This is barely gardening

So. Back to the farm with a bump. Back to the dread Sorting of the Gravel Paths.

One can swan about photographing the glorious crocosmia.

Or noting that the apple tree has grown so well at the far end of the potager it is now shading about three of my most dramatic dahlias in the cutting garden just to the right.

Or play about with backgrounds when I photograph the only surviving cut flowers in the garden for the market.

Hague Blue, Farrow and Ball. I can’t indulge in a whole painted wall, so I did a cardboard piece and just shoved it behind the bouquets for a touch of contrast when I wanted to remember what I’ve cut.

I need a bigger piece of board. The lily foliage is so battered from the hail I had to hide it in a sea of flowering marjoram. And I’ve asked Andrew to order me a 1000 drumstick allium bulbs for the end of the year. Good plants that are small enough to evade the damage that felled the larger alliums.

And I need to avert my gaze from the fab acanthus in the garden. Its leaves have collapsed in the drought and the heat. But the flower stalks are still worth cutting.

(They are so hideous I didn’t find them in my photo folder. Oh here’s one. Ready. Gird your loins for this.)

It looks like how I feel in a heatwave.

But enough softening you up with flowers. A bouquet or four for the tardy blog posts of late.

I’m almost as late as the lads who are repairing and relining our pool.

For a month now I have had my eye on the battered old pool cover which was being replaced. As soon as Morgan and Tony were tracked down and ‘cajoled’ (insert encouraged or threatened as appropriate) to come up and finish what they started, it was recycling central on the lawn.

In a trice I was out there with the sturdy scissors and a ruler while they polished the repaired concrete and laid the liner.

All sliced up and ready to be put to weed suppressing use.

And where, pray tell?

The potager paths. Each and every one of them is in dire need of work.

This bad.

Bindweed everywhere. And boy the logs that are meant to edge the paths are ropey too. But that has to wait for autumn.

I find that when I wander along the beds I’m so distracted by the masses of bindweed that I’m not attending to the veg in the beds at all. Rather the beastly binding weeds are grabbing my time. So I need to get them less exposed to light and concentrate on hand pollinating my courgettes and tying in the tomatoes instead.

For a month now I have been clambering over the stockpile of gravel that has almost but not quite made it from the parking area to the potager.

That’s plan A. And now I have plan B. The base layer.

All cut out and ready for the Tooth Fairy to come and help me remove ALL THE GRAVEL. CLEAN THE STONES. LAY THE WEED SUPPRESSING LAYER. COVER WITH GRAVEL. AND REPEAT. 17 TIMES.

Sorry, heat flushed and feverish.

But when I decided to just do one single path, I realised just how much monstrous work lies ahead.

It took me so long I forgot to photograph the finished result.

I suspect that is because it needs even more work. Hiding the edges. Adding more gravel. Replacing all the tired logs.

But I’ve started so that’s summer’s work project inked in. I emptied the tank of our water supply in the mountains getting the pool half filled once the lining was in. So I can’t even flop about in the shallow end and pretending the garden paths are gorgeous…

In a week more water should flow (don’t ask me about the mysteries of underground aquifers and why we have 12 cubic metres of mountain water in a drought) and maybe then the distractions will prove greater than my work ethic.

But for now. Gravel washing. Grumbling.