Australia Day. I ought to have raised a flag up the flagpole and saluted: but I have neither flag nor pole. So I just paused in my breafkast munchings and thought of warm summer days on the water and the beach.
We are far from that now, but it’s still fun to live on a mountain top in a region far from the sea. Another cold start, so I grabbed the wheelbarrow and meandered down to the first terrace below the house to the compost bins.
Having done such a good job on the orchard trees, I decided to look after all the other precious fruit trees with a good mulching. The fig trees in the east garden are now better prepared than they have ever been. I do lob a bit of wood ash onto the ground each year, but not much else.
So that done I decided to mulch around all the perennial flowers on the walnut path just behind the mighty pannicum squaw grass. I didn’t get to enjoy it’s gorgous slightly purple pannicles this autumn: Ulysse the stallion escaped one afternoon in summer and had a lovely time munching his way through the courtyard plants. Animals will feed on these tasty delights. And always will until I can plant more of a protective hedge to keep them out. That was one of the plans I had once the hedge went in around the potting shed. If they grow well and I don’t have any disasters, I think I might continue with a huge planting scheme all along the top boundary of the road.
And if the hedge proves tasty enough, maybe escaping horses will be satisfied with that, rather than wander down and eat my more prized plants. Even today, right on cue, Ulysse did just that. He loves to test the electric fence every week or so to see if it’s on. And it he doesn’t get a shock, the clever horse breaks out. He likes the hedge. It took a lot of work to turn him round and send him back to the dull old grass in front of the neighbour’s house.
But that’s next year. Right now I have a very naff looking bit sticking out of the path that contains helleniums, day lilies and lychnis plants.
I think the rocks around it look ghastly right now. But I have to find a way to hold in all the mulch for a bit. And once spring really arrives, I might be able to remove them and make it a more natural flow.
Everything is in straight lines on this linear property of terraces. So I am trying to break things up with plants. If all goes well, this will be one of those distraction areas. It might even take your eye off the potting shed lurking in the distance. That’s the plan.
I also planted up Leslie’s winter flowering honeysuckle. That was another long bath soak pondering. She does love to tease me about my lack of enthusiasm for yellow flowers. But to have colour in winter in this bare landscape is a great idea and I am grateful for her gift. I have planted them in front of the wood store right at the eastern end of the house.
If they take well, I shall tie them in as a good support and enjoy the sight of them each time I cruise past.
Next up was to plant out some of the cornflower and clary sage seedlings that have overwintered in the potting shed. I always get this mild panic when I’m only a few days away from leaving. Will things cope when I’m away?
So as a precaution I have planted an entire terrace on the bank behind the potting shed with a mix of the cornflowers and clary sage plants. That could be a fun colour combination come summer.
It does feel good to be getting things into the ground. It has been a fantastic week of work. As an encore I zipped up to the top vegetable bed and gave the raspberries a major prune. Scratched and battered but happy.
Tomorrow it’s back to the soft fruit orchard and more battling with weeds and brambles. Or to the village to plant another sodding hedge. Jean Daniel has ideas.