Throwing on the gauntlets

Watering is by far my favourite start to the day. So peaceful. And the birdsong this year is quite stunning. There is a family of blue tits beginning their life in a small nest high up in the wall of the guest house. No pointing or work on the stone walls there for a bit I think. Hopefully we will be around to watch the babies fledge. That’s quite a drop.

My main task for the day was to plant out all the extra little vegetable seedlings that didn’t go in during the first major crop work. Random pots of cabbages, coriander, and two cucumbers needed to fill in the small gaps And then there was the question of where to put the everlasting peas which I sowed over the winter. They weren’t putting on that much growth in their pots. I decided that they might do (eventually as an extra feature on the wall that abuts the herb garden. There are three small New Dawn rose plants already there, but surely this wall could do with more. Perhaps it is the wrong place, I really had a lapse of creative spirit. Blame it on flagging in this heat and sneezing every few minutes. My first week of major hayfever is always tiring until the antihistamines kick in.

All these chores were interrupted by our escaping neighbours. Jean Daniel is away for a few days and he rather left his lawn mowers have a feral vacation. Getting them back behind the electric fence was like herding cats. Our wildflower grasses were so much more interesting and juicier than theirs, and naturally once they realised that the electric fence didn’t entirely confine them they were out and into our property like a shot. I was worried that some of my plants may be poisonous to them too. Not to mention the fact they would much the entire shade garden down to the ground in about three mouthfuls. So I hauled them away from the grasses and fun and sent them back to sulk.

In the afternoon it was a case of hiding from the sun. I need to get the strimmer and go into the orchard and trim the weeds behind the trees. But decided to just sit down and use secateurs instead. I cut plastic bottles and used them as gauntlets for the brambles and thus armed I set to some very destructive work indeed.

I cut out the apricot entirely. Sad to see it go, but it looks like I’m only going to be able to plant peach leaf curl resistant varieties from now on. There was no way I could pick off all the infected leaves and hope for a recovery. Every leaf was infected. Blown from the spores that have lived (and dare I say thrived) on the peach trees up near the house.

The diseased tree went into a bin liner. And then I marched (slow motion in the heat) up to the culprits and decided they all have to go. Now. No more waiting until June when I can get help. This infection spreads faster than I can control it. So I just launched in cutting off all the branches. Cutting them into bite sized chunks. And then spent an assiduous half hour picking up all the fallen, diseased leaves. A summer of careful cutting and care of this bank. (Once the stumps are removed) and maybe in the autumn I will plant more olives. That’s the plan. But certainly no more peaches.

Then as the heat was finally relenting, it was up to start on the future flowers for the house area. I had thought to put it up at the top potager. But I realised that I have a lot of very sunny space here behind the potting shed. So I shall make use. Walking up to the top potager is a challenge and very uphill. Watering there twice a day would be bound to prove too much. And these are flowers for vases so need a good season with plenty of moisture. There are lots of sunflowers in my mix.

Weeding the area wasn’t too onerous as most has been under black weedproof fabric all spring. (I do apologise for the dreary pictures, you just can’t get creative with dirt) And then in a trice it was dig over with a fork. Just a few months ago I couldn’t even wield a fork without stabbing back pain, so perhaps time really is the great healer of sore spines. I can picture how it will look. But had to down tools and just plan what needs to be done tomorrow. No more gloaming gardening today.