First plantings

Ah, nothing like digging in the dark: dusk was falling as I started turning over a quadrant of the vegetable bed. And I realised that I really would have to stop when I couldn’t see the fork in front of me – nor more importantly the fleshy thick weeds. And those I want to yank out and dispose of properly. These vegetable beds have been under the weedproof fabric since the summer and things are wonderfully clean under there. No slugs, no weeds (apart from those few monster ones that come up easily with a fork.) It was just me and the mole tunnels.

They do enjoy the freedom of a safe run. The black fabric and a covering of bark chips is heaven for them. No wonder the garden is riddled with busy mounds. They can scuttle under the fabric for a good ten metres of garden.  Well they will be delighted to know that once I have turned the garden, given it a mulch and a rest for the winter the fabric is going back down in the spring. Earlier Ronnie and Yvonne came over for tea and an inspection of the garden, (and new orchard) we even ventured as far as the vineyard. And my it does look clean. I must thank Nicolas for he must have strimmed in between the rows this autumn. All ready for me to Do Something Later. Like get rid of the weeds, prune the vines, get a grip. I will never become a winemaker with this attitude.

Earlier I did manage to clean up the courtyard planters: out with the bulbs and on with the mulch. And plant some calamagrostis Karl Foerster grasses in the bank planters. What do I call them? They are the flower beds on the sloping bank above the potting shed. Prizes for anyone who can come up with a name. Right now they look rather bare and sparse, but I will get the Joe Pie Weed plants (Eupatorium purpureum) and some Echinacea before the spring as companions and build from there.

One fun thing was to get the anemanthele lessonia grasses in underneath the mirabelles in the shade garden. They are my first plants in that area and quite a momentous occasion. Apparently they thrive in shade and even self sow. Now that’s what I call a great grass. And evergreen. Even better. While waiting for my guests I did do a bit of festuca grass lifting. There are plenty of these grasses (weeds) dotted about the property and I want to use them as edging plants around the paths. Nothing like free ornamental grasses. But I need to do it early in the morning when the light is right. I couldn’t see in the low sunlight any really good specimens. But did unearth three and move them to the path near the chestnut tree. Another part of the garden to which I will have to name. The wooden steps perhaps. The chestnut stairs. We shall see ( perhaps after a cleansing ale things will get more prosaic).

What else did I do today? Planted a cranberry, collected armfuls of sticks from the pruned chestnut tree beside the edge of our property. If the weather turns too nasty I will have plenty of sticks with which to chip and make mulch. And the benefits of listening to gardeners question time while I worked payed off in the lawn. Fruit trees cannot bear competition from lawns in their early years sayeth the experts. And even though I spent a day doing the right thing with all the orchard fruit trees, the one near the blackberries and lower vegetable garden was positively cramped by its fluffy lawn covering. So down went a mulch and in the spring I shall heed the admonition and get some weed proof fabric over it smartly. Right. Enough prevarication. Back to painting the office ceiling.