sneaky method of trying to hide the big rose back there. A rose that has more thorns than any in existence and doesn’t have stems that do anything but flop in a vase. You can only use them cut right down and floating in a bowl. And even then you look and say, hmm, sort of coral colour don’t you think? And go and admire the David Austin roses instead. I may be able to tut about the colour, but I couldn’t neglect what I saw. Green fly covering just about every single stem. On with the spray attachment and a happy five minutes were spent blasting them to smithereens with the hose.

Job done, time to haul all the boxes of seedlings up to the potting shed and get the cutting garden sorted. Dull, dull pictorially as they are small. And doesn’t this area just cry out for a good bark mulch? Hideous sight. But I’m hoping that as in the vegetable garden the lush growth should hide the ugly weed proof fabric. Maybe that will be an August project when I have more time. But I did manage to put tiny stakes in each planting pole and use my nifty grape vine attacher (sorry I don’t know its technical term) to tie everything in place. The sunflowers are particularly wanton in their approach to gravity at the early stages. But once they know which way is up they do straighten out nicely.

I planted the scabiosa first up and then didn’t know where to put the cleomes. Eventually I decided they don’t need to be right on the edge of the path as they have killer spikes. But I ran out of time. I knew that the right spot was futher under the cherry tree which would involve putting down weedproof fabric and doing a bit of sorting – but I had to go to town – well our little local town to get the car serviced and mooch around the garden centre while I waited. Came out with tomato feed and an outrageously expensive packet of lettuce seeds. Not much to show for the visit, but this garden has enough plants already thank you very much.

Backfor a late afternoon session of planting yet more cleomes and agastaches and a bunch of mystery seedlings which may be hollyhocks, or a shocking mix up and are actually vegetable plants instead. Labelling; will I never learn? Actually I’m very dedicated about labelling when the plants start as seeds. One label per pot. But when it comes to pricking out I pot them on and place them into a tray with one label in one pot and all the rest have to stay nearby. But if you lose that one label… well, that’s it. And these seedlings get moved about for watering purposes. But being in rows a cutting garden and not as a decorative feature in the actual garden I should be fine.

Dinner was taken on the hoof. I ate mangetout as I trekked past, watering in the basil that I planted out (found yet more of the seedlings in a cowering group in one of the trays), and some rocket which was bursting out of its pot.

And watered all the trees in the orchard. And there is fruit on all but the peach tree. Little orbs of promise on the nectarine and four of the five apple trees. If I have time tomorrow I shall wander on down to the apples on the lower terraces and have a look. No, I can’t do that. If I get within visual striking distance of the vineyard I will discover to my horror that there is work to do. If the vines in the courtyard can grow a foot in a week just think how much will be happening there.