The orchard


One day to go. We have all been studying the forecast pages for days. The heatwave may break tomorrow. I have doubts we will get much rain. But the thought of temperatures returning to a level where one can do more than scuttle and hide….

The promise – oh glory be – is for four days of acceptable temperatures before they race off again into the mid 30Cs.

So you can imagine that I am poised like a coiled spring ready to go.  I want to treat this like a military campaign and get as many jobs done as possible.  It will be thrilling not to have to plan the early raids on the garden for once.


But today I did just that. I mowed two of the lower terraces. The easy ones. That only took about four hours. This heat is reminding us it’s bushfire season, and we decided that the lower terraces have a bit too much fuel in the form of grass on the edges of the terraces and overgrown meadow further down.

Tomorrow I will need to finish the two closer to the house.  They are so littered with fallen rocks from the walls. One day I will train all those wild boar to go down the gaps in the walls rather than straight through them.

IMG_8795It’s like picking up toys left behind by giants having a sleepover.

Underneath the mulberry is a rubble strewn mess.

IMG_8796I shifted the easier rocks and will be able to sneak the mower in between the largest of the fallen boulders.

IMG_8757But the purpose of today’s post was to confess.

I watered. I watered in the orchard. I have been boasting for years about my technique of watering deeply once a fortnight in the first year and never again.

I didn’t factor on the effing mole rats burrowing so successfully under a line of shrubs and two fruit trees that they are lolling about with their tongues hanging out in the heat.


Not the mole rats. I’ve never been able to catch them. But two phlomis plants, lots of purple sage, three ballota and my precious and favourite apple tree are ailing.


I only worked out why when I put a hose to the tree and realized there was a tunnel right underneath.


Pause for curses and weeping. Wailing and gnashing of teeth.


I’ve done my best by watering the tunnel. And I must remember to lift those phlomis this autumn. Raised from seed, they are my treasures. I could move them towards the stable end of the orchard. The soil is better there.

And of course between all these trees there is still some weeding to do.


The viper’s bugloss has gone mad.  And the wretched little plant has spikes. So I have to remember to bring my gloves when I have a session.


Spikes? Spines? You can tell I’ve had a beer.

I’ve weeded about three quarters of the bank so really, there is no excuse. The chore has been on my list for weeks and weeks.

Wish me luck for the mad busy week ahead.