First clack and clatter

hayfever mowingAh yes, mowing. I was all set to send a detailed update of my day last night. But I only came indoors at 8pm, and that gave me half an hour to shower, change, cook dinner and settle down to an hour of the Chelsea Flower Show on tv.

And after that I lost the will to write!

Not because I have Chelsea show garden envy: they are perfect gardens and I love drooling over them.  But I just ran out of steam.

It has been a long physical day plodding behind the mower.  And hauling out the grass cuttings, bagging them, dragging them up to the soft fruit orchard and mulching the ground.

But it’s such a relief after a week of rain to have one fine day.  And thank goodness for free draining granite mountain soil.  Three inches of rain one day, pretty good the next. lawn mowing attempt

Well, not perfect. You can see that I’ve only been able to mow the edges of each terrace.  There are small springs of water coming out of the base of the terraces so it’s too damp to get in close and mow there.  But just to get the curves started is fantastic.

I was worried the grass was growing so fast that I would lose the original pattern done three weeks earlier.

I lost a few of the curves in the area near the mulberry tree but went back and created the curve once I’d done the first pass.

For the technical bit: first pass on 7 and then lower the blades to 3 for the second pass. Two is too low as I found out, it is a bit scalped – so three it has to be.

One huge area which I couldn’t even get a curve on was the main lawn. I did one pass with the mower and it protested.  Too much damp grass clogging up the blades.  So I skedaddled out of there and went down to the orchard which was a whole lot easier to clear.

orchardBut what to do with the lawn clippings? Mulch the orchard trees of course.

But I had to find the trees first. I swear, when I shut my eyes I see grab grass.

(Pause while I search online for the latin name of the long tendrils of weed that are so successful in my garden – galium aparine  – cleavers.)

The weed grows about three feet tall, and has sticky long tendrils that grab at you and any plant they come in contact with.  I quite admire them. Especially as they are so easy to remove. And for once, they don’t sting or scratch. My kinda weed.

Each tree is just crowded by weeds growing around their cages and threatening to swamp.

So I scrabbled about and removed as much as I could, and eventually just squished the weeds flat.  I’m so pleased with my new fencing system which lets me get in underneath to clear weeds away from the very base of the trees.  But it was a lot of the day on hands and knees.

And sneezing.  I forgot to take an antihistamine which is hilariously reckless. I sneezed most of the way around the orchard.  But I’ve become an expert at one handed mowing while mopping with a hanky.  sorting walnut bed

The day didn’t start out with a loud motor.  I did a good session of weeding first.

The small bed under the walnut tree near the courtyard needed work.  Or in this instance, Needed Work.  I had yanked out the eragrostis plants in March and just left the bed to its own pattern of growth. Which meant lush and rampant weeds.

There were the irises in the front of the bed, but that was it.

So I have decided to do my usual rows of plants for a bit of artistic uniformity.

So here you see the three signature plants (ie the only plants I have to spare): irises, stachys and eragrostis.  I’ve mulched in between so it looks a bit stark and dark, but that will settle down.  And I’ll just have to mulch behind the plants until I can get more. That will be another place for my grass clippings I think. I won’t have enough chippings from the branches for all the spots I want.

rosa rugosaAnd you can’t walk past any part of the garden without lunging at the most obvious weeds. So I seemed to spend the morning pulling out unwanted plants from the little narrow bed beside the barn (full of stachys, purple sage, camassias and irises – most fetching) and the hedge. The rosa rugosa are flowering in the hedge which is great. First roses out.

All the weeds are going up to the top vegetable garden to build up the barrier of wall I want to create. I have no spare soil, so compost it will be. All under black plastic so they can rot down.

But, oh that I could just bag up the weeds and have someone else haul the heavy sacks. It’s all uphill. And most of the morning I had Artur under foot. I think he was beguiled by the sunshine and wanted to supervise very closely. He couldn’t settle. artur sitting on asparagus

Well, at one stage he settled on the asparagus bed which had me shrieking at him (he had no idea why I looked so cross).  No wonder I get a few bent asparagus spears. He sits on them.

But for once he was being rather biddable. And as long as I stopped stooping and weeding, and actually sat down and proffered him a lap, he would trot over and do what cats do best – melt your heart.

Eventually he gave up chasing me and went to the potting shed, and I could get out the mower and make a loud noise somewhere else.

Happy mountain inhabitants all round.