So last week

dinnerOne quick clearing of a row of tatties in the lower veg garden and a meal is on the table in minutes.   Well that’s an exaggeration. It takes me about half an hour to get the spuds out.   But it really only takes ten minutes for these beauties to cook.

You have to watch them like a hawk during the boiling. Eleven minutes in the water and their skins split.   But as they are such waxy new potatoes they taste great. If a little ragged on the plate. potato row

raspberries augustWhat other crops can I show off? Raspberries of course. Goodness this has been a great year for soft fruit.   I manage to pick every three days or so, and can get about two punnets each time.   Perfect for breakfast with yoghurt.

And can I count flowers as a crop? My lilies are just blooming like mad. I can take up a bucket of lilies and cosmos to my neighbour Daniele each Monday and she is delighted. I even have enough to perfume the house.   Utter blissikins, as Andrew would say. lilies at front door

But it’s time to stop showing the fruits of labours and actually write about the labours from the past week.

before shade gardenWith house guests by the pool and not needing any nurturing, I started in on a major weeding of the shade garden.   It’s too crowded and messy right now.   I will have to wait until the newly planted shrubs (santolinas, cistus, valerian, choisya, viburnum, jasmine) put on a bit of girth before I thin out the previously planted bits.   There are transplanted hellebores that came from the lower terraces and put on a rather dramatic prehistoric plant looking display; lilies from a planting two years back; thalictrums, grasses and even some nepeta six hills giant that are certainly in the wrong spot.   Please remind me to transplant the nepetas in November. I always forget. after shade garden

And the thalictrums can go to Leslie where they will flower and be nurtured.   Mine are too much in the sun now that some of the mirabelles have come down. They are definitely the wrong plant in the wrong spot now.

I have geraniums dotted through this area, but they aren’t thriving. It’s way too dry.   But now that I can actually spot them in among the rest of the plants maybe I can get round to a bit more nurturing.

in front of potting shedFlush with a success in this part of the garden I then moved round to the front of the potting shed.   A sorry sight indeed. So sorry that I refused to photograph it.   Bits of stones and concrete from the building; brambles creeping up from the terrace below, mess and uneven slopes.

So I cleard the concrete, tidied the wall, made a new wall where the steps meet, and then tried to level the ground as best I could.   This is going to be the area where I plant tulips in winter: a cutting garden for the house. It will need mulching like mad if I’m not to have weeds, or I might even be daring and add more river stones. But can the tulips push through gravel? I must ask Andrew.

I had hoped this area would have been covered with wooden decking.   But I ran out of funds once the whole potting shed was finished.   But one day it might be fun to actually have an area that doesn’t need weeding or pampering. And then I could have my cold frames on a neat and level surface.   Ooh, my plans do run away with me. verbascum thicket

verbascum weedingBetter to come back to reality and stare my weeds in the face. Verbascums.   They have done well this year. I have thousands of them. And I’m not exaggerating. It takes just one plant higher up the mountain to flower and set seed and the whole of my bank above the potting shed is a carpet of pesky and deeply rooted plants.

I had to leave them to grow hand sized because I couldn’t tell the difference between verbascums and clary sage babies.   But now I can spot the enemy it’s out with a sharp knife and cut off the tap root. Repeated 300 times.

I think I’ve cleared the entire area, but there’s bound to be just one that escapes notice and starts the cycle all over again.