Land taming

cherriesA day of cherries and sunshine.   It’s so much fun to feed for free.   And it made the first part of the day more pleasurable: I had to collect the manure that was drying nicely all along the first terrace from the horses’ last visit.   The horses must have been gone more than a week, as the pats (are horse droppings pats? No idea) were very dry and light as can be. But they will be pefect in six months time. manure collecting

I managed three loads of future compost, and even pulled out a few nasty verbascums enroute.   And I was interrupted by a very memorable sight.   Jean Daniel came cantering up on the newly broken in Ulysse.

Ulysse broken in I never thought I would see this: he is a rather playful and wild young stallion.   I noted that Jean Daniel was wearing his crash helmet – something he never does – and did hint that the horse is coming along and not throwing him off as often this week. I wish him luck.

I’d rather battle with weeds than two year olds.

What else today? ve I weeded the planter boxes that sit on the courtyard edge that looks over the potager.   That will teach me to prune the vines and expose the view.   They were a sorry sight – dying foliage from tulips, fading violas, and not much else.   I don’t fancy spending a fortune on geraniums as I did last year.   So went up to the potting shed and had a rummage. verbena planted up

poppies in duck pondThe cosmos would grow too high and block the view, they were out.   Nothing much left but a tray of small verbenas.   I grew them from seed and seem to recall they weren’t as tall as the vbs.   So I planted them up and noted that the succulent plants that came from the Filippi order – can’t recall their name – are just starting to flower. They might help.   And if all else fails I’ll just forget to prune the lower bits of vines and hide the whole thing.

stachys potted onI’m trying my best to get everything into the ground this week.   And the stachys plants have survived well their exile outdoors.   But they weren’t quite ready to go into the ground between the sage plants on the walnut path.   So potting up it had to be.   More plants grown from seed.

I ducked up to the top potager to pick some peas, lament over the scorched earth and vowed to water later.   But realised that all this potting and planting was just putting off the inevitable; weeding the lower vegetable bed. first peas

It took hours.   Hot work, but very necessary.   And by night fall I felt that I had tamed the beast at long, long last.

tying up beans and sweet peasI had to tie in the sweet peas and climbing beans first.   And then get down on hands and knees and crawl through the thicket that was the pea jungle and pull out weeds.   I had to repeat the mantra of plant or weed, plant or weed.   As if I fell into a reverie, I tended to yank out rocket plants thinking they were weeds.   So a bit of attention was required. It was pleasantly cool in the jungle, and the extra salad plants I had put in here seemed to be quite content under this canopy rather than out in the exposed open hot site. after pea quadrant

before weeding potagerI decided to move onto the cabbage quadrant next.   After all, my original plan was to plant out the small cabbage seedlings I had seen in the potting shed hours earlier in the day.   Just goes to show how distracted one can be.

The cabbages haven’t fared as well as the peas and beans.   I will need to sow more I think as this crop won’t get us through the winter.   But at least the swiss chard plants are still alive. Puny but battling on. potager reclained