Meadow mess

A cool and cloudy day. Perfect for sowing grass seeds. We have had 5mm of rain since late afternoon and the ground is deliciously moist. For now. There are bald bits on Alice’s path, so I have scattered the last of my big grass seed pack. Reserving a few for the steps on the path down to the pool.

And then to give the seeds room, it was down on hands and knees and doing a perfect imitation of someone who has lost their contact lenses. Every single weed has been plucked out of that path and on the bank around the ornamental grasses as well. And it looks like we are going to have a great crop of mirabelles again this year. I picked up dozens from the path that were rejected during their june drop season. The tree is groaning with fruit and hopefully will be within easy reach come August.

You can’t tell from the picture that I have weeded.   In fact you can easily see hundreds more. But I have cleared enough around each plant to hopefully give them growing room. And the rest I shall leave as a colourful (well, green) erosion control against heavy rains. This bank is only held up by weeds, so they are staying in place until the grasses get thick and sturdy.

And speaking of thick and sturdy; here is the molinea in the courtyard. It is doing what grasses do best – showing lush and healthy growth. It is a joy to see when I am dashing in the drizzle or surprising heavy downpour to the potting shed.

Along with this gift of a grass, I now have five lovely gaura plants from Andrew. And decided to accept defeat on the wildflower meadow and plant them there. I can stare all I like at this supposed wildflower bed and recognise many plants. All of them common Ardeche weeds. So up comes a Verbascum and out comes brambles, and that clingy spreading weed that looks so pretty and never comes off your trouser legs or socks without care. And in goes the gaura.

I will have to think about what to do next year. And naturally the little seeds will all germinate then and ruin any design. But there is no design now, just a wilderness, so anything will look better. More molinea perhaps?

And it’s the same down on the orchard at ground level too. I spent ages last year mowing to get the grass to come back and actually be lawnlike. And this year I just mowed a swathe and left the rest to return to comely meadowness. But it’s a thicket. And I suspect the soil is just too rich. I am envious of Andrew’s meadows further south. But he has put years of work into his. And ours are just one year, or two at the most, from their wild state. It is going to take time to get the brambles out and encourage some of the better species. s When the weather warms up (and it’s warming already) the orchard really will have to be mown. If I don’t do it this week it will be so high only a strimmer with the sturdy blade will make a difference.

Actually I am delighted by the one wildflower that is up and enchanting this year. The digitalis are plentiful. Being biennial, and being strimmed to death last year meant I didn’t see many. Or maybe I wasn’t looking. Hopefully they will be complemented by the white foxgloves I have sown from seed and planted out in the shade garden for next year. I had to plant about thirty Echinacea green wizards in the gaps.

But it’s so hard to navigate. There are mole hills to avoid – no use planting there, the mole will just throw up more soil in a week’s time and bury all the efforts – and the little geraniums and foxglove seedlings. They are taking well, but not quite taking off. And there are geraniums in abundance, and lilies and gladiolus and lupins of course.

I am debating whether to let the lupins set seed. And seed everywhere. Or tidy them and try again. Undecided I have pruned the ones closest to the path, and the ones that are crowding the lilies and will ponder what to do.

Meantime, it’s time for tea, my body weight of cherries and stretching in preparation for more planting out.

Hours later and I am indoors (again) waiting for the rain to slow down so I can get back to the potting shed. This is steady soaking rain and I am delighted. But stuck until it lets up. The afternoon was spent profitably inside the shed mind you. I had a major sorting out. This seems to take place at the end of seasons. Right now all the sowing is done and the pots and containers need putting away. And then there is clearing and cleaning and generally making it a place that will be a pleasure to walk into. I was thinking of sowing some more zucchini seeds for fun. But having planted my only one out in the middle apex of the cabbage quadrant I suspect one will be enough. It’s huge already and I am bound to lose most of the little ones to marrows when I go away. So the seeds can wait until next year.

In putting away some planks of wood I strayed a bit too close to the cherry tree on the top road. And couldn’t resist climbing the branches and having a bit of a feed. A greed feed. Here is my action shot of the plump ripe berries, all of which were scoffed within reach.

So feeling slightly bilious and rather shamefaced for eating so many you can imagine how excited I am to see the twenty or so trees that line the path coming into ripeness too. Oh god, bring me another crop soon I beg you.

It will be a race between the summer fruiting raspberries and the jostaberries and the white currants. You can’t tell with the white currants when they are really ripe. They do go a rather translucent pearly pink when truly ripe. But if it’s for jams they are going in on the under ripe side. Must get my recipe books out for those, no idea what to do with them apart from adding them to tarts.

Right, sun has come out, must dash back up to the shed.